Using data from the Kent County Congregations Study, CSR staff will showcase emerging tools and methods for visual data analysis.
Please join us:
Thursday April 8, 2010|
3:30 p.m., Meeter Center Lecture Hall
The Center for Social Research is pleased to announce that, as of November 5, 2009, we have completed our comprehensive church canvassing project! The student research assistants estimate that they covered over 124 tracts, and collected data documenting congregational movements and new congregations in Kent County. In total, 24 new congregations were discovered.
Even though there is a feeling of finality to this phase of the project, in reality it has only just begun. We now have a great deal of data to add to the previously collected data from the Kent County Congregational Survey of 2006 that was compiled into the impressive report, Gatherings of Hope. These data will also be used to make a comprehensive and up-to-date directory of Kent County congregations.
By visiting each congregation in Kent County, student researchers were able to take pictures of every building and record any changes to leadership, contact information, membership, and other relevant information.
One of our talented employees, Nathan Mosurinjohn, comments on the GIS niche he specializes in at the CSR:
“GIS is short for Geographic Information Systems, which is used to both analyze spatial data and to create maps. The GIS program we use at the CSR is fully customizable, so the possibilities for its use are endless. Some examples of ways this technology can be used include anything from site selection for business branches to hydrological studies to 3D fly-throughs of mountain ranges.
One of the main ways we are using GIS this summer is to coordinate our canvassing efforts for the Kent County Congregations Study. In addition to making an atlas of maps that the canvassers use for navigating, we have used GIS to estimate the time it will take to canvass each area and the amount of milage each area contains. We have also created a randomized set of points throughout the county to measure some of the general social and physical characteristics of the areas we are canvassing.
Once a team returns from a canvassing trip with their collected data, we use GIS to analyze what we have learned. With this technology we can chart where congregations are moving, where new congregations are forming, and where they are shutting down. We can also begin to see what the location of congregations means; for example, demographic changes in the city may be reflected in church movement and attendance. Movement of congregations can also affect how well services for young people are distributed among at-risk youth, a topic that our corresponding Youth Services Landscape Survey explores in more depth.
These are just a few of the ways that we are using GIS to aid in the implementation of our research endeavors, but as you can see, it is also a very transferable tool that can be used for a variety of purposes.”
KCCS is on Calvin’s home page today, thanks to Allison Graff—have a look.