I title my research agenda “Social Epistemology and Religious Messages” and ground
it in the theory of social epistemology put forth in the Library and Information Science
field more than sixty years ago by Margaret Egan and Jesse Shera. In 1952, Egan and Shera
envisioned a new discipline “for the effective investigation of the whole complex problem
of the intellectual processes of society”. This new discipline would analyze “the
production, distribution, and utilization of intellectual products in much the same
fashion as that in which the production, distribution, and utilization of material
products have long been investigated” (Foundations of a Theory of Bibliography, Library
Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 2). With the advent of the World Wide Web and the increasing ease
by which anyone may publish messages of every sort for all the world to receive and for
scholars to study, Egan and Shera’s vision is coming to fruition. 

The goal of my research agenda reflects Egan and Shera’s vision of macrocosmic
bibliography and documentation with bibliography as “one of the instrumentalities of
communication and communication itself as an instrumentality of social organization and
action” (p. 125). Specifically, my research focuses on sermons as information products
that significantly influences the social construction of knowledge. Religious messages
have long influenced how societies in general and individuals in particular understand
and interact with the universe, the world, and each other. 

My particular efforts at macrocosmic bibliography includes the collection of more than
two hundred full-text sermons each week from local congregational websites and clergy
member blogs and then organizing the texts by date, scripture text used, clergy member
denominational affiliation, gender, and so on. I then report my findings in a
semi-monthly blog posting called The Sermon Content Review:
http://csir-scr.blogspot.com/. 

Published papers

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The Response of Mainline Protestant Clergy Members to the Moral Panic Regarding Harry Potter, Journal of Religious & Theological Information (2013)

This article builds upon and expands an earlier research project on the moral panic that...

 

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The Information Behavior of Clergy Members Engaged in the Sermon Preparation Task: Wicks Revisted, Journal of Religious & Theological Information (2012)

In this article the author revisits an earlier study on the information seeking behavior of...

 

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Using Sermon Text Archives to Investigate the Construction of Social Values: A Proposal for a Collaborative Research Agenda in Social Epistemology, Theological Librarianship (2012)

This article presents a detailed description of a research agenda and methodology inspired by Jesse...

 

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Serendipitous Juxtaposition? The Revised Common Lectionary and Political Cue-Giving in Sermons Prior to the 2008 Presidential Election, Journal of Religious & Theological Information (2011)

The 2008 U.S. Presidential election provides the context for an examination of the information behavior...

 

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A Conversational Model for Qualitative Research: A Case Study of Clergy and Religious Knowledge (with Don A. Wicks), Australian Academic & Research Libraries (2009)

This paper describes the qualitative research interview as a conversation designed to gain understanding of...

 

Working papers

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The 2012 U.S. Election and Political Messages in Sermons (with Darin Freeburg) (2014)

This study sought to determine to what degree clergy members of various denominations mentioned the...

 

Conference Proceedings

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Qualitative Research in the New Century: Map Points in Insider Research, Canadian Association of Information Science (2009)

This paper employs an “insider research” approach to qualitative research wherein the researchers share a...

 

The Sermon Content Review

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The Sermon Content Review, Volume 3, Number 1 (2014)

The Sermon Content Review (SCR) is a bi-monthly publication of the Center for the Study...

 

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The Sermon Content Review, Volume 2, Number 5 (2013)

The Sermon Content Review (SCR) is a bi-monthly publication of the Center for the Study...

 

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The Sermon Content Review, Volume 2, Number 6 (2013)

The Sermon Content Review (SCR) is a bi-monthly publication of the Center for the Study...