The Potential and Challenges of Empirical Research in Theology: Observations and Reflections from a Supervisor’s Perspective

Bernhard OTT


This paper explores the potential and the challenges of empirical research in theological education from a supervisor’s perspective. It argues that empirical research brings theology down to earth. It enables theology to turn to life and leads theology into cultures and contexts. It helps theology to move away from disconnected and ahistorical, intellectual reasoning, and it embeds theological theories in praxis. However, the following challenges are identified and discussed: Researchers and supervisors have to understand and to assess the so called ‘empirical turn’. They need to master empirical research methodologies and methods, and finally, theology and empirical research have to be integrated properly.



Empirical research, theology, empirical theology, contextual theology, reflective practitioner, empirical turn, methods, methodology.


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Copyright (c) 2018 Bernhard OTT


ISSN 2521-179X (Online), ISSN 2415-783X (Print)