Students will write a research paper on a moral or ethical issue, giving an accurate discussion of the position the Catholic Church has on the issue and also bringing forth alternative or opposing views. The Church’s official position can be obtained by searching the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Correct format for citing peer-reviewed journal articles must be followed. The paper should be around 5-7 pages typed and double spaced.
Understanding, thoroughness of research: demonstrated and accurate grasp of ideas, concepts, and theories presented in the readings and in class (= you present ideas from the texts accurately, and you refrain from unfounded interpretations or leaps of interpretive fancy).
Organization, logically ordered: apparent, understandable, and orderly presentation of ideas; structured thinking, the way your paper is arranged (= your paper’s structure should be apparent, easy to follow, and built into your opening paragraph. The relationship between your points is adequately spelled out by a well formulated thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph that summarizes the reasons backing up the thesis so that the reader does not have to read between the lines to figure out what you’re trying to communicate).
Reasoning, critical and evaluative depth: demonstrated critical and interpretative skills, rational manipulation of ideas and dexterity in handling them (= you satisfactorily and thoroughly defend your thesis by the ideas and evidence you cite in its favor. Your points build on each other and assemble coherently into a discernible position or defense of a particular side of an issue. Where appropriate to the assignment, you display a knowledge of objections to your views and an ability to respond to them. Remember that an opinion is only as good as the evidence, theory, or reasoning on which it is based. You must back up your points with reasons).
Originality, analytical depth to theological experience: exhibited creativity, personal appropriation of the issues and questions surrounding the topic (= you go beyond what the readings say to formulate some creative ideas of your own. Support for your ideas is drawn from your own insights and reasoning rather than only borrowed from class or the text. You are able to make unusual connections, looking at something in a fresh way, noticing unusual relationships or aspects of the topic, pushing beyond surface observations, challenging what others take for granted, or taking a risk with a difficult topic)