Thorough evaluation of the work of faith-based organizations (FBOs) has been largely overlooked by researchers as well as by FBOs, but Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) is now shedding light on the practical implications of research on religion and faith-based initiatives for practitioners and policymakers alike.
Held Oct. 27-28 in San Antonio, Faith & Works: A Call for Evidence of Action was an interactive conference that brought together leading researchers, faith-based volunteers and organizations, clergy and lay leaders, and policymakers to discover ways they might consider working together. The conference was co-sponsored by Baylor's ISR and the OneStar Foundation, a Texas organization that supports non-profit organizations and volunteers.
"I've been to many conferences on faith-based initiatives, but never a conference that focused on the value of research and how faith-based organizations need to be intentional about program evaluation if they are to improve the effectiveness of these programs," ISR director Dr. Byron Johnson said. "That's why we decided to hold this conference. During the two-day conference we were able to introduce practitioners to various research methodologies that might be useful for different faith-based approaches to the delivery of a host of social services."
The Faith & Works conference sought to raise awareness among faith-motivated practitioners of the need and value of objective evaluation research. Faith & Works provided a unique platform to showcase rigorous research examining the influence of religion and faith-based efforts in addressing social problems as well as promoting prosocial behavior.
For more information on Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, visit www.isreligion.org.