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Reflection Paper Guidelines

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Suggestions and Guidelines for Writing Reflection Papers

Why do I have to write a reflection paper?

I have students submit weekly reflection papers for four reasons:

1. First and foremost, they are a way to make sure you keep up with the readings. I find that if students aren’t required to hand something in each week, they will simply not do the readings. The reflection papers kind of “force” you to make sure you keep up with your responsibilities in the class.

2. Reflection papers are a way for you to develop your own ideas and thoughts on topics we read about and discuss. It helps you build your critical thinking skills.

3. Writing on a weekly basis will help you improve your writing skills.

4. Reflection papers serve as a basis for class discussion on the day they are due – so I will know everyone has something to talk about because each person wrote about something!

What is a reflection paper?

The reflection papers you will be handing in to me are your chance to add your own thoughts and analysis to what you have read. I do NOT want you to summarize the readings - I already know what the content of the readings is. You don’t need to regurgitate it back at me. What you SHOULD do is use the readings as a “jumping off” point to write on your thoughts about the reading (see list of tips below).

Reflection papers are worth 15 points each and are used for discussion during the class they are due. As such, you need to have your reflection paper printed and in front of you on the day it is due. This is part of being prepared for class and your class participation grade will be lowered if you aren’t prepared to share your ideas with the class when a reflection paper is due. If you don’t have your paper in front of you in class on the day it is due, it will be considered late.

You should be writing your reflection paper on the reading you did from the last reflection paper on. If there are numerous readings, you don’t need to discuss every single article or chapter if you can write intelligently about one specific topic/article. It’s up to you. Regardless of how many articles you write about, you are still expected to have all the readings done that are due.

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How to get full credit for your reflection papers

• Make sure everything is grammatically correct, spelled correctly and makes linguistic sense. This is the biggest thing I will take off points for in most cases. You may have great ideas in your paper, but if I can’t understand what you are trying to communicate due to horrible grammar and spelling, then you are looking at 12 out of 15 points at the most.

• Go into detail in explaining yourself and your ideas. I am looking for depth of thought in your writing. Show me you truly understand the concepts in the reading.

• Don’t summarize the readings. You may refer to something in the reading, but I don’t want the entire reflection paper to be a summarization of the reading. Instead, comment on your thoughts regarding the reading - do you agree or disagree with what was written? Why or why not? Did the reading make you question or think about something else? What questions were you left with after doing the reading? Can you relate the reading to something going on in the media today? Does the author of a given reading have a valid and logical argument? If an article details a study that was done, was the study done in a manner that is valid?

• Double space your papers.

• Staple your papers if more than one page long.

• Hand your papers in on time. I take 5 points off for each day a paper is late. These reflection papers are only worth 15 points so if you hand one in 3 days late, you won’t get any points.

• Length of reflection papers should be at least 1 page long. A 1 page paper should be extremely well-written and concise (in other words, not just rambling about nothing for the sake of getting a page worth to hand in). Most students tend to write about 2 pages.

Please include the following information at the top of each reflection paper:

Your Name
Date Due
Class & Semester
Reading Reflection #?
Readings Commented On:pa

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