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Exploring the feasibility of ex-post harmonisation of religiosity items from the European Social Survey and the European Values Study

Aizpurua, E., Fitzgerald, R., de Barros, J. F. , Giacomin, G., Lomazzi, V., Luijkx, R., Maineri, A. & Negoita, D. (2022). Exploring the feasibility of ex-post harmonisation of religiosity items from the European Social Survey and the European Values Study. Measurement Instruments for the Social Sciences, 4, 12. doi: 10.1186/s42409-022-00038-x


This paper examines the feasibility of ex-post harmonisation strategies using European Values Study (EVS) Wave 5 (2017–2020) and European Social Survey (ESS) Round 9 (2018–2019) data across 17 countries. The study shows an empirical assessment of the comparability of four items measuring religious behaviours (belonging to a religious denomination at present/in the past, religious services attendance, and praying), captured in both surveys. The novelty of this paper lies in the analytical comparison of religiosity indicators that are rarely assessed from a comparative perspective.</jats:p><jats:p>The harmonisation strategy was based upon several analytical techniques that seek to determine similarities and differences between the selected items in terms of (a) their validity, by examining their correlations with a set of sociodemographic and substantive correlates, (b) their distributions, supplemented by visual comparisons and relevant statistical tests, and (c) item non-substantive shares. The findings pointed to the most consistency among the partial correlations, where individual religiosity produced the most differences between the surveys. Distributions produced the most discrepancies that also corresponded to less similarity across variable categories as gauged by Duncan’s index. This paper is descriptive and exploratory in its aim. It can be taken as a jumping-off point for future research where the time series of these two surveys, and potentially others, can be examined across aggregate levels (e.g. birth cohorts, countries).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Survey methodology, Cross-national data, Ex-post harmonisation, Source and target variables, Validity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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