Religious and spiritual engagement has undergone multiple significant changes in recent decades. Researching Female Faith is a collection of essays based on recent and original field research conducted by the contributors, and informed by a variety of theoretical perspectives, into the faith lives of women and girls – broadly from within a Christian context.
Essays describe and recount original qualitative research that identifies, illuminates and enhances our understanding of key aspects of women’s and girls’ faith lives. Offered as a contribution to feminist practical and pastoral theology, the essays arise out of and feed back into a range of mainly UK pastoral and practical contexts. While the essays in this volume will contribute to an enhanced appreciation and analysis of female faith, the core focus is on feminist qualitative research methods and methodology. Thus, they demystify and illuminate the process of research, including features of research which are frequently under-examined.
The book is a first in bringing together a specific focus on feminist qualitative research methodology with the study of female faith lives. It will therefore be of great interest to students, academics and practitioners with interests in faith and gender in theology, religious studies and sociology.
'Nicola Slee, Fran Porter and Anne Phillips have done it again, and I am delighted they have! Following their significant volume The Faith Lives of Women and Girls, the essays collected in this new book offer fresh insights into research frameworks, gathering and analyzing data, and reflexivity specific to the study of women and girls in contemporary Christianity. Finally, researchers and students in practical, contextual, pastoral theologies and religious feminisms have a resource that speaks to their qualitative approaches, and Researching Female Faith will challenge and enrich their methodologies and methods.' – Dawn Llewellyn, Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies, University of Chester, UK
Part I: Developing Feminist Methodologies
1 ‘Come as a Girl’: Exploring Issues of Participative Methodology for Research into the Spiritual Lives and Faith of Girls-Becoming-Women
2 Poetry as Feminist Research Methodology in the Study of Female Faith
3 Weaving a Web: Developing a Feminist Practical Theology Methodology from a Charismatic Perspective
4 Living Religion: Collapsing (Male Constructed?) Boundaries between the Religious and the Spiritual
Part II: Gathering Data
5 ‘Sometimes You Need a Question’: Structure and Flexibility in Feminist Interviewing
6 Exploring Young Adults’ Faith Lives through Video Diaries: Consent, Voice and Power
7 Using Social Media for Feminist Qualitative Research: A Pilot Study into Women’s Experiences of Holy Communion
8 Choosing the Right Key: Glaserian Grounded Theory, NVivo and Analysing Interviews with Survivors
Part III: Analysing Data
9 Listening for the ‘I’: Adapting a Voice-Centred, Relational Method of Data Analysis in a Group Interview to Examine Women’s Faith Lives
10 Wholly Sound: A Feminist Reframing of the ‘Problem’ of Interview Silence as a Methodology for Discovering New Knowledge
11 Song of a Voiceless Person: Using the Poetry of Menna Elfyn in a Study of Welsh Women’s Identity and Religion
Manon Ceridwen James
PART IV: Practising Reflexivity
12 Reflexivity, Identity and the Role of the Researcher
13 Writing the Self: Using the Self in Feminist Theological Research
Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Ashgate's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.