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Teaching New Religious Movements$
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David G. Bromley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177299.001.0001

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Methodological Issues in the Study of New Religious Movements

Methodological Issues in the Study of New Religious Movements

Chapter:
(p.65) Methodological Issues in the Study of New Religious Movements
Source:
Teaching New Religious Movements
Author(s):

David G. Bromley (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177299.003.0004

Some of the most significant knowledge about new religious movements has been generated through participant observation fieldwork. A variety of methodological issues have emerged in the process of conducting participant observation research, including how groups are selected for study, how access to movements is negotiated, how internal and external pressures are managed during the research project, how various sources of information are utilized and assessed, and how the research process is terminated. Since most students have had no direct contact with new religions and are primarily aware of the controversies in which some movements have been involved, it is important to create perspective for students as they engage in their own intellectual encounter with new religions. This process involves successively creating receptivity and a problem solving approach, understanding the available sources of information and their utility, working with various sources of information and gaining an understanding of the interests they represent, collecting and analyzing readily available information on selected groups, and engaging in a direct encounter with one or more NRMs.

Keywords:   analysis, fieldwork, methodology, participant observation, research

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