This is the first comprehensive survey in English of research methods in the field of religious studies. It is designed to enable non-specialists and students at upper undergraduate and graduate levels to understand the variety of research methods used in the field. The aim is to create awareness of the relevant methods currently available and to stimulate an active interest in exploring unfamiliar methods, encouraging their use in research and enabling students and scholars to evaluate academic work with reference to methodological issues. A distinguished team of contributors cover a broad spectrum of topics, from research ethics, hermeneutics and interviewing, to Internet research and video-analysis. Each chapter covers practical issues and challenges, the theoretical basis of the respective method, and the way it has been used in religious studies, illustrated by case studies.
Table of Contents
Part One: Methodological Issues 1. Introduction (Michael Stausberg and Steven Engler) 2. Comparison (Michael Stausberg) 3. Epistemology (Jeppe Sinding Jensen) 4. Feminist methodologies (Mary Jo Neitz) 5. Research design (Wade Clark Roof) 6. Research ethics (Fred Bird and Laurie Lamoureux Scholes) Part Two: Methods 1. Content analysis (Robert H. Woods and Chad Nelson) 2. Conversation analysis (Ehsa Lehtinen) 3. Discourse analysis (Titus Hjelm) 4. Document analysis (Grace Davie and David Wyatt) 5. Experiments (Justin Barrett) 6. Facet theory methods (Erik Cohen) 7. Factor analysis (Kendal C. Boyd) 8. Field research: participant observation (Graham Harvey) 9. Free listing (Michael Stausberg) 10. Grounded theory (Steven Engler) 11. Hermeneutics (Ingvild Sælid Gilhus) 12. History (Jörg Rüpke) 13. Interviewing (Anna Davidsson Bremborg) 14. Network analysis (jimi adams) 15. Phenomenology (James V. Spickard) 16. Philology (Einar Thomassen) 17. Semiotics (Robert A. Yelle) 18. Structuralist methods (Seth D. Kunin) 19. Structured observation (Michael Stausberg) 20. Surveys and questionnaires (Barry A. Kosmin and Juhem Navarro-Rivera) 21. Translation (Alan Williams) 22. Videography (Hubert Knoblauch) Part Three: Materials 1. Auditory materials (Rosalind I.J. Hackett) 2. Internet (Douglas E. Cowan) 3. Material culture (Richard M. Carp) 4. Spatial methods (Kim Knott) 5. Visual culture (John Harvey)
Michael Stausberg is Professor of Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is author of Religion and Tourism: Crossroads, Destinations and Encounters, editor of Contemporary Theories of Religion and European editor of the journal Religion.
Steven Engler is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Mount Royal University, Canada. He is a co-editor of Historicizing "Tradition" in the Study of Religion and North American editor of the journal Religion.
'This handbook is truly groundbreaking for the study of religion. ...This volume should be required reading for any student of theories and methods in the study of religion at the graduate level. Scholars and researchers who were not taught these new approaches will find a concise and strong overview of advances in the field. Summing Up: Essential.' - L. L. Lam-Easton, California State University, Northridge, USA in Choice
'[This handbook] is the first of its kind, and due to its high quality and usefulness it will remain a cutting-edge reference work for students of religion in the years to come. …[It] is an excellent guide for exploring, choosing, and improving research methods that all too often are only unreflectively used in the academic study of religion. It is highly recommended to graduate students and scholars of religion.' - Kocku von Stuckrad, University of Groningen in NUMEN
‘This handbook is the most significant contribution to the field of religious studies that I have seen in many years. For too long our "theory and method" courses have focused almost exclusively on theory and provided little training in research methods. Both the introductory chapters on methodological issues and the chapters on specific methods – some familiar and many that are not – are outstanding. If taken to heart, it will move undergraduate and graduate education in the study of religion to a much higher level of sophistication.’ - Ann Taves, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA
‘Reading this handbook one begins to wonder: how could we ever do without it? Written by highly experienced practitioners of research, this collection of essays will make a big difference in the study of religions. The concise introduction to the strength and weaknesses of 22 methods, accompanied by graphic examples in boxes, explanations of fundamental concepts, and a well-selected annotated bibliography, is indispensable. The chapters on methods destroy the assumption that our practice of research may rely on self-evident tools, showing instead that each of them is disputed and has its own pitfalls.’ - Hans G. Kippenberg, Jacobs University, Germany
'The Handbook [is] a unique and much needed resource: its focal point is methodology—not content, like other resources. ...Its distinctiveness, extensive bibliographic tools, and multi-national authorship make it a commendable tool that would be used by multiple levels of scholarship pursuing research in the study of religion.' – Garrett Trott, Corban University, USA
'Some features can make this book a handy tool in the self-study process. …The variety of methods and approaches makes this book a useful reading and reference source for participants of workshops and seminars. Academic advisers who work with BA, MA, or PhD students could also find The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion to be a helpful companion in their work. This Handbook can also serve as a stimulus for departments of religious studies to organize methodological symposia with broad spectra of speakers representing various subfields and helping each other open up to new research perspectives. It is also an indispensable tool for anybody seriously contemplating inclusion in religious studies mixed-methods research design. Last but not least, the Handbook is proof that religious studies do have research methods, as do other academic disciplines. One can learn from this book that methods are as multiple as the aspects of the phenomenon we call "religion."' – Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska and Adam Anczyk, Jagiellonian University, Poland in Religion
"...it is undeniable that the editors have indeed constructed a valuable information resource that belongs in every academic library, is worthy of consideration as a textbook for doctoral students, and for inclusion in the personal library of researchers in the area of religion. The text is well organized, easily transportable, and designed in an intuitive, practical style with the information seeker in mind and it is certainly the most comprehensive and recent guide on research methods in religion. The handbook represents the works of an academically diverse, interdisciplinary, and international group of scholars. In summary, The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion would be a worthy and valuable addition to the reference collection of any academic and theological library in that it does provide a much-needed current survey of research methods for the study of religion." -Daniel Roland, Kent State University, USA, in Theological Librarianship