Final Paper Preparation: Part I

In preparation for your Final Paper, this week you will submit information about the event at which you will conduct participant-observation and conduct Library research on it. Examples of events are:

  • Baptism ritual
  • Dharma talk at a Buddhist center or temple
  • Marriage ritual (of any faith.) Make sure to primarily elaborate on the rituals at the event.
  • Pooja at a Hindu temple
  • Rasta reasoning session
  • Religious service (of any faith)
  • A religious rite of passage (involving community)

 

Note: If you are unable to attend a specific site, you may use the following alternative sites for your ethnography.

  • An online chat group dedicated to a particular religion or faith.
  • An online religious talk or service.
  • Second Life Buddha Center http://www.thebuddhacenter.org/calendar/schedule-b-c/
  • This should be used only in special circumstances and you must have the permission of your instructor in advance to do so.
  • Use the article by Melinda B. Wagner in chapter 1 of your text book “The Study of Religion in American Society” as a guide for preparing your research.

Submit the following information:

  • Place, time and a brief description of the event where you will conduct participant-observation.
  • Feasibility of the project: You must gain appropriate access into the religious event, prior to the event, by clearing your participation with key persons in the religious community. For example, if you intend to conduct participant-observation at a Sunday church service, you will call ahead and make sure it is permissible to attend the service and to conduct unobtrusive, quiet observations. You might also ask if the officiate or other conducting personnel could meet with you in advance of the service or following the service to answer questions and provide a context for the religious event.

 

In Week 3, you will conduct your first fieldwork observation for a minimum of two hours. In Week 5, you will return to the site again with follow up questions for a minimum of one hour. Therefore, this week, you must provide in narrative form a justification of the feasibility of your research. For example, if you intend to observe Baptism in a Catholic church, it happens once a month and so a follow-up visit will not be possible. Establish contacts with people in charge of the event and those you will interview. Point out in your contact at least one person you can do follow up interview with in Week 5. Get in touch with people at the event and find out whether your proposed event is feasible or not. Provide names of contacts as well as how you have arranged to stay in touch with them for the duration of your project.

  • Library Research: Find at least two scholarly resources, i.e. articles from peer-reviewed journals and Ebooks available using Ashford Library or another source and/or printed books that provide background information on the event you will observe. Use these sources with as much specificity as possible, so that you understand the nuances of the event. For example, to observe a Buddhist ritual, it is important to understand Buddhism as well as the particular Buddhist tradition as well as the culture of the people participating in the Buddhist event.
  • Using information from the sources you have collected, list at least five questions you intend to find answers to at the event. Except for the questions, your paper must be in narrative form. Use headings and sub-headings as necessary.

 

The paper must be two to three pages in length (excluding the title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style. You must use at least two scholarly resources. Cite your resources in text and on the reference page.

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