March, 2010: Three articles on the WYD project for professional journals are in preparation, as well as several simpler and more popular discussions.  Publication details will be posted on this site.

May 4, 2009:  A major report on the Australian Pilgrims was released and circulated to the Australian bishops.
Throughout 2009, presentations on the project and its findings were made to a wide variety of groups.

March 21, 2009: A special briefing paper was prepared for delegates to an International Conference on WYD convened in Rome by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in April, 2009.

February 28, 2009: The main data-collection stage of the project consisted of interviews with pilgrims before and after WYD, large-scale web-surveys before and after, and the team's participant observation during the week of WYD. The 'fieldwork' stage was now complete.  The next tasks are data-analysis and report-writing.

December 18, 2008: The "Reflections on World Youth Day" survey closed.  Then followed a period of data cleaning and analysis.

November 20, 2008: "Reflections on World Youth Day" launched -- the post-WYD survey on the internet, designed to harvest participants' reflections on their WYD experience and its consequences in their lives.

October 17-19, 2008: Preliminary Findings presented at Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Team members Michael Mason, Andrew Singleton and Ruth Webber presented papers outlining "preliminary findings" from the "Pilgrims' Progress 2008" World Youth Day research project at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.  [Click
here for details.At the same gathering, the Religious Research Association held an "Authors Meet Critics" session on The Spirit of Generation Y, the book on youth spirituality published last year by the same team.  The book has been reprinted and is available on Amazon.

October 10, 2008: Launch of test version of the after-World Youth Day web survey.
The earlier plan was to wait until February or March, 2009 to conduct the internet survey of pilgrims.  However our interviews with pilgrims convinced us that this would be a mistake.  We noticed how strongly the urgent concerns of everyday life claimed their full attention.  Barangaroo seemed far away.  We became convinced that after another six months, it would be difficult for pilgrims to remember much detail of their WYD experiences, and hard for them to judge the effects of those experiences on their everyday life.  So we decided to bring forward the survey.  The pretest version was launched on October 10 to a sample of 411.  Results will be analysed, and comments noted, guiding revisions prior to the launch of the main survey of English speaking pilgrims from many countries

September 22, 2008: Team completes first batch of 27 post-WYD long interviews with returned pilgrims.

August 14, 2008: Summary of findings from the pre-WYD survey of 12,000 pilgrims.

July 24, 2008: Stage II of the research project completed:
This stage consisted of participant observation and interviews during the week of events leading up to the climactic Papal Mass on the final Sunday of the World Youth Day celebrations.  The team, expanded to twelve members for this week by the inclusion of international and local collaborators, travelled to Sydney and attended all of the WYD events with their eyes and ears open.  It turned out to be quite difficult to conduct interviews at any real depth with pilgrims during the event, but the team gathered a mass of data from observation and informal conversations. They are at present collating this material.  And to conclude this phase, they will be present in the coming weeks at debriefing sessions for returned groups, and will conduct interviews with selected pilgrims, so as to check their observations against pilgrims' accounts of their own experience.
Finally, in Stage III of the project, those who attended will be invited to share their reflections on their experience via a second internet survey. 

July 1, 2008: End of Stage I of the project (pre-WYD). The research team are finalising our plans for Stage II: during WYD.  An expanded team of 12, including several international collaborators, will attend WYD to observe carefullly, to take part, and to meet pilgrims.  We're looking forward to it!
After WYD, a great deal of reflection, of many kinds, will take place. We will quickly release a summary of the survey findings, and, as analysis proceeds, a variety of other publications, as we move into the third stage of our research project: post-WYD, which will involve both interviews and later, another internet survey.  In this stage, we will be asking for pilgrims' reflections on the WYD experience and its aftermath.

May 30, 2008: Preliminary report on survey is sent to WYD Administration after a very rapid preliminary analysis of the survey data by the research team. That gave WYD Admin 6 weeks to do any 'tweaking' of the program that was still possible, and provided them with a detailed portrait of the pilgrims who are heading for Sydney.

May 15, 2008: "Have Your Say" survey concludes. The WYD08 "Have Your Say" survey closed Thursday 15th after 2 weeks online.  More than 9,000 pilgrims completed the entire survey, and another 3,000 provided partial, but still valuable feedback. People also sent back lots of additional comments in email form. Some of these were queries about how to connect with the survey -- these were answered by the Help team at Australian Survey Research, the firm that mounted the survey on the internet and hosted it on its servers. Other emails expressed additional suggestions for WYD events, which were immediately forwarded to the relevant WYD department. And there were comments and queries about the format and content of the "Have your Say" survey itself.  These were forwarded to the research team, and we were particularly grateful to those who took the trouble to write.  We answered all of these -- providing additional information about the survey, explaining the reasons for particular questions, or how the data is kept securely anonymous.

May 14, 2008: Media release: Study is discovering what young people are hoping for from World Youth Day