Types of SIPs in Religion
Doing a SIP in Religion offers students the important opportunity to conduct independent and significant research into a question or topic of vital interest to you. The most common SIP in Religion is primary research into a specific question, author, or particularly influential work. This research consists of the careful reading, interpretation, and critical analysis of a body of literature you select in consultation with your advisors. Such a research project requires the student to locate the study within the larger study of religions. We call this type of research project “primary research,” while recognizing a great deal of a student’s research may also involve secondary sources.
It is also possible, although not strongly recommended, to complete a SIP which involves field research. We have outlined three types below: field research in a particular institution or organization, of a specific event, or in a project of some kind. Research in an organization may be an extended internship of some type, but it can not simply be an internship. Research into a specific event or project is usually funded by grants (either within or outside Kalamazoo College), and is more properly to be considered as traditional fieldwork. To receive approval for a field research SIP that involves interviews as a primary source of data, students must complete an IRB application.
Recommended Schedule for Completing a SIP
Summer/Fall: Research in the summer following the junior year, with the write-up in the fall for a two-unit SIP. The final copy of the SIP is due on the first Friday of Winter term, without exception.
Proposing a SIP and Completing a SIP Contract
First, submit an initial statement of your interests and questions to your advisors sometime before or during Week Five of your Junior Spring term. Discuss your questions and concerns with your advisors before turning to the SIP contract itself. Second, submit your responses required for the SIP contract to your advisors by the end of eighth week. Third, revise your SIP contract on the basis of your advisor’s recommendations, and submit it for signatures by the end of Week Ten of Spring term. When you look at the requirements for the SIP contract, keep in mind this is a provisional plan, and while we expect you to stick to your outline and schedule of research, we do recognize your hypothesis and sources are a bit tentative. If your research takes a substantially different track than proposed in the Contract, please contact one of your advisors immediately to get their advice. Download the SIP contract from the Registrar’s Office.
What Does a Completed SIP Look Like?
The final SIP in Religion is usually a minimum of 45 pages, and (preferably) no longer than 60-70 pages, including bibliography and notes. The critical feature of a SIP in Religion is not length, but acuity of insight and keenness of observation. We expect each SIP to go through at least three, and more often four drafts; SIP advisors will read the second draft carefully and offer their feedback at this point. It is expected students be in consultation with their advisors during the writing process, so no surprises will be in store for either the advisors or the students by the time the second draft is completed. The final draft, formatted according to the University of Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, and according to the guidelines of the Kalamazoo College SIP Handbook, is due on the first day of the term following your write-up quarter. Students should check with advisors by the end of the third week to receive their grades.