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Very few scientific surveys of STM leaders, participants, or host communities have been published as books or in journals. However, quite a few such studies have been done as master's or Ph.D. projects, and many of these theses and dissertations are available through interlibrary loan. A few of these studies were done on quite a large scale, and their findings may have implications for the STM field in general. Many others survey a small number of people and do not solicit input from people in host countries, so it's hard to make any generalizations from their findings. However, some of these smaller studies still bring up interesting points that could be pursued in future research.
- Below you'll find a list we've compiled of studies based on surveys and interviews of STM participants. We've included a brief summary of the ones we've reviewed; click on the links to see more detailed outlines. Click here or scroll down to see them. You can also see a list of the reviewed dissertations sorted according to year of publication , number of people surveyed , and identity of the people surveyed .
- Quite a few dissertations that don't involve surveys or interviews have also been written about various aspects of STMs. Click here or scroll further down the page to see references to some of these.
- And we've also come across some dissertations and academic papers that, while not treating STMs directly, address relevant topics. Click here or scroll down to see titles and brief summaries.
Surveys, Interviews, and Case Studies
- Anderson, Duane "Chip." "The Role of Short Term Mission Trips in the Discipleship of a Congregation in World Missions." master's project, Columbia Biblical Seminary, 1992.
The author uses a survey and 3 case studies to examine the use of STM's motivate churchgoers' missions interest and involvement.
- Baar, Corrie L. "Short-Term Student Missions and the Needs of Nationals."
dissertation, Denver Seminary, 2003.
The author interviews nationals and resident missionaries in Ghana and Rwanda on their opinions of STM groups that work in those countries.
- Beauchamp, David E. "The influence of Short-Term International Missions on Church Growth." 2002.
- Beckwith, Ivy. "Youth Summer Missions Trips: A Case Study." dissertation, Trinity Evangelical School, 1991.
The author interviewed 40 teenagers from a congregation in Minneapolis who had gone on a two-week mission trip, focusing on construction, children's ministries, and evangelism, to the island of St. Vincent.
- Beers, Stephen Thomas. "Faith Development of Christian College Students Engaged in a One-Month Study Abroad Mission Trip." dissertation, Ball State University, 1999.
171 students from Taylor University , including 72 who participated in one-month STMs through that school, responded to a qualitative survey, the Faith Maturity Scale, and the Growth in Mature Faith index.
- Brakke, Janel Jo. "Demonstrating the Need for Health Educators on Short-Term Medical Missions: An Analysis of Intestinal Parasitic Infections in a Haitian Clinic Population." master's thesis, University of Northern Iowa, 1997.
The author collected data from patients while she participated in a two-week medical mission trip in rural Haiti and examined patient records at the clinic there.
- Brunsman, Deborah Sue. "A study of Short Term Missionaries with an Emphasis on Their Use in Independent Foreign Missions." 1980.
- Causey, Carol Janet. "An analysis of the Selected Variables as Factors in the Acceptance of Older Adults for Short-Term Volunteer Missions Projects Sponsored by the Home and Foreign Mission Boards of the Southern Baptist Convention (Home Mission Board, Foreign Mission Board, Baptist Church)." Fort Worth , Texas : Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1989.
This study found that people with the following characteristics were selected to participate in this denomination's STMs more frequently than expected: 70-74 years old, widowed, white, seminary graduate.
- Cecil, James W. "A Critical Analysis of the Foreign Mission Board's Procedures for the Involvement of Short Term Volunteers in Personal Presence Overseas Ministries." dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1981.
A very in-depth analysis of how the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention recruited and encouraged short-term missionaries, the administrative aspects of the Convention's STM and missionary program, motivations of STMers, and the impact of STMers on mission ministry, mission awareness, financial contribution to missions, and future missions involvement.
- Chandler, Thomas W. "A Statistical Study of Short-Term Missions." master's thesis, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1971.
Though this study is somewhat outdated, its breadth is significant. The author surveyed STM program administrators, short term workers (here defined as 2 months-5 years), and missionaries and nationals affiliated with a wide variety of STM-sending organizations, and conducted a case study survey of short-termers in Java.
- Cocannouer, Marie E. "Developing a Model for Short-Term Missions Training in Heritage Christian Institute of the Christian Evangelistic Assemblies, Inc." Ph.D. project, Oral Roberts University, 1998.
