A Student’s Complete Guide to Writing a Religious Studies Research Paper

Writing guide
Posted on January 30, 2019

Research papers may be one of the hardest papers to write. This is true whether you are taking a high school or a college class. However, research papers don’t need to be hard if you know what you are doing. This guide on how to write a religious studies research paper will outline some of the finer points on how to research effectively, how to pick a topic, and how to write an edit a research paper. Let’s get started!

Topics and Topic Suggestions for an Amazing Religious Studies Research Paper

Picking a topic for a religious studies research paper can be tough, but we’re here to help. Keep in mind that research papers need to be fact-based, not opinion based. Below are some topics with prompts on how you can use them in your own reference paper. You can use any of these topics and prompts for your research paper.

  1. How Was the Jewish Faith Changed by the Holocaust?

    Over six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Did this change the Jewish religion? How did the average Jewish person relate to religion after this terrible event? Keep the question, “How could a loving God allow something like this to happen?” It is a question many Jewish people had during and after the war.

  2. Is Islam a Peaceful or Violent Religion?

    Many people see Islam as a violent religion because of the rise of terrorist groups with primarily Muslim members. However, others see Islam as a peaceful religion. Which of these statements are true? Use verses from the Quran to back up your stance.

  3. The History of RELIGION OF YOUR CHOICE.

    Give a brief history of any religion. If this topic is too large to fit your page requirement, then try giving a history of a singular religious event or holiday, like Easter, Passover, or Ramadan, instead.

  4. Religious Creation Stories and Mythology

    Religious books often have creation stories, like of Genesis in the Bible. Mythologies also often have creation stories. Are there any creation stories from religious texts that match up with myths? How do you account for this similarity?

  5. Divides in the Church and Why They Happen
    The Christian church began to split almost in the same instant it was formed. Why were there so many divisions in the church? One of the most famous splits you may want to write about is Martin Luther’s division from the Catholic church, which inadvertently created Lutheranism.

Research Tips from Our Academic Writers

As the name suggests, research papers are primarily research-based. This means that your research paper should focus on the facts. To focus on the facts, you are first going to need to find out the facts. The best way to do this is through research, but sometimes researching can be difficult and frustrating, so let’s look at some of the ways you can find great information without stressing out.

One of the best ways to find reliable sources is to search through your school’s online library website. Most colleges and some high schools have websites like this. If you do not know where to find the website, search through your school’s homepage. There will likely be a link to the library page.

Once you find your school’s library page, search for your topic. Usually typing in a few keywords should help to get the job done. From there, you can refine your searches to see books, articles, and web pages. If your school library hosts the content, then there’s a good chance that it is a reliable source.

If your school does not have an online library, then you can always use Google to find sources. Type in any questions or main points you want to include in your paper. If you are writing a research paper on a topic, it is likely someone has already posted information on it. The tricky part is knowing whether a source is reliable or not. This article provides some tips to know if a resource is great or bad. Another way to find good sources online is to use Google Scholar, which will always pull up scholarly articles, rather than random articles from anywhere on the web.

Writing Tips for Religious Studies Research Papers

Now that we’ve looked at how to effectively research, let’s look at what to do with that research. This section will contain various tips that can be used to help organize your information, write each section of your research paper, and edit the paper once you are finished.

Pre-Writing Suggestions

Making an outline is one of the best things you can do to organize your paper before you even start writing it. An outline can be a highly structured document that states all of your main points and the evidence that you are going to use to back up your main points. If that sounds too complicated for you, writing an outline using the main points or headings that you are going to use is another way to create an outline. In fact, this very article was made with a simple outline. It looked something like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Topics
    • Topic Suggestions
  3. Research Tips
  4. Writing Tips
    • Pre-writing tips
      1. Take Notes
    • Research Paper Writing
      1. Introduction
      2. Body Paragraphs
      3. Conclusion
      4. Reference Page
    • Post-Writing Tips
  5. Conclusion

While this outline only states the basic headings used in the article and some headings which are implied, but not actually written, this outline works to organize the article. Even something as simple as an outline like above can help you to organize your paper.

A bonus feature of an outline is that it saves time in the long-run. Since all of the headings, main points, and more can be written out ahead of time, you are less likely to get stuck with writer’s block while you are actually writing your paper.

Take Notes

Another important pre-writing task you can do is to take all of your notes before you even begin writing your paper. Like outlining, this is likely to take up more time in the beginning, but it will save time when you actually work on writing your paper. This is because you will not need to stop writing to look up a fact or figure.

