A clear thesis that takes a position on an issue within the narrowed subtopic is the basis for the Paper, do not simply state a “purpose” such as “to investigate” or “to overview” or “to examine” the topic. Content: • Title page: Use the one in the School of Divinity’s Writing Guide under “Formatting.” • Table of Contents: Show major headings • Thesis Statement: Under the heading “Thesis Statement” provide the single sentence that states your position on a relevant issue in the topic/subtopic area as discussed by theologians. *Need for the Study—This section explains why the topic/subtopic is discussed in journal articles and books, questions still remain. So state here what is keeping the issue alive, who is discussing it, etc. DO NOT overstate the “need” as if Christianity’s survival depends on it—that would indicate that your effort is too general, overly broad, unfocused—narrow it! • Introduction: A strong paragraph to introduce the topic, its relevance, why the thesis statement answers some important question or addresses some important issue. Overview the basic argument you will be make so any reader can tell where the paper is going to go. I prefer the Thesis Statement and Introduction texts be all on the first page numbered “1.” • Body of the Paper: Argue for your thesis position, interact with scholars on the issues. Allow for opposing views, try to answer their objections. Make your voice heard by moderating the “discussion” between the scholars. Explain why a view prevails as each point is discussed. Proper headings in the text will guide your reader. Use good transitional sentences between paragraphs. Footnotes must be accurate, giving full info and reference actual page numbers where readers can find the original material you quoted/paraphrased. • Conclusion: Avoid devotional statements, instead, for academic papers summarize the force or strength of the arguments you made, thus why your thesis position is justified. Offer further considerations, implications, or applications the research effort could lead to. • Bibliography: List the scholarly sources cited in the footnotes (but omit from the Bibliography any Bibles, websites, general dictionaries, or devotional material if cited in the body text—Bibliographies list the scholarly material you researched). Also, even if you cited the textbook for the course it is not counted toward the 10 sources required. DO NOT include material consulted, those would be considered “padding”—list only works cited. Formating: The format must be Turabian’s “Notes & Bibliography” style (chs. 16-17) in the latest edition1 subject to the School of Divinity’s Writing Guide. The following is the basic format: 1. Footnotes are in the footer section of the paper’s body, NOT at the end (endnotes) or in parenthetical references (i.e., APA or MLA styles not allowed). 2. Please avoid quoting out passages of Scripture in your academic theology papers. Just make your point then place the Scripture reference in parentheses as in this example: “The apostle John notes that God’s love for us is expressed by giving (Jn 3:16).” I prefer you not use footnotes to refer to Bible passages, just place them in parentheses.
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