Papers related to research methods, agendas, and projects in the study of information and religion.
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This presentation builds upon the growing consensus to rethink the DIKW pyramid and to replace it with a more accurate model that represents the true source of knowledge – people. It also proposes that a new research area be considered in the field of knowledge sciences, specifically one that addresses the relationship of knowledge and wisdom, drawing from work in religious studies. The paper highlights important factors that are missing from the knowledge sciences discussion – understanding, learning, and spirituality.
In his 2010 blog, David Weinberger, Director of Harvard’s Innovation Lab, accurately described the origins and popularization of the DIKW (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom) pyramid. The pyramid was first described by T.S. Eliot in his poem, The Rock. In 1989, it gained popularity in a reference by Russell Ackoff (International Society for General Systems Research). Weinberger correctly describes the promotion of the DIKW concept as a desperate attempt to justify the high dollar investments that were made in information systems in the 1990s. While the DIKW pyramid served an economic goal in the 1990s, it came at a high opportunity cost – the side-tracking of further explorations of the relationships of knowledge, wisdom, spirituality and understanding. A brief review of the past 20 years of knowledge sciences research suggests there are few references to these topics. This research reconnects wisdom, knowledge, spirituality and understanding drawing from the wealth of work in religious studies and Biblical references in particular. This research is anchored in the recent recognition of the role of spirituality, morals, ethics in the 21st knowledge society. This is a view that is well received in Asia, where knowledge sciences are understood to include the spiritual side and knowledge resides in people and results from understanding. It also adds to the growing consensus that it is time to refocus our thinking away from the DIKW pyramid and towards a more complete view people, the source of knowledge, and of a more complete knowledge life cycle.
Foundational authors, Nonaka and Takeuchi, correctly recognized the role of spirituality in gaining understanding and attaining wisdom. With the pivot of knowledge management (the practice) to technology in the 1990’s, though, this recognition was lost. In religious studies we see attainment of knowledge and wisdom without any references to “information” or “data”. Clearly, over millennia, data and information have not been prerequisites for attaining knowledge. From the technology perspective, where structured and encoded data may through interpretation produce information, the attainment of “wisdom” too often takes the form of humor and jokes. The lack of treatment of wisdom in the knowledge sciences discipline is significant and obvious. We believe that by characterizing the treatment of wisdom in religious studies and connecting it to the treatment of knowledge in knowledge sciences, we will be opening a new line of inquiry in both disciplines. This new line of inquiry is critical to the healthy development of a knowledge society in the 21st century. At the same time, we hope to expand the discussion in the field of religion and information to include the broader concept of knowledge.
This study will concern itself with two primary questions regarding Orthodox Christian evangelism: Why is the Orthodox East reticent when it comes to outspoken, mainstream evangelism, as it is presented in the Christian West, and what is the evangelical philosophy of the Orthodox Church? The research will endeavor to firstly introduce a little known branch of Christianity to an unaware public. Secondly, the writers will seek to demonstrate why a modest presence has worked well for Orthodoxy, preserving its integrity, with little compromise to its tradition. The final endeavor will be to represent Orthodox Christianity as a religion concerned with the public by discussing its efforts to disseminate information about itself through evangelism.
Questions about belief: an analysis of Yahoo! Answers queries regarding ‘belief’ in Islam and Christianity06/06/2014
This paper will present a content analysis of questions related to religious belief in Islam and in Christianity, as posed to social media Q&A sites. We choose Yahoo! Answers as a representative social media site because we wish to investigate religious information behavior by laypeople. We will conduct a concept analysis of the questions, to create a categorization of questions by intent (e.g., a factual information need, self-expression of personal viewpoint, etc.), and for factual questions, we will further categorize the types of conventional metadata expressed in the question.
everyday, authentic information seeking. To that end, we investigate the motivations for posting questions on religion on social media websites, and explore the match between conventional document metadata and the metadata offered by users in their questions to describe their factual information needs.
We choose the concept of ‘belief’ as the focus for our investigation of religious information behavior. This concept is selected because it is central to both Islam and Christianity (whereas other concepts such as tithing, religious laws, etc. are more specific to practice rather than to ideology). We examine queries pertaining to both Islam and Christianity so that we can compare the emergent question categorizations across the two.
