IDEALS Instrument

The Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) seeks to better understand student encounters with religious and spiritual diversity across the spectrum of American higher education. As colleges and universities increasingly seek to engage religiously diverse students, actionable data and empirically-driven decision making is more important than ever before.

Participation in IDEALS helps ensure that institutions have the knowledge base necessary to set a meaningful agenda toward this important aspect of diversity. Findings will be used by institutions and practitioners alike, helping campuses to understand what key indicators to track, identify the interfaith initiatives that are the most effective, and pinpoint high impact practices for further exploration.

Variables and sample questions from IDEALS:

Input Variables

  • Demographic information
  • Worldview identification (e.g. Agnostic, Buddhist, Muslim, Roman Catholic, etc.)
  • Pre-college perceptions and expectations of college

Environmental Variables

  • Campus environment
  • Curricular and co-curricular experiences
  • Interfaith engagement

Outcome Variables

  • Self-authored worldview commitment
    • “I have thoughtfully considered other religious and nonreligious perspectives before committing to my current worldview.”
  • Appreciative attitudes toward different worldviews
    • “In general, people in this group make positive contributions to society.” (e.g., Atheists, Buddhists, Evangelical Christians, etc.)
  • Appreciative knowledge of different worldviews
    • “The foundational sacred text in the Jewish tradition is:”
    • “The notion of Nirvana in the Buddhist tradition refers to:”
  • Global citizenship
    • “I frequently think about the global problems of our time and how I will contribute to resolving them.”
  • Goodwill toward others of different worldviews
    • “There are people of other faiths or beliefs whom I admire.”
    • “I feel a sense of good will toward people of other religious and nonreligious perspectives.”
  • Commitment in a pluralistic world
    • “My faith or beliefs are strengthened by relationships with those of diverse religious and nonreligious backgrounds.”
  • Appreciation of worldview commonalities and differences
    • “Love is a value that is core to most of the world’s religions.”
    • “There are essential differences in beliefs that distinguish world religions.”
  • Commitment to interfaith leadership and service
    • “I am committed to leading efforts in collaboration with people of other religious and nonreligious perspectives to create positive changes in society.”
  • Critical reflection on worldview commitment
    • “I am open to adjusting my beliefs as I learn from other people and have new life experiences.”
  • Overall pluralism orientation (includes items in the sub-scales above)