Eleven participants in a church-sponsored STM to Guatemala responded to a questionnaire 3 times over the course of their trip.
- Coffey, Joseph Alan. "The Implementation and Effect of a Short-Term Mission Trip on Secondary Students." 1991.
- Dougherty, James Allen. " Developing a Theology of Mission through a Short-Term Mission Experience." Emory University , 1987.
- Cooney, Donald F. "Changes in Attitude and Social Involvement Among Returned Overseas Volunteers." Bryn Mawr, 1983.
The author sent an extensive (25 pages!) survey to returned volunteers who had worked with MCC, IVS (International Voluntary Service), and LAOS (an ecumenical volunteer and training agency funded by a Methodist layman).
- Everret, Arthur. " Developing a model for reaching Native Americans through other tribal peoples: the effect of a short-term ministry trip by a tribal team from East Malaysia on the acceptance of outsiders by Pueblo Native Americans in New Mexico ." 2000.
- Fletcher, Susan E. " A transformative Journey: Adult Participants' experiences engaged on a foreign community service project ( Nicaragua )." University of Missouri - Saint Louis, 2003.
- Gascho, Victoria R. "Self-perceptions of young adult need for support in the development towards personal maturity." Trinity Evangelical Divinity School , 2001.
This study of 78 people between the ages of 18-30 who participated in a seven-week program of Eurocorps Ministries concluded that young adults desire the participation of mature guides and mentors in their lives, the promotion of authentic community relationships, meaningful work, and an atmosphere of respect from mature leaders.
- Graves, Mary W. " The Benefits of Short Term Volunteer Health Work in Developing Nations as Reported by Health Care Professionals: a Content Analysis." master's thesis, Mankato State University, 1997.
The author sifted through 41 articles, published between 1986-1996, written by health professionals about their medical STM experiences.
- Habenicht, Donna J. "A Descriptive Study of the Personality, Attitudes, and Overseas Experience of Seventh-Day Adventist College Students who served as Short-Term Volunteer Missionaries." dissertation, Andrews University, 1977.
This study assessed personalities, attitudes, and overseas experience of 150 Seventh-Day Adventist college students who served as short-term missionaries (10 to 12 months) during the 1975-76 school year.
- Hwang, David K. "Summer Ambassadors in Mission Trip to Guatemala for Short-Term Missionary Training." 1989.
- Hopkins, Sarah Mott. "Effects of Short-Term service Ministry Trips on the Development of Social Responsibility in College Students." dissertation, George Fox University, 2000.
64 George Fox students who participated in one of 5 week-long mission trips in the northwest United States, and a control group of students in a general psychology class took Starrett's Global Social Responsibility Inventory.
- Jones, Doyle G. " Bible College Students and Short-Term Missions." Ph.D. project, Oral Roberts University, 1993.
Eight students from Southwestern Assemblies of God College ( Waxahachie, Texas ) responded to the same questionnaire before and after a 3-month mission trip to Mexico .
- Kirby, Scott Harrison. " Short-Term Volunteer Foreign Mission Experiences: What Difference Do They Make in the Lives of the Participants?" dissertation, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1995
106 participants in STMs in Romania were given pre- and post-trip surveys testing their knowledge of and attitude toward missions.
- Kitchen, Donald. "The Impact and Effectiveness of Short-Term Missionaries." Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1976.
The results of a survey of 100 Dallas Theological Seminary students who had been on STMs, and of surveys of mission boards and missionaries in the field, come out very positive towards the practice of short-term missions.
- Kwan, Yuet San . "A Study of the Practice of Intercessory Prayer by Short-Term Mission Participants of the Hong Kong Evangelical Church (China)." Asbury Theological Seminary, 2002.
A study of STM participants showed that all of them continued to pray for missions after their trips.
The author interviewed STM participants from eight congregations in the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Two surveys showed that many current long-term missionaries were motivated to follow this career by short-term mission experiences.
- Ma, Stella Y. "An Exploratory Study of Student Perceptions Concerning Their Spiritual Formation Within the Christian College Experience." Biola University , 1999.
A survey of 953 students at 18 Christian colleges found STM participation to be among the 10 most commonly cited factors contributing to their spiritual formation.
The author administered the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, the Tennnessee Self-Concept Scale, Second Edition, and a survey of his own with questions about the STM experience, to members of a Baptist Church who went on a mission trip to Mexico .
