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A Reflective Practitioner’s Methodology for Emerging Church Research

Cronshaw, Darren J. (2011) A Reflective Practitioner’s Methodology for Emerging Church Research. Crucible Theology & Ministry, 3 (2). pp. 1-21. ISSN 1836-8794

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This article describes and evaluates the methodology of a research project that investigated emerging churches in Melbourne. The research used a linked set of four case studies with mainly qualitative methods; participant-observation, document analysis, interviews of pastors and key leaders, and focus group interviews with participants. The article considers the significant strengths of this approach and some limitations. The insights of the researcher as a reflective practitioner, and the bias of this sort of insider’s perspective, is considered, as is a dilemma that arose after one of the case studies developed internal conflict during the data-collection phase. The research also used some quantitative methods – a questionnaire survey and the 2006 National Church Life Survey – but with limited useful results. The research concluded that emerging churches can be categorised as ‘learning organisations’ drawing on Peter Senge, and that they have good strengths to build on and some weaknesses to beware. But apart from the value of the research findings, the project was a useful exercise in learning qualitative research and helped the researcher both renew passion for ministry and learn new leadership skills. This reflection focuses on lessons from the methodology in the hope that it will be useful for other researchers or students of practical theology wanting to understand the dynamics and dilemmas involved in the design and practice of qualitative research.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Practical theology, reflective practice, congregational studies, case 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
Subjects: Ministry Studies
D - Missiology
College/Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Rev Prof Darren John Cronshaw
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 05:49
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2018 02:04
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1149

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