Foundation Methods and Perspectives in Islamic Studies – DE

Entry Requirements No Academic Degree is required to apply for this course. The applicant should have English language proficiency.
Duration 4 months
Fees 2018/19 £570
Financial Assistance Partial scholarships are available subject to meeting specific conditions. For further information contact
Validating Institution The Islamic College
Application Procedure Application for this course is online, please click here for enrolment.
Contact Distance Education (DE) Department
0044 (0) 2084519993 (Ext. 224)

‘Islamic Studies (IS),’ in the extended sense of the term and with all its various branches and disciplines, is part of a much wider field known as Cultural Sciences (Kulturwissenschaften) which is a combination of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). As such, many of the methodological frameworks as well as the methods used in Cultural Sciences could, with appropriate adjustments, be used in the area of Islamic Sciences. This course is devised to enable students to achieve a number of objectives. In the first place, it aims to familiarise students with the most important methodological approaches and schools in the field of Cultural Sciences. Secondly, since each competent researcher in Humanities and Social Sciences ought to have a good grasp of a number of ‘methods’ for collecting, analysing and interpreting data and information, critically assessing available evidence, rival views and contesting theories, and providing satisfactory explanations for the phenomena under investigation, a selection of most relevant research methods is also introduced. Last but not least, in view of the fact that successful researchers in the area of Islamic Studies should be able to present the results of their findings in effective ways, various techniques of writing and presenting a research report/dissertation on themes related to Islamic Studies will be introduced. The overall aim of the course however is to inculcate the ability of critical thinking in the students and to equip them with the required skill and competence for discerning and exploring genuine ‘problems’ in the area of Islamic Sciences and developing their intellectual potentials for producing novel solutions for the detected problems.


  1. Preliminaries: On Methods, Methodologies and Perspectives in General; Ethical Concerns, Developing Research Proposal; Conceptualising a Research Design; A Framework for Writing Research Reports/Dissertations/Essays; Presentation of a research report
  2. An Assortment of the Most Important Methodologies for HSS/IS
    • Critical Rationalism
    • Positivism
    • Phenomenology
    • Hermeneutics and Post-positivist (including Feminist) Approaches
  3. A variety of Qualitative Methods:
    • Situational Analysis
    • Historical Research
    • ‘Evidence-based’ Research
    • Hermeneutics, Hypothetico-Deductive, and interpretive Methods
    • Objective hermeneutics
    • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
    • Text and Discourse Analysis
    • ‘Critical’ Discourse Analysis
    • Grounded Theory
    • Literature review with regard to major resources in various Islamic fields
  4. A variety of Quantitative Methods
    • Survey Method
    • Empirical Methods in Information Extraction (including Using internet and appropriate software for research in Islamic Studies)
  5. A variety of Mixed Methods
    • Delphi
    • Action Research
    • Talk-in-Interaction

Learning, Teaching, and Assessment Strategy

All learning materials are developed according to the SCATE format. Students are advised to study units available online followed by timetabled activities which are of crucial importance and require a serious attention. Students need to consult suggested reading materials which are not necessarily available online. At the same time, students are expected to contribute to Discussion Group as an integral part of their study. They would receive feedback regarding their activities and contribution by the module tutor. Extra reading and activities are provided for students who are interested to have a deeper and broader understanding of the issues of concern.

Formative Assessment
Formative assessment for this module will consist of written feedback from the lecturer, questioning and discussion through the online forums. One draft of the students’ final essay (coursework) may be handed in to the lecturer at the 12th learning week for formative assessment, in which the lecturer will give the student feedback on how to improve their research and quality of writing.

Summative Assessment
Students are required to submit 3 out of 5 Review Questions (RQ) and 3 out of 5 Activities (Act) as the weekly assignments for each module during the semester. All of these assignments as well as students’ final essays at the end of the semester will be commented and marked by tutors. Students can see those comments and marks in their drop box which are available in their D2L accounts. Finally, students are required to submit an Individual coursework -final essay (4000 words) on a relevant topic approved in advance by the module tutor.

Assessment Weighting
Activities: 30%
Review Questions & Discussion Group: 10%
Final Essay (Coursework): 60%
Students should get at least a pass mark for all three above components.

Core readings

  1. Drew, P. Raymond, G. Weinberg D. eds. (2006) Talk and Interaction in Social Research Methods, Sage Publications
  2. Fairelough, N. (2006) Discourse and Social Change, Polity Press
  3. Harding S. (ed.), (1987) Feminism & Methodology, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,
  4. Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier & Bradford S. Jones, (2004) Event History Modelling: A Guide for Social Scientists, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  5. Paya, A (2015) Methods and Perspectives in the Islamic Studies, ICAS Press, (forthcoming)
  6. Paul S. Gray, (2007) The Research Imagination, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  7. Scott W. VanderStoep, Deirdre D. Johnston. (2009) Research methods for everyday life: blending qualitative and quantitative approaches, John Wiley & Sons
  8. Singh, K. (2007) Quantitative social research methods, SAGE Publications