Preliminary research on the religious tradition that is not yours

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Preliminary research on the religious tradition that is not yours

Assignment Instructions
For this Site Visit, students will perform field research by attending a religious service outside of their own religious tradition. The goal is to immerse each student in an unfamiliar religious context (example: Christians should perform field research on a non-Christian religion, like Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.)

At the top of your paper, please include the name of the religious site visited, the date visited, the names of any individuals you may have interviewed, and ALSO the particular sect or denomination of the religion that practices at the site.

Assignment Details
Format:
MLA format required
Double-spaced, 12 point size, Arial or Times New Roman font
Length: 1800-2000 words (not Including your Works Cited page)
Content: Field research and also supplementary research
Sources: 3 academic sources minimum
Works Cited page required

Assignment Instructions

For this Site Visit, students will perform field research by attending a religious service outside of their own religious tradition. The goal is to immerse each student in an unfamiliar religious context (example: Christians should perform field research on a non-Christian religion, like Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.)

At the top of your paper, please include the name of the religious site visited, the date visited, the names of any individuals you may have interviewed, and the particular sect or denomination of the religion that practices at the site.

[If you visited a Muslim mosque, was it Sunni or Shi’ite? If you visited a Jewish synagogue, was it Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform? If you visited a Buddhist temple, was it Theravada or a Mahayana sect?] You may want to ask this when you call to find out if your visit is acceptable.

Your research should ideally progress in three stages:

Preliminary Research
Before going to the service, it is a good idea to do some preliminary research on the religious tradition. For example, if you’re attending a Hindu ceremony, you will want to read the textbook chapter and watch the PowerPoint presentation on Hinduism. Additionally, I strongly recommend that you call the site you’ll be visiting and let them know you’re coming to do research for a class project. Ask them if there are any dress code requirements or anything else you should keep in mind. You may also want to ask if they will allow you to take notes during the service. (Some Jewish denominations, for example, do not allow writing on Shabbat {Saturday}.)
Field Research
Attend the service and observe closely. You may want to take notes. Some students have found it helpful to attend services in groups, and you’re welcome to do this.

Preliminary research on the religious tradition that is not yours

Supplementary Research

After your visit, research any elements of the experience that were unfamiliar and that left you with questions, including but not limited to the practices, symbols, dress code, and conversations encountered at the site. In other words, research each practice and find out why it’s done in this particular sect.

Examples:
If you go to a Jewish service and you see the men wearing kippahs (or yarmulkes), you don’t want to write in your essay, “There were these men and they were wearing these funny hats but I don’t know why.” This is where your additional research comes in. Find out what the hats are called, and find out why they’re worn.

If you go to a Muslim mosque and you see the worshipers washing their hands and feet, you don’t want to write in your essay, “Everyone was washing their hands and feet but I don’t know why they did that and it was pretty weird.”
Upon completing these three stages, write a detailed and insightful essay. It should demonstrate a general understanding of the religious tradition; use your research to explain your experience at the site. What did you see around you? What did the place of worship look like? Did you see any religious art or religious symbols there? How were people dressed? What rituals were performed?

Finally, include your personal reaction to the service. How did you respond? Did you enjoy the visit or did you feel uncomfortable? Also, were your opinions about the religion challenge or confirmed by the site visit?

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