Community Research Projects

Community research projects explore Australian spirituality, religiosity, wellbeing and social trends

NCLS Research has researched Australian spirituality, religiosity, wellbeing and social trends since 1991. Through research projects and published resources, NCLS Research seeks to chart the connections between churches and the wider community, as well as to encourage the wider community to reflect upon its spiritual journey and the churches' place within it.

Australian Community Survey by NCLS Research

NCLS Research aims to provide a picture of wellbeing, spirituality, religion and social attitudes in Australian communities. Australian Community Surveys have been conducted by NCLS Research and partners in 1998, 2002, 2009, and annually since 2016.

The three goals for the Australian Community Survey are:

  • To compare the attitudes of church attenders and the wider community on a range of social issues.
  • To track religiosity trends over time, including religious beliefs, practices and experience.
  • To evaluate how the Australian community views the role of churches in society.

The ACS surveys a representative sample of around 1,250 Australians, from diverse regions across Australia on their values, social attitudes, religiosity and image of the church. The ACS is conducted by an online survey, with a sample drawn from a large online research panel.

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National Census of Population and Housing (ABS)

In Australia a national census takes place every five years. Since 1986, NCLS Research has gained access to Australia-wide census data to provide Community Profiles to assist churches and organisations to make better connections with people in their local neighbourhood.

Community Social Profiles

Community Social Profiles of a local community can help churches and organisations build more effective connections with their local neighbourhood.

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Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2009

The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) is an ongoing survey designed to monitor changes in society across a range of countries. In 2009 the ISSP was undertaken in Australia by the Australian National University via the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA).

The survey included a standard component on religion, as well as customised questions regarding religion and spirituality which were commissioned by a consortium that included NCLS Research. The sample comprised 1718 adults across Australia.

Evans, A. (2009) [computer file], The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, Australian Social Science Data Archives, The Australian National University, Canberra.

Churches as Social Capital 2008-2010

Working in co-operation with the University of Western Sydney, this project contributes to strengthening Australia's social and economic fabric by providing an understanding of key concepts of social capital and how social capital can transform small congregational and community activities into wider benefits for the welfare and wellbeing of Australians.

Wellbeing and Security 2003


NCLS Research conducted a survey on wellbeing and security in 2003. This was in co-operation with Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia and ANGLICARE, Diocese of Sydney. This project was funded by an ARC SPIRT grant for three years.

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