ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2010

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Innovative approaches to data dissemination and visualisation for non-statistical audiences

Chris Simpson

Last modified: 2010-12-13


This paper uses the National Church Life Survey as a case study of an effective and sustained data dissemination program.


A key aspect of the survey has been providing results to participants. As the survey has an iterative nature, it has allowed the output provided to participants to evolve into something that is familiar and trusted whilst also being based on solid research and findings. This has resulted in an innovative visualisation framework, including the Circle of Strengths, Change Over Time and a church Inflow and Outflow chart.


This specialized output is then delivered in the form of a Church Life Profile. As thousands of churches take part in the National Church Life Survey, specialized software is built to create Church Life Profiles for local, regional and national audiences. The software is developed to provide these Profiles both in paper and online formats, whilst protecting the confidentiality of the participants. Furthermore, additional Profiles can be distributed based on different criteria such as smaller groups, cohorts or larger complements of data (such as an Extended Church Life Profile).


In order to maximize engagement with the results, a Church Life Profile is packaged as part of a Church Life Pack with complementing resources including work sheets, a Circle of Strengths poster for distribution within a church congregation and book Enriching Church Life which forms the research basis for the Church Life Profile as well as the worksheets review processes.


Church leaders are also invited to take part in a Leaders Survey run in conjunction with the National Church Life Survey. This in turn facilitates evaluation for both individual leaders, allowing them to reflect on their leadership strengths and regional & national leaders, allowing them the ability to engage with the health and well being of their church leaders.


The whole delivery process has been designed for reuse and churches are informed that they can undertake a subsequent Local Church Life Survey at any time at their convenience. Doing so means they can leverage previous participation in a National Church Life Survey and track their progress as a healthy church.