The Christian Life based on the Books of Romans

Students encourage me to say more about the research paper at this early point. I have
found that papers that earn reduced grades are usually deficit in one or more of five
major areas. These are the:
1. Introduction
2. Thesis
3. Development
4. Research Used
5. Conclusion
This week you are taking notes from your scholarly sources (commentaries and/or peer-
reviewed journals), and writing your thesis statement. Be sure to consult Kate L.
Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
8th ed. (in your ebooks). You may want to review pages 1–130. If you have not written a
paper in a while, you will want to read this more thoroughly. Look for areas that are not
clear to you. For this week, as you are determining your topic, gathering sources, and
composing your thesis statement, you could review the first five chapters. Note that
chapter five is especially relevant to the thesis or claim. Let me know if you have any
questions after reviewing that material.

Here are key elements that I am looking for in your papers. This is not an exhaustive list
and is not a replacement to the Research Paper Instructions provided in the Assignment
Instructions folder. In addition, you should look over the Grading Rubric that is provided
as well. This will give you an idea of the major areas that I will be evaluating. When you
have written your first draft and are doing a thorough edit, ask yourself the following
questions as you read through it…

Introduction: Does the introduction capture the essence of the topic? Is the introduction
interesting? Does it capture the reader’s attention?

Thesis/Claim: You are moving from your initial working hypothesis to your claim (see
Turabian 50–61). Is the thesis/claim precisely stated within the introduction? Recall, the
thesis or claim is “the center of your argument, the point of your report” (Turabian 50–1).

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Development: Does the paper develop the thesis in a coherent, cohesive, and
consistent manner? Does the paper demonstrate an excellent grasp of the English
grammar? Does the paper employ topical paragraphs? Does the paper effectively
employ the inductive method of biblical interpretation (learn from verses rather than
impose meaning on them)? Does the paper develop the steps of the exegetical process
by addressing the historical, literary, and theological contexts of the biblical text under

Research used: Have I interacted with the scholarly (commentaries or peer-reviewed
journal articles), relevant (directly related to the thesis) sources? Does the paper include
at least the required number of sources? Does the paper interact with the scholarly
primary sources in a substantial manner?
Conclusion: Does the paper come to a well–reasoned and persuasive conclusion? The
thesis/claim should be restated and the major points that have supported the thesis
should be summarized. The conclusion should decisively wrap up your

Your paper must systematically present the topic of choice (from the list of Research Paper
Topics) and exegete the salient passages from the book of Romans. In addition, your paper will
be evaluated according to the following criteria:
1. Structure/Organization – The paper must be well-organized. Use subheadings to
indicate major topics. Build your paper on topical paragraphs. Paragraphs must be
coherent and lead to the overall cohesiveness of the paper, building upon one another
and leading to a strong/persuasive conclusion. Format the paper according to the
current edition of Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers.
2. Content – The paper must meet the minimal criteria of 10–15 pages (see next section
below). It must demonstrate serious and critical interaction with scholarly, research-
oriented sources. It must clearly focus on the topic at hand and demonstrate an acute
understanding of the topic as it is presented in the book of Romans. It must coherently
present and discuss the topic at hand. It must demonstrate an awareness of the
assumed reader/audience. It must maintain a consistent argument and line of
reasoning throughout the paper. Each premise must be substantially supported.

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