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A guide to help students in this course complete research assignments

THEO 338 Assignment paper

THEO 325: “Models of God” – Johnson


Constructive Theology Paper

In this class, we have been discussing why different ways of imaging and relating to God have developed and have become popular within Christianity. We have also engaged several different methods and perspectives that have sought to address a contemporary concern (e.g., racism, sexism, immigration) and the way theological ideas might challenge them or be connected to them.


In this paper, you should engage in constructive theology. As one of your readings (from Schneider and Ray) describe it, this theology “is a kind of thinking that reflects directly on the meaning of these stories of God on behalf of the world as it is today” (1). It “gets its own hands dirty with the real pain and the real joy of life in this very world, in this very time comes closer to expressing something meaningful about the God who became full and fleshly present in that real time and real place two thousand years ago” (3).


For this assignment, you will be asked to write a paper of approximately 5-7 pages (1500-2100 words length), in which you identify a specific challenge in contemporary society and think through how Christian doctrine has contributed to/and or offers meaningful thought and practice. Alternative topics may be discussed with the instructor, well before the proposal is due. The paper should integrate at least three resources, outside of required class reading. NOTE: I do not want a summary of these arguments; instead I want you to demonstrate your own critical thinking in formulating a response to the contemporary issue you selected. This paper is due by Wednesday, May 5 2021, 11:59pm; it is worth 25% of your final course grade.


In all cases, be honest and real with yourself. You will earn your grade not by your positions, beliefs, or what you believe about Christian doctrine, but by the extent, quality and richness of your engagement with course texts and ideas. 

  • Papers should be approximately 5-7 pages (1500-2100 words length) and double-spaced with a 12 pt. Times New Roman font, using 1 inch margins. No title sheet is necessary. Type your name in the upper right-hand corner of the paper.

  • Papers must use proper footnotes or endnotes, according to Chicago/Turabian format; be sure also to include a Works Cited or Bibliography page. 

  • If you have trouble finding a topic or research, please come see the professor well before the paper proposal is due. In addition, I am happy to discuss your paper’s main points, when it is in outline or draft form. I also encourage that you find another good student in the class to proofread your paper before you submit it. For further assistance, the Student Success Center is also very helpful. 


  • Turning in the Paper: By 11:59pm, May 5, 2021, 11:59pm submit an electronic version of the paper to the course Blackboard site, under the “Assignments” tab. The Blackboard site will also direct you to the SafeAssign submission.

  • Please note: late papers will be penalized by 2% for each day, or portion thereof, it is delayed (Monday-Friday). Papers will not ordinarily be accepted more than one week past the assigned deadline; papers delayed more than one week will receive a 0%. If you have an emergency situation, you need to contact the professor right away!

Student Name: Topic/Title:

**Paper-Specific Objectives:




CLOSE READING/SELECTION/DISCUSSION: Paper demonstrates careful attention to research. When referring to course readings and outside research, facts used are accurate and demonstrate grasp of the material. The focus is sufficiently narrow to permit substantive enquiry and discussion.


ANALYSIS: Paper demonstrates critical analysis of the chosen topic, with specific reference to research and course materials. Your own reasoning and imagination are demonstrated in locating and developing nuanced points of ideas and of similarity and difference among sources.


INTEGRATION: Paper reveals significant original insight(s), by making creative connection(s) among research and contemporary issue and/or a new interpretation of the ideas and issues expressed. 


General Academic Writing Standards




INTRODUCTION: Introduction establishes a context and background, clearly defines the question or topic you will address in the paper, and offers a strong statement and/or outline of your argument.


STRUCTURE: Paper has a logical structure, in which the paragraphs flow from one idea to the next and support the overall argument. This is maintained throughout the paper.


CONCLUSION: Conclusion sums up the preceding arguments, draws together the paper, and adds insight to the discussion.


GRAMMAR AND USAGE: Paper displays a command of standard written English, with few errors in grammar or usage.


TONE AND STYLE: The tone of the paper is reasonable, well-written and flows well from one section to the next. When referring to human beings, you avoid using gender-exclusive or prejudicial language.


USE OF SOURCES: Paper uses a combination of direct quotation, paraphrase and summary. Direct quotations are not overused and are relevant to your discussion.  They are properly introduced and formatted.


CITATION STYLE: The sources of direct quotations and paraphrased material are correctly referenced with footnotes or endnotes. Bibliography page is included. Both notes and bibliography correctly follow Chicago/Turabian format.


LENGTH: Paper is the proper length, without sacrificing content or style.


Chicago Style

Librarian Help

Your Librarians can HELP!

Contact Stella Herzig, your Theology Librarian, for an appointment:


approach the research help desk in the SAU Library at your convenience.
Librarians are at the desk waiting to assist you:

  • Sunday 12 - 9pm
  • Monday through Thursday 7:45am - 9pm
  • Friday 7:45am - 5pm
  • Saturday 10am - 7pm