Theological fieldwork in the time of COVID-19: an argument for using both primary and qualitative secondary data in a Hong Kong ethnography

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Abstract

This paper addresses the challenges of conducting theological fieldwork during COVID-19, and proposes a solution of incorporating qualitative secondary data. The author draws from her experience in conducting her doctoral research in Hong Kong to explore the issues of whether fieldwork has to be in a physical space, and the use of qualitative secondary data. The study employs a methodology in which lived theology informs and shapes written theology. Therefore, while acknowledging there is a place for doctrinal research, researchers conducting empirical theological research are not any less rigorous or theological in their academic pursuits. This paper asks whether being physically present in a field site is still necessary for conducting fieldwork, since the pandemic has shifted much of human interactions online. The author argues that being physically in a field site is still necessary in building rapport with the community. This paper also considers the use of existing qualitative secondary data in conducting field research. The author sees using qualitative secondary data as more than a way to overcome obstacles set by pandemic restrictions. Researchers who can access under-used data sets can triangulate that with their primary data collected to give stronger support to their arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021
EventScottish Theology and Religious Studies Postgraduate Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jun 202110 Jun 2021

Conference

ConferenceScottish Theology and Religious Studies Postgraduate Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period8/06/2110/06/21

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