Research and Writing for Religious Disciplines – RLGN 301

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

This course builds upon the concepts for scholarly research and writing to prepare students for completing scholarly research and writing specifically within the religious disciplines. The course covers various methods and aims for research within religious disciplines, tools for performing scholarly research, and the tools for writing clearly and effectively in an academic setting. As such, this course lays the foundation for future academic writing in the religious disciplines.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course prepares the student for advanced courses in the religious studies disciplines by reinforcing prior learning of the information literacy skills and resources needed for academic research, introducing a variety of credible resources and tools within the religious disciplines, and providing the student with opportunities to engage in academic writing on religious topics prior to entering upper-level religion courses.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify credible scholarly sources using various mediums for research within the religious disciplines.
  2. Discern doctrinal positions expressed in research materials.
  3. Evaluate key arguments within scholarly sources from a biblical worldview.
  4. Utilize available technology and resources to improve research and writing within the religious disciplines.
  5. Produce a formal academic paper addressing an issue within the religious disciplines.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

For optimal success on each assignment, all assigned readings and presentations should be reviewed prior to completion of the weekly assignment.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forum (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 250–300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words.

Research Project

  1. Research Topic Selection

The student will select a research topic from a list of approved topics provided in the course and narrow that topic by proposing a specific research question to be addressed in his or her Research Paper. The student will also identify the primary source that most appropriately suits the research question.

  1. Research Plan

Addressing the research topic already selected, the student will develop a Research Plan. This Research Plan will describe the research problem, the purpose of the research, the proposed research method, and the hypothesis. The plan must be approximately 200–300 words as described in the template provided within the course.

  1. Working Bibliography

The student will develop a Working Bibliography of at least 8 scholarly sources that may be used to address the research topic. The Bible, while expected as a source, does not count toward the scholarly source minimum. This bibliography must be appropriately formatted in current Turabian style. Accompanying each citation must be a 1–3-sentence  description of how the source addresses the research problem.

  1. Thesis Statement, Outline, and Annotated Bibliography

After collecting, reading, and evaluating the research materials, the student will produce his or her Thesis Statement, Outline, and Annotated Bibliography for the Research Paper. The annotated bibliography will include the 8 sources from the bibliography, formatted correctly in current Turabian style. These sources and citations must reflect any changes and/or recommendations made by the instructor. For each source on the bibliography, the student will include a 200–250-word annotation explaining the key argument of the source, the doctrinal position expressed in the source, the strengths and weaknesses of the source, and a revised statement of how the source supports the argument that will be presented in the Research Paper.

  1. Research Paper

Using the topic and research materials collected throughout the course, the student will write a 2,000–2,500-word research-based paper in current Turabian format. A title page and reference page are required and are not included in the word count requirement. The paper must include at least 8 scholarly references in addition to the Bible.

  1. Research Paper Revisions and Summary

Using the comments from the instructor and the principles learned in the course, the student will revise his or her Research Paper and resubmit it along with a 200-word explanation of the overall impact of the revisions on the paper.

Quizzes (4)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the modules/weeks in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 45-minute time limit.