Postgraduate Course: The Practice of Field-Work in the Study of Religion (REST11020)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Some understanding of theoretical, ethical and practical aspects of field work is essential for students engaging in research with people. Given that a focus on religion is common to all students in Divinity, and that research in this area faces some very particular issues, this course will enable post-graduate students from Religious Studies Practical Theology, and World Christianity to gain the necessary competence and confidence.
This course aims to investigate the manner in which fieldwork plays an important role in the study of religion. Some understanding of theoretical, ethical and practical aspects of field work is essential for students engaging in research with people. Given that a focus on religion is common to all students in Divinity, and that research in this area faces some very particular issues, this course will enable undergraduate students especially but not only from Religious Studies and Practical Theology to gain the necessary competence and confidence. In order to achieve this, the course combines strong theoretical and practical discussion ranging from insider/outsider issues in the study of religion, alongside detailed classwork on participant observation, interview techniques, questionnaire, how to run focus groups, and writing up fieldwork notes. These debates will be carefully considered both in the lectures and the seminar discussions based on readings that are both empirically rich and theoretically innovative.
The complexity and richness of the course will be illustrated through thematic considerations such as the importance of qualitative and quantitative methods, validity and reliability, the researcher as research tool. It will also look at issues surrounding religion, faith and praxis and how to approach group-based research in religion. More theoretical considerations will be examined through the insider/outsider problems in fieldwork, the geo-political dimensions of fieldwork in religion, and a practical way to conceptualise and plan a research project. It will finally consider placing the Self in Field Research.
Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has a programme of two-hour weekly meetings consisting sometimes of one-hour weekly lectures, and one-hour seminar discussions. Because this is also a practical course that will involve individual and group work to design, implement and also do fieldwork, some of the sessions will not follow the traditional lecture-seminar model. The meetings will be interactive and will allow students to engage with the topic through lecture and seminar discussion. Through their participation in lectures, seminars, written work, final projects, and feedback offered, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||This is a graduate-level course. Please confirm subject prerequisites with the Course Manager.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- A critical understanding of the contribution of field work to the study of religions.
- The ability to identify, carry out and evaluate practical research in Edinburgh related to the broad field of religion, using anthropological approaches, presented in a 4000 word essay and two field-work reports.
- The capacity to translate this training to their doctoral or dissertation work.
- Engagement with the secondary sources and scholarly debates on the relevant issues.
- An ability to construct lucid arguments, especially in written work, and to learn important communication skills through presentations and group discussions.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Arkotong Longkumer
Tel: (0131 6)50 8781
|Course secretary||Ms Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900