Die Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage
der Sozialwissenschaften

Call for Contributions to the ALLBUS 2023 core module
"Religion and World View"

As a repeated cross-sectional attitudes survey, the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) is designed around repeated thematic modules from relevant research fields of the social sciences. After 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012, the fifth iteration of the thematic module “Religion and Word View” is scheduled to be fielded with ALLBUS 2023. The existing question module includes among others indicators on religious practices, religious beliefs, basic world views ("cosmologies" cf. Felling et al. 1987; Meulemann 1985; Kelle et al. 2019), religious tolerance, alternative beliefs, and attitudes toward religious pluralization. The goal of the religion thematic module in ALLBUS 2023 is to continue the long-term observation of religious trends in Germany and to enable the testing of new theories and hypotheses on religion and related issues using innovative instruments. With this call we would like to give all interested researchers the opportunity to participate in the continuing development and updating of this thematic module and thus to actively contribute to the design of the questionnaire for the ALLBUS 2023.

In the past 30 years, the empirical sociology of religion has been strongly influenced by the debate between secularization theory on the one hand and the market model of religion and the thesis of religious individualization on the other (Stolz 2020; Pickel 2010). While the dwindling importance of Christian religiosity in Germany has been established empirically numerous times, no consensus has yet been established on the micro-sociological explanation of the causes and consequences of individual religiosity. At the same time, continuing secularization has fundamentally changed the social context of individual religious belief and practice in Germany. While East Germany has long been one of the most secularized societies in the world (Stolz et al. 2020), practicing Christians are now in the minority in all parts of Germany and the proportion of members in the two major churches continues its steady decline (Hardy et al 2020).

We would therefore like to encourage contributors to think about religion in Germany against the background of a largely completed "secular transition" (Voas 2008). Consequently, successful proposals are expected go beyond the classical approaches to the topic. We are especially interested in instruments that examine micro-sociological explanations of various expressions of individual religiosity (church-bound or alternative forms) or non-religiosity (e.g., motives for leaving). A second field we would like concentrate on is, the social consequences of religiousness in a secular environment. In this context, we are interested in proposals for instruments that measure the effects of religiosity on people's attitudes and behavior as well as in instruments that target the "social mechanisms" (Becker 2018) these effects are based on.

Possible topics of interest include:

  1. religious socialization, religious knowledge and their significance for individual religiosity
  2. adaptations of (Christian) religiosity to a majority secular society ("living as a religious minority")
  3. "new" moral controversies, e.g. in the field of changing medical technologies (e.g. reproductive technologies, euthanasia, organ donation) or with regard to environmental and climate protection
  4. the significance of individual religiosity for political or ethnic identities and attitudes
  5. religiosity as a predictor of family, education and career decisions  
  6. secular worldviews (religious indifference, atheism, etc.): their causes and effects on attitudes and behavior
  7. the perception of religion and “the churches” in an environment of religious plurality
  8. dealing with religious plurality and religious minorities

Proposals should make clear which theoretical constructs are being measured and which hypotheses are being tested. Proposed instruments should ideally be mixed mode compatible (i.e. implemented in both paper and online modes, as well as in CAPI) and already tested, without necessarily having been used in large survey programs before. In the case of already established instruments, their analysis potential should be demonstrated by combining them with other instruments from the ALLBUS.

As its previous iterations, the 2023 “Religion and worldview” module is expected to take no more than 25-30 minutes. Contributors should bear in mind that new proposals can therefore only be realized to the extent that existing instruments are dropped.

Finally, proposals should not exceed five standard (A4) pages (excluding documentation or outline of relevant questions).

More information on the past contents and the theoretical backgrounds of the “Religion and Worldview” module can be found in the methodological reports for ALLBUS 2002 and ALLBUS 2012.

An overview of the actual question texts fielded in past religion modules can be found here (181 kB).

A comprehensive overview of the ALLBUS questions can be found here.

The Study Coordination-Group ALLBUS will decide which entries will be considered for inclusion in the 2023 “Religion and worldview” module. The selected proposals will then be further developed by the ALLBUS group at GESIS in consultation with the authors.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information. We are happy to accept question proposals and comments on the 2023 “Religion and worldview” module until April 15, 2021 at the latest.


Please send your suggestions to Michael Blohm (michael.blohm(at)gesis(dot)org)