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Understanding Qualitative Research Methods and Data

The following section will discuss some relevant topics in research briefly.

1.1 Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative research is a research method which is used by researchers when they want to study something that is not quantifiable, and research methods which make use of data which is not empirically analysed (Apers and Corte, 2019). It is basically a research method which prioritises the experiences of people and puts that in the centre of their inquiry (Silverman, 2020). Three types of data gathering are used in qualitative research with humans: in-depth, open-ended interviews; personal observation; and written documentation (Patton, 2005).

Quantitative research, on the other hand, looks at the quantifiable research, which can be numerically assimilated. It is a term that refers to a set of techniques for systematically investigating social issues using descriptive statistic data. As a result, quantitative research entails measurement and presupposes that the occurrences under investigation can be quantified. Its goal is to look for trends and patterns in data and to double-check the measurements made. Some things, like height and weight, are simple to measure; others, like what people think or feel, are more challenging. This is what quantitative research is all about (Watson, 2015). For all methods of measurement, similar criteria are used to verify, calculate, and analyse data. Quantitative research can be thought of as a way of approaching the world. It's primarily deductive: measurements are taken, analysis is performed, and conclusions are derived. It's meaningless to argue about whether quantitative or qualitative research is more effective. In a combined or mixed methods approach, the researcher may use both quantitative and qualitative approaches in his or her research design ( Andrew and Halcomb 2009).

1.2 Alienation

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The term "alienation" comes from Karl Marx's study on the impacts of the capitalist labour process on employees, and it has been well documented in a multitude of scholars dating back many years. According to Marx, alienation is a state in which a person loses touch with the output of his or her labour after giving up the desire for self-expression and power over his or her own destiny at work. The individual plays a role that is incompatible with the kind of life that the person is capable of - this is an essential point to which we will return later. Changes external to the person emerging from the industrialization process, with the formation of big factories defined by organisational hierarchies, job specialisation, and work supervision relying on formal authority, as well as a change in life emphasis away from the home and community to the organisation, can be connected to the development of this state (Bottomore and Rubel, 1961; Corlett, 1988; O’Donahue and Nelson, 2014).

Alienation usually refers to a person's subjective condition, or more precisely, a snapshot of what is commonly considered as an identity-based inner process in both psychoanalysis and Marxist theory. Societies, institutions, large-scale societal systems, and so on can all be alienating, yet to call them alienated implies that they are aware of something they aren’t (Geyer, 2001).

1.3 Social Movements

In reaction to perceived inequity, injustice, and/or unfulfilled social, political, economic, or cultural demands, social movements are massive, typically informal gatherings of individuals who band together against ruling class around a shared cause. Social movements aren't about political discussion or "invited spaces" of state-society interaction at their heart. In order to modify current power structures and dynamics, social actors organise their activities in long-term sequences of resistance and contestation. People who lack direct access to institutions or who act in the cause of new or shunned claims generally have few (peaceful) choices to dispute existing rules of the game, which lends social movements their contentious character (Menocal, 2016). Power is challenged as a result of popular mobilisation. Power both mobilises and calms, inspires and restrains, brings people together and divides them. The power of current institutions and agencies is put into question, and moments of tremendous potential develop — fresh thoughts, new identities, and legislative changes may all arise as a result of the mobilisation process. The organizations and agencies that develop, on the other hand, are frequently not what the participants had imagined. True popular mobilizations are led by numerous points of leadership from inside population, rather than by elected figures or intellectuals. As a result, mobilisation is unexpected, if not volatile. Popular uprisings frequently offer a real or perceived danger to established institutions. Unless the state or another authority has put in place mechanisms to channel or restrict public demands, mobilizations can expand quickly and uncontrolled, leading to severe reactions (Badiou, 2012).

1.4 Sustainability

There have been many definitions and understandings of the term sustainability. The Brundtland World Commission report gave the most well-known concept of sustainability (1987). The word was described as "development that fulfils current generation requirements without jeopardising future generations' ability to fulfil their own wants."

