Research Methods for the study of religion

An online training resource

Using quantitative methods

Researchers coming to the study of religion from a humanities background may have little or no training in quantitative methods, and so often limit themselves to using qualitative approaches. Quantitative research has a significant contribution to make which cannot be replicated by qualitative methods and can also play an important role in contextualising knowledge gained through qualitative work.

Ingrid Storm explores why quantitative methods are valuable for the study of religion, as well as key concepts and challenges for this approach.


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Key Reading

Alan Bryman (2008) Social Research Methods. 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.139-361.
This widely used textbook provides a useful overview of key concepts and approaches to quantitative research.

David Voas (2009) ‘The rise and fall of fuzzy fidelity in Europe’, European Sociological Review, 25(2), 155-68.

This article provides both a helpful discussion of some challenges of working with statistical data on religion as well as using measures of religiosity in the first wave of the European Social Survey to argue that a stage of ‘fuzzy fidelity’ lies between the shift from predominantly religious to predominantly secular societies.


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Last Updated: 12/09/2012