Structured observation as a method of religious landscape studies




structured observation, structural items of observation, religious interaction, confession, thick description, Orthodox landscape of Yekaterinburg


The article presents the results of a study devoted to the Orthodox landscape in Yekaterinburg. A professional reader might be interested in the authors’ innovative methodology to study religious interaction in its contextual and cultural uniqueness. The key element of the methodology is a combination of the ‘thick description’ strategy proposed by Norman K. Denzin and a structured observation in the author’s operationalization.Initially, the proposed consideration of the results of the Yekaterinburg interactive landscape’s ‘thick description’ was intended to be a pilot study of a big research project. However during the implementation phase the authors revealed that the method of ‘thick description’ had never been used as a preliminary stage of survey or exert interview.The provocative character of the paper is that the authors explain in detail the methodology of design and operationalization of the structured items of the observation with regard to a specific object. Structured observation introduced by the authors as a scientific method helps to conduct a similar study in any other city or country.The obtained sociological ‘router’ of Yekaterinburg’s Orhodox landscape is an invitation to a scientific journey towards the design of representative samples for narrow-focused projects.