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Reflection Paper Hints & Guidelines

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The purpose of a reflection paper is to demonstrate what you have learned about principles (theories, concepts) of bargaining and negotiation. A reflection paper has three elements. You might do well to think about these as roughly one page per element in your write-up.

(1) A brief summary of what happened. This might include what you negotiated, and what the outcome was. It might also include a summary of your strategy going into the negotiation, your perceptions as the negotiation unfolded, what behaviors you (or the other side) engaged in during the negotiation, and how the two negotiators influenced each other during the negotiation. It is important that your summary cover not only the facts of what happened, but also your perceptions and impressions of those facts as they unfolded. It might also be relevant to compare what happened in your negotiation to what happened in other negotiations like yours, or other negotiations in which you have participated.

Remember that the purpose is to demonstrate what you have learned. In the summary, you do not need an exhaustive description ÐŽV in fact, you wonÐŽ¦t have the space to provide one! You will need to decide what facts of what happened are relevant to the important lesson(s) you learned. Those are the facts that you will need to present.

(2) Identify and explain relevant conceptual material (theories, concepts) from our course. In this part of the reflection paper, the point is to demonstrate your ÐŽ§ownershipЎЁ of the concept/idea/theory that you identify. The first half of ownership is being able to describe and explain the concept/idea/theory. In the best of all reflection papers, the element of the paper should be able to stand alone as an explanation of some concept/idea/theory from our course. The identification of this relevant conceptual material should not make reference to the situation you are going to analyze ÐŽV that comes later! In this part of the paper, just identify and explain the relevant concept/idea/theory. Also, donÐŽ¦t assume that I know it! The point is not whether I know it ÐŽV the point is whether you know it. Also, there is a tendency in this part of the reflection paper to try to explain as many concepts or ideas as seem relevant. DonÐŽ¦t fall into this trap! If you try to explain too many ideas, you will not be able to discuss/explain any of them in enough depth to really demonstrate your ownership. Stick with a core concept (or two) that you see as most central to focus on.

(3) Use the concept/idea/theory to analyze what happened in the negotiation. The other half of demonstrating ownership with the central concepts/ideas/theories in our course material is to be able to apply them successfully and insightfully. That application may include using the concept/idea/theory to explain why what happened in your negotiation happened. It might include using the concept/theory/idea to explain how or why you might have behaved differently, and what would have happened if you had. It might include using the concept/idea/theory to suggest what you should do the next time you find yourself in a similar negotiation situation.

In this element of your reflection paper, it is critical that you USE the concept, idea, or theory to drive your analysis of what happened in your negotiation. Thus, it is not sufficient in your analysis to know what to do; you also need to correctly explain why to do it. Using course concepts, ideas, and theories to explain why is what applying theory is all about.

STANDARDS OF EVALUATION

Not longer than 3 pages double-spaced, typed in 12-point font or larger, with at least 1ЎЁmargins.

A = insightful (up to 40% of papers in past courses)

􀂄Ñ"nDescription of the course concepts demonstrates reflection and learning beyond just summarizing what was discussed in class.

􀂄Ñ"nApplication to the negotiation situation demonstrates real ownership of the ideas.

􀂄Ñ"nTight logical link between the description of the negotiation, the concepts from the course, and the conclusions or implications drawn.

􀂄Ñ"nConclusions are a logical outgrowth of applying the concepts to the description of the negotiation.

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