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The Study of Children in ReligionsA Methods Handbook$
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Susan B. Ridgely

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776469

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776469.001.0001

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“Maybe the Picture Will Tell You”

“Maybe the Picture Will Tell You”

Methods for Hearing Children’s Perspectives on Religion

(p.80) 5 “Maybe the Picture Will Tell You”
The Study of Children in Religions

Susan B. Ridgely

NYU Press

This chapter outlines a methodology for child-centered ethnographic work in both Catholic parishes and evangelical Christian homes and churches, which includes observing, participating, and interviewing children about both formal rituals, such as First Communion, and informal rituals, such as vacation Bible school. Rather than present a formula for researchers to follow, the chapter proposes a variety of methodological tools meant to help create a productive environment in which to interview children. These tools were developed with two foundational principles in mind: allowing children to shape the research and creating an environment in which the researcher made it clear that they were there to learn the children's perspective on their religious tradition, a subject in which they are understood as the experts.

Keywords:   child-centered ethnographic work, formal rituals, informal rituals, interviewing children, children's perspective, religious tradition

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