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CORE 172: Religion and Politics: Getting Started

Research Paper Assignment

The major assignment in this course is an academic research paper on a topic of your choice. We will work on this assignment in six stages through the semester, as outlined below. Your task is to analyze a specific problem, issue or event related to religion and politics. You should choose a topic that really interests or impacts you. You might choose something that was briefly discussed in class and go further in depth. You might apply a concept from a course text to a new situation. You might choose to take your presentation topic and expand it into a paper. The paper could be historical, sociological, or theological. In short, the topic is flexible, but it must relate to themes from our course and utilize course readings and discussions, in addition to supplemental research that goes beyond course materials.

  • Good papers will have a clear, specific thesis statement towards the beginning of the paper and be organized around that thesis statement. Everything you write in your paper should somehow serve your argument. If it doesn’t relate to your thesis, it doesn’t belong in your paper. (However, it will strengthen your paper to acknowledge and respond to possible counter-arguments to your thesis.)
  • This is a research paper that will require you to use scholarly sources beyond the course materials. Most of your sources should be peer-reviewed journals or scholarly books. Websites or news articles may also be appropriate for your topic, but should not be the only supporting evidence in your paper.
  • Format should be about 8-10 pages in length, Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced, 1” margins. Please follow Chicago style citation. (See for instructions.) 

Required Components

October 3 - Preliminary proposal and bibliography

October 19 - Final proposal and annotated bibliography

November 2 - Sentence outline

November 16 - First draft  of research paper

November 28 - Final draft of research paper

December 8 - Research presentation

Deciding on a Topic