Research Project: Final Submission Assignment Instructions
Paul’s letter to the Romans is perhaps the most logical and systematic of his letters in terms of presentation of a biblical theology, so it requires detailed study. Careful study of Scripture in its context leads to much better results than simply looking for material taken out of context to support a preconceived doctrine. So, the good student of Romans will first analyze Scripture, but always with a view to learning the theological point. An effective way to learn Romans, then, is to select a topic from a list of passages or sections of Romans on which you conduct scholar level research and analysis of the biblical text and then explain the results of the biblical analysis of the passage or section and the theological theme that can be drawn from the passage or section of the letter.
Length Requirements: The paper must consist of 9 to 10 pages, double spaced. The issues are complex and it may appear to the student that more space is required. One of the maxims of good writing, though, is detailed analysis, but concise reporting. It is often the case that the student who has the best grasp of the material will be able to address it most concisely. The paper, then, should be tightly focused to include only material necessary to address the subject for the assignment and the thesis adopted by the student. Papers that exceed the page limit will not penalized, but it is likely the professor will stop reading (we all have deadlines) after the maximum length limit. Make sure everything needed for the grade is included by then. The title page, outline page (if included) and bibliography are not included in the pages counted.
Research: Consult and interact with at least ten published scholarly sources. Only published sources may be used. Unpublished Internet sources are not research level sources and my not be used for this paper. Published material that is located on library sites, Google Books, etc., is useful. The Holy Bible, dictionaries/lexicons, and concordances must be utilized, but they are not counted in the minimum number of sources. These are simply understood components of research. These types of sources need to be included in the bibliography, but do not count toward the required ten. Cite Bible references parenthetically within the body of the paper following the quotation, paraphrase, summary, or allusion. Cite reference works in footnote citations.
A few clarifications should be made regarding acceptable sources for this research paper. First, the sources you consult for your paper must be published sources. That is, they are published by reputable academic publishers as opposed to private essays, blogs, student papers, etc. Second, it is essential that you consult research-oriented sources. These are works that directly relate to your thesis and the biblical text you are exegeting. Avoid the practice of writing that “so and so quotes so and so” except in those instances in which you are referring to a work in a foreign language and you are consulting the translation of that work. Third, your sources must be scholarly/academic. These are works composed by reputable scholars in their given fields of study. They are research oriented and targeted to an academic audience. These include not only books, but peer-reviewed journal articles. For example, scholarship related to the book of Romans would include works by Douglas Moo, Thomas Schreiner, James D. G. Dunn, N. T. Wright, F. F. Bruce, and the like.
Quality: In addition, your paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Structure/Organization – The paper must be well-organized. Use subheadings to indicate major topics. Build your paper on topical paragraphs. Paragraphs must be coherent and lead to the overall cohesiveness of the paper, building upon one another and leading to a strong/persuasive conclusion. Format the paper according to the current edition of Turabian. The LUO School of Divinity has a very helpful guide to Turabian. See the link in the Course Syllabus and Schedule.
- Content – The paper must meet the minimal criteria of 9-10 pages (see next section below). It must demonstrate serious and critical interaction with scholarly, research-oriented sources. It must clearly focus on the topic at hand and demonstrate an acute understanding of the topic as it is presented in the book of Romans. It must coherently present and discuss the topic at hand. It must demonstrate an awareness of the assumed reader/audience. It must maintain a consistent argument and line of reasoning throughout the paper. Each premise must be substantially supported.
- Grammar/Mechanics – This includes sentence fluency; sentences must be coherent, unified, and varied. Be sure your sentences are complete and make use of excellent grammar. Also, vary sentence style so that the paragraphs are not wooden, stiff, and monotonous. Be aware of verb-noun agreement, tense agreement, etc. Be sure spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct and consistent.
Style: The style of the research paper must follow the current edition of Turabian. The use of footnotes is required. The School of Divinity has provided a very good resource, including an example paper, that covers the necessary issues. Please see the link in Course Syllabus and Schedule. The 9 to 10-page length requirement refers to text only (i.e., it does not include the title page, contents/outline, bibliography, appendices, etc.). Type your paper using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Students who pad the paper with irrelevant material, large fonts, blank spaces, wide margins, etc., will experience a grade reduction.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the SafeAssign plagiarism tool. Avoid plagiarism at all cost. Consult whatever sources necessary to ensure adequate knowledge. Your professor may send additional guidance.