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Thesis Paper

The primary focus of our class is the research and writing of a scholarly thesis paper. We will do that in stages, with each stage asking you to do specific work on your topic. The due dates for all of these stages are in the course syllabus. The links below will give more detail and helpful guides about the stage of the thesis project.

Above all, please keep in mind that a thesis paper is first, foremost, and finally a THINKING project. The writing is there to help you communicate what you’re thinking, but the thinking must come first. At each stage in the process, make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to really, carefully, and slowly think about your thesis and argument.

Thesis Paper – Overview and Requirements

Project Stages:

Thesis Topic: the student will submit a 5-sentence summary of the topic they intend to focus on in their thesis paper. Along with this summary, include citations for 1 popular and 3 scholarly sources that relate to the topic. This document will be turned in to the professor via email, and will be reviewed together in 1-on-1 conferences.

Structured Questions: This is a 2-page response to the following four questions, which will be submitted via email:

  1. In what way does this topic present a moral or ethical challenge?
  2. In what ways will this topic allow for interaction with one of the following: Christian theology, Christian ethical worldview, contemporary Christian practices, or historical Christian thought?
  3. What questions do I need to answer before I really understand this topic?
  4. What would a reasonable person who disagrees with me say about this topic?

Annotated Bibliography: this will be submitted via email to the instructor. It will list 8 peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that the student has read, in MLA citation format. Following each citation, the student will write 100-150 words that 1) briefly outline the essential content, 2) explain how this source relates to your thesis topic, and 3) show how this source relates to the other sources in the bibliography. At least 2 of your sources must present opposing perspectives on the same topic. The Annotated Bibliography is a “due or drop” assignment. If it has not been completed by the due date, the student must withdraw from the course, and sign up to take it again next semester.
Annotated Bibliography Rubric

Thesis Draft #1: The first draft of the paper should focus on critical interactions between your sources, and how they fit together to form a coherent argument. It may be presenting in outline format, if preferred. It should be between 15-20 pages if written, and at least 10 pages if presented in outline form. Citations should be in place, even if the draft is presented in outline form.
Thesis Draft #1 Rubric

Thesis Draft #2: The second draft of the paper should focus on the overall organization and structure of the paper. Attention should be paid to flow, transitions, and the logical progression of the argument. This draft will be peer- reviewed by 2 other students in class.
Thesis Paper Rubric (used for Draft #2, peer review, and final draft)

Peer Review: each student will conduct an extensive critique of another student’s thesis paper. This critique will be returned to the paper’s author for the purpose of revising their paper.

Thesis Paper, Final Draft: details are given in the thesis paper guidelines above. This will be submitted via the website http://turnitin.com

Oral Defense: Each student will give a 15-minute presentation of their paper, followed by 5-10 minutes of responding to questions and critique from the rest of the class. The students who peer-reviewed the presenter’s paper will lead the question and critique portion of the course.