When you are taking notes, make sure to write down anything you might want to include in your paper. Whether you think you will come back to the source or not, it is also best to write down all of the information for your source so you can easily find it again if you need it. Even if you don’t need it, writing down all of the important information (title, author, page number(s), etc.) can help you to write your citation so you don’t need to look up the information to write your citation later. Even better, write your sources directly into your Works Cited page to save even more time.

Research Paper Writing: Steps to Follow

Once your outline is written and all of your research is done, all that is left to do is write the actual paper. While it may sound difficult, your writing should be able to flow smoothly if you already have all of your notes by your side.

There are four basic components to every term paper: the introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, and reference page. In this section, we will take a look at how to write each of these sections well.


The introduction is often one of the hardest parts of a research paper for students to write. Perhaps this is because you are expected to introduce a paper you haven’t written yet. Some students find it useful to skip this section and return to it once they have written the rest of their paper.

One of the most important aspects to include in an introduction is the thesis statement. A thesis statement is usually one-sentence long and contains the main point(s) of the paper. A good thesis statement will be specific and clear. Basically, if a stranger (or your teacher) were to read your thesis statement, they should have a good idea on what your paper is about. If you read your own thesis statement and it doesn’t meet that one goal, then you should rewrite your thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs

In most essays and research papers, there are usually at least three body paragraphs per paper. Depending on the page length requirement set by your teacher or professor, you may have more than three body paragraphs.

Body paragraphs are important, not only because they make up the bulk of your research paper, but because they support your main statement which was written in your thesis statement. Each body paragraph should begin with the main point of its own that helps to back up your thesis statement. For example, if your research paper is about the history of Christianity, some of the topics of your body paragraphs could include the birth of Jesus, his death, and events like the Council of Nicea.

Each body paragraph needs to have a distinct topic that relates to the main point of your research essay. Begin each body paragraph with its own introduction, introducing the main point of the paragraphs. The next few sentences should contain evidence to back up the statement made in the first sentence of the paragraph. The last sentence should be a conclusion that wraps up the body paragraph nicely.


After writing all of your body paragraphs, it’s finally time to move on to the conclusion of your research paper. This paragraph should be easy enough to write. However, some students may find it difficult to sum up their whole paper in one paragraph, especially if their research paper was rather lengthy.

One of the best ways to begin your conclusion is to restate your thesis statement. Do not quote yourself directly, but instead rephrase or summarize your thesis statement. Next, try to sum up each of your body paragraphs with one sentence each. If you have more than three or four body paragraphs, then you may want to only summarize a few of your most important body paragraphs. Lastly, sum up your conclusion paragraph with a short one-sentence conclusion of its own.

Reference Page

Once you have all of your writing down, it’s time to write up your reference page. Most religious studies classes are likely to require you to use MLA or APA formatting. When making a reference page, always make sure to arrange your citations so that they are in alphabetical order. Below are some examples of a source we used for this article in both MLA and APA formatting so you can get an idea of how it’s done.


Thomson, D. (2014, October 2). “10 Research Tips of Finding Answers Online.” Retrieved from https://blog.ted.com/10-research-tips-for-finding-answers-that-elude-you/


Thomson, Danielle. “10 Research Tips for Finding Answers Online.” TED Blog, TED Conferences, LLC, 2 Oct. 2014, blog.ted.com/10-research-tips-for-finding-answers-that-elude-you/.

Post-Writing & How to Get Over It Quickly

Once you are done writing your research, it’s time to do some editing! While editing isn’t fun, it is effective. By editing, you can catch all of your mistakes (and fix them) before your teacher catches them and marks your grade down for it.

There are a few basic steps that can help you to edit your research paper quickly. The first thing to do is to simply read over your paper to see if you can catch any mistakes. You can also have a friend read over your paper, as it never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes look over your work.

Next, run your paper through a grammar and spelling checker. While most word processors, like Microsoft Word and Google Docs, have grammar and spelling checkers of their own, they don’t always catch every single mistake. Using an online checker, like Grammarly, can help you catch additional mistakes.

Finally, make sure you run your research paper through a plagiarism checker. The last thing you want is to put in hard work on a research paper, only to fail because you had a bit of accidental plagiarism. To avoid this fate, use an online plagiarism checker, like Turnitin.

We hope that these tips and tricks can help you to write an A+ research paper. Keep this article as a reference to use whenever you need to write a research paper, whether it be for your religious studies class or for another class. Good luck with your paper!

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