Sample Religious Studies Paper on Teaching Children about Allah

Teaching Children about Allah

A summary of the first examiner’s comments on presentation

It has been observed that the presentation attempts to explore a rare area in research. The study based in an aspect of Islamic religion education, also has a clear literature backing as well as interventional measures. However, it has problems in presentation, weaknesses in implementation of the project and unethical scholarly errors such as citation. The mistakes are specified and the following are the ways to correct them:

Proof reading

            These, as I understand them, refer to proof-reading errors that can easily be noted throughout the documents as highlighted by word. These will be fixed by reading the entire document, word by word and making relevant corrections. Redundant/unnecessary words such as “prophet hood and all the prophets” (5th line from bottom page 3), will be eliminated and replaced with “prophet hood”. Outright errors such as El Kindi’s (7th line, page 24) will be eliminated and replaced with correctly spelt words such as El Kind’s. Such outright errors will be fixed throughout the entire document by proofreading and making necessary grammatical corrections.

In-text citation

Various in-text references that are missing from the bibliography had been copied from in-text references provided by authors from whom relevant information was gathered. These will however be replaced with correct references from the bibliography as I am supposed to give credit to the author and not the people he cites in his in-text references (since he too quoted them as a way of acknowledgement). Berger (1990), and Berger & LUcman (1966) will be replaced with Stonehouse & May (2008). See forth and fifth lines from the top of page 9. Carson will be replaced with Creswell (2003) (see page 51 and 53),cotter will be replaced with Clyne (see page 35 and 83), Gibbs will be replaced with Crotty (see pages 53 and 54), Glock will be replaced with Martin (see page 9) Johnson &Onwuegbuzie will be replaced with Saulwick Muller Social Research (see pages 22, 42, 43, 44, 45), Kvale&Brinkman will be replaced with Weirsma (see pages 50 and 51), Michael will be replaced with Michel (see page34), Miles & Huberman wil be replaced with Miles (see page 43), Naquin will be replaced with (see page 98), Smith will be replaced with Hussain (see page 24) and Somers will be replaced with Hussain (see page 26).

Addressing the hard link between literature and the intervention

            This comment indicates that there is a broad range of scholarly inquiry carried out on a range of faith, developmental and RE theories. There is however no link that indicates how these inquiries justifies the practical investigation that is to follow. With the sole intention of the study being to portray the importance of RE texts as indicated in the literature, there is a deficiency in showing why exploring all other literature was relevant. This deficit will be addressed by creating a bridging section at the beginning of chapter 3. This section will admit that all literature inquired confirm the important role that parents, teachers and Islamic religious texts play in equipping children with relevant skill about the Islamic religion, which can eventually translate into significant knowledge of Allah. It will however report that there is no particular literature that has documented how similar skills can be dispensed to Muslim primary school children. This section will outline how this gap can be addressed through establish how Muslim primary school children can be taught about the Islam religion and the knowledge of Allah. At this point, the main objective for the study, which is to determine children’s beliefs about Allah and the potential of Islamic religious education textbooks in effectively teaching belief in Allah to Muslim children will be stated. This section aims to outline the methodology that will be employed to help gather relevant data that can help to accomplish the main study objective. The section that will be integrated will appear as follows “Relevant literature has portrayed the important role that parents, teachers and Islamic religious textbook play in equipping children with relevant skill about the Islamic religion, which can eventually translate into significant knowledge of Allah. Significant deficit has however been identified in this literature as it has not documented how similar skills can be dispensed to Muslim primary school children. To bridge this gap, this study is aims to establish how Muslim primary school children can be taught about the Islam religion and the knowledge of Allah. The specific objective for this inquiry is to determine children’s beliefs about Allah and the potential of Islamic religious education textbooks in effectively teaching belief in Allah to Muslim children”.  (see the first paragraph of chapter 3, page 40).

Inconsistencies between spelling in the text and bibliography

Inconsistencies in spelling will be corrected by replacing the wrongly spelt words with the correct words. Merr will be replaced with Merry (page 28) and Michael will be replaced with Michel (page 33). Internal inconsistencies in the bibliography will be corrected by following the correct APA formatting style as pertains to upper and lower cases, caps, full-stops, commas and punctuation. These corrections will be made in pages 104-117.

Implementation of the proposal

Relation of Fowler and El Kind insights

            This comment indicates that it has only been stated that the ideas from the two scholars will be borrowed in latter sections, which has not been done. The comment also raises concern pertaining to why Fowler would be seen as a scholar whose work can be employed in addressing the current study while he is said to base his arguments on Kohlberg, whose work scholarly work was found wanting. To address this deficit, a section indicating the only area that Fowler and El Kind’s scholarly can be employed, which is to help understand the various stages of faith development among children will be created. In this section, it will however be admitted that these scholarly works cannot inform the current inquiry because their theoretical perspectives have been found wanting (see adjustments made in the last paragraph on page 25).

