My project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has been designed to examine the ways in which people talk about ‘religion’ and related categories (such as ‘Christian’, ‘Allah’, ‘hijab’, ‘atheism’, and even ‘evolution’) in the South Side of Edinburgh. What I am aiming to find out is, firstly, how people in the South Side talk about these concepts, regardless of their religious beliefs. Secondly, I hope to advance theoretical discussion of these concepts within Religious Studies. And, finally, I hope to propose practical applications for this work, particularly in conflict situations framed in religious language.
This social-scientific research is being conducted using a combination of interviews, ethnographic observation, and discourse analysis. If you are interested in taking part, please get in touch. My contact details can be found on the Contact page.
Information for Organizations/Groups
If individuals from your organization/group are willing to be interviewed as part of this project, they should see the guidelines provided on the information sheet for individual participants. It shall be necessary for me to give some specifics about your organization – such as what you do and where you are based – in order to place my arguments in context. However, linking identifiable data concerning individuals and/or organizations to the main analysis of my thesis is not important for the project. As such, I shan’t present any results which attribute specific characteristics to specific organizations/groups.
If you agree to let me participate in certain group activities, or simply observe in a low-key fashion, my main interest is to listen to the conversations that take place, whether in more formal situations or casual social gatherings. In all cases, my presence would be made clear to those in attendance. I will not make recordings nor quote any individual directly. My purpose is to get an impression of the way certain concepts are used in different settings, nothing more.
Use of Data
I plan to use the data I gather during this project within my thesis, academic publications and conference papers. It is likely that I will continue using the data in future projects. Additionally, in the interest of collaboration, I may share some project data with other researchers – with all identifiable data removed. All data will be stored in locked filing cabinets or on password protected computers/drives. Audio data will be transferred as soon as possible from the recorder to password protected computers/drives. Your organization will have the opportunity to view and request changes to the relevant sections of my completed thesis before I submit it for assessment.
Unless specifically asked otherwise, I shall use false names for all participants – individuals and organizations – in any presentation of this data, including in my thesis. It may also be necessary for me to alter or omit personal information in order to protect your identity.
Unfortunately, I am unable to offer payment for participation in this study. However, this research will benefit the local community, and I am more than happy to share the results upon completion.
Right to Withdraw
Participation in this study is voluntary, and all groups/organizations and individual participants are free to withdraw at any point – during the interviews or observation – or after the research has been completed. You do not need to provide an explanation. If you withdraw up to one month after your involvement in the research, your data will be destroyed and not used. After this point the data will remain in the study, however you can still withdraw your permission for verbatim quotations. If your organization or any wish to withdraw, you can contact me at the details above.
This study has been approved by Lancaster University Research Ethics Committee. If you have any complaints or concerns at any point, you can contact my supervisor, Professor Kim Knott, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via telephone on 01524 593 428, or at County South, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YL. You can also find a letter from Professor Knott concerning my project here.