Research Methods Workshop

A workshop on methods in the study of non-religion and secularity will be offered in December at the University of Cambridge. The announcement follows:

Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network.s Methods Series

Tuesday 14 December 2010 | PPSIS, University of Cambridge

It can reasonably be said that what is most glaringly absent from current studies of those who are not traditionally religious is a qualitative understanding of the ways in which different types of .nones. construct their moral frameworks and meaning systems. . Creativity and determination is (sic) needed in order to study non-traditionally religious people in a more qualitative manner.
O.Brian Baker & Smith, Dec 2009, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

The study of nonreligion poses particular challenges to qualitative researchers. Whatever its form (nonreligion can be any position or practice defined primarily by its relationship of difference to religion; examples are atheism, agnosticism and secularity), nonreligion is less easy to spot than formalised religious practice or affiliation and tends to have very few dedicated institutional or associational manifestations. Without qualitative research, however, the burgeoning nonreligion and
secularity studies will soon hit a glass ceiling. Qualitative research in this area is urgently needed. The first of a series of methodology-focused events, this NSRN workshop will begin to explore these challenges and opportunities.

. Achievements of qualitative nonreligion research to date
. Conceptual issues facing qualitative nonreligious studies
. Nonreligious populations and sampling methods
. Ethnographic approaches to non-institutional or associational cultures
. Researching institutional nonreligion (e.g. atheist meet-ups, secularist campaign groups)
. Cultural and media studies approaches to New Atheism and other nonreligion discourses
. New methods and nonreligious .objects.: can visual methods, video diaries, walkabouts., social network analysis and other innovative research methods be used to research nonreligion?
. The relationship between qualitative nonreligious research and quantitative work: past, present and future


Methods for Nonreligion and Secularity Studies Series
THE WORKSHOP is open to anyone with an interest in qualitative approaches to nonreligiosity and secularity, but applications from social science researchers (including those from history and religious studies) are especially encouraged. It will enable researchers at the planning stages of a project to scrutinise and develop their research designs, and for those who are currently working in the field or have completed research into nonreligiosity to reflect on these methodologies, their successes and shortcomings.

The workshop will also be of interest to those approaching nonreligion, secularity or related topics using quantitative methodologies, to consider how qualitative projects and/or findings might enrich that work and vice versa. It may also be of interest to those not specifically working in the subject area but interested in innovative approaches to the study of Modernity.

We hope that the workshop will provide a friendly and supportive environment for researchers to discuss and develop qualitative approaches to nonreligion and secularity, and to inspire new lines of enquiry and research designs. Participants will be asked to give an informal 10 minute summary of their research or research interests in the area of qualitative nonreligion studies. To apply to participate, please email us at conference@nsrn.co.uk with a short summary of your interest and/or research activity in this area.

All applications to be received by Friday 24 September 2010
Location: Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International
Free School Lane site
University of Cambridge
Date: Tuesday 14 December 2010
10am . 5pm (TBC)
Fees: FREE
Lunch and other refreshments will be available for a small charge

Please email us at conference@nsrn.co.uk if you have any questions about
this event.
Best wishes
Lois Lee and Stacey Gutkowski
Workshop conveners
Co-directors, Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network

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