Addressing the how the section on cognitive and affective RE theory has been used to justify the three questions that flow from the theory

            The comment on this section indicates that the information provided on cognitive and affective RE theory is narrowly inclined towards showing the distinction between the two aspects of the theory as well as how teachers employ each aspect to contribute to religious knowledge among the students. This comment however indicate that the information provided does not address questions pertaining to students’ believe about Allah, their queries about Allah, as well as the most influential materials that can be used to teach Muslim students. This deficit will however be addressed by showing how teachers can integrate the cognitive and affective teaching approaches so as to enable students to learn about religion while being guided by certain objectives including what they expect to learn at the end of a lesson as well as how they can make sense out of what they have learnt. The deficit will further be addressed by showing how integrating the two teaching approaches can help teachers to create an opportunity for self-reflection among students thereby being able to analyze whether what what they learn is relevant in promoting their believe in Allah as well as responding to their questions about Allah (see how this section has been restructured on pages 17-19).

 Substantiating literature arguments

            This comment states that certain generalizations have been made without providing necessary supportive evidence. This deficit will be addressed by making specific rather than generalizing statements that allow for specification of the generation, country, history, meaning and belief being referred to. A key generalization made on page 13 on a paragraph that begins “recently, some Muslim countries….” will for example be replaced with a paragraph that specifies its focus on Australian Muslim countries, the contemporary young generation and Islamic religion. This will then be followed by a relevant reference that offers supportive scholarly evidence. (See corrections made on page 13 )

Ethical and scholarly malpractices

Issue about the teaching relationship between the researcher and his subjects

            This comment raises concern pertaining to the teacher-student relationship that the researcher has with his subjects. This is viewed as an issue of concern that may ultimately comprise the study, as the subjects may feel coerced to give certain responses. The comment therefore suggests that a strategy to address these complexities and avoid such compromise should be established. This strategy should particularly ensure that the students do not feel under any coercion of constrain to give certain responses or take part in the study if they did not want to. While the researcher states that he always spoke to the students beforehand to remind them that they were not under any obligation to participate in the study, they comment presents this as an inadequate approach. To address this deficit, an additional sentence explaining how the researcher collaborated with his colleagues so they can collect data of his behalf will be integrated. This additional sentence will also explain the role that the other teachers will play in assuring the students that any information offered will not be used for a different purpose or affect their overall performance (see how this additional sentence has been integrated on page 52).

The issue with troubling sentence on page 49

            This comment states that there is a sentence stating that there was some data that had been gathered but was deemed inappropriate and it thus raised the desire to amend or use other information gathered. This comment inquires about the data that was deemed inappropriate, the other information collected as well as its source, how the inappropriate data was amended, and how this was done without compromising the entire study. To address this deficit, an additional sentence that addressed these concerns while on the other hand ensuring that the data collected was not manipulated will be developed. The sentence will explain that the data that was deemed inappropriate included responses by children, which stated that they did not believe in existence of Allah, talked about Allah with their parents or they did not have an interest in learning concepts related to Islam religion. The additional sentence will also explain that the reason behind perceiving this data as inappropriate is because the researcher had assumed that any child with a Muslim background would automatically believe in existence of Allah, have some questions about him and be interested in understanding concepts related to Islam. The sentence will also explain that the researcher had thought of discarding this information and use that which he perceives as most appropriate. Further explanation on how this will be amended without compromising the entire study will be made. This is because explanations on how the need to remain objective and enhance validity has inhibited the researcher from discarding any information will be made. Similarly, the researcher will give explanation on the role that any data gathered during the study play and hence cannot just be discarded (see how this has been integrated on page 51).

2nd examiner’s comments

The second tutor commends the strength of the proposal thesis. The examiner opines that the project is viable and that I have fully understood the dynamics of research investigation. The teacher additionally confirms that i am conversant with conceptualization, design, literature review, and survey modalities. Nonetheless, I should assess my work and make correction on the content of the presentation.

Implementation of the changes

Neglecting of diversity

            The comment states that the researcher has the tendency to overlook the issue of diversity by assuming that study subjects will follow a normative and stereotypical trend. The comment raises concern on a sentence at page Vii, which states that “”Muslim parents perceive Islamic religious schools as the most appropriate platform through which their children can be socialized. This is because the sentence follows a normative perspective by assuming that all Muslim parents see Islamic religious schools this way. This will be addressed by replacing this sentence with another sentence that specifies that a huge percentage of parents in Australian countries perceive the Islamic religious schools this way (see how this has been integrated on page v).

