The ASSOCIATION OF RELIGION DATA ARCHIVES (ARDA) is a free source of
online information related to American and international religion .
One of the primary goals of the archive is to democratize access to
academic information on religion by making this information as widely
accessible as possible. Over 900 surveys, membership reports, and
other data collections are currently available for online preview, and
most can be downloaded free of charge. Other features include national
GIS maps, church membership overviews, denominational
heritage trees, historical timelines, tables, charts, and other
Founded as the American
Religion Data Archive in 1997, and online
since 1998, the archive was initially targeted at researchers
interested in American religion. In February 2006, the American
Religion Data Archive became the Association of
Religion Data Archives
when an international data archive was added. The archive now
includes both American and international collections as well as
features for educators, journalists, religious congregations, and
Data included in the ARDA are submitted by the foremost religion
scholars and research centers in the world. Currently housed in the
Social Science Research Institute at
Pennsylvania State University ,
the ARDA is funded by
Lilly Endowment , the John Templeton Foundation
Chapman University , and Pennsylvania State University.
* 1 History
* 2 Overview
* 3 Affiliations
* 4 Awards and recognition
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Roger Finke , then professor of sociology at
Purdue University ,
founded the American
Religion Data Archive in 1996 on a grant from
Lilly Endowment . Data file collection and processing began in 1997.
The online archive launched in the fall of 1998 under the domain name
www.thearda.com, and originally contained thirty-three surveys
regarding American religion. Within ten years, the archive had
expanded to include more than 400 data files. As of 2016 , more than
900 data files were available for download on the ARDA website.
Starting in 2005, the ARDA began to host surveys dealing with
religion outside the United States. In 2006, the archive therefore
changed its name from the American
Religion Data Archive to the
Religion Data Archives to more properly reflect the
scope of information available. The new name preserved both the
acronym and the domain name from the American
Religion Data Archive.
Since its founding, the ARDA has moved from Purdue to the Population
Research Institute at
Pennsylvania State University , where is still
run under the direction of Roger Finke, with the assistance of
Christopher Bader of Chapman University. The staff has, since 1997,
expanded to include a research team of religion experts and graduate
students, a marketing and web development team, a team of editors for
guiding papers and working papers, a learning center editor, and a
press room editor.
The primary component of the ARDA, the data archive, contains around
775 quantitative data files as of February 2014 . ARDA staff do not
themselves collect the data encompassed in these files; rather, the
surveys' principal investigators submit their data to the ARDA for
processing and archiving. Thus, the data files currently included in
the archive originate from almost 200 different sources. Major data
file contributors include the Presbyterian Panel Survey, the Southern
Focus Poll, the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, and the Middletown
Area Study. Data from the
General Social Survey , the American
National Election Studies , the World
Religion Dataset, and the Pew
Research Center are also available. Among the most common topics of
information included are public opinions regarding social issues (e.g.
abortion , homosexuality, the role of women), survey respondents'
perceptions of God/the divine, and survey respondents' religious
In addition to archived survey data, the ARDA also provides
information regarding the religious composition of, and the state of
religious freedom in, the 232 nations currently recognized by the
United States State Department ; membership and distributional data
and historical lineages ("Family Trees") of major world religions and
U.S. denominations thereof; and various learning tools.
A bi-weekly journalistic article dealing with matters of religion and
(usually American) public life, written by David Briggs, also appears
on the ARDA website. This article is cross-posted to the Huffington
Post , for which Briggs also writes.
In 2015, the ARDA began providing interactive historical timelines of
religion in the United States. Currently, there are three interactive
timelines listed: Prominent Religious Events and People, Baptist
Events and People, and Catholic Events and People.
The ARDA is both affiliated with and funded by the following
John Templeton Foundation
Pennsylvania State University
The ARDA is affiliated with the following organizations without
* The Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture
Bar Ilan University
Religion and State Project
* The International Association of
* The Portrait of American Life Survey
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
* The ARDA was one of thirty online resources selected by the
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) division of the
American Library Association
American Library Association for the 2010 Best Free Reference Websites
* The Lilly Endowment's "Insights into Religion" portal lists the
ARDA as one of the best online resources for continuing education
about religion, demographic research, youth research, and teaching
Religion and the internet
* ^ "The Association of
Religion Data Archives About the ARDA".
Thearda.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
* ^ A B Berkley Center, Georgetown University. "Association of
Religion Data Archives". Resources on Faith, Ethics, and the Public
Life. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
* ^ A B C Finke, Roger; Christopher D. Bader; Edward C. Polson
(2007). "A Growing Web of Resources: The Association of
Archives (ARDA)". Review of
Religion Research. 49 (1): 21–34.
* ^ A B C Merino, Stephen M;
Roger Finke (2008–2009).
"Stimulating Research and Discovery in the Study of Religion: The
Religion Data Archives (www.theARDA.com)". Geographies
of Religions and Belief Systems. 3 (1): 3–17.
* ^ Finke, Roger; Amy Adamczyk (2008). "The Association of Religion
Data Archives (ARDA): Online Research Data, Tools, and References".
Politics and Religion. 1 (3): 456–470. doi
* ^ Finke, Roger; Christopher D. Bader; Edward C. Polson (2007). "A
Growing Web of Resources: The Association of
Religion Data Archives
(ARDA) www.theARDA.com". Review of Religious Research. 49 (1):
* ^ A B "ARDA". About the ARDA. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
* ^ A B "Data Archive Alphabetical Listing". ARDA. Retrieved 17
* ^ Merino, Stephen M.;
Roger Finke (2008). "Stimulating Research
and Discovery in the Study of Religion: The Association of Religion
Data Archives (www.theARDA.com)". Geographies of Religions and Belief
Systems. 3 (1): 3–17.
* ^ "Measurement Wizard". ARDA. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
* ^ "National Profiles". ARDA. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
* ^ "Religious Group Profiles". ARDA. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
* ^ "The Learning Center". ARDA. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
* ^ "The Press Room". ARDA. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
* ^ "David Briggs". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 February
* ^ "American
Religion Timelines". Association of
Archives. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
* ^ A B "ARDA". Retrieved 27 November 2013.
* ^ "Best Free Reference Websites 2010 Twelfth Annual List RUSA
Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS)". Reference and User
Services Association. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
* ^ "Best Resources for Continuing Education". Insights into
Religion. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
* ^ "Insights into Religion". Best Resources for Demographic
Research: Current and Historic Demographic Information for Your
Parish. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
* ^ "Best Resources for Youth Research". Insights into Religion.
Retrieved 14 November 2013.