Education has led to changed religious behavior and increased religious attendance (mosque attendance) among American Muslims.
Type of survey
Based on the need for convenience, ease of administration, cost reduction, and the privacy of the respondents, web surveys (written questionnaires) are selected as the appropriate survey type (Creswell, 2003). Muslims are conservative when it comes to issues relating to their religion. The issue of anonymity becomes a key aspect in this study. The role and manner of treatment among Muslims in the US is among the most controversial aspects among issues touching on Islam. Contemporary debates about Muslims in the US are generally underpinned=explicitly or implicitly- by the universalizing the continuity of religious behavior and practices.
Based on the outcome of the 9/11 Terrorist attacks, Muslims in America have approached their religious affiliations with increased caution and sensitivity. The Pew Research Center in their 2007 survey found out that Muslims in the US have continued to reject extremism as compared to Muslims from other countries. The American community is very diverse and considering the rate of diffusion it has on other cultures, it plays a significant role in diffusing the Muslim culture because of the different viewpoints and traditions that influence them (Haddad, Smith, and Moore, 2006). Equally, the most liberated people in Islam are perhaps American Muslims with a substantial volume of 59% percentage of American-Muslim women being in the workforce with other individuals adopting roles that could have been considered quite controversial.
Taking into consideration the above factors web surveys (written questionnaires) provides the cheapest and most convenient way to reach the targeted individuals (Babbie, 2010, Ch. 9). Another key factor is that it upholds the anonymity of the respondents. The increased use of the internet in facilitating research in disciplines such as marketing and social statistical researches increases web surveys as ideal data-collecting tools for this study. Other advantages associated with web surveys include low costs (no postage, paper, data entry, or mailing costs), reduced implementation time, ability to increase sample size, and the ability to program complex skip patterns (Babbie, 2010, Ch. 9).
The survey questions will be divided into the following categories (see appendix for a complete copy of the survey questionnaire):
Demographic information (Age, Sex)
Behavioral information (religious behavior, attendance patterns, and dressing patterns)
Attitudinal information (external views and opinions)
Pilot Test Survey instrument
In order to obtain reliability of the survey instrument (questionnaire), a pilot test is conducted to determine the level of precision or accuracy for using the questionnaire as a data collection instrument for this survey. This will help in the identification and elimination of problems that might be encountered during the survey study thereby allowing room to undertake corrective adjustments or changes. For this reason, the pilot test will answer the question as to whether the questionnaire provides a consistent measure for estimating the influence of education on religious behavior and religious attendance American Muslims.
In conducting the Pilot Test, the survey questionnaire will be administered to a small group (5-10) of American-Muslim because they possess the representative sample of the population targeted in this survey questionnaire. The survey questionnaire will be administered in a similar process (web survey) intended to be used in the actual study. The written survey questionnaire should be filled in under similar conditions expected to be used in the actual study. A checklist will be drawn to identify important aspects of the study such as the time it took the respondents to provide a reply, problems encountered, and other issues that might have generated controversy or sensitivity. Responses will be read after collecting the survey questionnaires from the respondents. Analysis will be done to determine how the respondents interpreted the study and results presented. Modifications will be done on areas where inconsistencies or challenges are encountered.
This study targets American Muslims aged 10-80, both immigrants and those born in America. Eligible respondents for the study must be computer literate with the ability to access internet connection and must possess a valid email address. Since, the web survey can collect information from virtually any place in the world without extra costs, respondents for this study can be selected from all states in the US. However, this study will be limited to respondents from Dearborn, Michigan because the region contains the highest number of Muslims since a large section of the population is of the Arab-American decent (Haddad, Smith, and Moore, 2006).
The sampling frame will involve a random selection of the names of Muslim registered by the American Society of Muslims (ASM), Dearborn branch. Consent will be sought from selected individuals and they will be invited to participate in the study. Invitations will be sent to 1000 respondents with the hope of obtaining a 600 plus willing respondents
A sample size of 500 respondents will be selected at random from the list of willing respondents hoping that the selected samples represent a true characteristic of the entire population of American Muslims. Anonymity will be guaranteed because issues covering on religion are sensitive. A web survey (inform of a written questionnaire) will be mailed to the selected individuals in the sample.
After all survey questionnaires have been checked and verified by the supervisors, with codes written for open ended questions, the data from the questionnaires are entered into the computer. Codes will represent specific variables from the questionnaire and will be mostly numerical. Data from each survey will be entered one at a time into respective rows and columns depending on the table of codes. The Program to be used in entering data from the Survey is Statistical Package for the Social Science (popularly known as SPSS). Data will be entered into spreadsheet-like data entry columns and rows and the software analyses and categorizes the data depending on the command.
Data will be presented in graphical, tabular, or pie-charts and will be ready for discussion. The analysis of data should be able to reveal the influence of education on the religious behavior and religious attendance of Muslims in the US. A final report will be prepared that provides a summary of the findings from the study.
Disseminating survey findings
Findings from the survey study will be published in a report whereby the findings will be summarized in a short and concise executive summary that captures all details about the study. The presentation should be able to provide a true reflection of the influence of education on the religious beliefs and behavior of American-Muslim women to enable religious policy makers to undertake appropriate measures to prevent situations where education presents a negative influence on the religious behavior and religious attendance of Muslim women. The report will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation that captures all the important findings from the study.
Babbie, E. (2010). The Practice of Social Research. 12th Edition. Belmont, CA:
Creswell, J. W., (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed
Method Approaches, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers
Haddad, Y., Y., Smith, I., J., and Moore, K., M. (2006). Muslim Women in America:
The challenge of Islamic Identity Today. Oxford University Press
Pew Research Center (20110. Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation
or Support for Extremism. Retrieved from http://www.people-