The questions are sampled from the “answered” queries posed, that are retrieved by a search on the Society & Culture > Religion category by searches on “Christian belief” and “Islam belief” (as well as alternatives such as “Christianity believe”, “Muslim belief”, etc.). We will sample recent Yahoo! Answers until we identify 400 questions for each of Islam and Christianity (after eliminating duplicates, mis-categorized questions, and other noise in the dataset).
Content analysis will be employed to categorize the questions by intent of the questioner. Previous research suggests possible categories, but we anticipate that additional / different categories will emerge from the analysis. We will further categorize the types of conventional metadata that users specify in factual questions; we will seek to match these metadata types to the metadata offered in digital libraries with a focus on religion.
To our knowledge, there has been no previous study of religion-related information seeking behavior of laypeople; results of our concept analysis will provide the first evidence-based insights into the motivations of laypeople for posting questions regarding religion, and for seeking religious information through social media. Moreover, this study is based on authentic information behavior (rather than post-hoc recollections of behavior obtained through surveys or questionnaires, or artificial behavior exhibited in IR laboratory experiments).
We anticipate that our analysis of the Yahoo! Answers data will produce:
• a taxonomy of question types likely including emotional / affective, task-based, and self-expressive categories, as well as more conventional factual or evidence-based question categories. We base this assumption on the findings of previous analyses of queries to social Q&A sites (e.g., Bowler et al, 2012; Cunningham and Bainbridge, 2013),
• a categorization of metadata presented in the question and type of document or response requested as a successful answer. This type of categorization can inform the design of information systems / digital libraries to support information behavior in the target field (e.g., Cunningham and Bainbridge, 2013; Hinze, 2010).
Cunningham, S. J., and Bainbridge, D. (2013). An analysis of cooking queries: Implications for supporting leisure cooking. iConference 2013 Proceedings (pp. 112-123). doi:10.9776/13160
Bowler, L., Oh, J. S., He, D., Mattern, E., & Jeng, W. 2012 Eating disorder questions in Yahoo! Answers: Information, conversation, or reflection? Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 49(1), 1-11.
Hinze, A.M., Chang, C. & Nichols, D.M. Contextual queries express mobile information needs, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI 2010), ACM. 327-336.
Dr. Sally Jo Cunningham has an extensive research background in information behavior, including studies that are interview-based; ethnographic studies of music and ‘serious hobby’ document searching and browsing; and studies of queries posed to online community systems for music, images, and cooking information. She primarily studies everyday information behavior in its ‘native’ context. She has over 150 peer-reviewed publications, primarily in information behavior, digital libraries, and human-computer interaction.
Dr Annika Hinze has an established research track record on information seeking, contextual information delivery, and personalization, as well as substantial experience in data analysis regarding information seeking behavior (exploration of information needs based on location and context). She has been involved in a number of projects on human-centered search and contextual information delivery. She has almost 100 peer-reviewed publications on contextual information delivery, digital libraries, and information behavior.
Completing the pilgrimage to Mecca (known as hajj) represents perhaps the most profound experience in the life of a Muslim. Preparing for hajj involves a series of stages encompassing both material and spiritual dimensions. This study explores the ways in which twelve Muslim pilgrims have experienced this life-altering event and the ways in which information in its multiple forms (textual, spiritual, corporeal, etc.) has mediated and shaped their journey (spiritual, physical, and informational). We build on established theories in information behavior in the context of everyday life and spirituality/religion, as well as the role of discourse and discursive practices in (re-) producing knowledge about hajj and about becoming a hajji.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82% over the past decade – accounting for more than 1M in 2011 (or 3.2% of Canada’s total population). The median age of Canada’s Muslim population is 28.9 years of age. There are significant opportunities and challenges in understanding how Canada’s Muslims seek information, what their needs are, what practices they have retained and adapted (in the case of migrant individuals), and the potential social, economic, and cultural barriers they encounter along the way (Caidi & MacDonald, 2008). Furthermore, the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technologies has a tremendous role in transforming both the process and experience of being a Muslim in Canada.
