Articles about research philosophy

Five Quotes for Mission Information Workers

Five researchers from One Challenge participated in the Mission Information Workers Conference, 23-25 August 2016, in Texas. This gathering was sponsored by the Community of Mission Information Workers (CMIW), the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), Harvest Information System (HIS) and the Seed Company. The program included 14 TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment & Design). A number of the speakers included insightful quotes in their TED Talks. Here are five thought provoking quotes that apply to mission information work.

Let’s start with two quotes attributed to Albert Einstein.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Is research really necessary for effective mission work?

Is research really necessary for effective mission work?

A recent bulletin of the Global Community of Mission Information Workers shares an anecdote that highlights how research supports effective mission work.

This story comes from Bob Waymire, a late 20th century pioneer in using mission information. In the late seventies Jim Montgomery and Bob gave a "research and strategy" report to their mission board. Afterward a board member, who was a dear friend, approached Bob and said half-jokingly,

    "Why don't you guys go pass out tracts on the street corner? You'll do more good than all that research stuff."

Waymire’s answer to his half-joking critic is golden:

What Makes OC Global Church Research Unique?

Since its inception, OC has taken a servant and learner posture when it enters a new country, region, or city. OC research facilitates this learner’s attitude because, before any ministry is done, research is conducted to understand what the church in that area needs, what the leadership desires, and how OC can help realize the goals that the established church expresses.

Larry Kraft, Director of OC's Global Research team says: “We don’t go into a situation and say ‘this is what you need to know.’ We go in and ask a national pastor or church leader what decisions they are facing. We talk through with them what they need to know in order to make the wisest decision. Then we help to figure out how to get that information, look at it, and come to appropriate conclusions, as opposed to coming in with a canned product.”

Research Definitions

Research: "Hunting for facts or truth about a subject; inquiry; investigation. To search into; investigate carefully." World Book (Dictionary)

"Missiological research is not to accumulate interesting information but to correctly inform the people of God so as to bring vital information to bear on the task of world evangelization." India Church Growth Quarterly

Applied Field Research

This article will explain how applied research is used.


1. Applied research and the general use of information.
2.The internal application
3. The external application


OC makes a distinction between "basic research" and "applied research.

Common Research Problems and Questions

Here is a list of the common research questions. From these a field team can choose which ones are most relevant for its ministry context.
1. What is the basic condition of the country?
2. What are the basic needs of the society?
3. What is the world view?
4. What is the geographic, social and ethnic mosaic of the country?
5. What is the degree of receptivity to the gospel?
6. What is the Church like in terms of maturity and resources?
7. What is the size of the Church?
8. What is the rate of growth of the Church?

Ethical Guidelines for Research

Good ethical practices in research are vital to:

Research's Contribution to Strategic Planning

The following outline shows the contribution of research to developing a team vision statement, strategy, and ministry objectives

Source: A Guide to the Objective Process, Appendix One

Research as a Management Tool

Accurate research is essential for a good understanding of the current status of the church and the country, the identification of the leaders and their needs, the identification (or, at least, sense) of what God is doing (or desires to do), the current status of the team, etc.

How to do a Ministry Evaluation

Like research, the evaluation process is a useful management tool. Evaluation (or assessment) should be an ongoing and multi-faceted process for the team as a whole and as individuals. While avoiding the danger of becoming too inwardly focused, the wise leader periodically leads his team to ask themselves, “How are we doing?” While it may, at times, be scary to ask such a question, in the final analysis, is it not wiser to know?


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