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In almost every graduate program in Religious Studies and many undergraduate majors you will find a course on theories and methods in the study of religion. Usually, in these types of courses you will find lots of Freud, Marx, and Durkheim but there is generally very little directed training in research methods. As a discipline there has been a general lack of interest in research methods as well (at least as witnessed by publications). Michael Stausberg, Professor at University of Bergen, and Steven Engler, Professor at Mount Royal University, have ventured to fill this lacuna with The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion  (Routledge, 2011).

The Handbook leads readers through issues in three categories, Methodology, Methods, Materials. Chapters were produced by an international group of scholars and cover a wide range of topics that will be useful for the anthropologist, sociologist, or historian of religion/s. The Handbook also articulates the relationship between methods, data, and theory and effective processes for employing the most beneficial research model. In our conversation we discussed research design, grounded theory, the comparative study of religion, the phenomenological approach, discourse analysis, ethnography, redescription, as well as thoughts on the state of Religious Studies.

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