Interpretation Paper Guidelines (REL 1003)

August 1, 2009

August 1, 2009

Interpretation Paper Guidelines

On the due date in question bring to class a typed, two to four page (double spaced, standard margin) paper consisting of four components: 

1) Two - three paragraphs summarizing the “text” (i.e. the case study or film). What happens? Who are the “players?” Is there a “central statement” or “position” articulated by the author or filmmakers?

2) One - two paragraphs about how this "text" relates to previous material you have read (in this course, in other courses that may have addressed a somewhat similar topic, through your personal readings, etc.). Key question: What do our textbooks suggest regarding this topic?

3) Three - four paragraphs of critical interpretation and analysis (This is the key to a strong paper!)
- This is not personal reflection.
- This is not simply regurgitation of facts and data
- Instead please comment on the data that you provide, as interpreted thru the theoretical tools/lenses presented in this course; In other words, make an argument. What does this material say? What does it mean? How does it fit? So what? What should your classmates make of this information? What makes this information (i.e. the material presented in the "case study") useful or irrelevant for the study of Sacred Experiences in World Religions?
• Comment on how one of our central theorists might analyze / interpret the “text.”
• Compare this "text's" position/thesis with another author’s position.
• Put the central argument of the "text" in your own words and then critique it, using the theories and tools of the course.
• Comment on what might be missing from the presentation.
• Delineate any biases or presuppositions built into the author's position.

4) Two discussion-oriented questions you have about the assigned “text.”
• In other words, if you were teaching this material (i.e. the subject matter examined in the case study) to your classmates what would you ask them in order to initiate a group discussion?

Each “Interpretation Paper” is worth 5 points (see the aforementioned four components) or 5% of your final grade.

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