Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THEO43830: Ecclesiology and Ethnography

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO43830: Ecclesiology and Ethnography

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to develop methodological frameworks for ecclesiology and ethnography


  • Ecclesiological perspectives on the theological nature of the Church will be introduced. These perspectives will offer a framework for a critical understanding of the epistemological issues that arise in work that combines theological and empirical insights in the study of the Church.
  • Students will be supported in developing research questions that arise from reflexivity, context, and tradition.
  • The students will be introduced to the prevailing methodological frameworks in Practical Theology including Correlation, The Pastoral Cycle, Dialogical Practical Theology, Hermeneutical Practical Theology and Christopraxis
  • Issues of normativity and judgment in theology will be explored in relation to qualitative methods

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will be introduced to a variety of methodological frameworks in Practical Theology
  • Students will be able to develop research questions in ecclesiology and ethnography and evaluate methodological frameworks appropriate to these questions.
  • Students will understand issues related to normativity in ecclesiology and ethnography
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will develop methodological frameworks for empirical and theological work on the Church
  • Students will develop the ability to critically evaluate methodological frameworks in relation to research questions
  • Students will critically engage with questions of epistemology in qualitative empirical the theological research.
Key Skills:
  • Students will develop skills of academic writing, the evaluation of academic texts and expression of theological ideas in a classroom context.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be delivered in a blended and a distance mode. Following an introductory lecture. There will be 8 hours of lectures delivered online. These lectures will be recorded in the studio at the business school and made available on Duo each week during term. Students will be required to keep a log of their notes and reflections on each lecture. Each lecture will be supported by a seminar of 1.5hrs based on set readings and student reflections on the lectures. The seminars will take place weekly in Durham but students will also be able to participate at a distance using skype or another similar interactive platform. In the first year it is anticipated that there will be a small number of distance students so there will be a single seminar. The intention is to pilot distance learning participation for a limited number of students (3-4). These students will participate in the weekly Durham seminar attending via skype. If the take up of distance students rises then two seminars will be held one online and one in Durham. If this is the case the online seminar will be held using Blackboard Collaborate via Duo. The introductory lecture will also be delivered using the mix of students in Durham and skype for those at a distance.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Introductory lecture/online 1 1hr 1
Online Lectures 8 Fortnightly in Michaelmas and Epiphany Term 1hr 8
Seminars 8 Fortnightly in Michaelmas and Epiphany Term 1.15 hrs 10
Preparation individual study 281
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 5000 word essay.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University