Ethnography for Pastoral Leadership

Spring 2018
TTh 9:00 - 10:20am
Area IV
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Ethnography is a form of qualitative research that focuses on human interactions in their cultural complexity. Through the ethnographic study of a community’s faith practices, students can discover forms of shared leadership with and through the people. This course draws together readings from multiple fields, including sociology of religion, religious studies, pastoral theology, and congregational studies.  We will focus on observing the role of gender, race, class, and social power in faith communities. Students will conduct pastoral research in a local congregation or group of which they are a part and they will share their findings with their research communities.

Background Expected: 


Course Requirements: 

Required reading of 100pp per week, one additional 2-page book summary, create a research plan, obtain IRB approval, keep a research journal, analyze and share your results, and write a final ethnography of 20 pp plus appendixes. 

Basis of Evaluation: 

Honors (95-100%)—Outstanding work. Class and discussion board participation marked by thorough preparation, curiosity, perceptive listening, and insightful speaking; superior understanding is evident in all assignments. Ethnography is of publishable quality: well- written, reflective, showing both original thinking and an extensive knowledge base. Careful, concise, critical analysis with a well-argued thesis based on the data. Shows respect toward research participants, and a good grasp of the theoretical, theological, and practical issues covered in the course. Writing structure and style are clear; technically precise.

Honors- (90-94%) —Excellent work. Class and discussion board participation marked by thorough preparation, curiosity, perceptive listening, and insightful speaking. Excellent understanding and critical thinking are evident in all assignments. Ethnography is well written, clear, reflective, and original. Shows a grasp of the theoretical and practical issues involved, as well as keen pastoral sensitivity and fine theological reflection. Data is summarized concisely, organized logically, and integrated well. Grammar, spelling, and citations are accurate.

High Pass+(86-89%) to HP (84-86%) Range—Very good work. Class and discussion board participation demonstrate solid comprehension of required reading. All assignments are completed reasonably well. Shows pastoral sensitivity and good theological reflection. The ethnography summarizes data and draws upon it to illustrate the thesis. Shows knowledge of course concepts and some analysis and critical reasoning. The paper has generally good structure that needs clarification in parts. It may have a few minor errors.

High Pass- (80-83%) (required for “credit”)—Good work. Class participation and discussion board work marked by completion of least 80% of the reading. Adequate use of the practices and principles of pastoral ethnography, including respectful care for the research participants and theological reflection. Ethnography includes a thesis and a generally accurate description of the data, though it needs more attention to detail and better analysis. The paper has loose structure, some lack of clarity, and/or some stylistic errors.