Module focus: Research methods in theology and the study of religion

Students studying the MA Theology and Religion programme at the University of Birmingham have the unique opportunity to study research methods in Theology and Religion.

Stained glass window through a magnifying glass

The module, which draws upon teaching from all areas of the University including the English department and the library, teaches students how to become more independent researchers.

We caught up with Yafa Shanneik, the Module Leader, to find out how the module will benefit students studying for the MA Theology and Religion at Birmingham.

Q. What will students cover in the module?

A. “This module unpacks the core issues of researching in theology and religious studies. It addresses debates surrounding the design, conduct, ethics and evaluation of research in a multidisciplinary subject area. It prepares you to carry out independent research and to critically assess others’ research across a wide spectrum of approaches.”

Q. What do students learn from the module?

A. “You will learn how to research religions. What methods and approaches to use, what questions to ask and how to ask them. Whether you are interested in texts and history and like to dig into archives or you are interested to work in the field with people and learn about their lived religions or religious practices, this module will inform, train and equip you with all you need to know about how to conduct research on religions.”

Q. What are the highlights of the module?

A. “This module has a double session on ‘Academic writing skills’ which will prepare you for writing your dissertation. Everything you need to know about finding your dissertation topic, developing your research question and setting up your dissertation will be covered in this module. No more worries!”

Q. How will students be assessed?

A. “This module will be the first step into preparing and writing your dissertation. For the assessment, you need to choose two articles that relate to your dissertation, review and discuss them in form of an essay. With this assessment, you will have done 10% of your dissertation already!”

Q. How does this module help further students careers?

A “You need to prepare for your life after university and we will help you do this. In this module, you will learn:

  • the perfect way to plan your project
  • how to manage your time efficiently
  • how to proficiently categorise and critically analyse the information gathered for your project

You will also have the opportunity to talk to our career’s adviser and learn how to prepare for your future employment.”

Dr Yafa Shanneik is Head of Postgraduate Studies within the school of Theology and Religion and Lecturer in Islamic studies.

Find out more about the unique range of modules on offer within our MA Theology and Religion programme over on our course pages.