Religion in the life of the young adult at University College Cork : an investigation

Clifford, Jane

Philosophy; Religion; Education; Psychology
May 2000

Thesis or dissertation

© 2000 Jane Clifford. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study attempts to investigate religion in the life of the young adult at University College Cork (UCC). It aims to ensure that pastoral ministry is based, not on guesses and assumptions, but on ascertained facts. The study is underpinned by historical, theological, psychological and sociological factors. It traces the provisions made for religion during each phase of its history as a nondenominational college. The contention is that religion arises from the nature of human beings in their capacity to relate to the mystery of God and the need to express this through organised religion in accordance with the culture. Expectations in relation to religion are informed by the psychological understanding that religious faith is not a constant through life. Young adult students are subject to the transitions which are typical of that stage of development. Account is taken of the effect on religion of the rapid changes in Irish society in the second half of the twentieth century. A multiple triangulation research design, consisting of a survey, depth interviews and participant observations, was used in the investigation. The survey was carried out by means of a postal questionnaire, administered to a systematic sample of students in the 18-23 year age group during the 1996/97 academic year. It examined student priorities, membership of religion, public worship, private prayer, charitable works, beliefs and moral values. The data were analysed using simple frequencies, descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations, ANOVA and T-tests. Further insights were obtained by means of twenty depth interviews and by the observations of the researcher. These strands were interwoven in creating a canvas on religion in the life of the young adult at UCC. Interested parties are challenged to a new approach to religion as UCC makes its transition from a college to an institution of full university status.

Department of Education, The University of Hull
McClelland, V. Alan
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