In this study, we focus on a significant milestone in the life of the Muslim: the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Saudi Arabia). The hajj is one of the world’s largest religious gatherings; in 2012 approximately 3.5 million pilgrims visited Mecca. The hajj is one the five foundational pillars of Islam, an obligation all Muslim men and women of sufficient ability and means must fulfill once in their lifetime. It corresponds to a profound and unifying set of rituals performed in the Muslim world (Clingingsmith 2009: 1134), as well as an embodiment of the transhistorical and transnational Muslim community (ummah). Despite being a pivotal, transformational moment in the social and religious life of the pilgrim, there is a dearth of research on the informational aspects of this phenomenon. To investigate how Muslims acquire and share network-mediated hajj information, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 Muslims (6 men and 6 women) residing in Toronto, and who have completed hajj in the last 5 years. Building on existing frameworks (Van Gennep, 1960; Turner, 1974; Roff, 1985) that conceptualize the pilgrimage in terms of stages: separation (preparatory phase), transition (liminal phase), aggregation (culminating phase), and re-entry (regressive/reversing phase), our study adds an informational dimension to characterize key moments, including the “calling” (to perform hajj) as well as pre-and post-hajj informational activities, and the ways in which information mediates the experience of being a pilgrim in Mecca/becoming a hajji. A thematic analysis will be conducted through an iterative process.
While several bodies of academic research explore the many facets of the ritual of pilgrimage, and the hajj specifically (among them anthropology, religious studies, and Islamic studies), the intersection of religious studies and information has become the source of fruitful research in recent years but does not encompass pilgrimage research. We build on established theories in everyday life information behavior and scholarship in information and spirituality/religion to capture the multifaceted nature of hajj as an informational experience (including the significance of emotions and affect in information behavior; the role of network structures in accessing information about hajj and how people gain information from their networks). We also rely on a discursive approach to examine how pilgrims encounter and make sense of (i.e., become literate in) the ‘hajj landscape’ and learn to become a hajji. Our study thus provides insights into how Muslim pilgrims gain information about hajj; the information network dynamics, and collaborative information behavior. As well, it provides insights into the discursive practices, which encompasses becoming information literate, and transitioning toward a collectively shared construction of what it means to become a hajji.
Nadia Caidi is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Her current research is situated in the context of global migration and the role that information resources, institutions, and technologies play in the everyday lives of international migrants. This includes the interaction of global and local discourses in the information experiences of migrant individuals and communities, as well as their relationships with cultural and memory institutions such as libraries, archives and museums. She has published in various journals including Journal of Documentation, Library & Information Science Research, ARIST, Library Quarterly, Journal of Information, The information Society and Information Research.
Adrienne Phillips is a graduate student in the Master of Information program at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. She has a BA (Hons.) in History from McGill University.
In these days many scholars are looking for a theory of community development in order to support motivation, growth, and improvement of the community. Some points on this matter will be discussed in this paper. These points are as follows: What does community development mean? What is the proposed theory? What are the conditions for applying the theory? and what will be happen when the community members apply it?
Mosque Theory will recognize the vitality of individuals and community. When the people go to the mosque as a religious building, their capabilities for improving the activities will be developed. This theory tries to show what should be done and also what will be its achievement. The purpose of the theory is to utilize individual and community vitality for Moslem community development. Through this theory, people develop their community through five new occasions: (a) Forming brotherhood relationship in the community, (b) Learning new things, (c) Creation of knowledge, (d) Leaving sin and (e) Divine Mercy.
This paper is a moral arguments for community development and discuss some patterns that are eligible for community. This paper should be read by Muslims as well as anyone interested in community development.
One of the challenges that most of the countries face today, is how they can develop their community. Off course, development has some different meaning across different cultures. People in different countries deals with different issues and challenging to achieve development of their community. But, the tendency to achieve a safety and friendly community is among most of the countries especially Islamic nations.
Now, Islam is the fastest growing major monotheistic religion in the world. Muslims comprise about one, fifth of the world’s population and constitute a majority in more than forty nations. Undoubtedly, Islam is the religion, which has purposely laid its foundation on human community. There are many Ayah (verses) in Quran, which call the people to live together in community. In some of the Ayah, Allah says:
The believers are members of one family; you shall keep the peace within your family and reverence GOD, that you may attain mercy. [49 : 10];
Do not quarrel, for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart [8: 46];
Help one another in goodness and piety . . . [5:2]
There are many such verses that exhort the Muslims to build the Moslem community on the foundation of unity and harmony acquiring and protecting its spiritual and material benefits and distinction.
