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As with any other scientific problem, you should collect the relevant data and establish criteria and methods by which you will evaluate the various possible theses.In many cases, though not all, this can be done by comparing the positions taken by previous secondary authors.This research guide highlights just a few titles from our extensive collection of reference materials for the world's religions.
On the basis of your searches you should develop a bibliography of your own.
The bibliographies that are included as "Further Reading" lists at the ends of the chapters in the textbook are quite useful and up-to-date as of the time of the book's publication (2009).
The purpose of the introduction is to explain in some detail what it is that you wish to do with your chosen topic.
Aside from a general introduction to the topic, you should state clearly what you wish to show, or prove (= your thesis), and how you wish to proceed.
Different secondary works will often disagree in their constructions of the evidence, and it is up to you to decide which of them (if any) is more persuasive.
Papers in which you weigh the opposing positions and try to make your own judgment are often the most satisfying for both the student and the reader.
Please consult the reference staff for detailed guidance on your research topic.
The headings supplied in the course bibliography refer to broad topic areas.
Note: If you find that your paper topic has become much narrower than what you originally expected, and that you are only dealing with a small portion of what you had intended to at the beginning, do not worry.
This is a sign that you are on the right track, and that you are learning more about the subject (which is, after all, one of the main purposes of the assignment).