The author surveyed participants in Church of the Nazarene Youth in Mission STMs to Latin America in the 1980s.
This survey of 432 participants in STEM Ministries two-week mission trips found that after their trips participants doubled giving and increased prayer for missions.
McDonough's '96 study presented in a reader-friendly format, with added graphs and comments.
This dissertation describes the rise of STMs and their role in pormoting a missionary vision in local congregations (based partly on responses to hundreds of surveys sent to church leaders), and outlines a cross-cultural ministry training program designed by the author and World Vision.
The author analyzes a survey he did himself and STEM Ministries' 1991 survey.
A survey of 522 Bible college students in U.S. and Canada about STMs.
A case study of a Korean American Christian group that sent short-term missions Mexico.
efore and after a one-week mission trip, 15 students from Denver Christian College answered surveys about attitude, knowledge, and behavior in relation to poverty.
The author conducted focus-group discussions with participants in a catholic college's annual 4-week service/learning trip to the Dominican Republic and interviews with program administrators.
STEM Ministries survey of 945 STM participants found that STMs caused a significant change in terms of participants' time in prayer, financial giving, and commitment to world mission.
This study is based on a survey and interviews of 79 people from the Kentucky Baptist Convention who went on STMs to Brazil and Kenya .
The author sent a survey to 105 US pharmacists and physicians who had participated in medical missions trips.
- Shickley, Janet L. "An Evaluation of Selected Summer Missions Programs in France : Their Goals, Strategy, and Effectiveness in Achieving these Goals." 1978.
- Shores, Corey. The Integration of Youth With A Mission Short-Term Teams in Long-Term Settings Within the Country of Albania." B.A. project, Western Baptist College, 1996.
The survey of 20 randomly selected YWAM staff who had worked in Albania on a short-term or long-term basis.
- Sommer, John P. "The Role of Short-Term Workers in a Mission Setting: A Study of Japan Mission of the General Conference Mennonite Church." 1973.
- Swearingin, Mary. "A Look at Short-Term Missions." thesis, Emmanuel School of Religion, 1996.
The author used her own journal from an STM in Mexico and surveys sent to other STM participants to find a response to commonly voiced praises of and concerns about STMs.
- Thorne, Carol. "Naturalistic Insight from Christian Volunteers: Reflection, Commitment, and Personal Development." dissertation, Northern Illinois University, 1998.
The author interviewedand surveyed Christian adults who taught English overseas for short terms.
- Tuttle, Kathryn A. "The Effects of Short-Term Missions Experience on College Students' Spiritual Growth and Maturity." Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, 1998.
A survey of 131 students at 4 Christian Colleges found that the degree of change in STM participants was correlated with the quality of their training and debriefing.
- White, Rodney. "Evaluating the Effects on Participants of Summer Mission Teams Sent Out by Southeastern College." disseration, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1996.
Surveys sent to 113 participants in STMs run by Southeastern College (Assemblies of God; Lakeland , FL) from 1990-95.
- Wilson, Dean Edward. "The Influence of Short-Term Mission Experience on Faith Maturity." dissertation, Asbury Theological Seminary, 1999.
Results from a survey of 27 participants in United Methodist STMS to Mexico correlates degree of spiritual change with participants' learning styles.
- Wiseby, Randal R. "Collegiate Missions in the Context of Short-Term Mission Experiences." dissertation, Wesley Theological Seminary, 1990.
A survey of Columbia Union College students who participated in a 1989 mission trip found that STMs increased awareness of world need, desire to serve as long-term missionaries, and understanding of what it means to belong to a supportive community.
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Other Academic Papers on STMs
- Beukes, Anton Louis. "Missiological Perspectives on Short-Term Outreaches." University of Pretoria (South Africa), 1999.
The author develops a theological perspective on STMs, based on the concept of the Trinity. He stresses the importance of thinking about training and planning, follow-up, debriefing and re-entry, reaction of the receivers, and reward for the participants.
- Chirino, Josefina Del Rosario. "The Continued Short-Term Mission Among the Poor of the Developing World: An Effective Tool in Ministry to Young Adults of the Developed World." dissertation, Barry University , 2001.
The author argues, based on theology of Edward Schillebeeckx and various papal declarations, that going on short-term missions opens eyes of youth to the presence of God in the poor and downtrodden, and can help enhance the dignity of those poor people.
- Emgard, Emma Karin Sofia. "Foundational Perspectives for Addressing Power in Leadership of Short-Term Mission Teams." dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2000.