Islam has based its laws on monotheism, and secondarily on noble moral values. Through belief in monotheism, people motivate to follow the truth, and believe that it is the best thing which may benefit them, no matter it is accompanied by worldly benefit or not; because that which is with Allah, is better and more enduring. According to this logic, every action will be done for the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is Aware of what they do.
After arrival of Islam in different countries, the religious functions were mixed with other functions. Mosques have been the first religious buildings that were constructed in new converted Islamic countries. It had social, political, and judicial functions and the new Muslim communities residents were structured by Mosque. It has also been a place for cultural exchanges in Muslim communities.
In this paper, we try to examine the impact of mosque on community’s development. For this purpose Mosque theory will be introduced. This theory aims to ensure personal and community well-being.
The objective of this paper is to provide an issue on community development. For this purpose, this paper is consisted of four sections. Section I provides some about what we mean by community development. Section II gives an overview on the mosque history. Section III explains the Mosque Theory, which is the core of this study. Section IV presents the conclusion.
In this paper, I have tried to develop a theory for community development by analyzing the mosques in terms of community perspective. I have shown, how the benefits of the mosque, can transfer to the Moslem community and how it can be used as a religious building for Moslem community development. I have proposed that, by using the mosque as a center for Community development, we can see, five new fortunes will be happened in community that will draw on development.
Some conclusion and recommendation can be written as Follows:
Mosque theory can be used as a software for development of Moslem community and applying it can enhance Moslem community development rate.
Mosque theory can provide a conceptual framework for community development process in different fields of activity. It would also provide a framework for understanding the relationships between the religion building and development.
Community development can be happened by conducting and utilization of community’s vitality through reinforcing morality, brotherhood relationship, devotion and knowledge.
The government has too much influence on the development process. Different communities may develop at different rates, due to differences in government policy.
Mosque must be designed to meet the modern needs of the Muslim people in order to popularize its use and providing effective lateral support is important in the process.
Imams of mosque should be trained in effective methods of management and in modern communication technology
In the course of construction, mosque must be made to appeal to the interest and needs of the modern Muslim lifestyle.
Knowing congregational membership through faith journeys. Autoethnographic study of a West Texas Presbyterian church.06/05/2014
Aside from the preaching and teachings, people attend a given church and stay as members or walk away for many varied reasons. Therefore church membership recruitment and retention has always been a challenge to church organizations globally. People tend to invite friends and families to a church that meets their spiritual and other needs. This narrative inquiry captures the methods used in examining the faith journeys of members of a given congregation, thereby bringing the membership together and thus facilitating strategic planning and management of human and material resources within the church organization.
In this era of church proliferation and prosperity gospel/preaching, recruitment and retention of church membership has taken a whole new dimension. What attracts people to a given church congregation and what is it that makes them stay or move on? Aside from the dynamism of the preacher what else keeps the congregation connected and functioning? Is it a function of the quality of the membership as well as how well they know the faith journeys of other members of the congregation and how comfortable they are with them and more importantly the predominant church culture?
Participant observation, interviews complemented by a survey of select congregational members as well as document analysis served as information sources that were analyzed for this study.
Knowing members of your congregation, where they have been to through their faith journeys helps not only the pastor and church leadership to better understand their membership but also the members of the congregation to know and understand each other.
Results could be useful in placement of members in appropriate roles in church governance and management. It also adds value to church membership and community standing especially if they are involved in social justice issues
The principal author is an associate librarian, a researcher and interested in qualitative research. He has done studies on narrative inquiry and is fascinated about using ethnography as a research tool in areas outside of anthropology/sociology.
Da’wah means the practice or policy of conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims. Da‘wah Academy was established in March, 1985, in order to launch educational, training and research programmes for Da’wah purposes addressing the needs of Muslim communities within and outside Pakistan. To achieve its objectives, the Academy started its publication program in Urdu, English, Pushto, Chines, etc; training programs for religious scholars, teachers, students, young writers, journalists, scouts etc.; distance learning courses for general public, hospital and jail libraries, public library, FM Radio, Journals, Newsletter etc.
Using case study method, this paper will identify the various information dissemination strategies used by Da’wah Academy to convey its message to different groups of the society and the masses within and outside the country.
The main objective of this paper is to identify the various information dissemination strategies used by Da’wah Academy to convey its message to different groups of the society and the masses within and outside the country.
