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Research Seminar Empirical Research in Religion

2.5 EC 25 Sep 2020


Teaching staff: dr. C.J.A. (Carl) Sterkens (RU)
Course description: This seminar consists of approximately ten sessions of 2,5 hours each. It offers a forum for presentation and discussion of ongoing research by ReMA and PhD participants. In addition, it discusses literature related to general topics which are relevant for empirical research in religion. These general topics include philosophy of science, empirical research methodology, quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysing techniques, different empirical research designs, ethical aspects and scientific integrity in empirical studies, and major scholarly concepts relevant to researchers in the empirical study of religion. They may also relate to personal commitment and subjectivity/objectivity of research, emic and etic descriptions, publication strategies and preparing for the PhD defence.
Course objectives: The course aims at developing research skills and critical arguments for choosing and using empirical research methods in the study of religion.
Learning goals:
The participant is able to

  • to take part in collegial discussions of ongoing work and to present and defend his or her own work.
  • to assess and discuss methodological and theological aspects of empirical research in religion.
  • to formulate initial analysis strategies of quantitative and qualitative data to test hypotheses which are (implicitly or explicitly) part of conceptual models.
  • to recognize, illustrate and express the relevance of normative orientations (and religious orientation more specifically) of the researcher in empirical research in religion.
  • to describe different forms of validity and reliability, and them in both quantitative and qualitative research.
  • to establish correlation and causality in both quantitative and qualitative research designs.
  • to conduct, to interpret, and to comment on primary and secondary coding in analyses of qualitative data material, and identify major problems in these procedures.
  • to describe implications of The Netherlands code of conduct for research integrity [Nederlandse Gedragscode van Wetenschapsbeoefening] for empirical research in religion.
  • to write a data management plan for your own research, including strategies for storing and making accessible the data.
  • to name and apply some collaborative research approaches, such as action research, participatory action research and collaborative ethnography.

Teaching methods: Assignments, presentations, responses and discussions.
Assessment methods: Participants should actively participate, should be present for at least 75% of the time and should reflect on what they have learned by filling in NOSTER PRA Form Seminars 2020-2021. Note that the first section of the form needs to be submitted prior to or shortly after the first session.
Admission: This seminar is open for PhD candidates and for second-year ReMA students.
Participation and registration: If you wish to participate in this seminar, you will need to register before 18 September 2020. Once you have created a personal account on this website and have logged-in, you can register for this Research Seminar by clicking the green “Register for this item” button on the right. If you have participated in this Research Seminar in the previous academic year, please register again for the new academic year.
Costs: Participation is free for ReMA students and PhD candidates registered at NOSTER or at any other research school in the Humanities. For others, the fees are €125. For more information about membership and costs, click here (for ReMA students) or here (for PhD candidates).
Place: Utrecht/Nijmegen.
(As long as governmental and institutional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 do not prohibit in-person meetings such as NOSTER seminar sessions, NOSTER recommends seminar supervisors to plan at least some of their sessions on site, as this contributes significantly to the objective of building an academic community. However, it is up to seminar supervisors and participants to decide to meet plan some or all sessions online.)
Credits and workload: 2.5 EC (70 hours).


  • 25 Sep 2020
    First session scheduled in the morning, prior to the Kick-Off


Erasmusplein 1, Nijmegen
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