RE ATAR Unit 1: religious inquiry skills




Understanding the interplay between religion, society and individuals involves a capacity to conduct meaningful inquiries. Inquiry utilises a range of skills and involves a number of important and related steps.

  • Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of relevant sources
  • Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research

Research: Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry

Good research always has a clear focus. An important way to maintain focus is through the use of questions to guide inquiry. Research questions are objective and relate specifically to an identified issue or problem. eg. To investigate "What are the effects of the Reformation on the Western Church", and to investigate "The influence of religion on moral choices", a suitable research question would be fo the form; "How does religion influence the choices people make on moral issues" etc Focus questions are used to 'fine-tune' the research task, for example, in the case of the Reformation a set of focus questions might include, "What was the place of religion in Europe in the 15th Century?" "What brought about the Reformation?" etc

Survey questions are not used to guide inquiry, rather they are typically used to gather information for a survey, eg. 'Do you think it is ever OK to tell a lie?'

Research: Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of relevant sources

Identify what is relevant for an investigation by asking, 'who?', 'what?', 'when?', or 'where?'. While these are lower-order questions, they are a first step in identifying relevant sources.

Primary sources include Sacred Scripture and authoritative religious documents. Original writings from other authors and statistics from reputable surveys are also primary sources.

Secondary sources include articles that explain or comment on primary sources such as Newspaper reports, websites, some texts, etc.

Locating information requires some understanding of the research focus and some idea of where suitable sources can be found. Relevant information needs to be identified, recorded, processed and organised in a way that both facilitate the research process and achieve the intended purpose of the research. The techniques used tp locate, identify, record, process and organise relevant information will create a trail of evidence that serves to justify what has been found and to show that the work is your own.

Research: practise ethical scholarship when conducting research

Practise ethical scholarship when referencing source material by:


  • being honest about the source of information used
  • acknowledging the words and ideas of others
  • listing all the sources used.

Practise ethical scholarship when conducting research by survey or interview by:

  • respecting each person's right to make an informed decision about taking part
  • respecting each person's right to confidentiality or anonymity
  • respecting cultural sensitivities
  • presenting the results honestly by avoiding bias and acknowledging the limitations of the data.