The study of the subject grew in popularity in the nineteenth century, owing to human-caused environmental damage. Rachel Carson, a marine scientist, wrote her book "Silent Spring" in 1962, in which she examined how the use of pharmaceuticals is affecting nature and may eventually poison mankind by creating illnesses such as cancer. After a decade of effort, a number of chemicals were banned as a consequence of public outrage, which was fueled by fears of poisoning and pollution affecting the food system (Carson, 1962). Following Carson, social critics blamed environmental deterioration on structural reasons such as profit-driven company cultures rather than random carelessness (Ricketts et al., 2010). Nasr (2010) gave another perspective on sustainability, emphasising the necessity for organisations to handle the problem of sustaining material supply, which is growing scarce, particularly for rare earth minerals. While an increase in demand is normally met by an increased supply, that's not the case in China, which produces 97 percent of these components and opted to decrease exports by 72 percent. Hence, sustainability is a concept which is constantly evolving, as the environmental concerns of this world are constant evolving.

3. Discuss the role of religion in late modern societies.

The significance of religions in our late-modern culture has sparked a burgeoning debate throughout the years. On first reading, one may conclude that the terms "religious," "modern," and "society" are understood in the conventional sense; for example, whenever one considers religion, an image of a cross or a star and crescent moon may spring to mind. This corresponds to organised faiths like Christianity and Islamism. Furthermore, the term modern or contemporary may be interpreted by others as non-religious or secular. However, as a result of the phenomena of globalisation, these phrases now have a variety of meanings that one may accept as normal. Religion is interpreted differently by individuals around the globe, hence the concept of religion may signify various things to various people (Yong, 2014).

It would be foolish to assume the birth of a new century has not coincided with the disappearance of religion in personal life and public culture. Religion continues to offer meaning and entangle everyday social, commercial, and political activities, despite, and maybe because of, dissatisfaction with our increasingly rationalised world. Many factors contribute to the fact that the ongoing importance of religion in late contemporary society was not predicted by classical social scientists and is at conflict with much of modern philosophy (Dillon, 2003). From an intellectual standpoint, it essentially reflects both modern social thought's increasing focus on reason and its inclination to consign religion to the domain of the non-rational. In a nutshell, the former considers calculating, instrumental rationality to be the overriding driver of all forms of social action, whilst the latter considers religion and reason to be intrinsically irreconcilable (Ibid).

It's frequently considered that religion and rational reason are mutually incompatible. This viewpoint is most clearly expressed in Jurgen Habermas' works (1984, 1987). Habermas offers a nonstrategic, interactive rationality based on a process of logical argumentation in place of a one-sided reasoning that prioritises strategic action. However, by doing so, he dismisses the importance of non-rational factors in communication interchange. He eliminates arguments that he believes are tainted by their associations with feeling, faith, and tradition, and as a result, he overlooks a vast array of resources employed in everyday life. Although Habermas is correct in his suspicion of how feeling and tradition may hide power imbalances that allow some "truths" to dominate institutional practises, his rigorous separation of religion and reasoned reasoning portrays religion as a monolithic, dogmatic force. As a result, he overlooks the openness of many religious traditions to rational self-criticism and discussion, as well as the importance of doctrinal and practical thinking in individual and communal perceptions of religious texts (Dillon 1999).

