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Doctor of Ministry resources: Doctor of Ministry resources

D.Min. resources for RTS students at all stages of their D.Min. program.

RTS Doctor of Ministry Program

RTS Doctor of Ministry - Information & Resources for Current Students

 

For a listing of upcoming courses, see here.  Students may take courses at any campus location where they are offered.  For specific questions, contact your campus Registrar or D.Min. office.

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Librarian

Ken McMullen's picture
Ken McMullen
Contact:
RTS Library
2101 Carmel Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28226
704-688-4230

Resources

Researching information for your D.Min. project will require a commitment to explore numerous resources in order to support the thesis statement on which you are working.  The RTS Libraries provide the search tools you will need to find both books and journal articles to enrich your writing.

Merely pulling books off one's personal shelves or off one CD will be insufficient - you will need to reconsider your expectations!  Such an approach will almost certainly result in your proposal being returned for further work before you can proceed.

The first step is to consult the RTS D.Min. Manual so that you understand what is expected of you.  

Next, you need to start on a working bibliography.  You may want to avail yourself of one or more of the programs available for tracking citations and/or aiding your writing (see citation & writing tools tab).  Use the RTS Library catalog to identify book titles.  Search the ATLA Database to create a list of journal articles.  

CLICK HERE for help on LOGGING INTO ATLA DATABASE.

If part of your project involves using a survey or other social research tool to identify issues in your local ministry context, you will want to consult some tools which can help you do that more effectively.  Unless you have prior training in how to create such surveys, you are most likely not well equipped to create them.  Consult the research tools tab for more help.

When doing research, you want to think in terms of assembling various tools for your 'tool box'.  No one source will provide all that you need.

Check the Quick Links box for a jumping off point to some of the main tools at your disposal.

In addition, below are some book titles that may be useful to you.

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As you do research for your D.Min. courses or your final project, you will need to use books and journal articles.  Here is a quick overview of how to get what you need.

LOCAL RESOURCES

Take stock of the academic libraries within a couple hours of where you live - seminaries (of any outlook), colleges, or universities.  Though they may not allow you checkout privileges, almost all of them will allow you to use their collections on-site.  If you find journal articles or sections of books that are useful, you can make photocopies or scans of them.  Do not assume that because it is a secular institution that they will not have any resources of use to you.  Most academic libraries collect many of the same journals and reference works.

BOOKS

We recommend two primary ways to search for book titles.  First, the RTS Library Catalog.  Second, go to WorldCat at www.worldcat.org.   WorldCat is a tool which searches library holdings from all over the United States.  When you perform a search, you can type in your local zip code and it will tell you what libraries in your area hold the title you've searched.  These two tools will help you discover which books you may want to use.

Acquiring books through Inter-Library Loan (ILL)

If you find book titles which you cannot access easily on the local level, then note this basic information from that book:

  • author or editor
  • title (make sure you get it correct!)
  • publisher &/or ISBN if you know it

Take that information to your local public library & request an inter-library loan for that title.   Some public libraries may charge a small fee per request, but others will not.  The library will then look to see which library in your region can get the title to them the quickest.  Once the book arrives, you can check it out & do your research.  

Two suggestions about this process (from a former public librarian!):

  1. Don't bury them with a pile of requests!  Just submit 2-3 at a time at most, then use those books quickly & return them on time.  Then you can request more.
  2. Show them gratitude for this service!  Bake them cookies or otherwise show them kindness, and they will be more amenable to helping you out.  You don't want to walk in the library and have them think, "Oh no, here comes that seminary student again!"

The RTS libraries do not ship books by mail to students, so using local ILL is the way for you to acquire the books you need.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Many articles you find in the online databases RTS provides, such as ATLA Religion Database or JSTOR, will be full-text online.  But not every article will be offered full-text online (some publishers won't allow it at all, or not until a period of time has passed after publication).

Sometimes you can locate a journal article through the actual website for that journal (many post some or all of their archives that way).  Yes, that takes some extra digging, but it could save you some time if you find what you need.

For articles you cannot locate online, note the following information:

  • author or editor
  • title of article
  • journal title
  • date of publication 
  • volume & issue numbers - important!
  • page range of article - important!

Most of the time you should be able to cut and paste that information from the database in which you found the article.  

You can then send the information for the article(s) you need to the library staff at the RTS campus at which you are registered.  They will find the article & send back to you a scanned copy of it.

Again, some suggestions:

  1. Don't submit too many requests at once, please.  Our staff cannot handle limitless numbers of scan requests all at once.
  2. Be discerning in what you request.  If, for example, you find 50 articles you want, go through your list and identify maybe 1/4 of them which look the most useful and start with those.  Some of the articles in your original list may never be needed, while you may well find others that would be more useful.

While we do not charge for scans of article we send to our students, we reserve the right to limit how many requests we will be able to fill in a given time frame.

