Central Research Issue

mfmpiAKEveryday, I’m edging closer to clarity.

I’m talking about my doctoral program, and for the last 4 weeks I’ve been on a quest to focus in on what exactly I’ll be researching and working on over these next four years.

To be specific, I’ve been working to articulate something called a Central Research Issue. Looking for a nice summer beach read? Consider Introduction to Missiological Research Design by Edgar Elliston. It’s a hoot.

According to Elliston, a CRI is “the primary guiding and constraining perspective throughout the whole study…The goal of selecting a research topic is to have a topic that is narrow enough to be done well by the researcher but broad enough to be significant to the researcher, the constituencies with whom the researcher is affiliated, and to the related academic disciplines…[The CRI] is the most difficult sentence, by far, of the whole thesis or dissertation.”

So, drumroll please, right now my latest version of my CRI is this:

“To examine and evaluate the qualities and characteristics of flourishing inter-gender partnerships in mission throughout selected segments of the InterVarsity staff community.”

…and now you now how to pray for me!

From here on out, I will be all about understanding everything I can find about this CRI. In particular, for the first year, I’ll be all-in on a literature review. In fact, the goal between now and mid-October is to absorb and review somewhere around 90 different academic-level sources. I’m talking books or journals. I’ve parsed the lit review into three categories:

1. InterVarsity and the historical development of the value for inter-gender partnership in mission.

2. Qualities and characteristics of flourishing partnerships, in three contexts: in the Scriptures, in the evangelical church and in the secular world.

3. Contemporary theories of gender difference, because it will be important for me to understand the prevailing wisdom of the scientific community.

Now, I’m off to become a terrific researcher. It’s like a treasure hunt for sources.

Anyone have any leads for me?!? 

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