Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience

Work Placement Reports – Problems with essay plans

I have completed my reflective account for my work placement and I am pretty proud of it. I managed to use (vaguely) a recognised model of reflective practice and I suspect I may be one of the few people to write a reflective account with references 😛 (Not that this is necessarily a good thing, I hope I don’t get marked down for it! :S)

The other part of my assignment is coming along nicely although I think I really should have had a tighter focus considering the word limit of 1,500 words. Out of that limit I have so far written…4,000 words :S And even then I’ve dropped out two sections that I had in my plan!

My very detailed essay plan!

I write very detailed plans in mind mapping software, branching off topics and subtopics until I know exactly what I am going to write for almost every sentence and what references I am going to use where. My biggest problem is that I tend to find references first then decide what I want to write, and then I want to use every reference I have found. The problem with this is that it can lead to a very disjointed final essay as it is effectively a collection of many points that don’t always flow particularly well.

While looking again at mind mapping software I came across Rationale, which due to the cost I am not especially interested in but I did like the template they demonstrate on the video on their website – starting an assignment it lays out boxes for you to input two reasons with support, and an objection and rebuttal. While this is a little oversimplified for a final plan (for me) I think starting with this approach would really help the focus of my assignments.

Another approach I have heard of that I would like to start using, which could be tied in with the above, is to create a plan that has a point on it for each paragraph you intend to write. This again helps focus and streamline the writing.

For now I have to stick with what I’ve done and learn for next time. I am juggling 47 references now and I just don’t have the energy to start the plan again!

If you are interested in mind mapping software, XMind is available for free and is very good.

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