Category Archives: 01 Dissertation Proposal

This category will track the development of the Dissertation Proposal as I work through the class designed to help me accomplish this task.

Chapter Two | Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

Key theoretical lenses for social science research

The scope of this research has an interdisciplinary span. It is deeply theological, yet it draws from a broader theoretical framework in two academic fields. The first is the field of Adult Learning Theory. The second is the field of sociology and urban studies with a special focus on suburban studies.

Key texts and authors

Epistemological Considerations

It is important to preface a discussion of adult learning theory by situating the discussion within an epistemological framework. This research and literature review is not intended to expound upon philosophical hermeneutics, but it is important to note that the research and researcher is situated within a post-positivist constructivist framework.[1] Two key philosophers will be germane to the framing of this conversation. The first is Jürgen Habermas and The Theory of Communicative Action[2]. This is broadly known as Critical Social Theory. Gary Simpson helps to understand Habermas’ work in his book Critical Social Theory.[3] The second philosopher is Hans-Georg Gadamer in his work Truth and Method,[4] where he discusses the fusion of horizons and linguisticality. This is important to note because this theoretical frame creates the basis for using Participatory Action Research as the primary research methodology for this project.  The members of the congregations to be studied will work in conjunction with the researcher to communicatively construct new ideas and practices that will shape the research itself. read more

Chapter Three | Theological and Biblical Framework

Biblical and Theological Perspectives

Key theological themes and/or lenses that frame the social science research from a theological perspective

In the previous chapter we highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of this research and highlighted two key theoretical frames. The first is the field of Adult Learning Theory. The second is the field of sociology and urban studies with a special focus on suburban studies. In this chapter we highlight four key theological lenses that frame the research in this dissertation. The first is the doctrine of the social Trinity. The second is the study of spiritual formation, or Christian spirituality. The third is missional ecclesiology. The fourth is Religious Education, specifically focused on the education of adults in the church. Finally, we will highlight two key Biblical passages from which the core theology is informed. read more

Working on Methodology

I have been working on quantitative and qualitative instruments for my dissertation proposal. I don’t want to post those questionnaires because, (1) I need to refine them first, and (2) they need to be reserved only for those who take them during the actual research.

I am currently writing the first draft of my research methodology design and will post it at the end of the week.

Dedoose.com | Online Mixed-Methods Research Analysis Software

I’m in the midst of designing my research project and writing the methodology chapter for my dissertation proposal. I’m going to do Action Research and will be utilizing a mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) data. I had heard most people talk about NVivo as the software of choice for qualitative research, especially, so I went to check it out. Big problem! NVivo is Windows only. They said they are releasing a Mac version in late 2013, but that makes me nervous. So, I went on the hunt. read more