Title: What is the meaning of life?  


Have your say What have others said? Help Home Page
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Help !

What does this site do?>>
All about searching the database>>
Having your say - pupils recording their own views>>
Important advice for teachers using the site in the classroom>>

Teachers are advised to read this entire document before using this site in the classroom... but especially this part, which contains vital information.

1. What does this site do?

The main functions of this site are to:-

  • Provide search facilities for the database of what young people believe about the important questions of life;
  • Allow young people to add to the database by recording their own answers to these questions;
  • Make available some supporting resource materials.
All these options are available from the home page of the website. The search and 'have your say' options are in the middle panel, and the links to resources and supporting material are in the right hand panel.
Some of the resources are PDF (Portable Document Format) files, and can be viewed using the (free) Adobe Acrobat Reader program, or any other browser plugin which displays PDF files.

The site could be used for...
  • Studying the development of an idea or concept (e.g. compare the answers of those aged 6, 9, 12, 14 and 17 on belief in God).
  • Illustrating the variety of views on one subject expressed by pupils from the same religious tradition (e.g. views of pupils from the Christian denominations represented on the subject of death).
  • Giving pupils an opportunity to record their own views.
  • Allowing pupils to explore what other people of their own age think about different topics.
For more ideas about using the site, please see the resources sections - primary and secondary.


2. All about searching the database

When the 'What have others said?' option is chosen a simple search form is displayed.
For those who wish to carry out more precise or detailed searches, two other (more advanced) search forms are available - follow the appropriate link on the right hand side of the simple search form.

Simple search form:

This form has been designed to offer a few straightforward selection options. At the launch, the database contains only the 500 records from 1997, more refined searches may result in few or no finds. One reason for simplifying the form is to minimise the frustration that 'empty' results pages could cause to younger users, before a larger database of online responses has built up, When sufficient data has been accumulated, the simple search form will be enhanced to include a wider set of belief options, which will match those which can be chosen in the 'Have your say' section.

Advanced search form (1997 data):

This form includes all the possible search options for the 1997 data. The original questionnaire responses defined the categories included, and these are reproduced in this version of the search form. Because the belief categories have been rationalised and expanded for the online version of the questionnaire, this form will only search the 1997 data.

Advanced search form (general):

This search form includes all the possible search options for the online questionnaire, and also maps any 1997 data which isn't an exact fit to the appropriate category wherever this can be done with full accuracy. (For example, Baptist, URC etc. are mapped to Christian - Protestant.) As this form can include both 1997 and more recent data entered online, and provides detailed search capabilities, it is the best form to use for work with older pupils, or for research.

Results page:

The results page includes essentially the same information, regardless of the search form used, but the language/terminology used in presenting the data is more child friendly when the simple search form is used.

The advanced searches include a hidden pupil ID code (mouse over the pink bar above a response in order to see it). If you ever need to contact PCfRE with a query about a particular response, quoting that number plus the question number will allow it to be uniquely identified.


3. Having your say - pupils recording their own views

Some initial data is collected so that the responses can be classified properly in the database. The information recorded is:- Age, Gender, Belief/Religion, and Type of school attended (primary or secondary). The primary/secondary information determines which questionnaire is displayed: there are separate primary and secondary questionnaires. This data is completely impersonal, and so there is no way that any response can be traced back to an individual through ordinary public use of the database. (It is theoretically possible for a pupil to identify themselves in some way by their responses, but every effort will be made to remove any such references in the moderation process.) Although the pupil's name is also requested, this is never sent to the database, and is only used locally, to identify each screen in the questionnaire, for the convenience of both pupil and teacher.

A time limit of one hour is set on each questionnaire session. If the questionnaire is not completed after one hour, it will be locked, and the browser becomes available for someone else to have their say. Only one session can be active at a time in a particular web browser. The browser only becomes available for another session when the previous one is completed (or after an hour).
If a pupil leaves the website briefly part-way through the questionnaire, and then returns to it, they will be directed to the point where they left off.
If a pupil doesn't want to answer a particular question, they can click on the 'Next' button - the system will accept (and then discard) blank answers.

Cookies in this section
This part of the site uses 'cookies' to remember you as you move between pages and make your responses. The cookies are temporary ones, with a lifetime of one hour. You may block the use of cookies from this site if you wish, but this part of the site will not work properly if you do. Advice about how to block cookies, for all major browsers, is available at www.aboutcookies.org. In accepting cookies from this site, you are consenting to their use as outlined above.


4. Important advice for teachers using the site in the classroom

  • Look around the site before using it with pupils.
  • If using the 'Have your say' section, ask a technician about cookies, or try it yourself in the room you plan to use (one question is enough) to make sure cookies are enabled on the computers you will be using.
  • With 'Have your say', note that pupils have to complete the questionnaire before the computer will be free for another pupil to start it.
  • Please note that all responses are manually checked before they become available for searching - so the responses your class make are not added to the search data immediately.
  • The names your pupils enter are not sent to the database - there is no way in which any individual can be identified from the profile information.
    (But in cases of abuse, if you contact us with the exact time the abuse took place, and the age/gender profile of the offender, we would expect to be able to trace it for you.)

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