A Research Journey Begins
This book is the result of initial empirical research beginning in small communities and widening to the industrialised nations of the modern world. First in northern England, the author researched religion without asking overtly religious questions or selecting people based on their interest in religion or spirituality. This chapter describes the rationale behind the method, its design, and execution. The aim was to probe beliefs amongst three generations of people from a wide cross-section of society, sparked by the UK 2001 census ‘religious question’ puzzle: why would so many non-religious people choose to claim a Christian identity on the census? The chapter also discusses how the intellectual and geographical scope was extended beyond sociology to wider disciplines, primarily the anthropology of religion, and to comparisons with other Euro-American countries. This chapter details the method used and summarises the findings which be discussed in more detail in the book.
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