From University of Shiraz, Iran Mohammad Taghi Abbasi Shavazi is a PhD. candidate in sociology at University of Shiraz (Iran), where he obtained his B.A and M.A, also in sociology.

As visiting PhD student, he worked from March to December 2010 at the department for the Study of religions, Faculty of humanities, at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), under the supervision of Professor Dr. Oliver Kruger.

His fields of interest are the sociology of religion and the sociology of new communication technologies, in particular the interactions between religion and new media. Mohammad Taghi Abbasi Shavazi is currently working on a thesis project entitled Religion in the Cyberspace : A Sociological Study of Participation in Virtual Religious Communities. His research focuses on a Shi'a virtual religious community and its connections with actual religious communities in Iran. Using mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative analysis), his explanatory study seeks in the first place to understand how community's members understand their participation in the virtual religious community.

Furthermore it attempts to discover possible connections between virtual religious communities and actual religious communities. To address these questions, he uses in the first part of the study (qualitative) virtual ethnography method, gathering data through online participant observation and in-depth online interviews. The second step of the study (quantitative) is based on online survey methods and online questionnaires.

Science des religions - Bd de Pérolles 90 - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 7450 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9764
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