2nd Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion

Edited By Steven Engler, Michael Stausberg Copyright 2022
    670 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    670 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This substantially revised second edition of The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion remains the only comprehensive survey in English of methods and methodology in the discipline. Designed for non-specialists and upper undergraduate-/graduate-level students, it discusses the range of methods currently available to stimulate interest in unfamiliar methods and enable students and scholars to evaluate methodological issues in research.

    The Handbook comprises 39 chapters – 21 of which are new, and the rest revised for this edition. A total of 56 contributors from 10 countries cover a broad range of topics divided into three clear parts:

    • Methodology

    • Methods

    • Techniques

    The first section addresses general methodological issues: including comparison, research design, research ethics, intersectionality, and theorizing/analysis. The second addresses specific methods: including advanced computational methods, autoethnography, computational text analysis, digital ethnography, discourse analysis, experiments, field research, grounded theory, interviewing, reading images, surveys, and videography. The final section addresses specific techniques: including coding, focus groups, photo elicitation, and survey experiments.

    Each chapter covers practical issues and challenges, theoretical bases, and their use in the study of religion/s, illustrated by case studies.

    The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion is essential reading for students and researchers in the study of religion/s, as well as for those in related disciplines.

    Part 1: Methodology

    1.1. Introduction: methods, methodology and method in the study of religion/s Steven Engler and Michael Stausberg

    1.2. Comparison Michael Stausberg

    1.3. Designing research Ann Taves and Raymond F. Paloutzian

    1.4. Feminist methodologies and feminist standpoint analysis Mary Jo Neitz

    1.5. Intersectionality Anjana Narayan, Bandana Purkayastha and Koyel Khan

    1.6. Research ethics Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Stephen Jacobs, Stephen E. Gregg, Frederick Bird, Laurie Lamoureux Scholes and Steven Engler

    1.7. Theorizing and analysis Steven Engler and Mark Q. Gardiner

    Part 2: Methods

    2.1. Advanced computational methods Wesley J. Wildman, Saikou Y. Diallo and F. LeRon Shults

    2.2. Autoethnography Irene Zempi and Imran Awan

    2.3. Computational text analysis Frederik Elwert

    2.4. Content analysis Diane M. Badzinski, Robert H. Woods Jr. and Chad M. Nelson

    2.5. Conversation analysis Esa Lehtinen

    2.6. Diary studies Andy Alaszewski

    2.7. Digital ethnography Anna Neumaier

    2.8. Discourse analysis Titus Hjelm

    2.9. Document analysis Grace Davie and David Wyatt

    2.10. Experimental methods Justin L. Barrett

    2.11. Field research and participant observation Graham Harvey

    2.12. Grounded theory Steven Engler

    2.13. Hermeneutics Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

    2.14. History Jörg Rüpke

    2.15. Interview methods Tanya M. Luhrmann

    2.16. Microhistory Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon

    2.17. Network analysis Alexander-Kenneth Nagel

    2.18. Phenomenology Kalpana Ram

    2.19. Philology Einar Thomassen

    2.20. Reading images Jeanette Favrot Peterson

    2.21. Semiotics Robert A. Yelle

    2.22. Sequence analysis Volkhard Krech and Martin Radermacher

    2.23. Surveys and questionnaires Michael Stausberg

    2.24. Translation Alan Williams

    2.25. Videography Hubert Knoblauch and Meike Haken

    Part 3: Techniques

    3.1. Coding Steven Engler, Andy Alaszewski, Tanya M. Luhrmann and Emily Winter

    3.2. Event model analysis Egil Asprem and Ann Taves

    3.3. Focus groups Emily Winter and Linda Woodhead

    3.4. Free-listing Michael Stausberg

    3.5. Photo elicitation Sarah L.B. Dunlop

    3.6. Semantic differential Ralph W. Hood, Heinz Streib, Barbara Keller

    3.7. Survey experiments Landon Schnabel

    3.8. Survey item validation Melissa Gordon Wolf, Elliott Ihm, Andrew Maul and Ann Taves



    Steven Engler is Professor of Religious Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada.

    Michael Stausberg is Professor of the Study of Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway.

    They are co-editors of the journal Religion and The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion (2016).

    Praise for the first edition:

    "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, California 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 at Netherlands 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, California

    '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, Oregon

    "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, Ohio in Theological Librarianship