Fall 2002 Survey: Culture
General Purpose | Major Findings | Interview Schedule

General Introduction
Fall 2001
Spring 2002
Fall 2002

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Fall 2003
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General Purpose, Questions, and Sample

Two distinct subcultures that have long been a part of campus life revolve around participation in sports and the fine arts. The fall 2001 HCSS indicated that sports, if not a coherent subculture, is an important part of students’ lives at Holy Cross. Eight of nine Holy Cross students reported that they had played on a high school sport team; one-quarter were intercollegiate athletes; two-thirds played either a varsity, club, or intramural sport at Holy Cross; and nearly every student had attended at least one varsity intercollegiate athletic event at the College. To complement these data, the fall 2002 survey was designed to learn about students’ participation in the arts and popular culture. Following the 1997 nationwide Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), we defined the arts as jazz, classical music, opera, musical plays, non-musical plays, ballet, and art. In addition to attendance at live performances and events, we measured personal participation and socialization into the arts; participation in other leisure activities; and popular cultural tastes in music, television, films, and fashion.

More specifically, the fall 2002 included questions that addressed the following topics:

  1. Exposure to the arts in the home and personal participation (e.g., through high school performance groups) prior to coming to Holy Cross.
  2. Participation in the arts--in classes and through attendance and performance--at Holy Cross.
  3. Exposure to the media in terms of television viewing habits, listening to the radio, watching films, and reading the daily newspaper.
  4. Favorite television shows, singer/musicians or musical groups, radio stations, movie stars, comic strips, and clothing brands.
  5. Music preferences among 17 genres of music.
  6. Students’ political orientation, drinking behavior, and satisfaction with the College.
  7. Students’ demographic background, including race, nationality, religion, age, gender, and parent’s education.

Many of the questions were drawn from the aforementioned SPPA and the GSS, in particular the 1993 GSS Culture Module. In addition, several items about media exposure and popular culture were modeled after questions from national surveys by Gallup, Harris, and other polling agencies. Using questions from these surveys enabled numerous comparisons of Holy Cross students with national samples.

Interviews were carried out between October 30 and December 9. A sample of 290 respondents was randomly selected from the 2,598 Holy Cross students enrolled and on campus as of October 2002. The population thus excluded, in addition to those students enrolled in Methods of Social Research, all students who were studying away or abroad or who had taken a leave of absence. A total of 256 interviews were completed, yielding an 88 percent response rate and a margin of error of about 6 percent.

Among the 256 respondents, 60 percent were female, 88 percent were white, 95 percent ranged in age from 18 to 21, and 81 percent identified themselves as Catholics. Eighty-one percent of the respondents lived on campus. The percentage of students in each academic class ranged from 22.3 percent for second-year students to 27.7 for fourth-year students.

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