Research Methods of Religious Studies

Subject Overview

‘Research Methods of Religious Studies’ is an introduction to critical thinking and the modes of research used in Applied Buddhist Studies. The basic skills and processes associated with developing research questions, reviewing relevant literature and conducting research are discussed. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are reviewed. The subject also covers key basic principles in academic writing, including referencing and citation methods.

As part of the subject, students are encouraged to develop their own original ideas and formulate research proposals that demonstrate their understanding of applied research. The subject particularly focuses on the principles of research and critical evaluation, which are key skills required in the process of reviewing and expanding the literature base of Buddhism and its applications. The subject also covers the basics of academic writing to help students present discussion and arguments effectively in written form.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of a range of approaches to religious research, their strengths and weaknesses and the contexts in which they can be applied
  • Compare and contrast qualitative with quantitative research
  • Demonstrate and understanding of research ethics and the key issues in applying for research ethics approval
  • Demonstrate the capacity to critically review literature on a research topic of interest
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a research proposal that clearly outlines its research questions, objectives and methodology
  • Develop an understanding of key principles in academic writing and put them into practice


Subject Structure

This subject runs for five weeks, with the following structure:

Week 1: Pre-reading of prescribed texts
Week 2: Digital Intensive Classroom (5 days x 8 hrs/day)
Weeks 3 – 5: Submission of assessments online



Nan Tien Institute (NTI) is a private, not for profit, government accredited higher education provider offering studies in the areas of Buddhist studies, health and wellbeing, within an environment that incorporates contemplative education.

NTI offers postgraduate programs in Applied Buddhist Studies, Health and Social Wellbeing, Humanistic Buddhism, and Mental Health as well as customised Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs and special interest subjects across the areas of meditation, mindfulness and health.

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