Aug. 31, 2017
In June, three Biola Cook School of Intercultural Studies professors presented at the American Society of Missiology (ASM) conference on best practices of qualitative research in missions. Professors Rich Starcher, Jamie Sanchez and Leanne Dzubinski shared at a panel session titled “Rigorous Missiological Research: Using Qualitative Inquiry.”
Starcher presented an overview of the main streams of missiological research and an introduction to the areas that comprise a rigorous qualitative study. He also addressed ways of understanding study participants and analyzing data.
“Many people who study and teach missiology were field missionaries themselves at first,” said Dzubinski. “Often, they turn to academic study to help solve some of the most challenging problems faced in mission practice. Understanding the different types of research and knowing how to do them well is crucial to developing knowledge that will truly make a difference in mission practice.”
During their presentation, Sanchez covered the uses of literature and a discussion of observations, interviews, and documents as sources of data in qualitative research. Dzubinski addressed ways of showing a study to be trustworthy and hot to write a report so that readers understand and trust it.
“The room was packed. We had students and professors and mission practitioners from around the world. The session was pretty interactive, with people asking all kinds of questions,” said Dzubinski.
The presenters were able to advise participants on individual studies after the session. The three professors will write up the presentation for publication in a future edition of Missiology, the ASM’s academic journal.
Additionally, Sanchez has been asked to serve on the ASM Board of Publications, which oversees Missiology, the ASM journal, the ASM Series which publishes scholarly books about mission studies, and the ASM Scholarly Monograph Series which publishes missiological dissertations. Dzubinski has been asked to serve on the Board of Directors of ASM for a three-year term.
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