            The comment also raises concern on how the candidate has addressed the issue of free will by quoting what has widely been discussed throughout many centuries among Islam scholars but has not quoted any reference as a way of acknowledgment. This deficit will be addressed by quoting an appropriate quote at the end the sentence as a way of acknowledgment (see how this is addressed on page 5).  
            There is also a concern on the use of the word staunch, which is perceived to involve value judgment. The comment thus proposes that the word would be replaced by “many Muslims”, which does not include value judgment (see how this is adjusted on page 85).

            Another concern raised in this comment relates to the use of the term “religious education” throughout the thesis when in most instances referring to Islamic religious education. To address this deficit, a global search will be carried out throughout the thesis and make relevant adjustments. The adjustments will involve replacing religious education with Islamic religious education because it is the basic issue that is in focus.

Issue with the method of reference

            This comment raises concern about how the candidate has identified sources by giving name and year of publication without giving pages from which the references were derived. This limits the aspect of accountability as the reader cannot be able to do a random search of the author’s use of sources. To address this deficit, a thorough search will be carried out through the entire thesis and page numbers added to all references (see how this has been done throughout the entire thesis).

            There is also the concern of quoting Surah and Ayah when referring to the Qur’an but quoting secondary sources when referring to Hadith. This deficit will be addressed by identifying a Hadith Collection along with volume and number that each Hadith refers to.

            Another issue of concern that is highlighted in this comment is failure to give the appropriate reference for the sentence on page 11 that states “It is… believed that the best education that can be provided to a child is through the parents.” This deficit will be addressed by providing the appropriate source from which this information was derived (see how this is integrated on pages 11-12).

            There is also the issue of quoting Heysemi 1897 on page 14 but the reference does not appear in the bibliography. This source was included erroneously but it will be eliminated and instead the correct reference included.   

            Further concern raised in this comment is the section titled the teachings of hadith (section 2.3.4) but most sources cited in the section fail to represent the hadith. This deficit will be addressed by replacing these sources with those that represent the hadith. The relevant sources that represent the hadith include Al-Ghazzali, al-Jawziyya and Al-Jawziyya1. See how these sources are integrated on page 32.

Inadequate and dysfunctional discussions

            This comment claims that there is insufficient reconciliation between candidate’s recommendations with those made by the supervisor. To address this issue, the commendations will be harmonized to ensure that they correspond with those given by the supervisor. Questions that are not addressed will also be addressed.  

The issue of making assertions without providing supporting evidence

            This comment states that the candidate as the tendency of making claims without providing references to confirm that these assertions are true, which makes his writing to take a more popular or motivational rather than the scholarly style. To address this deficit, relevant sources that support such assertions will be provided. This will be accomplished as follows, P12”…People are only focused on the sounds of the words when reciting the Qur’an” (Metcalf, 2009, p. 191), P13 “some Muslims countries’ younger generations have not been subjected to the correct knowledge of Islam as a religion.” (Hassim & Adams, 2007, p.55), P15 “believing in a divine creator helps put to rest a believer’s fears…” (Naim, 1966, p. 97), P34 “faith-based schools, communities and school boards…’dictate’ which quality textbooks will best serve…” (Rossiter, 2000, p. 44), P61 “failure to believe in religion makes our lives rotate around…” (Anderson, 2006, p.105), (See how these are integrated on pages 12, 13, 15, 35, 63).

            The comment further raises concern pertaining to the various assertions made in section 5.2.1 without providing sufficient sources to support them. This will be addressed by provided appropriate sources to support the various assertions made (see how this has been corrected on page 82).

Making premature recommendation

            This comment raises concern pertaining to the candidate’s tendency to make premature recommendations before the survey and analysis has been undertaken. To address this issue, these recommendations will be eliminated so as to allow for the development that will be derived from survey findings (see how this has been corrected on page 22)  

The issue with physical presentation

            This comment raises concern pertaining to the many examples of proofreading errors that need to be corrected before the final submission of the thesis. This deficit will be addressed by reading the entire document, word by word, and making the relevant corrections on grammar. The modern author that has erroneously been termed as El Kindi will be corrected to El Kind. The various sentence blocks that are repeated will also be eliminated.

Work plan and time line

ActivityDuration (August 2015)
Adding more substantiated project implementation methods and their timeframe1st
Fixing missing in text references1st
Correcting inconsistencies in references2nd
Correcting internal inconsistencies in the bibliography2nd
Enhancing the link between literature and intervention3rd
Fixing the section on cognitive and RE theory3rd
Correcting the issue made on insights of Fowler and El Kind4th
Adjusting the number of study participants4th
Fixing issues of ethics5th
Addressing the issue of employing normative and stereotypical perspectives5th
Fixing the method of source reference6th
Implementing sources that relate to hadith6th
Providing sources for various assertions made7th
Fixing recommendations made7th
Fixing issues with textbooks used8th
Addressing questions that have not been addressed8th
Enhancing the physical presentation of the thesis9th  
Proof reading9th