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.One of the biggest differences between the Independent Guided Research (RES500) and the Research Project (RES501) is that RES500 spans over one semester and counts as 1 unit (10 credit points), while RES501 spans over 2 semesters, and counts as 2 units (20 credit points). It is important to note that RES501 also requires a GPA of above 2.8.
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 entry requirements include 20 credit points worth of research, which RES501 will fulfil.
The Independent Guided Research (RES500) is designed to give you the opportunity to synthesise what you've learned in your entire MA course in a focused, holistic way, while tackling a specific topic that's 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 what you've learnt in an integated 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. To get a better idea of these two units, please review the unit outlines provided.