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Interviews and other Practical Research Approaches for Theology

Cronshaw, Darren J. (2012) Interviews and other Practical Research Approaches for Theology. Crucible Theology & Ministry, 4 (1). pp. 1-30. ISSN 1836-8794

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    This article describes four key qualitative research methods that are useful for exploring people’s experiences of church life and their human research ethics implications. As was introduced in a previous Crucible article, “A Reflective Practitioner’s Methodology for Emerging Church Research” (4:1, 2011), the author used these methods to investigate four emerging churches in Melbourne. The process of participant-observation and joining and watching a group is helpful to see firsthand how they interact and operate. In-depth interviews of pastors and key leaders with open-ended questions to guide a conversation often produce a wealth of background information and surprising insights. Focus group interviews similarly offer a large amount of data and can help participants respond to one another on issues. Case studies can bring all the data together about a group and compare it with other similar groups. These methods are valuable assets in the toolkit of a practical theologian or reflective practitioner, but they all need to be carefully engaged with attention to duty-of-care and human research ethics guidelines. This article describes these four methods, their strengths and weaknesses, the writer’s experience of them and ethical guidelines for their practice, in the hope to be useful for other researchers or students wanting to use interviews and other practical research approaches for theology.

    Item Type: Published Articles
    Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
    Keywords (separated by commas): practical theology, research methodologies, case studies, congregational studies
    Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
    Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
    Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
    Subject Area(s): Ministry Studies
    D - Missiology
    Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
    Depositing User: Rev Prof Darren John Cronshaw
    Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2013 13:33
    Last Modified: 15 Jul 2013 13:12
    URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1142

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