Are you good at reflecting on topics related to professional knowledge – and our culture? What significance does the news criterion ‘conflict’ have on our perception of the world? What role does challenging art play for our culture? What do dialects mean for our social affiliation?
The reflective article is a genre in which to reflect. It means to think, to wonder, to reason, to consider. One must thus think and reflect, wondering about a subject. And often the subject is related to our culture: what does it mean for our culture, our way of being together, our way of being human?
The reflective article is characterized by five key features in particular
- the article must be written in a personal language
- to use observations in the concrete as examples
- to make cautious bids at the abstract level
- one must move from the concrete to the abstract point
- The reader should become clearer in your thoughts on the topic and show willingly to give the reader some perspectives on the topic that the reader did not have before.
Your recipient reads literature and is generally interested in art and media. The recipient is thus relatively intellectual and therefore you should be able to speak at eye level with such a reader.
The personal language
The world must be written to your reader and your wonder about the subject must be written in a linguistic tone, they are yours. This means that you have to find your own linguistic tone. But the linguistic tone must stick to proper spelling and commutation. And youthful spoken language known from messenger and other social media is not appropriate, because your recipient is culturally interested. The language must be delicious and vibrant, the article must be well written and must show that you master the English language.
How to write delicious and vivid? By practicing writing – and challenging his language. It may vary in sentence structure or sentence length. Or to use rhetorical measures in a way that strengthens the points so that they are clearer and more pronounced. Imagery can also be used in passages that are particularly central to getting the reader further into the experience.
The concrete example
The starting point for your reflections at the abstract level must be concrete examples. The concrete examples are situations and experiences from everyday life. It can be experiences with Instagram, an experience with a movie clip or when reading a poem.
The ability of the reader to imagine a situation must be activated. And it can only be activated through your language. The reader must be able to see himself present in the concrete experience that sets your example. So you have to write a scene forward. What does the situation look like, what does it smell like, what can you hear? Write the world ahead of your reader.
The movement from the concrete to the abstract
In abstraction, you relate to the subject at an abstract, general, overall level. It is at the abstract level that you get to investigate the subject by making generalizations. This is where you investigate how the news criterion ‘conflict’ has a bearing on our perception of the world, what significance challenging art has on our culture, and what dialects mean on our social affiliation?
Being an investigator means that you have to make some bids. It is not an argument. Your opinion is absolutely immaterial. It is your perspectives on the topic and study of matters related to the topic that are in focus. The focus is on your ability to think and wonder – and get the reader caught in your line of thinking through a living language.
At the abstract level, therefore, you have to make some uncertain assumptions about how things are. Therefore, weak strength markers appear as ‘maybe’, ‘on one side x, but on the other side y’, ‘it could be something’, ‘it could indicate’, ‘it cannot be entirely excluded that’.
At the abstract level, you need to bring your academic knowledge into play in a way that gives the academic some perspectives in your abstraction. For example, it may be knowledge of news criteria or journalism as the fourth state power. It may be literary-historical knowledge of the importance of literary or artistic works for the contemporary. Or knowledge of sociologists and discourse theory.
How do I get started?
A good starting point is to have the task wording rewritten in its own language. In this way you get a grip on what the topic of the reflective article is. It is important. One must make sure that one is given his bids on the subject and not smoke out of a tangent unrelated to the subject.
Then it is appropriate to make a mind map of his thoughts on the subject. Which ways can you go? What points do I have on the topic at the abstract level? Ask yourself a lot of questions – what, why, how, which. Get to the heart of our culture, of being human, into our society.
Also think about how the topic relates to basic paradoxes and contradictions such as culture-nature, reality-staging, freedom-limiting, positive and negative consequences. Think in depth, challenge yourself and your ability to reflect. In addition, along the way, you must also consider what academic knowledge is relevant to include, and what perspectives the professional knowledge gives you.
Only after the initial brainstorm do you read / see the texts associated with the task. The texts are selected because they are somehow relevant to the topic, so you need to consider the perspectives the texts give to the topic.
How is a reflective article structured?
There is just no fixed formula for how to structure a reflective article. It is your wonder and investigative approach to the article that is the focus. And a thought process is rarely structured. But that’s why it’s fine anyway to think about how your reflective article should be structured.
The introduction leads into the subject of the article and preferably with a description of a specific situation. Finally for the introduction, there may be a few questions
The introduction should open the topic to the reader so that the reader has a clear idea of what is at stake in the topic and therefore the introduction must be strongly linked to the topic.
Then follows the body text, moving from the concrete to the abstract in a fluid flow of text. There are no headings that control the text, so it is good to have thought in advance which points at the abstract level you would like to reach and which contain the most meat and can be unfolded the most.
Your reflective article may very well argue at the abstract level, so that you will explore different facets of the subject. Often, the reflective article has the nature of being a process of recognition, in which one enters the subject in his writing and displays various perspectives and points attached to the subject. And one must along the way in the article want to become wiser. So it is fine to give some suggestions at the abstract level at the beginning of his article which you will later find will not hold because you have got some other perspectives on the topic.
Therefore, make an outline for your reflective article, where you get your points structured at the abstract level, so you get an overview of where the reflective article should move.
Finish off with a round-up, and preferably with one or a few sentences that will make the reader think further about your article.
How do I go from the concrete to the abstract in clear transitions?
Getting natural transitions between the concrete example and the abstract level with a bid for an answer can be difficult. Here are some help phrases that can be used in the transitions:
- “The experience testifies exactly where”
- “This makes me think”
- “You can deduce from that”