From Topic to Thesis is intended to help
students to write a research paper about theology or biblical studies. It is
not limited to undergraduates or graduate students but also applicable to
scholars and professors who are interested in doing research with intentions to
get it published. The particular process that Kibbe focuses on five steps:
finding direction, gathering sources, understanding issues, entering discussion
and establishing a position. Using these five steps, Kibbe guide the researcher
from a research assignment to a research argument.

            In the introduction of the book,
Kibbe purposefully outlines the history of theological research and explains
how theological research is similar and distinctive from other areas of
research. He also discusses key terms and bibliography in the introduction. At
the beginning of the research process, Kibbe suggests researchers should
establish a general topic rather than a definite thesis. In this stage, using primary
and tertiary sources is helpful since they dictate whether there is a
substantial argument to be made. Kibbe addresses helpful tips and keys to
gathering sources in the next chapter. He argues that there should be balance
in attention given to sources available. Researchers should not devote a
considerable amount of time on one particular source nor should they get
distracted by all the possible sources available. Then, the next step consists
of the researcher figuring out the direction and purpose in scholarly discourse
concerning the topic. This step requires intensive reading since the researcher
needs to understand the arguments the sources are making. A practice advice
that Kibbe provides in this chapter is to refrain from using too many quotes.

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When entering into the discussion, the researcher should be able to articulate
how his or her thesis fits into the overall discussion of a topic. These steps
that Kibbe lists demonstrate the importance of understanding the subject matter
and the need for doing enough research in order to have a strong research
paper.