Barnard: Research Methods/Religion Lab: Intro

A guide to help with your final paper for the Religion Lab course.

Burke Library

Course Objectives

In their research, scholars of religion employ a variety of methods to analyze “texts” ranging from historical documents and objects of visual culture (e.g., icons, monuments, architectural sites, paintings, photographs) to ritual practices.  This course acquaints students with both the methods and the materials utilized in the field of religious studies.  Through guided exercises, students learn research skills for locating and identifying primary and secondary sources related to religion in different times and places. They also evaluate articles from a range of scholarly journals in order to understand the dominant modes for explaining/analyzing primary sources.  Finally, students apply these scholarly frameworks to a series of primary sources.  While required for Religion majors preparing to write senior thesis, this class is also open to students interested in developing their ability to engage with and analyze primary sources.

Course Objectives:

(a) Become acquainted with the varying research methods associated with religious studies

(b) Demonstrate mastery of a variety of research approaches from literary analysis and exegesis to ethnography

(c) Identify and critically analyze a range of primary sources including conversion narratives, travel chronicles, and canonical religious texts

(d) Engage with central scholarly debates in religious studies as revealed in academic peer-reviewed journals and supported by emerging initiatives in the digital humanities

Outcomes for Nov 30 Workshop

At the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

(1) understand how to formulate a manageable research question

(2) locate sources (including books and journal articles) that will help answer your research questions

(3) evaluate sources 

(4) find resources to help you write and revise your final paper