Source: (1998) In Dimensions of forgiveness: Psychological research & theological forgiveness, ed. Everett L. Worthington, Jr., 321-339. With a preface and an introduction by Everett L. Worthington, Jr. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.

Worthington concludes that a solid, if limited, foundation of empirical research on forgiveness has been established. In this chapter he proposes a set of guidelines – or “pillars,â€? as he terms them – to increase and strengthen research studies. These are the five guidelines or pillars: (1) conceptual clarity (e.g., regarding the definition of forgiveness); (2) theoretical advances (i.e., an increase in theorizing about forgiveness from scientific perspectives); (3) methods and measurements (i.e., use of qualitative methods as well as quantitative methods; and development of additional ways to measure forgiveness); (4) applications to populations (i.e., the extension of research studies to more contexts around the world); and (5) publication and dissemination (i.e., an increase in publishing research studies in significant scientific media, as well as disseminating results in popular media). Worthington concludes with a set of benchmarks to evaluate progress in the scientific study of forgiveness at the end of ten years.