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Researching Confirmation Work in Europe: The Need for Multi-Level Analysis for Identifying Individual and Group Influences in Non-Formal Education

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This article includes a dual argument, about confirmation work as an object of research on the one hand, and about general methodological questions on the other. Based on an international comparative study on confirmation work with more than 28000 persons involved, the article presents the advantages of multi-level analysis (MLA) as a method for discerning effects on the levels of individuals and of groups. Discussing the methodological implications the article gives an exemplary introduction into MLA by presenting selected models referring to confirmands’ satisfaction with their confirmation time in general and with church services in particular. It can be shown that 11-13% of the total variance is explained by factors on the group level. The group level factors include the duration of confirmation camp, the number of meetings and the aims of the workers as indicators for the educational concept of the team. Based on the intraclass correlation of MLA, the article suggests that the existence of fixed curricula in non-formal education settings like confirmation work enhances the uniformity of the programs and reduces the proportion of variance accounted for on the group level.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Tübingen Germany, Email:; 2: Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Tübingen Germany, Email:


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