The CURE for Your Vocation

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Our student body is not only ethnically diverse, it is also boasts a variety of faith backgrounds.

Our student body is not only ethnically diverse, it is also boasts a variety of faith backgrounds.

Seminar in Research Methods


Program Masters
Field of Study Integrative
Class# I 478
Instructor Esterline, David
Location MTS room 101 (9/14 MTS room 320)
Start Date 9.7.2010
End Date 12.10.2010
Time 6:00-8:50p.
Day Tue

Course Description Masters Level

McCormick Theological Seminary


Course Number and Title: I478 Seminar on Research Methods


Faculty: David Esterline


Term: Fall 2010


Course Description:

This is a seminar on research and writing in the theological disciplines. The course is designed to provide resources, methodological tools, and peer assistance in the development of effective arguments and clear, compelling academic writing. We will review and practice the major steps in developing a research proposal following contemporary graduate level standards. The course project, which will be developed and refined throughout the semester, is a research article which you may wish to submit for publication and/or use to compete for McCormick’s fellowships and awards. The skills needed for the research and writing of a master’s level thesis will also be covered


Course Objectives: By the end of the course, you will have had the opportunity to:

  • Identify and explore a research interest, develop a sustainable research proposal and the bibliography necessary to support the research, and write a scholarly article.
  • Review and discuss research done by faculty members.
  • Interact with the work of other researchers to enable the continuing development of skills of dialogue and critical reflection.
  • Present your own research orally and in written form and learn from the constructive responses of the class. Your presentations will include: initial ideas, “trial balloons,” and drafts of your research proposal and article.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • present a logical argument with a clearly defined claim supported by relevant evidence;
  • undertake research on the state of a specific question related to theology, biblical studies, church history, or the practice of ministry; and
  • write a scholarly research article.



Masters Program Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes established for each degree program are below. The ones that are underlined are those addressed by the course above. Because a course may be taken by students in any masters degree program, outcomes in more than one degree program may be addressed by this course.


M.Div. Learning Outcomes            

  1. Lead communities of faith with integrity, imagination and compassion.
  2. Perform the skills related to nurturing the life of faith (for self and others) including preaching, teaching, care-giving, leading public worship and public ministries.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions and the ability to interpret texts and practices.
  4. Work and worship with people from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious) informed by knowledge from cross-cultural and anti-racist perspectives.
  5. Analyze social locations and cultural contexts in order to develop contextual forms of Christian ministry.
  6. Be proficient in the theological and ethical reflection related to situations and decisions in local, national and global contexts.
  7. Practice appropriate habits of spiritual formation and self-care and possess a growing, healthy sense of vocational identity.

MTS Learning Outcomes

  1. Exhibit the ability to interpret and teach Christian traditions, texts, and practices that nurture the life of faith and scholarship in themselves and the communities they serve.
  2. Articulate a point of view effectively and coherently in spoken and written communication.
  3. Engage in theological research and analysis based upon an argument and construct a theological essay or thesis article.



MA in Discipleship Development Learning Outcomes

  1. Teach basic concepts of Christian belief, traditions and practices.
  2. Equip others to engage in a variety of spiritual practices (such as prayer, hospitality, or worship).
  3. Plan and lead programs of Christian formation in a variety of settings.
  4. Analyze and evaluate resources and practices for Christian formation.


MA in Urban Ministry Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine and analyze urban contexts using Chicago as a laboratory / case study.
  2. Draw on biblical and theological resources to reflect ethically on issues of church and society.
  3. Demonstrate capacity to engage in cross-cultural ministries.
  4. Evaluate skills and strategies to organize communities and access political power in urban settings.


Primary Texts (and ISBN numbers)

Turabian. Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, Dissertations (7th ed). 0226823377

Booth, Colomb, Williams. The Craft of Research (3rd ed) 0226065669

Yaghijian. Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers. 0826418856



Approximate amount of work per week students can expect (reading, writing, etc.)

The amount of time needed each week for reading, research, and writing will fluctuate from week-to-week. On average, students will spend between 5 and 10 hours each week.


Course Assignments and Projects

The course project is a research article which may be submitted for publication and/or used to compete for McCormick’s fellowships and awards. The article will be developed and refined through the semester with regular written and oral presentations. These presentations will include initial and revised statements of research ideas, “trial balloons” of the main components of the research article, and the outline and first and final drafts of the article itself.