TRACKING YOUR RESOURCES

As you work on a paper, especially so for your final project, don't lose track of where you find things!  See our 'Citation and Writing Tools' tab for suggested tools which will help you retain the research on which you work.  To make sure you cite things properly, note the 'Formatting' tab for guidance.  Remember, if you have a great quote but can't remember where it came from, you can't use it!

 

Purpose

The beginning of the written project process is to produce a quality “project proposal.” The Project Proposal is a blueprint of the research plan for the entire project.

It is a formal document presented to the faculty D.Min. Committee for evaluation and approval.  The proposal outlines the anticipated research model that the student will utilize to study the chosen topic and report on findings. The proposal is intended to provide a roadmap for the student’s research and writing for the duration of the project process.  Once the proposal is approved by the D.Min. Committee, an Advisor is appointed and the writing may begin.

Elements of a Project Proposal

Below is a brief summary of what your proposal should include. **Consult the full D.Min. Manual before embarking on your Project Proposal.**

1.  A Concise Title

2.  Statement of the Topic (Problem, Need, Research Interest)

3.  Research Questions

4.  Research Strategy

5.  Proposed Outcome of the Study (New Model of Ministry)

6.  Chapter Summaries

7. Surveys, Questionnaires, Interview Questions

8.  Timeline

9.  Bibliography

 

Developing a thesis statement/statement of topic (item #2 above)

Deciding the topic you will deal with but also a specific thesis goal can be challenging.  You may find it helpful to consult books that discuss how to arrive at a good thesis statement.  One such book is Kibbe's work shown here, but look in the sidebar listing of books in this LibGuide for more resources.  Your project advisor can work with you in developing your thesis statement as well.

Formatting for D.Min. projects at RTS is done according to A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Disserations, 8th ed., by Kate L. Turabian, et. al.  

Students are strongly encouraged to purchase a copy of this resource as soon as possible so as to become familiar with its requirements.  You can view the Turabian quick guide, but DO NOT RELY ON THAT PAGE ALONE!  You still need the actual book as a resource (print or e-book).

We also provide an RTS D.Min. formatting guide, which also includes templates you can look at in order to help you get your final project looking as it should.  Go to http://rts.edu/Site/Academics/Degree_programs/Dmin/Charlotte/dmin-styleguide.pdf.  

When in doubt, by all means contact your RTS librarian for assistance.   The sooner you familiarize yourself with the proper formatting, the easier it will be later.

Many students will find that using a citation tool will help them as they work through papers for individual courses and much more so as they work on their final project.  

The list below is by no means exhaustive, and new tools appear from time to time.

The main point is to find a tool that will work best with how you do your research and writing.  If you don't like a tool, you won't use it.  Your best bet may be to try some of the free tools first, and then if those don't appeal to you, perhaps you will invest in one of the other tools.  

Keep in mind you want a tool that will allow you to export citations in Turabian format (see Formatting tab).

  • BibMe (free)  - Web based tool for tracking citations.  May not be robust enough for larger bibliographies. 
  • End Note Web (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.
  • Mendeley (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.
  • Nota Bene - Web based tool for tracking citations as well as for writing.  Free trial version.
  • Ref Works - Web based tool for tracking citations. Free trial version.
  • Zotero (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.  May not work with all browsers.
  • Evernote - More of a writing tool than a citation tool, but can be used in tandem with citation tools.  Basic version is free.
  • Memonic - Mainly a writing tool.  A limited free version is available.
  • Scrivener - Perhaps more of a writing tool than a mere citation tool, but it does do the latter.  Relatively inexpensive.

None of these tools are perfect!  After you import citations into your paper, you still need to check them for completeness and accuracy (no blaming the program!). 

Sometimes D.Min. students desire to see what other projects/theses have been written by D.Min. students.  This may help a student formulate their own working proposal.  But ultimately each student must choose a topic which is of interest to them.  

PLEASE NOTE: Under NO circumstance should you use someone else's project as a formatting template for your own!  Refer only to the RTS format guide and Turabian for such issues.

Here are suggestions if you want to survey other D.Min. titles:

  • RTS Catalog - All prior RTS D.Min. titles are listed in our catalog (but NOT the projects themselves).
  • RIM - Research in Ministry - This database maintained by the American Theological Library Association lists D.Min. titles from schools all over North America.  Note again - there is no full text of the projects.
  • TREN - The database of the Theological Research Exchange Network.  This database lists not only D.Min. titles but also M.A. and a few Ph.D. theses.  Full-text is available, but it is for a fee per title (depending on the format you choose).  The RTS Library may be able to help you acquire a full-text copy of titles *on a limited basis*.

Some D.Min. students ask about searching Ph.D. theses.  Frankly, that is probably not that beneficial for the purpose of writing a D.Min. project.  You can go to https://delicious.com/rtslibrary/ and search the tag 'Theses' to see various links to Ph.D. theses, but the best databases are not free.

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