Reflections - high sample

The following sample is a reflection for an EE on sleep that would receive high marks.  Read through the following sample to see if you can recognize why the sample would score in the high markband.

Remember, although this is presented as three reflections, all three would be submitted to the IB for assessment and there would be one grade out of 6 marks.

Reflection 1

I decided on my EE question after watching a TED talk by Arianna Huffington in which she said that we should “sleep our way to happiness.”  This made me wonder to what extent sleep deprivation might affect my own mental health.  I know that both my own perfectionism and my use of technology are two reasons why I do not get enough sleep.  I also know that this is a common problem in our school.  Many students do not get enough sleep.  I also read an article by Dr Twenge at Harvard that said that in the last ten years there has been an increase in anxiety disorders in teens.  My research question attempts to address these different points.  I hope that my research will help me to draw conclusions about the value of sleep and help me to develop an argument to convince my friends of its importance. (149 words)

Reflection 2

I have really struggled with the research for this paper.  We do not study sleep in IB Psychology and I was not aware that sleep has a special vocabulary.  I have had to learn to break down the research that I am reading and to define key concepts.  I have had discussions with my supervisor to see if my understandings are actually correct.  I have also found that there is a lot of research on sleep deprivation in teens.  It has been difficult for me to decide which research to use.  I had to delete a lot of my early work and that was difficult.  I felt very attached to the writing I had already done – but I realized that I needed to keep my focus and not write about “other interesting stuff.”  Writing the outline really challenged me and helped me to prioritize which research I will use. (149 words)

Reflection 3

I am very proud of my final paper.  I think that I have used a good “toolbox” of evaluation to show that I understand how to discuss research.  However, if I were doing this again, I think that I would change my topic and focus on the effects of technology on sleep.  There was a lot of research on that topic which I found interesting and I found myself “locked” into my question.  I probably should have changed my question to make it more focused, but I wanted to avoid having to start over.  In hindsight, I think that this might have improved the quality of my overall argument.  I learned a lot about having to make choices – and how to prioritize which evidence to use to make a point.

On a personal level, this research taught me that you can teach yourself.  There was a lot that I didn’t know about sleep and sometimes I got discouraged, but I found that I could use resources to help myself understand things better without having to go to a teacher.  In spite of the fact that I did not always enjoy the process, I think it made me a more independent researcher. (201 words)

Why would this reflection receive top marks?

These reflections have all the components of a top reflection:

  • The decision making process is explained and evaluated.
  • Challenges are described and how they are overcome is explained.
  • There is personal voice regarding why this topic is important and what was learned through the research process.
  • There is evidence of engagement with the research process, demonstrating initiative, authenticity and inellectual initiative.
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