Project Methodology

The methodology of this project can be spit into two different sections: field research and secondary reading.


Field Research

Approximately half of this research project was conducted through observation and interviews. Throughout the ten week research period, I visited nine different churches. Each week (but the last one) was dedicated to a different church:

Week 1: May 13-19: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Week 2: May 20-26: Community Christian Church: Yellow Box

Week 3: May 27-June 2: Our Saviours Lutheran Church

Week 4: June 3-9: First Congregational United Church of Christ

Week 5: June 10-16: Knox Presbyterian Church

Week 6: June 17-23: Calvary Church

Week 7: June 24-30: Wheatland Salem

Week 8: July 1-7: St John United Church of Christ

Week 9: July 8-14: Living Water Evangelical Church

Week 10: July 15-21: Finishing up my website


Worship Observation

Each week began on Sunday, where I would observe every type of worship service offered at the church. This varied week from week. Some churches required multiple observations as they offered both traditional and contemporary services. The goal for these observations was to gain an overall understanding of the ways each church conducts their worship services. Through these observations, I was able to catch a glimpse at the makeup of each church and experience a variety of worship styles. To see my methodology of worship service observation, click here.



In addition to these observations, I also conducted interviews with pastors, worship leaders, and music directors from each church. While there were different variations of questions I asked for each church, the following questions were central in each interview:

  1. How do you and your church view worship?
  2. What do you hope people take away from worship at your church?
  3. How do you plan your worship services?
  4. Why do you offer the worship experiences that you do (i.e. why do you only offer one style/multiple styles)?
  5. What is the relationship between your church and Naperville?
  6. How do you incorporate elements of Naperville’s culture in your worship services?

These interviews had multiple goals:

  1. To answer any questions I may have had during my worship observations
  2. To gain a deeper understanding of the structure and inner workings of the church
  3. To understand their intentions behind the choices they make in worship practice
  4. To understand their relationship with the community of Naperville and surrounding churches.

To see a list of those I interviewed, go to the Acknowledgments page.

Unfortunately, I had difficulties arranging interviews with two of the churches in this study, so my studies of Knox Presbyterian Church and Calvary Church are based off of observation and conversations with congregants during the observation.

My field research was the main focus of this project, and was key in understanding the diverse worship experiences offered across the city of Naperville.


Secondary Reading

Alongside my field research, I read a considerable amount of literature on the following subjects:

  • Biblical Worship
  • Ancient styles of worship
  • History of christian worship
  • Contemporary Worship
  • Traditional and Contemporary worship within the modern context
  • Religious Ecology
  • Church Shopping
  • The city of Naperville

To see a list of all of the literature I read, visit the resources page.


Technology and Digital Tools

This website was produced through WordPress, and any textual/language analysis was made possible through Nvivo.