Research, Writing, and Ministry Preparation – RTCH 500

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the skills necessary for competent graduate work. These skills include theological and professional library competency, the use of electronic research media, the execution of research design, and graduate writing development. The course also prepares students for ministry success by equipping them for family and education balance, avoiding burnout, and pursuing intentional spiritual formation.

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

The student entering a graduate program in Bible, theology, or ministry is not automatically equipped to perform work at the graduate level. Preparation and skill development in theological research and writing are necessary to ensure subsequent academic success. Learning how to learn strategies enables the novice graduate student and the second-career adult to succeed academically not only in this course but across an entire degree program. The graduate theology student learning skill assessment will enable the student to not only survive but thrive to the glory of God.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify specific attributes and abilities of a self-directed adult learner.
  2. Create an acceptable graduate level Exegesis Research Paper following current Turabian style on a biblical text assigned by the professor.
  3. Learning skills within a Christian community of adult learners.
  4. Navigate his/her graduate degree program successfully so that she/he not only survives but thrives as a whole person.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

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 Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Each reply must be at least 300 words. (MLO: A, C)

My Learning Journals (4)

The student will compose journals that offer written critical reflections based upon his/her reading of assigned portions of “Orienting Adults to Learning in Graduate Theological Education.” Each journal will have a prompt that the student must respond to, based upon assigned reading for that week/module. There is no word count requirement; the student must answer the prompt thoroughly, yet concisely. (MLO: A, C)

Exegesis Research Paper

Using Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics by Kaiser and Silva as a reference guide, the student will write an Exegesis Research Paper submitted in 3 parts. The student will choose between 3 biblical passages on which to write the paper. Each part will begin the process of helping the student gain experience with submitting an Exegesis Research Paper through the following stages:

Part 1: Introduction, Thesis, and Context of the Passage

For Part 1, each student will write an Introduction containing a general overview of the forthcoming paper and a thesis/purpose statement that alerts the reader to what the student plans to achieve in the writing of the paper. Under a separate heading, the student will identify the literary, historical, and cultural context of the selected passage and discuss its relevance for interpreting the passage. Each section will have its own heading following current Turabian style. Part 1 must include the School of Divinity Standardized Title Page. (MLO: B)

Part 2: Meaning of the Passage and Bibliography

The student will rewrite Part 1 as needed, taking into consideration any feedback provided by the professor.6 In addition, the student will address the meaning of the passage, utilizing resources identified in the accompanying bibliography. The student must list 10 sources relevant to the paper, cited in current Turabian format as interpreted by the School of Divinity Writing Guide. The sources must be current and scholarly (written by academics with credentials that qualify them to write, not popular treatments written for laity) using those found in the ATLA database as a guide. (MLO: B)

Part 3: Significance of the Passage (Final Version)

The student will rewrite Parts 1 and 2 as needed, taking into consideration any feedback provided by the professor. In Part 3 of the paper, the student will address the significance and application of the passage to the Christian life and church ministry. Each paper must have a coherent conclusion that summarizes the content of the textual analysis. The student will submit a 2,500–3,000-word final version of the paper (double-spaced in 12-point font). The student must carefully edit the final version for spelling, grammar, and syntax. Perfection in the implementation of current Turabian format is expected. (MLO: B)

Learning Skills Inventories (4)

Using “Assessing Adult Learning in Graduate Theological Education,” the student will complete 4 sets of learning skill development inventories designed to assess learning skills. All of the inventories are self-scoring. (MLO: A, C)

Spiritual Formation Blog Post

Based upon your reading of Foundations of Spiritual Formation: A Community Approach to Becoming Like Christ and the student's own personal experience, the student will write a 1,000-word (double-spaced, 12-point font) blog post as if he/she were writing it for an online blog. In the blog, the student will (1) identify 1 or 2 spiritual formation concepts addressed in the book that he/she needs to incorporate into his/her own walk of faith; (2) outline a plan of action to address those areas; and (3) write a final paragraph to a real or imagined person planning to enter seminary and offer 1 piece of advice that the student thinks will help the person continue to grow in his/her faith while enrolled in seminary. (MLO: D)

Memo to Myself

After the completion of all 4 Learning Skills Inventories, the student will write a 300-word, double-spaced “Memo to Myself” in which he/she identifies what he/she learned about him/herself as a learner (approximately 150 words) and how he/she plans to apply the skills to present and future courses (approximately 150 words). (MLO: A, C)

Turabian Quizzes (3)

Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 30 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 10 minutes. The student may take each quiz 2 times, if needed. (MLO: B)