Introduction to Missiological Research Design

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Edgar Elliston’s Introduction to Missiological Research Design outlines the basic issues of research design for missiological and church-related research. This book describes the logic of the research process for a wide range of missiological research. Whether this research is from a single academic discipline or a multidisciplinary approach, this text will provide relevant guidelines for the design.

Elliston provides instruction, examples, and exercises for inexperienced but serious researchers as they seek to design research that will serve the Church in mission. Elliston also provides experienced researchers with checklists and easy-to-review tables to further aid in research design. This text raises some of the key issues to designing research in a multicultural or cross-cultural context and guides researchers toward ethical and effective study.

  • ISBN: 9780878084753
  • Pages: 272
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: William Carey Library


Dr. Elliston has been teaching research design for a number of years and students like me from all around the world have immensely benefited from the insights and skills generated by this course. Elliston has done a great job in finally putting down his valuable insights on research design in a book form so that students of missiology and other theological disciplines may now have access to this valuable resource. The book not only provides technical and professional insights for developing research design, but also does so from a Christian perspective. I am confident that this book will meet the gap and become a valuable tool for assisting researchers and scholars in undertaking their research effectively.

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Dr. Elliston provides postgraduate missiology students and faculty with an invaluable tool for conducting authentic and reliable research. As a professor of leadership at Theological College in Asia I can testify to the clarity and competence of Elliston’s methodology for international students undertaking doctoral degrees through the University of Wales, UK. This book represents decades of successfully mentoring cross-cultural students in a wide variety of missiological disciplines. It’s a superb contribution to missio Dei in today’s world.

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I have studied under Dr. Edgar Elliston during my doctoral program in the School of World Mission/Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary from 1994–1998. I have used the material in the book on missiological research as I have developed my PhD research design. I have found it to be very practical and helpful. My experience has shown, while assisting Elliston in his teaching the course and working with master’s and doctoral students, that his approach to a wide range of missiological research has helped dozens of US and international students to successfully design and implement their writing projects, theses, and dissertations. Thus, I highly recommend this book to be used by students and teachers of missiological research and design.

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Dr. Edgar Elliston’s book, "Introduction to Missiological Research Design," has been an effective tool which has shaped the research of hundreds of doctoral students at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies. It not only directs the reader step-by-step through the process of missiological research, it also gives the reasoning behind each process. Elliston has also included four essays written by preeminent scholars with each providing their perspective on research in their respective disciplines. In addition, several appendices give instruction on pre- and post-text issues, and common research errors. Exhaustive is the one word that comes to mind when describing the range of material contained in this book. After almost two decades of development, "Introduction to Missiological Research Design" is definitive. It will be an invaluable resource and a must-buy for anyone wishing to pursue missiological inquiry.

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Dr. Edgar (Eddie) J. Elliston has recently revised his classic work, "Introduction to Missiological Research Design," which was an invaluable guide to hundreds of us who, over the past fifteen years since its first publication, struggled to understand the inscrutable maze often surrounding missiological research, whether at the MA, ThM, PhD or post-doctorate level. Elliston’s book is an invaluable tool in the hands of novice and experienced researchers alike as he leads us through a step-by-step approach to credible research. He provides examples, exercises, checklists, a much-needed glossary of terms, and an up-to-date bibliography for in-depth investigation of specific issues. Perhaps most valuable is Elliston’s exploration of the ethical issues and errors that are inherent in missiological research. Elliston’s book is a refreshing, much-needed guide for those of us who still see research toward trustworthy findings and conclusions as decidedly necessary to mission integrity and effectiveness.

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Table of Contents

  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Introduction to Missiological Research Design Assumptions Missiological Research—What Is It?
  • Overview of the Research Design Summary Overview of Missiological Research Design
  • 1. Missiology as a Research Discipline
  • 2. Focusing on the Central Research Issue
  • 3. Evaluation of Precedent Research/Review of Literature
  • 4. Research Methods
  • 5. Findings
  • 6. Designing Conclusions and Recommendations  
  • 7. Ethics and Missiological Research

Part II Contributions from Other Disciplines

  • 8. Biblical Theology of Mission’s Research Method by Charles Van Engen
  • 9. Research in Education by Edgar J. Elliston
  • 10. Communication Research by Viggo Søgaard
  • 11. Historical Research by Pablo A. Deiros
  • 12. Qualitative Social Science Methods in Research Design by R. Daniel Shaw  
  • Appendix A: Proposal Development Worksheet
  • Appendix B: Pre-Text Material
  • Appendix C: Post-Text Material
  • Appendix D: Central Research Issue Checklist
  • Appendix E: Precedent Research Issue Checklist
  • Appendix F: Methodology Checklist
  • Appendix G: Findings Checklist
  • Appendix H: Proposal Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations Checklist
  • Appendix I: Common Research Errors
  • Glossary

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