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Students collect Research Data

Subject: Study of Religion. Project: The Danish Pluralism Project 2011. Study level: all. Class size: none.

Motivation for the activity

The educational challenge is for us to ensure the importance of the students providing precise accounts of contemporary religion in the Danish society and how they mangage to ask the right questions.

Central learning outcomes for the activity

Method and theory awareness, but also to be able to communicate to a broad interested audience.

Description of the activity

Based on an overall project description and interview guide, the students gather material from all religious and spiritual groups in Aarhus.

At the start of the project the students received a thorough introduction to the project and methods. They then chose the overall working groups with ‘anchor persons’ who are experts in the area in question (Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, Buddhism and new religions). In smaller groups (2-3 persons) they were then allocated specific religious groups.

Introduction to the groups as well as contact information etc. was given to the students by their anchor person. Then the students were given one month to collect data from the groups, through qualitative interviews and participant observation respectively.

During the upcoming semester, all students who have participated in the project will have the opportunity to participate in an elective subject in which they will have to process and analyse data and also learn to communicate the collected data. The goal is publication of different scales.

Outcome of the practice 

  • Material for use by researchers, teachers and students at the Study of Religion, Theology, and Arabic and Islamic Studies, but also for highschool teachers and all others working directly or indirectly with reliigon in contemporary Denmark
  • The students will have a unique chance to experience "living religion".
  • The students will be introduced to methods that are applicable both during their studies but also after they have completed their education.
  • The students receive in-depth knowledge of the religious group for which they have responsibility.
  • The project strengthens the study environment due to the close collaboration that there is - not only between students on different parts of the degree programme, but also between the students and lecturers.
  • The students experience how to carry out research "from scratch" and at the same time, how this research can be communicated to a broad audience.

More about the project

60 students from the Study of Religion are taking part in the project. The students are from the first, third and fifth semesters respectively, as well as subsidiary subject students. Furthermore four salaried student assistants (all Master’s degree students from the Study of Religion), four tenured members of the teaching staff and a full-time project manager is participating in the project.

    The project is a teaching and communication project where students have the opportunity of

    • gathering material for research
    • learning methods for field work, interviews, participant observation and other sociological and anthropological methods
    • becoming acquainted with “living religion"
    • mapping a specific geographical area (Aarhus) in relation to religion
    • processing and analysing material for research
    • learning to communicate research.


    Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger

    Associate professor
    H 1453, 529
    P +4587162436
    P +4522814586