Psychology of Religion

In this class, we’ve taken a look at a wide range of theorists and topics associated with the psychological study
of religion. We’ve seen several different approaches to the phenomenon of religion, each of which has had its
strengths, weaknesses, and controversies. For this paper, you will choose a topic or theorist whom we’ve
studied this semester or one inspired by your readings/investigations. You’ll need to post your research topic in
the appropriate discussion thread in order to secure your topic as each of you will be writing on a different topic
(or from a different perspective on a similar topic). Your paper should represent research both within
psychology as well as within religious studies and should address items such as, but not necessarily limited to:
1) What is the topic/theorist/phenomenon you’ve chosen to research? Why did you choose this topic?
2) Complete an exhaustive academic literature review of the topic. You should provide a high-quality
literature review as though you were preparing a paper for journal or professional submission.
3) Describe historical approaches to the chosen topic. This may involve different theoretical perspectives,
methodological concerns, historical developments, etc.
4) Are there methodological approaches to studying this topic or theory? Describe psychometric or
experimental attempts to understand the topic/theory. What are the strengths and weaknesses of these
5) Describe controversies associated with your topic. How have researchers attempted to answer these?
How have these affected the study of the topic?
Given the wide range of possible topics, papers will look somewhat different from each other, but each paper
should have a thesis or theme that guides the reader through the paper. Your paper should include an abstract
as well to summarize your article to the reader. Good papers will demonstrate a thorough undertaking of
research. Original thinking is highly valued, so take time to fully think through your paper before you attempt to
write it—use your knowledge and skills about how to write an appropriate academic paper. Papers should
ideally be between ten to fifteen pages in length—this is a general guideline, not a requirement (it is likely
difficult to cover the topic in depth in any fewer pages). DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS!
You must use at least three academic sources outside of your textbooks for this class; you will likely
have more (please note that reference materials such as dictionaries and encyclopedias [including
online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia] are not academic resources). All citations need to be in a
consistent, APA standard format—points will be deducted for poor citation skills and should be represented in
both the body of your paper as well as in your Works Cited/Reference page. Plagiarism, intentional or
unintentional, may result in your failure of this assignment and the course. Please visit for further anti-plagiarism information. Papers will be graded on
quality of research and your presentation of the material in your paper. Points will be deducted for poor
grammar, spelling, and form, all of which constitute 20 points available in the paper.

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