Portfolio Reflection

Taking part in Writ 1133 class has not only improved my understanding of the specific concepts of writing but have also enhanced my practical skills in creating various assignments. I have learned the importance of research and brainstorming while undertaking group exercises. Additionally, I have acquired sufficient knowledge on the issues of proofreading and revision of papers to ensure they meet the required standards. My completion of various assignments in class also contributed significantly to the development and improvement of my research and writing skills. Through these assignments, I was able to assess my understanding of the concepts taught and make adjustments and changes as was necessary to accomplish the ultimate goal of being a better researcher and writer. I made many mistakes in my first assignment, and the write-up did not meet the desired goals. However, taking into consideration the tutor’s feedback and making necessary adjustments in my research and writing contributed to by better performance in the last assignment. Generally peaking, the focus of a reflection is to ascertain whether the course goals were met and also to evaluate the role of the tasks in developing students’ writing and research skills. Taking the case of three assignments submitted in the previous two months, this portfolio reflection is an analysis of my development during the research and writing process as well as the knowledge and skills I obtained.

1st Task

The first task undertaken was a literature review on a research topic. My research focused on the investigation of mental health issues among college students. As such, my role was to assemble a literature review on the major concepts to be explored during the study as well as determine the gaps in literature that the research would fill. Based on the feedback of the tutor, the paper did not meet the required standard of a literature review.  I learned that a literature review is more than mentioning the assertions of other scholars on the topic under discussions; it encompasses a critical review and analysis of the different opinions presented by researchers on the topic. One is also expected to link the assertions and identify the probable differences or similarities in the arguments of the various scholars. Moreover, as Cronin et al. indicate, a narrative literature review requires the identification of inconsistencies and gaps in a given body of knowledge to help the researcher formulate the desired research questions or hypotheses for the study (38). Being critical is mandatory when undertaking a literature review on a given body of knowledge.

Further, the inclusion of quotes in the literature review requires an analysis of their insights and links to the topical issues. Otherwise, as observed in my case, adding quotes without commenting on their role does not provide much information to the reader. Formatting and proper references were my other failures in this paper. I did not adhere to the specified format style and also omitted some references in the analysis. Being a literature review, proper citing of the sources used is mandatory; otherwise, the paper is marked as plagiarized (Klems). I did not only learnt the importance of proper referencing and formatting, but also became more informed on the dangers of academic misconduct and the way it can affect one’s grades. Despite not meeting the task’s goals and standards, I was more focused in making improvements in my subsequent assignments.

2nd Task

The second tasks was a digital proposal exhibit focused on communicating a historical perspective on the research issue to a specific audience. The aim of the task was to ensure that students can communicate the historical perspective on the topical issue under investigation in form of a brief digital exhibit. To this end, I was expected to describe the issue of mental health as reported among DU students in the past. Undertaking the task gave me an opportunity to go to the library archives and read widely on the issue of mental health as reported in different reports and papers, including the school newspaper. From the paper reviewed I obtained comprehensive information on the issue of mental health as reported in the early issues. I discovered that DU did not have health insurance cover for mental health in the period of 1976 to1978; as such, mental health was a critical concern for students in the school.

Despite having done comprehensive research on the issue, my presentation of the facts was not satisfactory. According to the feedback of the tutor, I failed to mention a specific target audience as well as limit the discussion to an exhibition as opposed to my whole research. Additionally, the goal of the study was not properly stated, based on the target audience chosen. These limitations of the paper prevented me from accomplishing the overall goal of the task. I embarked on making the necessary changes to the paper to ensure it met the goals set by the tutor as well as the overall standards for writing an exhibit proposal.

3rd Task

The third task focused on the analysis of an archive material. The task was a group project; however, the presentation of the findings attained were done individually. We looked at the DU newspaper as our archive material and analyzed its contents from1944-1945 and 1947-1948. Based on the comprehensive research we did, our group obtained sufficient information concerning various issues such as jobs offered, events conducted without and within the school, as well as job opportunities available to the students.

            The feedback provided by the tutor on my writing showed some significant improvements in my writing skills. I did not only communicate to a specific target audience, but also identified suitable, specific, and relevant goals. Additionally, I properly mentioned the benefits of the newspaper to the students, justifying it as an important resource for the school.

Despite my improved skills in research and writing of this paper, the assignment was not without some limitations. I failed to specifically point out what was included and/or excluded in the source. Identifying the weaknesses of the newspaper or any archive source of news and information would have been essential in ensuring changes and improvements are made. This limitation is an issue that I will take into consideration in my next writing project.

Conclusion

My research and writing skills have significantly improved throughout this course. I have learned how to put the theoretical writing and research skills into practice. As much as I had some difficulties in writing my first papers and failed to meet the intended goals of the tasks assigned, I made the necessary changes as per the feedback provided by the tutor to improve my performance. I registered some improvements in the last paper, though there were still errors reported. According to the knowledge acquired during the course and the feedback on the tasks, I am more focused on making changes and adjustments in my research and writing to further enhance my skills.

Leave a Reply