This study examines a variety of leadership models, metaphores, and doctrines and uses interviews with STM leaders to relate these theories to STMs leadership.
- Fung, Timothy Jingdao. "Short-Term Mission : A Strategy to Motivate the North American Chinese Church." Fuller Theological Seminary, 1999.
- Hardy, Roger Wayne. "Acts 1:8 in Reverse: A Strategy for Renewal through Short-Term Missions." 2001.
- Hoffman, Douglas G. "A Plan to Train Short-Term Missionaries Sent by Grace Fellowship Church." 1996.
- Jee, Kug Chan. "Childhood/Adolescent Missions and Its Impact on Future Leadership Development (in Reference to the Experience at Han Woo Ree Korea Methodist Church ). dissertation, Regent University, 2002.
The author associates his church's practice of sending young people on STMs with what he sees as the necessity of cross-cultural experiences for developing Christian leadership. He finds antecedents in the work of theologians and scholars such as Paulo Freire and James Fowler, and in the cross-cultural experiences of biblical figures such as Moses, Samuel, and Daniel.
- Kim, Jong-Do. "A Study on Missions Mobilization of the Local Church through Short-Term Missions Trips with Special Reference to the Case of Daejon Tyrannus." dissertation, Regent University , 2002.
The author concludes, mostly from experience being a pastor and being involved with missions mobilization, that God is using short-term mission experiences-serving in another country lets volunteers see first-hand what the hurts and needs of people in other cultures are, and many volunteers return with a new sense of God and new commitment to evangelization.
- Kwon, Hyoung-Jae. "Development of a Strategy for Motivating College Students in the Korean immigrant Church in Portland to Become Short Term Missionaries." 1997.
- Mabon, Mark G. "A program for training short term missionaries for the Navajo." 1994.
- Scherer, Kevin. "Short-Term Missions: A Gateway to Church Renewal." 2002.
- Slater, Bryan A. "The Role of Short Term Missions in the Life of the Local Church and How to Make Short Term Missions More Effective." 2001.
- Solheim, Karen Diane. "Patterns of Work-Centered Relationship Between an NGO, Its Field Staff, and Refugee Staff." University of Colorado Health Science Center, 2000.
- Southerland, Tomothy Fred. "Missiological renewal: A stratefy for renewal in the Illinois district through missions." dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1997.
Based on a study of the Bible and the experiences of other churches, the author concludes that a good strategy for renewal in the Illinois District Council of Assemblies of God churches should involve a global prayer ministry and participation in STMs.
- Tadlock, Phyllis D. "The Challenges of Short-Term Volunteer Ministry in Areas of Stablished Missions: A Missiological Solution to the Volunteer Ministry Triangle." thesis, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2003.
The author stresses assertion, made by Gailyn Van Rheenen in his book "Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies," that missions consist of three parts: theology, social sciences, and strategy. The author referst to many different articles and books in her exposition of how these three factors can work together to make STMs useful, worthwhile components of overall mission.
- Terry, Douglas Wayne. (dissertation) "Short-Termers Over the Long Run: Assessing Missional Effectiveness of Non-Career, Mid-Term Nazarene Missionaries." dissertation, Asbury Theological Seminary, 2002.
Based on questionnaires received from 101 Nazarene mid-termers, 96 career missionaries, and 73 national Christians with whom they worked, the author concludes that the most important factor in choosing mid-term candidates is their ability to speak the language, followed by cultural adaptation, interpersonal skills, and spiritual maturity.
- Via, Leon Christians. "The Development and Implementation of a Missions Model at Trinity College for Sending Students into Short-Term Missions." 1993
- Williams, Gwendolyn. "Training Short-Term Missionaries in the Local Church." 1996
Academic Papers and Studies on STM-Related Topics
- Costanzo, Richard. (dissertation). "Cross-Cultural Adjustment Among Peace Corps Volunteers." dissertation, University of Chicago , 1981.
The author examines results from four cross-sectional surveys, each of about 4,000 Peace Corps volunteers. It traces general patterns of adjustment and identifies certain groups that fit or do not fit these patterns.
- Handler, Charles Andrew. "The Influence of Climate for Belief in the Overseas Mission on Cross-Cultural Training Effectiveness." dissertation, The Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1999.
