RELS2011 Religion: Interpretation and Analysis
Research Paper Assignment

45% of the course grade is based on a research paper on the cosmology of a religious tradition different than those discussed in class. Select one from the list below and sign up with the instructor. Do not select your own religious tradition.
African Traditional
Australian Aborigines
Bororo (Indians of Brazil)
Greek, ancient
Hawaiian, ancient
Hopi Indians
Navajo Indians
Northmen (Vikings)
Roman, ancient
Tibetan Buddhism
Yoruba (West African People)

Paper Structure

Paper Specifications

  1. 20 p. in length with a maximum length of 25 pages. Pages are to be counted as typewritten/wordprocessed sheets that are double-spaced and the count should exclude the title page, footnotes/endnotes, bibliography, and any accompanying illustrations.

  2. There must be at least five different sources consulted and these should be included in a separate bibliography. Sources consulted may include encyclopedia articles, books, journal articles, and documentary videotapes and may be in English, Spanish, French, or German. Internet/Web resources may be included if the page has been attributed to someone affiliated with an academic center of learning such as a university.

  3. There must be at least ten footnotes or endnotes citing works mentioned in the bibliography.

    Important note on fair use of materials: IF you copy a point word for word from a source or even closely paraphrase it, you MUST cite it in a footnote/endnote. To not cite properly is considered plagiarism and can lead to a failing grade.

  4. The footnotes or endnotes and bibliography should be prepared according to the guidelines listed in Kate L.Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 6th ed.or the Chicago Manual of Style.

  5. The paper will be graded on content and on the correct use of English grammar, spelling, and style.

Research Strategies

  1. Start with an encyclopedia and look up your subject. Read the entire article to become familiar with the bigger picture. A good starting place is the Encyclopedia of Religion but the library also has many specialized encyclopedias.

  2. Search for books (or videotapes) in LUIS library catalog. Information on cosmology may be indexed under cosmology, religion, mythology, folklore or all of these so be comprehensive in your search. Remember that you can use both subject terms and keywords and that keywords can be truncated using "?" (ex: k=cosmo? will retrieve cosmos, cosmology, cosmological, etc.)

  3. Search for articles by looking in indexes of journal articles. A good starting place is the General Academic Index in LUIS. At the LUIS menu select option 12 INDEXES AND ABSTRACTS. Then select option 26 MORE INDEXES AND ABSTRACTS. Then select General Academic. Now repeat the same search keys that were fruitful when you searched the LUIS library catalog.

    You can find out if these articles are owned by FIU Libraries by selecting the LIB option. If they are not at FIU but at another SUS library, you can request them through Interlibrary Loan. **In some cases the full text of the article may be available online if you are accessing LUIS via the Web.**

    Ask the Reference Librarian if there are other indexes that may be appropriate for your particular topic.

  4. Internet Resources. You may try to find some but remember, to use them they must have been posted by a credible source such as someone affiliated with a university or an official page of the religious tradition you are studying.

    Here's a starting place: From the Library's top page (, select Internet Resources by Subject, and then Religion, and then happy hunting from there.

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