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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


ELS, Gideon. Determining our most beloved Afrikaans church hymn - a methodical research strategy. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.4-2, pp.1350-1378. ISSN 2224-7912.

For more than 60 years, the BBC has been broadcasting Songs of Praise weekly - a religious television programme featuring Christian hymns and songs sung in churches and places of worship from various denominations across the United Kingdom (UK). In 2013, Songs of Praise conducted a national survey to determine the country's favourite hymn. From thousands of entries the hymn How great Thou art emerged as the winner. In 2019, the research was repeated, and viewers indicated that their favourite hymn this time is CH Hubert Parry's Jerusalem. So, what is the most beloved hymn or song in the various Afrikaans-speaking congregations in Southern Africa? With the kind support of the Southern African Church and Concert Organists Society (SAKOV), the researcher decided to embark on this project to find the most beloved church hymn in Afrikaans-speaking churches in Southern Africa. This article provides an explanation of the process and results of using a self-administered online survey and questionnaire in determining this most beloved hymn/song. Attention is paid to aspects such as the choice of method, sampling of respondents, questionnaire design and the statistical analysis of responses. Some of the risk-reduction strategies used by the researcher are also highlighted. The most obvious problem with such a research project is where one will start with the selection of these "favourite" hymns? To determine a workable population of hymns, it was decided to focus only on the population of hymns and songs currently in use in the various Afrikaans-speaking churches in Southern Africa taken from four different sources. From May 2020, the researcher, using the Delphi technique, and a panel of experts compiled a consensus sample of these hymns (Phases 1 and 2 of the research project), which was then used as a population from which the most beloved church hymn/song could be determined (Phase 3 of the research project). In the third phase of the research project, respondents were expected to complete a survey in the form of an online questionnaire that consisted of open-ended and close-ended questions. There was also a section where they could exercise their ranking choices regarding their favourite hymn/song where an ordinal measurement scale was used. As participation in the research project was voluntary and the probability of a member of the target population responding unknown, non-probability sampling was used in the research. Females, with a mean age of 57,75 years, were the majority of the sample respondents. About 133 respondents came from the Gautengprovince ofwhom most (83 each) are members of and organists in their respective congregations. Other important roles that respondents played in their respective congregations were that of music leader/director as well as the organist/pianist of the congregation (25) and also the pastor of the congregation (24). The majority of respondents (147) came from the Dutch Reformed Church. In determining the most beloved hymn, respondents had to place their favourite hymns/ songs in a ranking of choice. The final choice of hymns/songs was therefore based on the product of weighted rankings. From the analysis congregants showed a clear preference for hymns from the Liedboek (Afrikaans Hymnal) and Psalmboek (Afrikaans Psalms) but that they were also partial to the singing of church songs from both VONKK and FLAM (these two "hymnals" contain more modern and contemporary Afrikaans songs and hymns for church use). It is furthermore noticeable that the Psalms in the official Afrikaans hymnal still play an important role in the spirituality of many of the Afrikaans-speaking churches in Southern Africa. This article contributes to the methodological debate in the research field of Church Music.

Palabras clave : choice of method; church hymn/song; self-administered online questionnaires; Delphi technique; weighted rankings; Afrikaans hymnal.

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