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Jehovah's Witnesses Research Paper


Jehovah's Witnesses

I. Introduction

Your paper should begin with and be organized around a clearly stated central thesis (research question). Why does this topic interest you? What do you hope to learn? In addition:

  1. Identify the religion/belief system/practice you chose to study.
  2. Identify the place where you observed the ritual(s).
  3. Identify and describe your informants by pseudonyms to protect their identities.

II.  Information Gathered from Informants and Research

What is the basic belief structure, as understood by the people who participate in these rituals?  How did they become a part of this community?  Are there any Holy Texts or rules/guidelines? 

How can you learn more about this practice or faith community?  You may include quotes from conversations with your informants in this section. 

III. Discussion of ritual(s): your observations

  1. Describe the setting: the room, meeting space, etc.:  where did people sit/stand/gather? 
  2. How many people participated in the ritual?  What was the gathering like in terms of age and gender?  Did men and women gather in different locations?
  3. What symbols did you notice, either in the setting or in the ritual itself?
  4. Give several examples. Include art, dance, colors, music or other symbols.
  5. List and describe the ritual specialists.  What role did they play in the ritual?  Do they have any special training or qualities? If there were no ritual specialists, how were things run?
  6. Refer to the five functions of religion/spiritual practices discussed in this course.  Did the ritual(s) you observed serve any of these functions? Explain.

IV. Conclusion

Summarize your personal experience.  Did you have any cultural bias or preconceived ideas before you went? If so, what were they?  Did your perception change after your participation in the ritual?  How?  How did you feel participating in the ritual as a cultural anthropologist?  What did you learn about the value of participant observation?

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