The Empirical Science of Religious Education  book cover
1st Edition

The Empirical Science of Religious Education

ISBN 9781138929852
Published January 29, 2016 by Routledge
316 Pages

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Book Description

The Empirical Science of Religious Education draws together a collection of innovative articles in the field of religious education which passed the editorial scrutiny of Professor Robert Jackson over the course of his impactful fourteen year career as editor of the British Journal of Religious Education. These articles have made an enormous contribution to the international literature establishing of the empirical science of religious education as a research field.

The volume draws together, organises and illustrates the contours of this emerging field and is an essential compendium which covers work in:

  • teacher education and teacher experience;
  • student understanding, attitudes and values;
  • varieties of religious schooling, and;
  • worldview and life interpretation

Organised into ten thematic sections the contributors cover the field comprehensively and bring with them an international and reflexive approach to their research.

It is an essential resource for those practitioners and researchers who wish to access original and innovative research undertaken by way of ethnographic fieldwork, practitioner research, life-history approaches to research, psychological scales and measures, and large surveys. Particularly interested readers will be studying PGCE and masters level programmes in religious education, as well as qualified religious educators undertaking continuing professional development.

Table of Contents





Introducing the empirical science of religious education

Part 1. Ethnographic fieldwork

1.1 Bridging the gap between young people’s experience of their religious traditions at home and school: The contribution of ethnographic research

Eleanor Nesbitt

1.2 Issues in the delivery of religious education to Muslim pupils: Perspectives from the classroom

Julia Ipgrave

Part 2. Practitioner research and community of practice

2.1 Researching religious education pedagogy through an action research community of practice

Kevin O’Grady

2.2 ‘I’m less intolerant’: Reflexive self-assessment in religious education

Nigel Fancourt

Part 3. Educating religious educators

3.1 Becoming an RE teacher: A life history approach

Pat Sikes and Judith Everington

3.2 The experience of Black African religious education trainee teachers training in England

Nick Mead

Part 4. Students imaging beginnings and endings

4.1 Children’s concepts of an afterlife

Sandra Frangoulis, Netta Jordan and Richard Lansdown

4.2 Insights from children’s perspectives in interpreting the wisdom of the biblical creation narrative

Howard Worsley

Part 5. In search of meaning and purpose

5.1 Weaving the threads of meaning: A characteristic of children’s spirituality and its implications for religious education

Brendan Hyde

5.2 Exploring the role of religion and spirituality in the development of purpose: Case studies of purposeful youth

Kirsi Tirri and Brandy Quinn

Part 6. Life world and life interpretation

6.1 Islamic nature and identity management: The lifeworld of Pakistani children in Norway

Sissel Östberg

6.2 Life interpretation and religion among Icelandic teenagers

Gunnar J. Gunnarsson

Part 7. Religious schooling

7.1 Islamic schools in The Netherlands: Compromising between identity and quality? Geert Driessen and Pim Valkenberg

7.2 The case of the Jewish high school in Berlin: A denominational school dealing with diversity

Christine Mueller

Part 8. Developing scales and measures

8.1 The Loman Index of Biblical interpretation: Distinguishing between literal, symbolic and rejecting modes among 11 to 14 year olds

Susan E. Loman and Leslie J. Francis

8.2 Internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the Attitude toward Muslim Proximity Index (AMPI): A measure of social distance

Adrian Brockett, Andrew Village and Leslie J. Francis

Part 9. Shaping and testing theories

9.1 Promoting positive attitudes towards science and religion among sixth-form pupils: Dealing with scientism and creationism

Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis

9.2 Personality, conventional Christian belief and unconventional paranormal belief: A study among teenagers

Leslie J. Francis, Emyr Williams and Mandy Robbins

Part 10. Large scale surveys

10.1 A nine-country survey of youth in Europe: Selected findings and issues

William K. Kay and Hans-Georg Ziebertz

10.2 The teenage-religion and values survey in England and Wales: An overview

Mandy Robbins and Leslie J. Francis


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Mandy Robbins is Reader in the Psychology of Religion at Glyndŵr University, UK. She is also an associate fellow in the Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, UK.

Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit at the University of Warwick, UK.