Report in Religious Studies: Complete Guide

Writing guide
Posted on February 18, 2020

Religion (just like politics) is a very difficult subject. Everybody thinks that the main goal of an academic writing paper is to fit the interest of the college committee. That is why each student tries to accept a professor’s or tutor’s vision of the problem during lectures and seminars. Later it gives them an opportunity to impress them with a perfectly executed home assignment that does not contradict their points of view.

Unlike an essay, a report a little bit simplifies the situation. A performer should systematize and organize the information trying to give the definition or the analysis of some event or problem. There is no need to name personal suggestions and judging. A writer just searches for the data related to the topic, reads it, systematizes and reflects it in the paper. It is an informative type of academic assignment. All the same, sometimes it is too difficult to remain objective and not to comment on this or that fact or statistic.

Students often have to cope with various academic assignments. They differ in structure and requirements that make the situation a bit tangled. Actually, the most important thing is to differentiate between a report and an essay. Many students confuse them. That leads to low-quality performance and bad results in studies.


There are different types of essays. Depending on the professor’s requirements, it can mirror a writer’s thoughts or not. Nevertheless, an essay has an introduction paper, a body, and a conclusion. It does not demand subheadings and often can be semi-formal. Tutors often ask students to write an essay to see their talent of critical thinking, idea developing, or ability to argue and protect their personal viewpoint.


This paper has a concrete structure. It needs sections that include subheadings. Each section has a purpose and a person should not exclude even one of them. A college committee usually asks a student to compose a report to understand whether a person can:

  • be objective
  • be accurate
  • avoid ambiguity
  • investigate a topic
  • present a logical paper

The only task of a person is to introduce the analyzed information to the target audience. The final part (a conclusion) is to be unprejudiced and provide hints for further research.

Why Is a Report in Religious Studies a Challenge for Most Students?

Religion is a delicate topic. It is a well-known fact that strangers never discuss it trying to avoid undesired discussions or quarrels. Dealing with reports about religion it is important to avoid personal prejudices. It often happens that students who do not believe in anything have to present a detailed analysis of Christianity or Buddhism. As a result, they criticize everything and are not able to present qualitative writing. It is hard to stay aside when conducting research. A researcher might subconsciously look for facts which purpose is to support his or her viewpoint instead of mirroring the truth.

Consequently, a student must be able to write:

  • Precisely (there must be no bold information; each fact should have the link to the used source)
  • Concisely (laconic and to-the-point)
  • Definitely (a paper must be logical, well-structured and include the core idea that must lack equivocal presentation)
  • Objectively (not to depend on personal opinion but provide the reader with facts only)

A writer must be tolerant of other religions. A report reflects facts and statistics so that the reader has an opportunity to learn the required information without the pressure of someone’s viewpoint.

Topic Selection in Religious Studies: Why Is It So Significant?

This issue is one of the key elements of excellent report writing. If people decide to read a report, they will look for something interesting. Nobody will take a report that contains primitive and boring information. That is why it is vitally important to select a topic that can captivate and make a person read the report. Religious Studies cover many aspects. The difference between religion and religious studies is obvious. Religious studies include archeology, history, anthropology, sociology, and a great number of other disciplines. Religious studies try to explain phenomena by giving facts and pieces of evidence. Religion deals only with the beliefs of people from all over the globe. It describes the pantheon of Ancient Rome, tells the story of Christianity, Buddhism,Islam, and so on. It informs people about the other world, reincarnation, Nirvana, and various religious concepts.

Religious studies can include information from various fields.It is very essential not to offend people who believe in other religions. For instance, nobody should say that Christianity is the only true belief. Experts recommend chatting with believers and compare their information with facts in literature. A topic of the report must attract the reader. These are 10 cool topics that might captivate the target audience.

  • Churches: Religious Shelters for Businessmen;
  • The Comparison of Catholic and Orthodox Believers;
  • Yoga as a Way to Practice Religion;
  • How do New Religions Appear?
  • Does Christianity Change together with Fashion?
  • Rights of Men and Women in Islam;
  • Does Atheism Belong to Religion?
  • Phenomena in Religion That Science Can Not Explain;
  • The Koran and the Bible: Similarities and Differences;
  • The Origin of Various Religious Movements

Reliable Sources to Apply in Religious Studies: What Are They?

A good researcher must study various sources to be objective. Professionals recommend combining different types and avoid unchecked data. The source should have a good reputation or belong to the one that does not give rise to doubt. For example, the New York Times has an enviable reputation and encyclopedias are the books full of verified information. Nevertheless, it is important to check whether the data is not out-of-date. For example, some time ago Pluto was a planet and there were 9 planets in the solar system. Today not all textbooks, encyclopedias, periodicals are updated. Due to that, it is always necessary to check the information one is going to present in the report.
On experts’ advice, it is better to include:

  • Periodicals connected with scientific studies of religion and related topics
  • Interviews of people who belong to the chosen religious group
  • Reliable web sources (writers support their words with facts and give links to the applied literature)
  • Books that represent the religion (the Holy Bible, Koran, etc.)
  • Encyclopedias
  • Textbooks and manuals

Trustable web sources have a copyright sign, the URL that is not too long and ends with official abbreviation (uk, com, gov, ua, etc.), contact information, and articles full of links concerning researches.

Structure of the Report in Religious Studies: How to Start and How to Finish

A report in religious studies demands good planning and corresponding structure.


Nothing can be better than planning. It is impossible to plan one’s life but in case a person does not plan the writing, he or she could fail. Students often delay task performance. An outline prevents postponing and raises chances for success. A good outline provides a well-considered structure, thorough research, and on-time performance. It is a reflection not only of the structure but also of time a student needs to write each section or search for the information.


This part of the report comes first but a person should better write it last. It represents the whole report summarizing the main ideas of the paper. An abstract serves as a guide for the reader. It lets a person know whether the report meets his or her interests or not. That is why the best option is to compose it after the whole paper is ready. It will give a chance to reflect the most valuable information of the paper and make the target audience read it.


Sometimes a person looks for specific data. A table of contents is a guide to the report. It shows sections and information they contain. A table of contents is a navigator that leads to some concrete section directly without the necessity to read the whole report. It does not diminish the importance of other sections. It just lets a person find the needed quickly.

Introduction Part

This part of the report helps to focus on the most important issues and find out the offered perspectives. It differs from the abstract. Its purpose is to intrigue and represent the thesis statement. It usually makes up to ten percent of the whole work.

‘Religion is a weapon in the hands of genuine leaders. It concerns religions which demand redemption but has nothing to do with the reincarnation.’
One can also ask a question to provoke a discussion. ‘What might happen in case the religion disappears?’

A body

This part usually makes 80% of the entire report. Its goal is to support the thesis statement. Unlike an essay, a report includes subheadings to simplify reading and search for the information. Some of them comprise a review of the chosen sources, methods and reasons for their choice, discoveries, and, of course, discussion of discoveries.
This part must contain facts and statistics proving the idea of the thesis statement. For example, ‘Religion is the relation between something sacred and a person who considers it to be sacred’. (Religion Facts)

A Conclusion

This part just like the introduction makes less than 10% of the report. It summarizes everything giving suggestions for further investigation. It helps to restate the idea and draw the reader’s attention to the core issue of the report again. A writer should, for instance, say the possible way for improvement or how the problem can be solved in the nearest future.
‘So, America is a country of Evangelical Protestants who make 25.4% out of 70.6% of Christians. Jehovah’s Witnesses regard religion as the most important element of their life. It increases the number of cults and leads to religious business prosperity.’ (Pew Research Center)


Plagiarism is the worst thing a student can deal with. Nevertheless, it is impossible to present a report without a thorough investigation. Religion has deep roots and needs a good explanation. The list of used literature gives a chance to avoid such unpleasant things. A person should remember to include only relevant and reliable sources as Fact Retriever, Religion Facts, or Less Known Facts. A person should also paraphrase the text. Simple copy-pasting reduces the chance to get a high score in plagiarism checkers.


It often happens that a person has nothing to add to the appendix. That is why this section is not mandatory. Experts recommend interviewing people who can give details about the religion a student has to write about. A person can include the printed interview, video and audio files, PPTs, diagrams, tables, pictures to the appendix. A student should link facts given in the paper to the given appendix materials.

Post-Writing Step in Religious Writing: 5 More Things to Keep in Mind

Besides the content of the report, there are other demands a student should follow.


There are many formatting styles a college can demand. The most popular ones are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard, Vancouver, and ASA. They differ in citing, presentation of the bibliography section and footnotes, spacing, font type and size, etc.


Students have to deal with academic homework daily. They research and feel exhausted because of multitasking life. That is why it is very important to proofread the text with a fresh mind. It lets a person see if everything is logically connected and if the text is easy-to-read.


The most foolish thing is to lose points because of grammar and lexical mistakes. There are many online programs and apps that might point to the most serious faults. In spite of that, people are more attentive and are able to notice things a computer can ignore. The best variant is to find an expert or at least a colleague who is eager to proofread and evaluate the report. Two heads are better than one.

Useful Websites

There are websites that can ease the life of a student.

  1. Grammarly
  2. This online tool is partially free. It allows writers to see basic mistakes and correct them. If persons decide to get premium options, they will be able to see other text improvements, check plagiarism, readability, and other things.

  3. Hemingway
  4. This is a free app that shows the level of readability and suggests its improvement.

  5. Duplichecker
  6. This online tool lets a person avoid problems with plagiarism. One should just paste text or upload the document to scan it via the program.

  7. Purdue Writing Lab
  8. It is an official website of Purdue University that contains useful tips for academic writing.

Students must remember not to be sarcastic when discussing religion and beliefs. A report is a presentation of facts. It does not involve the author’s feelings and emotions. Good luck with that!

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