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Appendix. Methodology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the underlying methodological assumptions, and the specific procedures, participants and settings. Methodologically, the author follows a critical realist standpoint contending that the same variables do not have to lead to the same outcomes every time. This approach differs from a traditional "sociological variables approach", where researchers attempt to find "social laws" based on results from large populations. Philosophically, "critical realism involves a switch from epistemology to ontology, and within ontology a switch from events to mechanisms". It is the role of science to investigate where relationships between experience, actual events and causal mechanisms exist. The process of analysis of the narrative interview is discussed in the chapter. Grounded theory is based on the tradition of symbolic interactionism, a tradition in which human reality is perceived as constructed through interaction processes. The chapter describes the various religious groups and communities, their core ideas and structure.

Keywords: actual events; experience; grounded theory; methodological assumptions; religious groups; social laws

10.1163/9789004266506_008
/content/books/b9789004266506s008
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