Related Themes

Additional Resources for Community Research Guide for Church Leaders

This page is a companion resource to the Community Research Guide for Church Leaders. Copies of the practical 31-page guide by James W. Watson are available from either The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (free download) or Outreach Canada.

2.1 Spiritual (Page 12 in the Guide)

  • provides an introduction to many of the churches in your location.  Note that some churchs may not yet appear in the database. Consider contacting Outreach Canada to contribute additional information to further develop this free resource.
  • There are a number of webpages devoted to prayer walking. Try an online search and discern which sites might be most useful considering your church's approach to prayer.

2.2 Relational (Page 13 in the Guide)

2.3 Lifestyle (Page 14 in the Guide)

  • Census data covers a wide variety of categories that can relate to lifestyle. Note the hyperlinks to census analysis through community profiles in 1.7 below.

2.4 Cultural (Page 15 in the Guide)

  • Flemming, Dean E. 2005. Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Mission. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. This Bible and mission textbook examines the different ways in which the New Testament relates to culture. From Jesus' incarnation, to Luke's writing of Acts, to the different exegetical forms Paul used to relate to Gentile readers this book provides food for thought regarding how to present the gospel in different cultural contexts.
  • Rojek, Chris. 2007. Cultural Studies, Polity Short Introduction Series. Cambridge: Polity Press. This introductory text provides an overview of cultural studies as a field of research, but more importantly for cultural analysis, it provides some basic approaches to examining cultural dynamics along with illustrations from popular culture. While some imagination will be required to link this approach to examining "everyday" culture with ministry development, it does provide some helpful interpretive approaches.

2.5 Assets (Page 16 in the Guide)

2.6 Needs (Page 17 in the Guide)

2.7 Trends (Page 18 in the Guide)

2.8 Geography (Page 19 in the Guide)

  • Outreach Canada can provide thematic maps based on census data or church location data.
  • Some online mapping services (e.g., GoogleMaps) can provide options for designing and sharing maps. This can provide a common online workspace for researchers or allow specialized information maps to be developed for presentations.

1.0 Techniques (Page 20 in the Guide)

  • For a quick overview of research process design, explore: The Owl at Purdue / Conducting Primary Research.
  • Ethics are important to preserve integrity and minimize risk of misunderstanding. While many of the issues may not be directly applicable to small church-based research projects the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans represents substantial thinking on ethics and research in Canada.
  • Many Canadian universities with social science research programs will also have helpful guidelines and commentary on research ethics that might be useful for contextualization to church based research. The University of Toronto's statement is one example.
  • This online textbook provides a helpful overview of the issues and explains why human research ethics are currently a "hot topic."

1.1 Observation and Conversation (Page 21 in the Guide)

  • Observation is sometimes associated with the participant observation methodology. While introducing more technical terminology for observation, participant observation also provides insight into the experiences of professional researchers who have learned a great deal through developing their skills of observation.
  • Minnesota State University provides this brief overview of participant observation as a research technique.
  • This overview from a health foundation website provides both an introduction as well as a bibliography.
  • Many good qualitative research textbooks provide information on participatory observation as a formal methodology. One example of a useful textbook is: Jorgensen, Danny L. 1989. Participant Observation: A Methodology for Human Studies. Vol 15, Applied Social Research Methods Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

1.2 Sampling (Page 22 in the Guide)

  • Many of the resources related to surveys also include information about sampling (see section 1.3).
  • For alternative options to creating a representative (or random) sample, consider the options available in this Cornell University online textbook.
  • For an introduction to the technical aspects of sampling for a number of different research techniques, review chapters 6-8 of Bernard, H. Russell. 2006. Research Methods in Anthropology. 4th ed. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

1.3 Surveys (Page 23 in the Guide)

  • Survey design is difficult to do well. Expect to create several drafts and test the survey several times before creating an effective questionnaire. If this is your first time creating a survey, if at all possible seek help to avoid some of the common errors made when designing questionnaires.
  • This section on survey design from a Cornell University online textbook is quite helpful.
  • This guide from Colorado State University is very practical, easy to read and highlights the pros and cons of different forms of survey research.
  • Smart Survey Design. This is an accessible introduction to survey design posted by
  • For a quick overview of the differnt forms of surveys see Survey Design: Questionnaire Design Tips.

These two textbooks are examples of some of the many excellent resources available to assist in survey design:

1.4 Interviews (Page 24 in the Guide)

  • Many of the survey resources (see section 1.3) include interviews as a form of "in person" survey. Those resources can also apply to structured interviews.
  • Unstructured interviews. Many different fields of study make use of research methodologies, a helpful overview of unstructured interviews can be found on this health foundation website.
  • For a helpful introduction to many of the practical issue of unstructured interviews, see chapter 9 (Interviewing: Unstructured and Semistructured) in Bernard, H. Russell. 2006. Research Methods in Anthropology, 4th ed. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

1.5 Focus Groups (Page 25 in the Guide)

1.6 People to Consider (Page 26 in the Guide)

Many of the resource people listed on this page might be accessible through websites. An online search based on the name of your community or region may proved a wealth of information (from restaurants to local history). It can be worthwhile to sort through the links to discern which provide superficial information and which point to new information, deeper reflection on the nature of the community or helpful connections to resources or knowledgeable people who may be of assistance.

1.7 Information Sources (Page 27 in the Guide)

  • Statistics Canada offers preformated profiles for communities and census tract areas based on the 2006 census. The most recent census religious affiliation information, however is from the 2001 census.
  • You may also be able to find other reports on your community by using Statistics Canada's search engine.
  • Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism: Statistics Canada Resources page has many links to Statistics Canada resources that will be of interest to church leaders.
  • Outreach Canada can create customized community profiles or thematic maps of your community.
  • Rural Research. This site is part of the Government of Canada's Canadian Rural Partnership program. 

Other Community Research Guides