Loyola University Chicago Libraries

THEO 293: Christian Marriage: Home

Michael Murphy

From topic to thesis or argument

Start with a topic, likely a broad topic, that you would like to research and present.  Examples include the history of courtship and interfaith marriage.

Take this topic and design from it a variety of questions that you will seek to answer through your research.  Your group may have a tentative thesis or argument from an early phase in this project but it is your research that should ultimately determine it. 

Performing research to find the answers to your research questions will both help you to narrow your topic and to form your thesis or argument.

The presentation will be constructed around supporting your thesis or argument.  Each member of the group should be prepared to articulate the thesis or argument.



Each group must locate at least two relevant academic journal articles, two print books in the library collection, and two authoritative websites.  Most groups will locate additional sources of these types and others.  A maximum total of 12 sources may be presented in the final bibliography.  This limit is set to require that each group curate its sources carefully.  The sources used should be closely connected to the thesis or argument, not peripheral to it.

Use this checklist to confirm your collection of appropriate sources:

_____  Required: Two academic journal articles

_____  Required: Two books

_____  Required: Two authoritative websites

_____  Optional: Additional academic journal articles

_____  Optional: Popular magazine articles and/or newspaper articles

_____  Optional: Additional authoritative websites

_____  Optional: Other sources such as documentary films, interviews, or blog posts

Recommended research tools for article finding

Recommended research tools for book finding

Recommendations for selecting authoritative websites

Many excellent sources of information are freely available online but quality must be assessed carefully.  Without thoughtful consideration, it is easy to consult a website that is inaccurate, inappropriately biased, or excessively dated.  Consider the criteria below before selecting any website, including the two (or more) that you choose for this project.

  1. What individual or organization is responsible for the site?  Is that author qualified to present the information you are seeking?
  2. Is the information consistent with other sources already found?  If not, is it inaccurate?
  3. Is the information objective?  What biases should be taken into consideration before using it?
  4. Does the information appear to be current?

See http://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content for more suggestions.

Constructing the annotated bibliography

Format an annotated bibliography that cites each of the sources used to prepare your presentation (cite no more than 12 sources total).  The citations should be in MLA style.  A resource for assistance with formatting MLA citations is inserted below.  Place an annotation beneath each citation.  In the annotation, introduce the source’s argument and explain how it contributes to yours.

The NCSU Citation Builder is a helpful template tool for the basic styles (including MLA 8) and formats (books, book chapters, articles, and websites).

Obtaining help

I welcome your questions at any phase in this project.  We can exchange e-mail or meet -- individually, with part of a group, or with an entire group.  Write to me at jcurrie@luc.edu.

When you have quick questions (such as where to find a book or how to access the full text of an article) you may be able to get help more quickly from other library staff.  For options (chat, phone, in-person) see http://libraries.luc.edu/ask.



Subject Librarian

Jane Currie's picture
Jane Currie
773 508 2773
Website / Blog Page