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How to prepare a successful Reflective Project. By Josie Antongirolami. What is a Reflective Project (RP)?.

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What is a Reflective Project (RP)?

The Reflective Project is an in-depth body of work (essay, play, website, graphic presentation, etc.) produced over the duration of the IBCC program and is submitted at the end of your coursework. It is designed to draw together key elements of the IBCC program; Academy Pathway (career studies), Community and Service Learning, and the Approaches to Learning course. You will need to identify an ethical issue/dilemma, stemming from your career pathway studies, which you would like to explore in greater depth.


The AIMS of the RP

  • The AIMS of the project are to allow students to:
  • Produce an extended piece of work
  • Engage in person inquiry, action and reflection on a specific ethical issue
  • Develop research and communication skills
  • Develop the skills of critical and creative thinking

The reflective project uses:

The Reflective Project uses:

– your career-related studies as a focus for the chosen issue

– the skills you develop in approaches to learning such as the ability to create a reasoned argument (critical thinking), to understand ethical dilemmas (ethical thinking) and to prepare the structure and format of the project itself (communication)

– the skills and knowledge you develop in community and service


RP Word Count

Remember that the examiners will not read beyond the appropriate word limit when assessing the reflective project.

The word count does not include:

• acknowledgments

• the contents page

• maps, charts, diagrams, annotated illustrations and tables

• equations, formulas and calculations

• citations or references (whether parenthetical or numbered)

• footnotes or endnotes

• the bibliography

• appendices.

the process of selecting an issue
The process of selecting an issue
  • * Be sure to select an issue that interests you and that applies to your career
  • of choice!
  • Formulate a well-focused research question on an issue.
  • Reference page 20 in the RP Student Guide

Selecting a good topic

Step 1

Start at the top of the table and find an issue related to your IBCC course.

Step 2

Formulate a non-ethical question that simply asks you to describe what you know about the issue.

Step 3

Redraft your question so that it just asks for one solution to the problem or issue.

Step 4

Try to think of the ethical dilemma associated with the issue and open up the question so it leads to multiple answers.

Step 5

Now focus on the ethical dilemma and enlarge it so that the question now goes far beyond the limits of the original observation. Your question should have more than one right answer and require the use of argument.


Identify the ethical dilemma within the issue.

What are the different perspectives involved?

  • Examine the ethical dimension associated with the issue. Consider more than one view or one side of the ethical issue.
  • Remember, that it is the ethical dimension of the issue, and not the issue itself, which is the primary focus of the reflective project!
  • Develop a personal and relevant evaluation of the ethical dimension of the issue

What are ethics and an ethical dimension?

What is an Ethical Dilemma?

Ethicsis based on a set of moral principles of a society or culture that helps to guide behaviors, actions and choices. The ethical dimension refers to the range of ethical aspects related to an identified topic.

What is an Ethical Dilemma?

Within an ethical dimension there are ethical dilemmas. An ethical dilemma is a choice between two (or more) conflicting moral perspectives where neither choice provides a perfect solution.


The Four Main Stages in the

Research Process:

  • Defining the purpose of the research, the objectives of the research and the research question(s)
  • Conducting a literature review
  • Designing appropriate data collection methods and analyzing the data
  • Presenting the research findings

Students should use a consistent style of referencing throughout the project, and it is recommended that the APAstyle be used.


Where should you look for references?

The more variety the better! Newspaper and online articles, books, journals and magazines. Be sure to not rely only on the internet!

You will have some time in class to utilize the library and complete online research.

Be sure to record sources as the research progresses (rather than trying to reconstruct a list at the last minute).


RP Criterion

The IB will award a grade based on the mark.

26–30 A

21–25 B

16–20 C

10–15 D

0–9 E

• Examiners will not read beyond the appropriate word limit when assessing the reflective project.

• Any student awarded a grade of E for the reflective project will not be awarded the IBCC.


Assessment Criteria

Summative assessment principles are used to assess the project. The following are criterion for the RP.

The issue in context

Community awareness

The ethical dimension of the issue

Cultural awareness


Supporting evidence

Student voice




In depth explanations of each criterion are found on pages 14-19 in the RP Student Guide


Additional IMPORTANT INFO Ahead:

All of the following information stems from the RP Student Guide. Please make sure to reference the guide for further information and more detailed explanations. Keep your RP Student Guide with you at all times in class. We will use it often!


Community Awareness


A community is a group of people with common interests such as where they live, religion and ethnicity. A community has its own set of attitudes and way of life. Those attitudes and way of life make the members of the community see the world around them in a certain way. You need to be aware of what those attitudes are and the way in which they influence the community. Also, remember that community could be your local neighborhood, your town, your city, even your country or religious and ethnic community.


What is Primary Research?

What is Secondary Research?

Primary research is collecting data and information first-hand that is by you, through the use of questionnaires, surveys and interviews.

Secondary research is collecting data and information that already exists, that is by reading reports, publications and other literature. Your research question, determined in criterion A, will help you focus your research. You should know what data/information you want to get, so make sure your question promotes research.


Cultural Awareness

How can culture influence perspectives on the ethical dilemma of the issue? Criterion D is broadly interpreted to allow students to explore social and cultural differences based on cultural identity and how these differences may lead to different perspectives. This, therefore allows you to look for differences related to, for example:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • History
  • Language
  • Location
  • Nationality
  • Religious beliefs
  • Socio-economic background
  • It would be a good idea when consulting the community on the issue to obtain data related to some of the categories above.

Relevant Data

You are required to find a range of evidence from a variety of sources, which provide contrasting views of the issue and the associated ethical dilemma. The evidence should be referred to all the way through your project and not simply something that is put together at the end of your project.

Where can you find relevant data?

This could and should come from multiple sources, such as:

• statistics from reputable sources (for example, those provided by government organizations, professional organizations and non-governmental organizations)

• an interview conducted with an authority or an expert on the issue in question

This could be conducted by yourself or be an interview that has been published elsewhere.

• an essay, article or book on the subject

• documentaries

• credible internet sites (for example, those provided by universities, museums, non-governmental organizations and the like).

However, you must exercise some critical judgment when using websites to ensure that the information you use is relevant and credible.


Your voice

  • In criterion G, you are required within the RP to voice your personal view on the issue using a range of relevant evidence.
  • Please remember:
  • Can be personal but must give your view on the ethical dilemma regarding your research question.
  • Must draw on your research and evidence to support your personal view and present a well-reasoned argument to justify your personal view
  • Make sure the reader understands your viewpoint
  • ALWAYS try to be objective, avoid emotion