Research Paper

All religions have places (or spaces) that are considered important for their adherents. Often called
“sacred or religious spaces,” these locations can take many forms and serve a variety of functions. They can be
structures that are utilized by the faithful in ritual and/or ceremony, shrines to commemorate special places,
landmarks of religious significance, or areas of terrain considered important. For this writing, compose an essay
in which you explore two different religious spaces (or places) outside of the United States from two different
religions covered in this course after the Mid-Term Exam (Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism,
or a specific New Religious Movement). Make sure you isolate your choices to specific places (as in, do not
describe the Jewish “synagogues” in general, but rather select a specific synagogue to analyze). Also, do not
discuss a whole city, discuss a specific sacred space within a city. For each, describe the place and explain why
and how the adherents of a particular religion use it. Select 2 (and only 2) specific sacred spaces (places) outside of the United States to explore.
□ Do not discuss the idea of temples, synagogues, churches, or mosques in general. You should discuss a specific
temple, synagogue, church, or mosque.
□ Do not explore a whole city, this is too broad.
□ Your selections should represent at least 2 different religions from the second half of this course:
Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, or a specific New Religious Movement.
□ Each sacred space is discussed in terms of religious purpose, meaning, features, and usage.
□ Research sources are academic, scholarly, or primary sources (scriptures or doctrines of the religion).
□ Include an MLA formatted bibliography of at least 3 sources.
□ The structure is that of a standard college essay.
□ Submission is at least 600 words, but no more than 1200 words (bibliographies are not a part of the word count).
□ Contains appropriate sentence and paragraph formats, proper grammar, and correct spelling and punctuation.
□ Demonstrates original writing skills.
□ Quotes are limited to primary source materials only and are no more than 10% of the paper content
You will select to visit two (2) different religious sacred spaces (landmarks, structures, terrain,
etc.) that are not found in the United States. Do not visit more than two (2) as the tendency is to deal with them
superficially. Instead, demonstrate depth of discussion by focusing on only two. Along these lines, do not
explore a whole city as one of your spaces as that is too broad. For example, do not cover Jerusalem as a single
sacred space. Instead, you should focus your attention on one specific sacred structure or landmark within
Jerusalem (Ex. Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, The Western Wall, etc.). You can start your
search for locations using the textbook and some simple online searches (such as Each of the two (2) sacred spaces you identify must represent two (2) different religions covered
in the second half of the course: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, or a specific New
Religious Movement. For example, one of your spaces is used by Jews and the other by Sikhs. You should describe each sacred space in terms of religious purpose, meaning, features, and usage.
This conversation should focus on how the sacred space is an example of the religious tradition that utilizes it.
For example, what does one see, feel, hear, smell, and maybe even taste at this sacred space? What do these
things mean to the people of the religion? Why and how do the adherents of the religion use it? Are there
specific activities, props, and/or dietary aspects associated with this space? Are there certain times when this
space is utilized? To what extent do the people participate in events at this space? You do not need to address
all of these questions; rather, the idea here is that you have demonstrated extensive cross-cultural knowledge
through a description of the space, its use, and its meaning for the adherents of a particular religious tradition.
Deductions of up to 30 points will be made for errors related to Location, Religions, and Content.You are expected to do academic research for this assignment. This is not an opinion paper, it is
a research paper. To that end, consult and cite multiple sources (at least 3) to illustrate depth of research.
These academic or scholarly sources should be peer-reviewed journal articles or books (library resources),
primary sources (sacred literature and official religious documents), or authorized publications of recognized
religious organizations. The research sources consulted are to be provided in a Bibliography conforming to
the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. For more information about the MLA format
visit: For useful research information, see: There will be deductions of up to 10 points for errors in this category.Quotes are limited to primary source materials only (such as a verse from sacred literature) and
should constitute no more than 10% of the paper content. In other words, quotes can only come from religious
scriptures or documents, and should be used sparingly. You need to develop the ability to take the information
that you would quote and express it in your own words as this is how to demonstrate understanding. Any quotes
will need to have internal documentation done to MLA standards:
Deductions will be assessed based upon the severity of the errors, with the points coming out of the “subject and
content” section above.

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