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About us

The use of Qualitative Empirical Methods has become one of the fastest growing aspects of theological research in the last fifteen years.  Established scholars and increasing numbers of doctoral students are turning to qualitative methods in a range of theological disciplines including, World Christianity, Christian Ethics, Mission Studies, Pastoral Theology, Worship Studies, Christian Education and Practical Theology. 

As researchers are increasingly concerned to develop projects that are transformative of society and religious worlds they are turning to qualitative research as a vital tool for gaining a purchase on the present-day experience of life.  Qualitative Empirical Method is being adopted in these areas because it delivers a means to locate research in present day lived experience. 

The empirical turn forms a part of a much wider sensibility in theology that prioritises a diversity of voices seen in a range of contextual theologies 


Network of Ecclesiology and Ethnography

The centre provides a hub within Durham University for the activities linked to Ecclesiology and Ethnography.  Ecclesiology and Ethnography is an international research network established in 2007 by Prof Pete Ward, (Durham University) and Dr Christian Scharen (formerly of Auburn Seminary).  It runs two annual conferences one that takes place in Durham at St John’s College and a second North American Conference that was first held at Princeton Seminary in 2023. The network has a journal, Ecclesial Practices and a linked group the American Academy of Religion also named Ecclesial Practices. 

Discover more

Find out more about people associated to the Centre for Theology and Qualitative Research, publications, conferences and events and postgraduate research opportunities.


Find out more about the people associated to the Centre for Theology and Qualitative Research.
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Find out more about the publications of the Centre for Theology and Qualitative Research.
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Conferences and Events

Find out more about the Centre for Theology and Qualitative Research's conferences and events.

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate research opportunities at the Centre for Theology and Qualitative Research.
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Banner image, Durham Cathedral images and about us image are all courtesy of Michael Sadgrove.