In the contemporary understanding, there has been a gradual shift the understanding of religion and its role in the modern society. Indeed, several scholars are increasingly seeing a link between the popularity of spirituality and the presence of religion. Spirituality and religion, according to Nancy Ammerman (2013), are considered as complementary rather than antagonistic by a vast number of Americans. According to some sociologists, the emic boundary between "religion" and "spirituality" is not as clear-cut, since many people, particularly in the United States, start to identify as religious and spiritual. This suggests that the move from religion to spirituality is more about semantics than substance. Unfortunately, since they fail to distinguish between the idea of "spirituality" and the cultural framework that underpins it, these investigations tend to confuse rather than clarify. Indeed, while asking people what they mean by spirituality could be the only way to figure out its ingrained cultural structure, it isn't failsafe. This is for two reasons: firstly, it is a rare individual who can express their religious or philosophical beliefs and how they fit together in a structured manner. Second, as Ammerman points out (2014). As the author correctly points out, the SBNR designation represents moral and political categories rather than analytic ones. As a result, she comes to the conclusion that when people construct divisions between spirituality and religion, they are just painting lines around people with whom they disagree ethically or politically. The same is reiterated by Watts (2020), who conducts interviews among younger generations of Canadian students, in an attempt to understand the changing role of religion in the contemporary society and whether there is a wider acceptance of religion in the form of spirituality now, or not.

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Because of the diversity in opinions and beliefs in the modern-day society, it is important to realise that there will very likely be a disparity in belief systems, and to expect individuals to all subscribe to similar kinds of beliefs is unrealistic. Yong (2014), hence, says it is even more critical to expand the conversation to differing perspectives on ‘religion,' and to recognise that the function of religion in civilization does not dictate whether or not that culture is contemporary. Furthermore, the media's function in filling the gap between people all over the world has added yet another dimension to religion's function in modern society. Because there are many and contradicting messages aired all across the world, it has certainly complicated the argument. The media-religion interaction has also been shown to have long-term socio-political consequences. As a result of this phenomena, one's perspective on issues such as religion is coloured, and religious conversations are no more one-dimensional; they now encompass numerous levels, systems, and parts of society.

References

Aspers, P., Corte, U. What is Qualitative in Qualitative Research. Qual Sociol 42, 139–160 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9413-7

Patton, M.Q., 2005. Qualitative research. Encyclopedia of statistics in behavioral science.

Silverman, D. ed., 2020. Qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.

Watson, R., 2015. Quantitative research. Nursing Standard (2014+), 29(31), p.44.

Andrew, S. and Halcomb, E. eds., 2009. Mixed methods research for nursing and the health sciences. Wiley-Blackwell Pub.

O’Donohue, W. and Nelson, L., 2014. Alienation: An old concept with contemporary relevance for human resource management. International Journal of Organizational Analysis.

Geyer, F., 2001. Alienation, sociology of. Journal of Sociology, 62(1), pp.63-7.

Edited by Bottomore, T.B., 1961. Karl Marx selected writings in sociology and social philosophy. Penguin Books.

Corlett, J.A., 1988. Alienation in capitalist society. Journal of Business Ethics, 7(9), pp.699-701.

Badiou, A., 2012. The rebirth of history: Times of riots and uprisings. Verso Books.

Brundtland, G.H., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S. and Chidzero, B.J.N.Y., 1987. Our common future. New York, 8.

Carson, R., 1962. Silent Spring Houghton Mifflin. Boston, MA, USA.

Nasr, N., 2010. Sustainability's next frontier. Industrial Engineer, 42(12), pp.24-25.

Ricketts, G., Wood, P.R., Balch, S.H. and Thorne, A., 2011. The Vanishing West: 1964-2010--The Disappearance of Western Civilization from the American Undergraduate Curriculum. National Association of Scholars.

Yong, G., 2014. Religion in Late Modern Society

Habermas, J., 2015. The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and Systems, a Critique of Functionalist Reason, Volume 2 (Vol. 2). John wiley & sons.

Dillon, M., 1999. The authority of the holy revisited: Habermas, religion, and emancipatory possibilities. Sociological Theory, 17(3), pp.290-306.

Watts, G., 2020. The religion of the heart:“Spirituality” in late modernity. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, pp.1-33.

Ammerman, N.T., 2013. Spiritual but not religious? Beyond binary choices in the study of religion. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(2), pp.258-278.

Ammerman, N.T., 2014. Sacred stories, spiritual tribes: Finding religion in everyday life. Oxford University Press.

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