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Methods and Techniques 3: Qualitative Research


Admission requirements

This course is only open to students of the BA Religiewetenschappen.
Students of the BA Religiewetenschappen can enroll for this course only after successful completion of the course 'Methoden en Technieken 1: bronnenonderzoek, objecten en teksten'.


Beyond historical and linguistic studies, the academic study of religion is largely an empirical social science consisting of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. This course will introduce students to the latter, with a special focus on anthropological methods and techniques. In an effort to merge theory with practice, students will be required to design, conduct, and present a simple ethnographic fieldwork project. Each project will include ethnographic description, participant observation, artifact collection, qualitative interviews, and a research report that both analyzes the collected data and reflects on the logic and limitations of qualitative research.

Course objectives

Students will:

  • Develop a broad competence and understanding of qualitative methods and techniques in social research, particularly as these relate to the anthropological study of religion.

  • Be able to explain the logic and limitations of qualitative social research.

  • Be able to explain how a qualitative approach can be used in conjunction with other approaches (e.g. quantitative approaches).

  • Develop an understanding of research ethics as this relates to issues of field access and field relations.

Transferable Skills

  • Gain first-hand experience designing, conducting, presenting, and writing-up a research report.

  • Gain critical thinking skills, fieldwork skills, oral and written communication skills, and knowledge of diverse cultures.

  • Develop the following practical skills for fieldwork: designing a research project; gaining ‘access’ to a community; conducting qualitative interviews; conducting digital forms of qualitative social research; writing ‘thick description’; taking fieldnotes; and working with qualitative data analysis methods.

  • Identify how the skills gained in the course are transferable outside of academia into fields as diverse as journalism, public policy, business administration, human resources, etc.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The final mark will be determined as a weighted average of three marks:
1. Fieldwork exercises portfolio: 30%;
2. Research report: 60%;
3. Oral presentation: 10%.
NOTE: to pass the course, students must score at least a 4 on each assignment, with a minimum weighted average of 5.5 for the final grade.

Students who have participated in all elements of the course but scored an insufficient mark overall are entitled to a resit. For the research report, students will be given a chance to hand in a new version. For fieldwork exercises, students will be given an alternate assignment.

Reading list

The primary textbook for the course is:

  • Stephen E. Gregg and Lynne Scholefield, Engaging with Living Religion: A Guide to Fieldwork in the Study of Religion (London and New York: Routledge, 2015).
    Other readings will be made available during the course.


This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.
Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof