Research Paper Instructions
Write the Research Paper using the topic and proposal you submitted. Your paper must have a thesis statement—this is not a survey of material. Your paper must be thoroughly documented and not contain your opinion. The conclusion section should be based on the research provided in the body of your paper.
Your paper must include the following (according to current Turabian format):
- Title Page
- Thesis Statement: 1 or 2 sentences that capture the focus of your research, inform your reader about the purpose of the paper, and preview the paper’s main ideas.
- Table of Contents: must show a clearly defined outline that will also be visible throughout the paper. Include these section headings in the body of your paper (see the Turabian manual for section heading use and formats).
- Introduction: a strong paragraph that introduces your topic and clearly reveals what you intend to show to the reader (must include the substance of your thesis statement, your purpose, and a brief overview of your paper).
- Body: its structured development should mirror your outline. This is where you prove your point while honestly interacting with opposing views and major objections. Make sure to include transitional sentences to insure a flow and sense of unity from paragraph to paragraph.
- Conclusion: must not be a mere restatement of your thesis. Instead, your conclusion must be a synthesis of the information presented in the body. It must bring the reader to the full level of understanding of your topic that you have yourself reached.
- Selected Bibliography: must include at least 10 sources, not counting the Bible or required textbooks.
The formatting guidelines for this paper are according to the most recent edition of the Turabian manual and are as follows:
- Footnotes are to be used to document research in the body of your paper (no in-text citations or endnotes). This paper must have a minimum of 20–25 footnotes.
- The body of the paper (Introduction to Conclusion) must be a minimum of 10 full pages and must not exceed 12 pages.
- The completed paper must encompass all 7 sections above and be written in current Turabian format (see the Turabian manual).
- Text must be double-spaced and written in 12-point Times New Roman font. Use a recent version of Microsoft Word in which to write your paper.
- Misspellings, grammatical errors, poor syntax, excessive use of the first person, or failure to comply with all structural/content criteria will count against your grade.
A Word about Sources
In order to gather sources for a research paper of this magnitude, you might be tempted to go to an Internet search engine like Google, type a keyword related to your topic, and collect sources from the first 20–30 hits displayed. You must resist such temptation (since we know that temptation is not from God). As a rule, the Internet is not an acceptable resource for research papers (there are very few exceptions). Instead, it is recommended that you primarily use the following types of sources,* making sure to cite all works used in the paper and to only include works cited in the paper in your bibliography.
- Scholarly journal articles: These are useful for their survey of the critical issues related to the subject and their bibliographies, which could give you useful leads on the top scholars and works in the field.
- Primary sources: These must take precedence over secondary sources. A primary source is a firsthand account or direct evidence concerning the subject matter under examination, while a secondary source presents an assessment or a interpretation of primary sources (e.g., Augustine’s City of God is a primary source about Augustine’s view of the struggle between good and evil, while Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Brown is a secondary source).
- Scholarly works: These include books, monographs, serial, manuscripts written by experts in the field as opposed to dubious works whose value cannot be ascertained (ask yourself if the critic’s credentials and works suggest that he/she is qualified).
*This list is not intended to be exhaustive. You may use other types of sources, including secondary sources, but you must make every effort to reference only those works that document the subject matter accurately.
If you need assistance in locating any of the above listed sources, please use the Online Student Library Services website. You may also email the Liberty University Online Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Your completed Research Paper is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Module/Week 8. See the Research Paper Grading Rubric and note how your paper will be graded.
Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Current ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press).