The Gen17 survey methodology

April 18, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Emeritus Bill Rubinstein, in his recent J-Wire contribution, warns that the Gen17 survey of the Australian Jewish community is “deeply flawed.” 

Andrew Markus

Five brief points in response from Professor Andrew Markus, Director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Melbourne’s Monash University and co-author of the Gen17 report.

[1] There is a detailed methodological discussion in an Appendix to the Gen17 report. Interested readers are referred to pages 78-84 of the report, which is available online.

[2] Rubinstein notes the failed 1936 Literary Digest survey and falsely asserts that ‘the Gen17 survey has used the Literary Digest technique.’  Surveying has moved on since 1936. A key difference is the weighting of the achieved sample to ensure that it accurately reflects the population. The Gen17 analysis devotes scrupulous attention to weighting, with five variables employed: age, sex, state, country of birth and, it will surprise Rubinstein, stream of Judaism, based on synagogue records. The weighting approach was developed by Dr David Graham and took several months to complete.

[3] There is failure to understand that Gen17 adopted multiple approaches to recruiting participants, with significant difference between Melbourne and Sydney. With more than 8,600 completed questionnaires, Gen17 is not one survey but multiple surveys, enabling findings to be cross-checked across segments of the population.  Segmented analysis is a feature of the Gen17 report.

[4] Rubinstein indicates that the survey was open to fraud, perhaps by the haters of Israel. If fraud was the intention of some survey participants, then the result is dismal failure. To take but one example, 88% of respondents indicated that they ‘feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that the State of Israel continues to exist.’

[5] No such master list of the community as alluded to by Rubinstein exists in either Melbourne or Sydney.

Comments

2 Responses to “The Gen17 survey methodology”
  1. Bill Rubinstein says:

    Several points:
    First, I would like to see the raw figures of responses by strands within the Jewish community – e.g. Modern Orthodox, Progressive, etc. That is, the number of respondents by strand before any weighting or revision, and the number, not the percentages. So far as I can see, these figure are not included in the Report.
    Secondly, since the raw number of responses is especially important for the controversial conclusions about intermarriage, I would also like to see these figures for marriages to Jews/non-Jews in 2010-2017. If you have any figures for the number of non-Jewish spouses who subsequently converted to Judaism, it would be valuable to see them. The Report notes the high percentage of non-Jewish spouses among Progressives – how many of these subsequently converted to Judaism or are raising their children as Jews?
    Thirdly, I said nothing about the Report’s conclusions regarding support for Israel. I did note two findings which are unbelievable, especially that 32% want Israel to negotiate with Hamas. Hamas is regarded as a terrorist body by all Western governments, even those in Europe which never lose the chance to kick Israel. I have never seen a single letter in the AJN arguing that Israel should negotiate with Hamas, and the Jewish groups here which might advocate this number no more than a few hundred out of 80,000 adult Australian Jews. That nearly one-third of the community wants Israel to negotiate with Hamas is utterly implausible. With the raw data of the numbers of respondents by strand, it should be possible to explain the implausibility.

  2. Ben Gold says:

    Joy to you.

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