Religious Education Research through a Community of Practice

Julia IpgraveRobert JacksonKevin O’Grady (Editor)

Religious Education Research through a Community of Practice

Action Research and the Interpretive Approach

2009,  Religious Diversity and Education in Europe,  Band 13,  238  pages,  paperback,  24,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-2158-5

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This book brings together a group of teachers and teacher educators who have researched their own students’ learning in schools and universities as part of the EC funded REDCo Project. Combining the methods of action and practitioner research with the key concepts of Robert Jackson’s interpretive approach, the book illustrates the collaborative research of a group of professionals working together as a community of practice.
• Part one sets out the key ideas of the interpretive approach and action research.
• Part two reports case studies from individual researchers’ projects carried out in diverse though related settings: different schools, teacher education and local authority teacher training.
• Part three traces the ideas of the ‘interpretive approach’, ‘action research’ and ‘community of practice’ across the individual studies.
• Part four connects the research with wider themes and findings from the European Commission REDCo Project on religion, education, dialogue and conflict.

The book is highly relevant to the work of teachers and teacher trainers in the field of religions and education, to researchers in this field, and to all interested in action research, practitioner research and communities of practice.


This is a tremendously helpful resource, particularly for anyone grappling with the issues of community cohesion, PVE through the DCSF ‘Learning together to be safe’ programme and a revisiting of the ethnographic principles applied to pedagogy in religious education.
Mary Myatt in: Newsletter der Associaton of RE Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants.

This is an extremely useful book, primarily, for two reasons. Firstly, it gives a very clear an accessible account of action research methodology and how it can be used in an educational setting. [...] This study provides good documentation as well as plentiful examples of appropriate use of an action research methodology and as such will greatly assist those who are contemplating empirical work in religious education. [...] Secondly, the book provides a good overview oft the interpretative approach to religious education developed by Robert Jackson at the University of Warwick. [...] For those interested in using action research as a research tool or to improve classroom practice this book is highly recommended.
Richard Rymarz in: Journal of Religious Education.

There can be few, if any, series of academic books focusing on the theory and practice of Religious Education (RE) that have been so profilic as this series from Waxmann. [...] If the quantity and frequency of these studies is somewhat breathtaking, one can only admire the quality that has been achieved throughout the series [...]. Ultimately this is a worthwile book with valuable insights, not least in its affirmation of the importance of the interpretive approach. There are many learning points along the way that should prove relevant to religious educators in various contexts and this was clearly the experience of those who participated in the process. [...] To read this book is, to a degree, to share in the community of practice and therefore, potentially, to extend its influence.
Norman Richardson in: British Journal of Religious Education, 3. 2010.

This book invites readers to, and provides its own inspiration for, such a generative community of practice.
Mary E. Hess in: Teaching Theology and Religion, 1. 2012.