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Relevance of religion in youth revealed

Relevance of religion in youth revealed

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Religion plays a significant part in many young people’s lives, according to the latest research by Leeds Metropolitan, Brunel and Middlesex Universities.
Religion plays a significant part in many young people’s lives, according to the latest research by Leeds Metropolitan, Brunel and Middlesex Universities.

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Published by: Leeds Metropolitan University on Apr 02, 2012
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 March 2012For immediate releaseRelevance of religion in youth revealed
Religion plays a significant part in many young people‟s lives
, according to thelatest research by Leeds Metropolitan, Brunel and Middlesex Universities.The Youth on Religion research project, which was led by Brunel University
 
over the course of two years, gathered the perceptions and attitudes of youngpeople towards religion, what religion meant to their lives and wider society. Indoing so, they surveyed 10,500 high school pupils from two boroughs ofLondon and Bradford, with the most prominent religions amongst the groupbeing Islam (35%) and Christianity (31%). Leeds Metropolitan researchers DrSarah Kingston and Professor Colin Webster focused on young people in theBradford and Keighley region.An online survey was completed by the pupils within classroom time at 43schools, giving the team insightful statistical information, such as 48% ofpupils across the whole of the study stating that they definitely believe in God.Following the surveys, 147 sixth form students were selected to take part in27 focus groups, interviews and an e-journal to delve deeper into what religionmeant to them.In Bradford, Dr Kingston and Professor Webster spoke to groups of betweensix and eight pupils and made a video with some young people, which havebeen given back to schools to use for discussions and information aboutreligion and young people in Bradford.
 
Dr Kingston commented: “Talking to the students was incredibly interesting.
We were very surprised at the high percentage that believed in God and atthe array of individual meanings that religion held for them. I was particularlyinterested in the Hijab or headscarf worn by some female Muslim students inBradford, as they were often so colourful, stylish and elaborate. Rather thanbeing forced to wear the Hijab, as some people have assumed, it was evidentthat these Muslim young women gave considerable thought to how they worethe head scarf and did so in their own individual ways. In addition, theydescribed their own pathways and the reasons why they did or did not wear aheadscarf at various points in their lives
.”
 Following the focus groups, 34 of these students from all three areas of thestudy completed e-journals over the summer of 2010 using a special onlinesystem devised by learning technologists at Leeds Metropolitan Universitythat could only be accessed by the students and the research team.The aim of the e-
 journals was to capture the young people‟s thoughts about
religion in their own time and in their own way, over a six week period,allowing for shifts and developments in their views and beliefs. Pupils withouteasy access to a computer were given paper scrapbooks.After the summer, the e-journal participants put themselves into pairs andtalked with the researchers further, discussing more personal opinions andexperiences. All interviews were then transcribed and analysed, which is to
be the basis of a book entitled „Youth on Religion‟ to be published by
Routledge.
Ends
For further details please contact Carrie Braithwaite in the Communicationsteam at Leeds Met on 0113 812 3022 or email c.braithwaite@leedsmet.ac.uk
Notes for editors:

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