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The purpose of reflective writing is to give you an opportunity to examine your learning experience, integrate it, and make it relevant four your own purposes. Occasionally you may have a specific topic to write on or begin with an open-ended starter phrase. These will help you focus your attention on particular aspects of the material or experience. However, once you have addressed these topics, you will want to go beyond them and/or to address different topics as well. Other times, you will need to decide what is interesting and important to you and go in that direction.

When you write, consider that...

___your audience is your advisor, instructor, and/or fellow graduate students.
___reflection is NOT the same thing as summarizing. Only summarize the content of the material or experience when it is necessary for the reader to understand what you are saying and the comments you make.
___you should expect to go into depth.

The length of a reflection is dependent not only on the topic and the amount of material or length of the experience, but also on the depth of your integration of the ideas and connections you make to other material and experiences.

Frequently, students ask what the instructor or advisor “want” in reflections. Although the content of the reflection is to be based on what you think and how you integrate ideas, there should also be depth, connections, evidence of understanding, and broad integration of ideas. There are lots of ways to address those criteria, but for those of you who would like further guidance, a possible pattern to pursue in your writing--one that seems comfortable for most people is to...

___summarize your understanding CONCISELY and in your own words,
___support your perspective with examples from your own experience,
___agree, disagree--and support your position,
___doubt or question any elements, conclusions,
___draw your own tentative conclusions and / or applications,
___identify and ask remaining questions.

Not all of the above need by addressed in every reflection; however, your reflection illustrates the depth of your learning and needs to be thorough enough for you and your reader to draw an accurate picture.



Jun 17, 2008