Good Practices in Local Jewish Community Studies

Ira M Sheskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Survey research is both an art and a science. Once the issues to be addressed by a local Jewish community study are defined, one has to deal with questions of sampling, selecting a survey mechanism, designing a questionnaire, producing reports, and presenting results. This paper deals with various aspects of these four major components of conducting a local Jewish community study. Note that the title of this paper refers to “good practices” and not “best practices.” This is mainly a reflection of the fact that all local Jewish community studies are conducted within an environment of limited financial resources. Best practices would require a much larger budget than Jewish federations can muster for such projects. This paper argues for three things: (1) the importance of using a random digit dialing telephone survey to produce a probability sample that can be used to represent the entire Jewish population and to estimate the size of the Jewish population, (2) the importance, while meeting the specific needs of the community commissioning a given study, of maintaining comparability with other studies, and (3) the need to produce reports that communicate all the results to the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-341
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary Jewry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Jewish demographics
  • Local Jewish community studies
  • Survey methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies


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