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Example of a reflective writing task

Bibliographic data

Bouma, G, Canny, BJ 2000 Exercising our duty of care as researchers for those we diagnose to be 'at risk'. Australian Universities' Review, 2(2000), pp. 32-37.

Summary of the journal article

Monash University maintains strict ethical guidelines over research undertaken within the institution. The nature of care is of major importance; researchers are bound by ethics of care for their participants that must comply with strict university procedures. The paper identifies a new protocol that guides research involving students in schools. It reports on a recent trial that considers adverse affects of diagnostic tests on children.

Ideas to help you complete the task

  • Extend the summary to address particular issues relevant for you.
  • Look for the summary of results and directions for further research in the conclusion.
  • Skim through references to see who wrote what as this can guide further reading.
  • Identify useful quotes and keep a full reference with page references. It is easier to find them on this summary page than to search through the entire article.

The university ethics committee 'aims to identify those research projects in which a duty of care does exist and to enable researchers to propose how they plan to exercise that care, and leaves the onus… on the researchers' (p. 37)

  • Give an opinion and explain why.
  • Support your opinion in reference to other literature.

Writing a summary and forming an opinion makes it is easy to access your ideas later on. The summary reminds you of the content and your opinion, but this might change over time. Later you can reflect on your comments critically.

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