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Research Essay – 25%
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 five academic sources. Students are permitted to use the textbook as a source but must use four additional sources, which may include scholarly books or journal articles. The essay must be a minimum of 5-6 pages (1,500-1,700 words) in length but students may 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 by students who may also use APA or MLA. **Wikipedia may NOT be used as a source.
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):
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.