The study combined desk research, a questionnaire and fieldwork. Desk research using documentary and internet sources continued throughout the study.
The first stage was a letter to Diocesan Social Responsibility Officers and Rural Officers asking for their help in suggesting:
· projects that might be considered for inclusion.
· examples of diocesan or other organisations that foster and/or support churches/ groups/individuals involved in Christian social action.
During this preparatory stage, there was consultation with others such as the National Rural Officer, the Chief Executive of the Church Urban Fund, the Project Officer of Faith in Affordable Housing, and an official from English Heritage, who was formerly Policy Officer in the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division.
The second stage entailed following up a sample of local projects. Selecting the sample was done in conjunction with the study Steering Group. A questionnaire set the framework for gathering the project information. This was sent to the project contacts and after that there were different ways of proceeding, with the aim of minimising the burden on respondents:
· a project visit and face-to-face interview;
· a telephone interview;
· the respondent completing the questionnaire, sometimes with a follow-up telephone conversation to gather more detail or get further clarification.
Responses were then changed from the questionnaire format and sent to respondents for checking.
Information on infrastructure projects and organisations was also collected, written up and checked with contacts during the second stage.