So during last class we discussed our research projects in a very frank, pragmatic way that got me thinking about what I'll be doing on the ground each day while I'm in London. Essentially, my question is a rather simple one:
What do Britons think about the decreasing religiosity in their society?
The answer is key, because as far as I have been able to observe through my research, the nation is very polarized, and the heavier end of the spectrum is shifting more and more to the nonreligious. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence that religious practice provides many different benefits to society, from physical health to strong marriages. Powerful figures like Prime Minister David Cameron have made arguments for a more assertive confirmation of religious convictions, and especially Christian values, in society (see the post below for Cameron's comments). It will be incredibly interesting to discover how the British people, and the various minority groups that can be found in London especially, feel about these changes in the country, and what they feel are the major impacts on their society.
However, then comes the question of how exactly I'm going to do it. It would be possible to ride the tube back and forth between stations, and talk to individuals about how they feel about this issue. What I might do is hand out a simple survey to people seated on the subways (like 2-3 questions) and ask them how they feel. I can visit schools, churches, cathedrals, and political buildings. I could interview families in their homes. I'm not going to have a camera though, and all in order to get direct quotes I'll have to have some sort of recording device, and disclaimers, and signatures...
Otherwise, I"ll have to use a pre made survey to evaluate each short conversation, or collect printed surveys from people.
That's going to be a lot of printing costs.