In the Research Center for Biographical Studies in Contemporary Religion, we implement empirical research projects concerned with a variety of religious orientations, religious styles and attitudes of different age groups. The analysis of children’s drawings, youth and religion, or the study of mediation of conflicts in the classroom were part of the research, as well as, the comparative Study of studies on Deconversion, the Study on the Semantics and Psychology of Spirituality in the USA and Germany, and our Study of Xenosophia and Religion in Germany.
Our research interest in religious development originates in the theoretical and methodological engagement with James Fowler's faith development theory and research. However, our approach aims at accounting for the complexity and variance of religious development -including progress and regression- and thus calls into question the assumption of mono-directional, stage-wise development. The discussion and revision of the theoretical framework of faith development theory has resulted in a model of religious styles and religious schemata.
Our current research has a special focus on the longitudinal research of individual development of religiosities, spiritualties and world views in the USA and Germany. Teams both at Bielefeld University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga dedicate time and energy in this new research project.
In regard to methods, we greatly benefit from our past projects and use the latest refinement of our research design and instruments, which includes a combination (triangulation) of quantitative research strategies with qualitative methods based on biographical interviews