As part of your MA, you will be able to choose between two different research subjects: RES500 and RES501. Every MA student must complete at least one of these two subjects before they are able to graduate from the course.
IMPORTANT, BEFORE ENROLLING:
You must discuss your research project with the program director before enroling in RES500 or RES501. Preferably, this discussion should take place in the semester before you plan to enrol. This will allow us to arrange for appropriate supervision for your research project.
Choosing the correct option—RES500 or RES501?There are a few differences between RES500 and RES501. The first is size. The two units differ in the number of credit points each is worth and the amount of time given. RES500 is worth ten credit points and involves an 8,000-word research paper written over one semester. RES501 is worth 20 credit points and involves a 16,000-word paper, usually taken as one unit each semester for two semesters. The RES501 project may also be taken in one semester as two concurrent units. (Please contact the program director before choosing this option.)
There are a few other differences between these two units. RES501 also requires a GPA of above 2.8, while there is no minimum GPA entry requirement. Finally, if, at the conclusion of your MA, you are hoping to pursue further postgraduate studies, or are simply interested in taking on a more-research oriented approach to things, you should strongly consider enrolling in RES501 instead of RES500 (provided you meet the requirements). For example, the Doctor of Ministry and PhD entry requirements include 20 credit points worth of research, which RES501 will fulfil.
Content and focus
The Independent Guided Research (RES500) is designed to enable you to synthesise what you've learned in your entire MA course in a focused, holistic way while tackling a specific topic related to your area of specialisation. For example, perhaps you want to look deeper into ethical challenges in ministry contexts, and so you could incorporate what you learn in your Ethics, Biblical studies, theology, ministry, and even some of the electives such as spirituality or contextual studies classes as you tackle this particular issue. If your area of specialisation is focused on leadership, for example, you could perhaps develop a training strategy for leaders using what you learnt in your leadership classes, Bible and theology classes, as well as relevant electives. The point is for you to think of all that you've learnt in an integrated way and then use that knowledge to tackle a particular issue that you want to explore in-depth for your project. The integrated project will be marked by your supervisor.
The Research Project (RES501) involves learning some general research skills (such as basic statistics, ethnography, and hermeneutics) and undertaking a research project to study a particular issue or question. You will work under the guidance of a supervisor, but the final project will be marked by an external marker. As has already been mentioned, RES501 can function as the research component for entry into various postgraduate degrees.
For both RES501 and RES500, students will have access to a Moodle site in which there are relevant resources and readings. Please review the unit outlines provided to get a better idea of these two units.