This course offers an introduction to the methods and principles of social research, with application to the study of religion and religious communities. As a general introduction, the course covers four broad topics: the foundations of social science, research design, data collection, and data analysis. The course presents and offers practical training in quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches relevant to studying religion and congregations, including a toolkit of methods such as descriptive statistics, mini ethnography, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Students will complete their own research project, learning effective strategies and techniques for designing and conducting research and for writing clearly, persuasively, and scientifically. The core concepts of social research are powerful tools even for those who never do social science professionally. As such, this course will benefit students’ critical assessment of the validity and value of existing research, provide a foundation for further graduate studies, and facilitate nonprofit management and understanding congregations.
If you are not enrolled in a degree program but wish to register for this course, use the Online Registration for Special Students and Auditors.