approach even if you are a practitioner4.
Purpose: This paper is a demonstration of your ability to research a topic on religion and apply concepts from the course in your analysis. Process: You will choose a religion you’re interested in, and narrow your topic to a particular issue, practice, or group within your chosen religion. This paper is your chance to apply critical thinking and analysis in an exploration of an issue within your chosen religion, while connecting to concepts from reading and discussion throughout the semester. You should demonstrate your ability to use empathetic understanding to explore a topic within a specific religion. You cannot, for example, determine whether an idea in a religion is true or false; rather, you will approach the religion as a curious outsider.
This should be your approach even if you are a practitioner of the religion; as you know from the beginning of the course, it is often helpful to take the outsider’s point of view to better understand a religion. It is best to choose a religion that you’re interested in learning more about. Do some preliminary internet research to determine topics related to this religion. Researching current issues can be a good start, and gauge whether there is enough published research available by doing a quick search here: http://www.montclair.edu/library/ As you read, begin thinking of research questions, which will be expressed in the proposal. Research questions are the informed questions you can ask yourself to guide your research. For example: How do immigrant Jain practitioners adjust to life in the US? Are they able to maintain the principles of the religion? After submitting the proposal, begin thinking about how you will structure the paper, and do some planning and pre-writing that will help you construct a draft. Remember, your thesis should be sustained throughout the paper.
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