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Writing a reflective response to a text

Read, reflect and think critically about the text you select. It could be a journal article, a book section or chapter or several different ideas about a particular theory. For example, people look at 'identity' in different ways.

  • Write a personal response that shows you have spent time reading and reflecting.
  • Summarise the main ideas in a single short paragraph. Ask yourself 'What is the meaning for me?'
  • Identify aspects you agree and disagree with. Explain why.
  • Find literature that critiques the text. Explain how.
  • Reflect on how others' ideas helps clarify your thoughts.

Identify the text

Write bibliographic data on top of your page. This helps keep a record of your readings and your ideas that you can easily find another time.

Present your reflection

Most reflective pieces are short. Often they are kept to a single page. Be consistent with your layout for all your reflective writing. Over time it traces your developing philosophy and can become a useful bibliographic record. Present your work clearly and make it easy to read.

  • Headings: Keep them clear. You could bold them or use a larger font.
  • Font style and size: Your reflection will be assessed so make it easy for your marker. Arial or Times New Roman Pt 11 or 12 are easy to read.
  • Spacing: Single spacing may be suitable for a single page but some people require 1.5.
  • Borders: Appropriate borders make your work look good and give space for lecturers' to comment in the margins.
  • Page numbers: If your reflection is several pages, remember to insert page numbers.
  • Headers, footers: Your name, student number and unit code identify your work clearly.
  • References: These are important even in a short reflection. You can identify a particular text by inserting bibliographic data at the top of the page and others at the end.
  • Quotes: Short significant quotes can enhance your work but keep a careful record of the source and page number.
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