Research Process

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.”

Is the Research Project Worth the Cost?

Research projects can become costly, especially when taking into consideration the cost of the researcher’s support and office support staff. Even a smaller project can have a five figure price, taking into account these factors. This article provides some criteria for evaluating if a research project is worth the cost.

Cycle of the Research Process

The following diagram illustrates the on-going cycle of the research process. Note how research informs the decision making process in the "Apply the Results" and "Determine Ministry Needs" phases.

Research Project Management

A research project can become a large undertaking, especially if it is a whole nation research project involving multiple field research assistants, data entry personnel and ministry partners. A Gantt Chart is one way to manage all the tasks associated with a large research project. A Gantt Chart template in Excel format is provided to manage a typical research project.

This spreadsheet provides categories to:

Project Check List

The Research Project Management Checklists found in the attached file, developed by the International Organization for Migration (, are good summary of issues to be aware of in each of the following areas:

  1. Research Project Management Principles
  2. Research Project Management Principles
  3. Methodology
  4. Research Ethics
  5. Interviews
  6. Self Administered Questionnaires
  7. Report Writing.

These checklists are useful in developing ministry research projects.

Estimating Research Project Costs

It is not difficult to come up with a reasonable estimate of what a research project will cost. The following discussion of costs assumes that some of the basic necessities are already in place: adequate computing equipment, your own salary, a place to work and train your assistants. Here are other costs which are likely to be incurred associated with each step of the research project:

Steps in Research Project and Associated Cost

Developing a Research Plan

This article provides practical guidance for developing a research plan.


  • Why develop a research plan?
  • Asking the right questions
  • Steps to develop a research plan

Why develop a research plan?
There are at least seven reasons why it is prudent to develop a research plan.

Developing a Research Protocol

When a research project involves a partnership between a number of denominations and Christian organizations, it is often helpful to develop a research protocol or partnership agreement. This is a process that involves dialog and seeks to reach a common understanding that answers a large number of questions related to the research project. Here is a list of some of the major questions that a research protocol will seek to answer:


Field Survey Process

The following outline provides the essential steps for conducting a field survey.

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