Faith & Community in Broad Ripple

Video:  Faith and Community in Broad Ripple.  The Polis Center and Spellbound Productions, Indianapolis, IN, 1998.




Learning Objectives: 

  • To demonstrate the process of this research project;
  • To help students see how they can initiate such a project;
  • To show students the interplay of Durkheim’s sacred and profane;
  • To create questions about the students’ own community and places of worship;
  • To help students understand the collegial atmosphere a diversity of faiths and of peoples can create in a community;
  • To understand that the traditional image of a neighborhood religious facility may actually hinder that facility’s impact on the community;
  • To demonstrate to students the overall worth of sociological inquiry.


This video may be used in conjuction with a unit on social research or with a discussion of perceptions of “church” or religion.1  It would be helpful to the discussion portion of this plan were students to take notes during the video in reaction to the project and in reflection of their own experiences or their potential for involvement in such a project in their own community.

Discussion Questions (suggested only, other questions may certainly arise)

  1. How did the students in the video view social research at the beginning of the project?  At the end?
  2. What are the similarities/differences between the community in the video and your own community?  What are some of the physical features of each community?  What are some of the social features of each community?  How do those features differ or mirror each other?  Why?
  3. How many religious facilities can you identify within your own community?  What do you think is the relationship of each to the community at large?
  4. As we begin to focus on our activities, what are some of your concerns about this project?
  5. What questions might we ask at the beginning of this project that relate to research, faith, community, and/or you as a researcher?
  6. How do you think we should begin our assessment of this project?  Where should we start?  What might be the steps in our own investigations of our community?