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Why Write a Research Paper Now
Internationals’ visa status depends on your student status. Many courses will not require you to turn in a research paper until the end of the semester. If anything happened before then and a government wanted to know about your student status, PTS will have this paper as evidence of your work written and submitted here. After PTS has this paper, no one could make a claim that you are unable to write at the graduate level in English (for example, in case someone claimed that your previous writing sample is not enough proof of your ability, since someone else might possibly have edited it before you submitted it).

PTS is very strict about plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only intentionally pretending someone else’s writing is yours, but it also includes when you use someone else’s idea in your paper without citing it correctly. It does not matter if it was an unintentional mistake. If the format of your citation, reference, or grammatical markers (such as quotation marks) is incorrect, you are probably plagiarizing. If the professor or preceptor notices your plagiarism, you will receive a failing grade, an academic alert, probation, suspension, or termination of enrollment at the seminary according to the decision of the appropriate committee. This assignment is a good chance to practice citation and to find out from the feedback that you did it correctly.
There are many styles of academic papers. You will be required to learn how to write various types of papers while you are here. The American-style research paper is the most important to master because it earns the largest % of your grade in a class. Trying it now will help you later, rather than having to learn during the busy semester along with the other types of American papers you will also learn.
The American style has grammar, writing style, citation requirements, and cultural differences that are different from papers accepted in other cultures. PTS professors and preceptors will not usually be understanding just because you are international. They will grade your papers with the same expectation and standards they have for native English speakers, American academic culture, and American church culture.

 Types of American Papers: 
    • Reflection paper (1-2 pages*)
      • your reaction to assigned reading
      • a thesis statement might not be necessary – check with your professor
    • Case Study response paper (5-10 pages)
      • your answer of how to respond to a practical theology situation
    • Essay (5-12 pages)
    • Exegesis paper (10-25 pages)

    • Church History paper (15-30 pages)
      • this is the only long paper which might not need a thesis – check with your professor
    • Research paper (15-30 pages)
    • Thesis (60+ pages)
      • serious scholarly contribution

* These page numbers are estimates.

This paper will not be graded. It is so you can receive free feedback about what is and is not acceptable in the American style before you write a paper that will be graded and affect your GPA.
Other new students have not arrived yet so you can easily learn how to use the library resources and get help now while it is not busy.

You can learn new technologies for conducting research and citations now. Since other students have not arrived yet, if you have questions or difficulties with the technology, IT Services can quickly help you while they are less busy.

You can pick a topic that you are already interested in researching for one of your fall courses. This is a chance to make yourself get a head-start, and you can use the research findings you do now in your upcoming class. Or, you can write a paper that you would like to turn into a future conference presentation or journal article.

If you are interested in the topic “God, Death, and the Afterlife: Reflections on Time and Eternity,” and write on a topic such as the next life, the significance of Christ's death, Christ’s descent into hell, or who will be saved, you can submit your paper as an article to be published in the next issue of PTS’ student-run journal The Princeton Theological Review. The rules to submit the paper are on their website. The submission deadline is September 30th 

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