The National Jewish Student Survey, a large-scale enquiry into Jewish identity, was launched on Tuesday last week. It has been commissioned by UJS Hillel, a support organization for Jewish students in the UK since 1953, with a view to informing its future policy and programme, and to influencing the ways in which Jewish community organizations relate to Jewish students.
More specifically, the survey ‘investigates the relationship between Jewish students’ upbringing and their attitudes, beliefs, activities and aspirations. In particular, it explores their community affiliations (synagogue, school, youth movements), their social lives, their perspectives on what being Jewish means, and their overall experience of being Jewish on campus today.’
Funding and other backing for the research is coming from the Pears Foundation, UJIA (United Jewish Israel Appeal), the Rothschild Foundation (Europe) and the Maurice Wold Charitable Foundation.
The project is being undertaken for UJS Hillel by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), in two stages. The quantitative phase is already running, throughout February and March, with an online questionnaire administered by Ipsos MORI and available at:
Eligibility to participate in the online survey is restricted to people who are Jewish (not defined) and currently registered to study full- or part-time at a UK university or college (including those who are temporarily abroad as part of their course or whose main place of study is outside the UK).
In practice, the online sample will be self-selecting, and weighting may present a challenge. Some verification of respondents is offered by the requirement, before completing the questionnaire, to submit an email address in order for a unique survey link to be sent by Ipsos MORI.
The qualitative phase comprises focus groups in the UK, which will take place in April. The final report, which will be authored entirely by JPR, is expected to be issued in autumn 2011.
The National Jewish Student Survey is being inaugurated just as the University of Derby’s Religion and Belief in Higher Education Project (http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=684) is nearing its end. That, presumably, will also have captured some Jewish student opinion and experience.