Reflective Essay

The successful applicant will provide a reflective essay that describes his or her research process. The essay should reveal an understanding of the research process and demonstrate significant personal knowledge of methods of research and inquiry.
  • The essay should describe specific library tools used, search strategies employed, and resources consulted. For example, the essay should include names of specific library databases (e.g. PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, etc.) and finding aids consulted, it may include a list of initial search terms and additional terms discovered through the research process, and it may include titles to specific books, articles, or web resources that were particularly useful. Additionally, the essay should evaluate the ways in which these resources and strategies were or were not successful.
  • The essay should provide an expression of the ways in which information from a variety of sources interrelated to substantiate a hypothesis. It should include an acknowledgement of any sources that provided a position contradictory to the original hypothesis, and a description of how that information informed a revised hypothesis or necessitated the location of additional information sources to support or refute a position.
  • The essay should acknowledge the importance of ethical use of information (e.g. describes the importance of citing sources, details the ways in which sources are incorporated and documented, etc.).
Additionally, evidence of these reflections must be apparent in the research paper.
Reflective essay evaluation scores represent forty percent of the overall score assigned to an entry portfolio.