Expectations: Research and Evaluation Papers

All papers will follow the MLA formatting.  Reference the MLA Style Summary for an example and further MLA instructions.  Examples are also found in the Student Portal
PDF Link: MLA Style Summary

Overview of Research Papers

Credit students who are participating in External Studies courses offered by the Sunset International Bible Institute (SIBI) are required to write research papers. Our intent is to help students present research papers in an organized fashion that is easy for the student to organize and is easy for the instructor to understand. Some semblance of consistency is important for the student and the instructor.

A research paper consists of research that is based on what the assignment is specifically asking for.  You will need to reference other material in order to provide the best possible information for the assignment.  You may be asked to use the textbooks, study guides, Bible, and any other material suitable for the topic.  These require a works cited page and are generally longer.  An MLA example and rules to follow can be found in the MLA Style Summary PDF.

Overview of Evaluation Papers

An evaluation paper covers both good and bad about the book and your insights about the content within; including things you agree with or disagree with, things you liked or didn't like. It also usually finishes with an overall opinion and recommendation of the book once again either good or bad and why you came to that conclusion.  These papers are to be two-pages in length when using the MLA format of 12 font, double spaced.  See additional information below.

Grading for all Papers

All submissions begin with a 100%

  1. Subtract 5 points for the following reasons:

                     i.      Length – too much/too little (amount as instructed in assignment)

                     ii.     Minimal Sources – used only 1 additional source or less of what is instructed (research paper)

                     iii.     Formatting – no efforts to format according to the MLA example given

                     iv.     Grammar – issues throughout that could be fixed by a proofread

  1. Subtract 10 points for the following reasons:

                      i.      Lack of Sources – factual data without references (research papers)

                      ii.     Content – failed to provide information as instructed in assignment

                      iii.    Doctrinal – a view contrary to the course material and paper theme

  • All submissions that receive a grade less than 70% is a failing grade. 
  • You may be asked to resubmit your paper in the case of a complete misunderstanding of the above expectations (content, formatting, etc.).

Overview of Evaluation Papers (cont.)

In a book evaluation, we want your views on the textbook and what you have learned; here are a few thoughts or ideas:

  • Brief summary of the book.
  • What chapter was the most meaningful to you and why.
  • Was it understandable? Did it flow smoothly?
  • Did the writer develop and prove his points? If not why or how should it have been done?
  • What did you get out of the book that helped you or what have you learned from this book that you can apply to your ministry?
  • Would you recommend it to others? If not, why not?
  • Was it sound doctrinally? If not, why not?
  • Did you agree with the book? If not, why not?
  • How did this book relate to the course.

Evaluating books is a scholarly activity whose importance is easily overlooked. Reading books will soon lose all meaning if no attempt is made to evaluate what has been written for significance. Book evaluations are the only way students have to identify inaccurate or dishonest books among the thousands of books published every year. The task of writing book evaluations becomes more crucial in light of the fact that the number of books and articles published greatly exceeds the reading capacity of any one person. Therefore, we all must depend on the expertise of others for guidance of what to read and what to avoid. An evaluation is not a book report. In general, a book report tells what the author SAYS while the book evaluation tells what the author DOES. In other words, a book report recites or reports the information of the book briefly. The book review seeks to discuss four specific things:

  1. What the author believes about the subject;
  2. How the author goes about demonstrating the thesis or main ideas;
  3. How well the author achieves purposes;
  4. What the value of the book will be to the community.

Book evaluations tend to appear in scholarly journals and are limited in length. Therefore, you must learn to write insightfully in a concise manner. The four key areas described above will be the outline of your paper. It is also important to include some background information on the author – possibly at the beginning of the review to set the authors up as qualified to be sharing the information – but you can choose the location. What the author believes about subject.

  • Here you share highlights from book. Remember not a book report that describes chapter by chapter. Instead what were key ideas.
  • Most likely 1/3 of your paper. How author goes about demonstrating thesis (main idea).
  • What was the writing style. Were stories or case studies used to drive points home - or more of a lecture style of book.
  • What types of information or experience used to back up the main ideas.
  • Most likely one paragraph. How well author achieved purposes.
  • What is your opinion of the book?
  • Your major observations, interests, objections, and/or shortcomings that you found.
  • BE VERY CAREFUL. What may appear as shortcomings to you may in fact not be a shortcoming for one reason or another. What have others said about this book.
  • Read other reviews and compare their opinions with your own in a few sentences in the paper. Be sure to cite your sources and include in bibliography page.
  • How does book compare with other literature you have read?
  • What is the value of the book to the community?
  • How does this book compare with other literature that you have read?
  • What are its implications for general community?
  • What are implications for your ministry?
  • Does the author leave holes in knowledge that you wished he had addressed?
  • Book evaluations should have a reference page.
Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2021, 10:45 AM