Case study research method will be used to explore the information dissemination strategies used by Da’wah Academy. Official documents, files, reports will be used as primary source while interviews of senior officials (i.e., Deputy Director General, Chairpersons of Research, Training, Media, and Publications Sections, Editors of two periodicals) will also be conducted for data collection purposes. NVivo software will be used for data analysis of qualitative data collected through interviews.
In general, the Academy is using print, electronic and social media to disseminate its information for Da’wah purposes. Major inclination is toward printed media, whereas the use of social media is at the stage of infancy. This will be the first study of its kind since the establishment of Da’wah Academy. The results of this study will help the concerned quarters in streamlining its information dissemination strategy.
Jesus returns to heaven and discovers that He misses the laughter and jokes He heard while on earth. He petitions the Father to let Him do some jokes at a party the Father is giving for the martyrs. The Father reluctantly agrees but plays His own joke on Jesus, and Jesus bombs. Discouraged, Jesus retreats backstage, where He is counseled and coached by several departed comedians, including Milton Berle and Lou Costello. Finally, Thomas Aquinas explains to Jesus why He got no laughs and informs Him of what He must do if He wants to hear laughter again. Jesus listens and makes a remarkable decision.
Religiosity, moral foundations, and environmentalism were investigated in two different congregations. Methodists and Catholics differed in regard to several measures. Comparisons showed that Methodists and Catholics report different moral foundations in general. When primed with the idea that the destruction of ‘nature’ or ‘Creation’ harms all God’s creatures, they express higher levels of environmental concern.
Immediately after a religious service at both Methodist and Catholic churches, subjects were administered several questionnaires, including the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ, Graham et. al., 2009), the Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS, Mayer & Frantz, 2004), and a measure of Religiosity. The MFQ was designed to measure subject’s moral foundations by rating 32 statements concerning their personal views. The MFQ consists of five factors: Care, Fairness, Loyalty, Respect, and Purity; it yields five separate scores. The CNS consists of 14 statements. The Religiosity questionnaire asked about the frequency of church attendance, activities, etc. These three questionnaires asked subjects to rate statements on 1 – 5 Likert scales.
Our experimental manipulation was to prime half of the subjects from each church before they completed the CNS. The prime stated that, after thoughtful prayer with others and reading Scripture, Reverend X had a “conversion” on climate change so profound that he likened it to an “altar call.” As a result, he urged the “government to encourage fuel efficiency, reduce pollution, encourage sustainable use of natural resources, and provide for the proper care of wildlife and their natural habitats in order to address the issue of global warming.”
In a 2 x 2 (Congregation x Gender) ANOVA on the five MFQ scores, significant differences were obtained between Methodists and Catholics on Respect and Purity moral foundations. In both cases, Catholics scored significantly higher. Our priming manipulation was effective, significantly increasing CNS scores (p < .032), such that primed subjects scored higher on CNS. In other words, when being made aware of the preacher’s “altar call”, they expressed more concern about the environment.
Patterns of correlations among scores for moral foundations, CNS, and Religiosity also differed for the two congregations. For Methodists, none of the five MFQ scores were correlated with Religiosity; for Catholics, Religiosity was significantly related to Purity (r = + .564). This may suggest that Catholics believe Purity is a more fundamental aspect of their religion, compared to Methodists.
Both Care and Fairness foundations were correlated to CNS scores for both congregations. However, priming with the “altar call” also changed these correlations, in addition to increasing CNS scores. Without priming, only Fairness was correlated with CNS (r = + .381). With priming, both Care and Fairness were correlated (r = + .376, r = + .368, respectively). Again, the “altar call” changed environmental attitudes. This finding may have occurred because there is a tendency for harm v. care -based moral arguments to dominate environmental rhetoric.
These results show that Methodists and Catholics may use different moral foundations to define what “being religious” means. Further, this study suggests that temporary salience of religiosity may play a significant part in the level of environmental concern people express. This study extends previous research on the relationship of moral judgment to environmentalism.
A Citation Analysis of Ecclesiastes Scholarship: A Test Case Using Citation Analysis in Biblical Studies06/06/2014
This study investigated the authorial citing pattern of scholarly biblical literature covering Ecclesiastes. Specifically, what material types (books, journals, and essays), authors and journals were cited the most during the ten years of 2003 to 2012 was investigated. The purpose of this study was to better understand what authors, journals, and generally what types of material (books, journals, and essays) are being cited the most in scholarly biblical literature.