Researchers at Harvard University and Baylor University are launching the largest initiative of its kind to study the determinants of human flourishing.
âThe Global Flourishing Studyâ is a five-year, $ 43.4 million annual study of 240,000 people in 22 countries, covering a wide range of well-being outcomes.
Watch the Thriving Global LiveStream Study announcement at 2:30 p.m. CT on Friday, October 29, 2021.
Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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GFS Contact: Alex Fogleman, Alex Fogleman, Ph.D., GFS Research-Project Manager, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion
WACO, Texas (October 29, 2021) – Social and biomedical scientists from Harvard University and Baylor University have joined forces to launch the largest initiative of its kind to study the factors that influence human flourishing. This $ 43.4 million initiative – “The Global Flourishing Study” (GFS) – will involve a five-year study of 240,000 people, representing 22 countries around the world, with annual data collection on a wide range of findings of well-being. This effort includes Gallup’s expertise in data collection and management, as well as stakeholder coordination and open science leadership from the Center for Open Science.
What does it mean to live well? To be really healthy? To prosper? Researchers and clinicians have generally answered these questions by focusing on the presence or absence of various conditions: illness, family dysfunction, mental illness or criminal behavior. But such an approach to “deficits” says a lot about what makes a life well lived – what it means to thrive.
âThe Global Flourishing Study is exactly the kind of work needed to deeply understand the interplay of key elements of the human experience that help us live well, be happy, and feel meaning and purpose,â said the Co-director of the project, Dr Tyler. VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb, professor of epidemiology and director of the Human development program at Harvard, who has published prominent articles on the assessment of human development in leading scientific journals such as JAMA and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The design of longitudinal research will allow us to significantly advance scientific knowledge on the determinants of human development.”
Project Director Dr. Byron Johnson, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences and Director of Institute of Religious Studies at Baylor, also commented on the importance of data for a better understanding of the role of religion in a global context: âIt is an extraordinary opportunity for the Baylor-Harvard team to conduct a panel study like this one. Because our sample size is so large, we will be able to examine all the major religions of the world and the role, if any, that they play in human flourishing.
The panel will include people from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines , Poland, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States United Kingdom and United States.
Over the next five plus years, the team will analyze longitudinal data on the social, psychological, spiritual, political, economic and health-related patterns, determinants, and components and causes of human flourishing. âThere are several examples of probabilistic and nationally representative studies that track the same respondents over time in a single country,â explained Dr Rajesh Srinivasan, director of global research for Gallup World Poll, âbut few have attempted to cover several countries. . The scope of this project is unprecedented and likely to provide valuable information for global survey research using this type of methodology. “
The questionnaire design received extensive development and feedback, including months of work on question refinement, translation, cognitive testing, and piloting. This work is summarized in a detailed Gallup report.
The research team will partner with the Center for Open Science to make data from the Global Flourishing Study an open-access resource for researchers, journalists, policymakers and educators around the world to probe in-depth information about what makes a flourishing life. Dr David Mellor, Policy Director of the Center for Open Science, said: âThe rigor and transparency applied to his analysis will increase confidence in the research resulting from this work and reduce barriers to global and equitable access to this information. . . We couldn’t be happier to partner with these teams to support this process.
Overall, the goal is to create a mature field of study around the science of human development, producing research results that will influence the direction of social and health policies. As Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, noted, âThe Global Flourishing Study is a methodological innovation that can really change the world – really change the way the world is run. VanderWeele echoed those sentiments: “It’s a great opportunity. We are excited to see what we, and other researchers around the world, will learn. “
Given its scale, the joint support of a consortium of donors was needed to make the Global Flourishing Study financially viable, including support from the John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, Templeton World Charity Foundation, Fetzer Institute, of the Paul Foster Family Foundation. , the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation, Well Being Trust and the David & Carol Myers Foundation.
Along with Johnson and VanderWeele, members of the Baylor-Harvard team include Drs. Matt Bradshaw, Merve Balkaya-Ince, Brendan Case, Ying Chen, Alex Fogleman, Sung Joon Jang, Philip Jenkins, Thomas Kidd, Matthew T. Lee, Jeff Levin, Tim Lomas, Katelyn Long, Van Pham, Sarah Schnitker, John Ssozi, Robert Woodberry and George Yancey.
About the Baylor Institute for Religious Studies
Launched in 2004, Baylor’s Institute of Religious Studies (ISR) initiates, supports and conducts research on religion, involving academics and projects covering the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, philosophy, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. Our mandate extends to all religions, everywhere and throughout history, and encompasses the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, our scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters demand and deserve.
About Harvard’s Human Development Program
Founded in 2016, the Human development program at Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, aims to study and promote human development and to develop systematic approaches to knowledge synthesis in all disciplines. The research of the program contributes to the broad question of how knowledge of the quantitative social sciences can be integrated with that of the humanities on issues of human flourishing and how best to achieve this synthesis of knowledge between disciplines. The program hopes to bring greater unity to the empirical social and human sciences. The program produces research publications and sponsors educational activities, such as courses, seminars, and conferences, for the Harvard University community, all aimed at bringing together interdisciplinary knowledge and reflecting on how the knowledge of different disciplines could form a cohesive whole.
Gallup is a global analysis and consultancy firm with over 80 years of experience in measuring public opinion and human development. In the organization’s own research and in working partnerships with government, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, Gallup develops metrics to measure key indicators of global development and social responsibility over time.
About the Center for Open Science
Founded in 2013, COS is a non-profit culture change organization whose mission is to increase the openness, integrity and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by creating communities around open scientific practices, supporting metascience research and developing and maintaining free and open source software tools, including the Open Scientific Framework (OSF). Learn more about cos.io.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and nationally classified research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community to over 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Established in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and over 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.