Call for Papers

2017 Annual Meeting, October 13-15, 2017
Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC

Applying Our Research

Scholars from a variety of academic disciplines have studied many topics of interest to religious congregations, denominations, and organizations, as well as leaders and practitioners. Such topics include social dynamics of congregations, the growth and decline of denominations, clergy health and wellbeing, religion among millennials, the growth of the “nones,” changing views around gender and sexuality, volunteering in local communities, and many others. Despite many scholars’ desire to conduct research that impacts applied religious settings, religious leaders and practitioners are often unaware of our research and how it could inform the challenges they face. The 2017 RRA annual meeting will explore how we can bridge the divide between the academic study of religion and the practical concerns of religious leaders, practitioners, and organizations.

Presentations, panels and roundtable sessions are welcome at this meeting on all topics related to the social dimensions of religion and particularly on topics related to applied and organizational aspects of religion, which reflect the traditional focus of the RRA. In addition to sharing research findings, this call also encourages presenters to share experiences, strategies, and best practices in disseminating research to applied audiences.

Key topics for this meeting include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What are the relevant questions that religious leaders and practitioners are asking? Can existing research answer these questions, or are new research avenues needed?
  • How have you reached out to religious leaders, congregations, or organizations to share findings from your academic research?
  • How have you worked with religious leaders, congregations, or organizations to apply your own academic research?
  • How have you used applied research (case studies, small surveys, etc.) to help religious congregations, organizations, leaders, or practitioners address specific challenges and to what success?
  • How have you seen your research (scholarly or applied) contribute to change in religious congregations or organizations?
  • How do religious leaders and practitioners look for research that addresses the challenges they face? What venues work best for disseminating research to them?

Papers and sessions addressing the conference theme are particularly welcome. Other papers that reflect the focus of the RRA will be considered. The RRA seeks to unite academic and religious professionals working at the intersection of research and practical religious activities.

Please direct questions to the 2017 RRA Program Chair, Jennifer McClure, at