Methodology in the Sociology of Religion

Ole Preben Riis

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Methodology in the Sociology of Religion

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Debate over sociological method has been one of a number of constant themes in the sociology of religion. Such have been made ever more complex by the all-pervasive pluralist and global character of contemporary society and by the profound transformations that religions are presently undergoing. Finding adequate methods for the sociological study of religion in this context is a difficult challenge. This article discusses the relative value of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and offers compelling reasons for a methodological combination that makes use of both. The term ‘methodology’ refers to questions that reach beyond the aim of a specific project. Methodology reflects on the adequacy of research designs and on the validity of research findings from the perspective of the philosophy of science. The problems raised by sociology of religion are complex, and thus demand a combination of several types of information, which have to be obtained by different methods.

Keywords: sociological study; sociological method; research design; validity; sociology of religion

Article.  6460 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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