Research Paper on Hinduism Judaism or Buddhism

A research paper needs to be driven by quotes and summaries of sources (our textbook and articles you find yourself). All body paragraphs should have at least one quote or summary, with explanation and commentary by you. The goal is to find the most important information about a topic and say what is meaningful about it, in your view–it’s a dialog between these sources and you. When you are quoting OR summarizing, you need to cite the author’s name if there is one or the article title if there is not at the end of the quote or the end of the first sentence of the summary, like this: (Keast). (That’s an example.) List your sources in a Works Cited page that follows 2016 MLA format. If you use sources without identifying when you do, that’s actually plagiarism, even if you didn’t mean to. If I get an essay with specific ideas and facts without citations of the sources, I will send it back to be fixed and penalize the grade.
The thesis of a research essay, explains what is most important to know about your topic and gives a direction for your body paragraphs to follow. Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that makes a point supporting the thesis, is followed by quotes or summaries of your sources, and then ends with your insights into what this information tells us about the religion you are writing about.
Use at least three quality sources that are in addition to our textbook or Wikipedia (or other basic Internet sources). Major newspapers (NY Times, Washington Post, The Guardian UK, Wall Street Journal), general interest magazines (The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation), and high quality websites devoted to religion, like Religion Dispatches, are great sources. You can also use websites put out by religious groups about their ideas and practices. 
The following are suggestions for approaches to take. You can follow one exactly or use one as a jumping off point for what you discover is most important about the topic, or if you are a more advanced writer, make up a topic of your own, but run it by me first. 

How has Hindu yoga been influenced, altered, and extended after becoming so widespread in the West? Has the spirit of this ancient practice been lost as it was commercialized and translated for American and European audiences? What do Hindus say about this movement?

How has prime minister Narendra Modi, a controversial nationalist leader many see as the Indian version of Trump, used Hindu identity and beliefs to unify and divide India? How has he used caste and antagonism toward non-Hindus, especially Muslims, for his purposes?

The Book of Job. Read at least the “short version” of the Biblical book (Chapters 1, 2, and 42 more or less tell the story – Chapters 3-41 only provide more detail.) How has Judaism used this story to explain G-d? Why is this story considered such an influence on the Western ideas of suffering, faith, and morality? What is its main message about being a good Jewish person? 

Historical and Scientific Evidence for the Events of the Torah. Look at the key events of Genesis and Exodus—the flood that Noah deals with, the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt, and their liberation and wandering in the desert for forty years work well, but you can choose others from the Hebrew Bible. What does the archeological, geological, and/or historical record say about the veracity of these accounts? What other sort of value might these stories have if some are not historical in the modern sense of the term? Include what scientists say about the evidence and also what Jewish teachers say about what these stories say about Judaism and/or the identity of the Jewish people.

The Hassidic and ultraorthodox Jewish communities in New York City are growing in population and political influence. Explore how these groups are rejecting and adapting to modern secular American life. You might want to look at controversies over Covid restrictions on large gatherings, the use of the internet, women’s rights, gay rights, the shunning of members who question too much, and/or the reporting of child abuse. How are their conservative political and social views coming into conflict with the more progressive politics of New Yorkers as a whole?

How has the Chinese occupation of Tibet and control over religious life affected Tibetan Buddhism? How has the Dalai Lama responded to this treatment? How are younger Tibetans supporting and/or criticizing the Dalai Lama’s approach? 

There has been a strong push in science, particularly neuroscience, to study Buddhist meditation practices. What benefits and risks has it found by hooking monks up to electrodes and having people meditate in MRI machines? How have Buddhists responded to this growing interests in its core practice?

In Myanmar (aka Burma), a Buddhist country, there has been a brutal crackdown, forced migration, and some say attempted genocide of the Muslim Rohingya minority group. Some extremist Buddhist monks have even advocated killing Muslims. What is driving this and how have Buddhists inside and outside the country responded to it? 

If you have another topic about one of these three religions in mind, please email me your idea and we can work it out. 


Use this MLA template to get all the formatting and Works Cited page correct: MLA Template – Google Doc (Links to an external site.). Open it in Word or Google Docs and write your essay within, following its guidelines. 
Minimum length is four full pages, maximum is five. If your essay is shorter than the end of page four, your grade will be penalized depending on how short it is.