Research Essay



1) Essay Outline & Bibliography

2) Research Essay



1)   Essay Outline

Students will submit a 1 page essay outline that include: a thesis statement (or argument), three main points of discussion in the paper, and a bibliography with a minimum of three academic sources. The instructor will provide feedback and suggestions on the outline in a timely manner so that students will have the opportunity to use those recommendations during the completion of the writing assignment.


2)   Essay Assignment

The research essay will explore how a particular religious tradition has responded to a specific problem or issue in the modern era. Students can select any religious tradition that we have touched upon throughout the course and select from the following issues: environmental concerns/ethics, fundamentalism, gender roles, questions pertaining to sexuality, and the issue of religious diversity/pluralism.

This is a research essay and students will be expected to use a minimum of three academic sources. Students are permitted to use the textbook as a source but must use two additional sources, which may include scholarly books or journal articles. The essay must be a minimum of 7-8 pages (1,500-1,700 words) in length but students may to write up to a maximum of 8 pages. In addition, students are expected to include a title page (name, student number, course information & essay title), in-text citations, and a bibliography at the end of the essay. It is preferred that students use the Chicago Style citation method but students may also use MLA. **Wikipedia MUST NOT be used as a source.


Essay Topic: Religion in the Modern World

For the research essay, students will select a particular contemporary issue on which to focus. Such issues may include (but are not limited to):


  • environmental ethics

  • the role of women

  • issues of gender and sexuality (i.e. homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, birth control, assisted reproductive technologies etc.)

  • bioethics and medical technologies (i.e. transplants, blood transfusions, etc.)


    Students will research the varied responses that may exist within a specific religion (such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Indigenous Traditions, or New Religious Movements) and the research essay should address the following questions: How has the tradition you have chosen responded to the selected issue? Has there been a varied response by different sectarian groups within that tradition? Have religious officials/institutions justified their position using sacred texts? Did you find both conservative and liberal viewpoints on the chosen topic?

    Additionally, students must articulate a thesis statement or argument after their preliminary research has been completed. This will be the basis for the research essay, which must go beyond description and include some critical analysis.


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