Data from attitude scales filled out by 183 undergraduate students who were informed of the details of an overseas teaching exchange program and completed a short cross-cultural training program indicated that climate for belief in the mission (in other words, the "atmosphere" that the students perceived the program to have) had a positive influence on the motivation to learn, organizational commitment, and self-efficacy.
- Linse, Caroline Teresa. "The Sojourning Experience: A Study of Peace Corps EFL Volunteers/Teachers (English as a Foreign Language)." dissertation, Harvard University , 1989.
Surveys returned by 54 returned Peace Corps volunteers, and interviews with 10 of them, showed their experience was influenced by 4 factors: cross-cultural knowledge, language, task effectiveness and importance, and relationships. The returned volunteers defined crosscultural knowledge as knowing locally acceptable rules, understanding what a respectful attitude is towards members of local culture, and understanding gender roles in Third World countries.
- Weiss, Charla Batsell. "Adjustments of American Student Interns Overseas: A Case in Australia (Study Abroad)." dissertation, University of Michigan , 1998.
Surveys, observations, and interviews of 43 Boston University undergraduates who did internships in Sydney found that 1) students initial perceptions of cultural distance between Australia and the US did not change significantly between the beginning and end of their stay, 2) students had few difficulties managing their daily activities (cultural fit), 3) students who arrived with some prior knowledge adapted to cultural norms more easily than students who had no prior knowledge of Australia, 4) the actual work experience in the internships was what had an impact on the students' sense of competence, and 5) students who had previous overseas experiences were the least troubled by difficulties that occurred due to cultural differences.
Interaction Between Cultures
- McGuckin, Erica Allen. "Postcards from Shangri-La: Tourism, Tibetan Refugees, and the Politics of Cultural Production (India)." dissertation, City University of New York , 1997.
This analysis of Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsalaa , India , concludes, among other things, that as seekers and consumers of "indigenous culture," Western seekers, volunteers, social scientists, and tourists themselves contribute to the production of commoditized "Tibetan culture".
- Dull, Laura Jeanette. "The Americans Are Coming": Reverend Leon H. Sullivan's Teachers for Africa program in Peki , Ghana . dissertation, New York University , 2003.
The author's experience volunteering for one year with the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help in Ghana led her to believe that the programs goals were often thwarted because American-made goals were not always appropriate to Ghanaian settings: better results would come if volunteers and recipients were allowed to make more decisions.
Motivations for Volunteering Overseas
- Law, Sandra Kim. "In Search of 'Real' Life Experience: Conceptualizing Canadian Crossroads International's (CCI's) Overseas Volunteers as Alternative Tourists." dissertation, University of Calgary , 1994.
This study applied Bourdieu's concept of capital (a variant of human capital investment theory) to self-ascribed motiviations of a group of CCI volunteers and concluded they are best defined as alternative tourists: people who wanted to get first-hand experiences in developing countries in a way alternative to the packaged experiences of mass tourism.
Long-Term Effects on Volunteers' Attitudes
- Thompson, Richard Hasty. "Volunteers in Asia: Taiwan and China Programs. dissertation, University of Virginia , 1990.
In a survey of 111 former volunteers who went to Taiwan and China, mostly to teach English, through Volunteers in Asia, Inc., (based at Stanford University), nearly all reported a sustained interest in Asian current events and culture, and many reported personal and intellectual growth and expanded appreciation of international relationships at individual and national levels.
- Traut, Carol Ann. "Volunteering and Politics; A Study of Volunteers and Their Attitudes on the Political World." dissertation, Florida State University, College of Social Sciences, 1988.
The author interviewed thirteen individuals from the Tallahassee area who volunteered in the area of social services (e.g., working in soup kitchens, being mentors to at-risk kids, participating in religious societies, etc.) to examine the relationship between their political views and their voluntarism.
- Williams, Debbie M. "An Exploratory and Descriptive Study of the Overseas and Reentry Experiences of Returned Canadian Volunteers and Its Influence on Their Present Lifestyle." dissertation, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), 1991.
Survey of 91 CUSO and 24 Canadian Crossroads International (CCI) returned volunteers [average time overseas through CCI is 4-6 months] showed reverse culture shock upon reentry was common, and that it was influenced by age, gender, desire to return home, feelings upon initial reentry, and commitment to change lifestyle upon return. 86% said present lifestyle was highly or moderately affected by experience, and respondents expressed significantly less satisfaction with Canadian society upon return.
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