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Qualitative Analysis of Research Practices in Religion

Mike Kohut

Mike Kohut presents on his project

Fellowship: Project Proposal

"This Dean’s Fellowship has been a great experience…. Having worked on other similar project teams in the past, I brought to the team knowledge and experience about interviewing, coding and writing reports. At the same time, through the interviews with the religion scholars who participated, I learned more about this diverse field of religious studies and how it sees itself. This was especially interesting to me as a scholar who also studies aspects of religion and yet, somehow, exists outside of that field."  — Mike Kohut

About the Project

Ithaka S+R is proposing a multi-institutional research project to identify best practices for library support for faculty in Religious Studies/Theology. The question they pose: “What resources and services do your faculty members need to be successful in their teaching and research?” In recent years Ithaka S+R has conducted several in-depth qualitative analyses of research practices of faculty in several fields, including art history, chemistry and history. They are seeking partners to conduct a project for faculty in Religious Studies. Vanderbilt Divinity Library was approached as one possible partner.

They are defining the field of religious studies broadly, and would mean the target faculty would be in the Divinity School, the Religious Studies Department and the Graduate Department of Religion. (including dual and secondary appointments this would be a group of about 60 faculty). The study requires a research team of 1-3 individuals, which may include library staff, graduate students, and/or an analyst from Ithaka S+R. Ithaka S+R will provide training for the team in the ethnographic research methods to be applied.

Mike Kohut

About the Fellow

Mike Kohut is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department. He studies cultural dimensions of teaching evolution in Tennessee public schools. Using a mixed methods approach that includes structured and unstructured interviews, as well as long-term ethnographic fieldwork, his doctoral research documents the ways that the contours of the conflict over evolution education are shaped by the social commitments of various actors (including teachers, students and state policy-makers). Mike has conducted research in eastern Tennessee and southern Mexico.