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In mainstream development thinking, policy, and practice, religion has generally been neglected, despite its pervasiveness and importance. As a result, analysts puzzle over how best to study the complex links between religion and development. The framework outlined in this paper addresses the question – how can the presence, nature, and activities of religious people and organisations be better understood, so that they can be taken into account in development activities? It identifies and clarifies the key concepts and factors that need to be considered, explores ideas about the relevance of religion to development and social change, identifies the broad levels of analysis needed to better understand a particular context and briefly discusses some possible methodological approaches. A series of questions for analysis are suggested, investigation of which could lead to an improved understanding of the meaning of religion in the lives of individuals; the ways in which religion interacts with social and political processes; and the nature, aims, and activities of religious organisations.

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