Requirements: Choose one research topic from “Online Sources and Research Topics”
5. Research Paper
Each student will submit a research paper on a topic of their choosing that is theological in nature. The research paper will be 7 pages in length, double-spaced, paginated, Times New Roman 12-point font, have standard default margins, and use a minimum of 6 sources. There will be a lecture devoted to researching and writing a theology paper, and a handout entitled, “Online Sources and Research Topics” is posted on Moodle for your benefit. For matters of style and form use Chicago Style (‘Notes and Bibliography style’) and refer to the handout on Moodle entitled “Chicago Style Quick Guide.” As students in a Religious Studies course you must use this format (APA or MLA will not be accepted — ignorance of this requirement is no excuse).
• The research paper will focus on a particular issue related to theology. If you are in doubt, please ask me! Many students get tripped up here and submit a paper that is not really theological in nature.
• It will be primarily descriptive in approach (describe the issue or doctrine from a theological perspective), but the paper should go beyond mere description and critically interact with the topic.
• It will have a clearly articulated thesis statement or question in your introduction. Let the reader know what you intend to do in the paper.
• Sources are absolutely essential. Select them with great care; they must be of a scholarly nature and support your topic. Be sure to utilize and cite sources that specifically address the topic directly, not indirectly. Beware of web sources. There are many excellent sources out there, but there are also many poor ones. Evaluate and discern. When in doubt, ask! For help in this area please see handout entitled “Research Using the Internet” on Moodle.
• The use of primary sources will be rewarded. Please see the handout on Moodle entitled “Primary or Secondary Sources” for definitions and tips. An “A” paper will make an honest attempt to wrestle with primary sources. Neglect them at your peril.