IKOS PhD seminar: 'In the field: Exploring methods, methodologies, motivations and means'

In this seminar we will explore the vital issues of working out what information we want or need for our research, precisely what we need the information for, and how best to get it.

For this seminar we have invited Marion Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, The Open University, and currently Professor II at IKOS.

We will start by briefly introducing ourselves and the topics we’re excited about at present. (Alert: This means you need to come prepared to give a 5 minute ‘snapshot’ of what you’re working on!)

We will look at University of Oslo’s ethical guidance and requirements (http://www.uio.no/english/about/regulations/ethical-guidelines/index.html), and how these have an impact on what you study and how you conduct your research. With these points in mind, we will proceed to examining and discussing the issues raised by the broad range of methods/ techniques that might come under the rubric of 'fieldwork' – including interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, hanging around, virtual ethnology, photography. How do we decide which methods will work best in different situations and for various purposes, and how do we develop integrated methodologies?

This discussion will be informed by the reading (below), but we will also draw on our own experiences in our distinctive fields of practice. As a minimum basis for discussion, please read both *** articles and one of the **articles. (Hopefully you’ll be intrigued enough to dip into others too, depending on your field of study.)

After the break, it will be time to put some of the theory into practice. Working in pairs (or whatever multiples work best in this group) you will design a tightly-focussed fieldwork project, either using mixed methodologies or concentrating on one technique. It is the process rather than the final product that is most important here – but ‘test running’ and ‘reality checking’ your ideas with the whole group will form part of the final activity.


Berns, S. (2012) ‘In the presence of saints: a visitor-focused account of treasures of heaven’ Material Religion Vol 8, no. 2, pp.246-249

***Bowman, M. (2009) ‘Learning from experience: the value of analysing Avalon’, Religion, special issue ‘Perspectives on Religion in Western Europe’, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 161–8.

Glassie, H. ’Tradition’, Journal of American Folklore Vol 108, no.430, pp. 395-412

**Harvey, G. (2003) ‘Guesthood as ethical decolonising research method’, Numen, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 125–46.

**Lawless, E. (1991) ‘Women’s life stories and reciprocal ethnography as feminist and emergent’, Journal of Folklore Research, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 35–60.

Morgan, D.L. (2007) ‘Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods’, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 48–76.

***Roulston, K., deMarrais, K. and Lewis, J.B. (2003) ‘Learning to interview in the social sciences’, Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 643–68.

**Russell, I. (2006) ‘Working with Tradition: Towards a Partnership Model of Fieldwork’, Folklore 117, pp. 15 -32

Shanneik, Y. (2015) ‘Remembering Karbala in the diaspora: religious rituals among Iraqi Shii women in Ireland’, Religion Vol 45, no.1, pp. 89-102


For all seminars we ask you to register some time advance in order to know how to organize the discussion and not least to order lunch. 

Registration by email to: kari.andersen@ikos.uio.no.

ECTS points

Generally, you will get 1 ECTS point for attending the seminar, 2 ECTS points for a presentation or a comment. To complete the program you need to have presented and commented twice.

Published Dec. 13, 2017 9:47 AM - Last modified Mar. 19, 2018 11:51 AM