This basic course will provide understanding of qualitative research methods and tools, including their benefits and shortcomings. Students will also become aware of the ethical issues surrounding communication research.
I would hope students of MU would blaze new trails. This means they are the first ones in an area or among a people group. No data will be available for them. Students will need the qualitative research skills and tools necessary to garner information among their context in order to be effective.
Rather than focus on facts and figures and math and statistics, qualitative research focuses on experiences and people which are at the heart of the Gospel. All of the qualitative methods discussed will be appropriate for many cross-cultural contexts.
Acts 17:15-34 describes the Apostle Paul in Athens. Paul took time to look around the Areopagus in order to understand the people he would be communicating with and why idols were so prevalent. Paul researched the context he was in to be effective. Qualitative research is exactly the same process.
In order to see spiritual transformation of people and communities, research is needed to uncover history, needs, problems, and opportunities to share the Gospel.
Missional University encourages students to be exposed to demographic, psychographic, and sociographic data for their local communities to enable them to develop missional ministry approaches for their local contexts through roles in faith-based organizations and in occupations where they engage people at their point of need. That takes research.
We desire that Christian believers learn how to express their faith in their own social context in culturally-appropriate ways. We desire that Christian believers learn how to interact with culturally different peoples in grace-filled, appropriate ways. Qualitiative research enables Christians to learn the social context and interact appropriately.
Being able to properly conduct research is practical skill.
Students may "think" they know all about their context, but stepping back and understanding the story, history, experience, and lives of the people in that context will allow for them to be more missional focused and better communicators of the Gospel.