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PS 497 Park University Psychology Reflection Paper

PS 497 Park University Psychology Reflection Paper


The Core Assessment for this course consists of three parts. The Reflection Paper is the third and final part.

The Reflection Paper is a capstone/ synthesis paper that asks you to describe how you have addressed the five program competencies by the courses and experiences that you have had at Park University.

The Reflection Paper consists of three major sections:

  • Program Competencies statements (Sections 1-5) – a description of how you have achieved each of the goals bringing in specific references to courses, assignments, and experiences
  • Current Researcher – a description of one current researcher in the discipline that you regard as important or valuable
  • Defining Moment – a description of your defining moment in expressing the key event, class, instructor, assignment, experience, etc. that solidified your future career or direction.

Approach the Reflection Paper as your final artifact to leave with the department. By the way, the Reflection Paper may also serve as a type of self-assessment that may be helpful to send to letter of recommendation writers or professional references (to give them a better idea of your professional self).

Reflection Paper Instructions

Imagine that in order to obtain your degree you had to write a letter of justification to the department chair that you have achieved the five program competencies. As you formulated your paper, you would want to bring in information and evidence from your core classes, elective courses, and from experiences as a student. This is how we want you to structure your paper.

Formatting Your Paper

Set up your paper in APA format (with a cover page, textbody, and references). Create seven sections of your paper with appropriate headings (Goals 1-5, Current Researcher, and Defining Moment).

Your paper should be formatted professionally in APA format and written as a narrative – with headings, complete sentences, and proper paragraphing (no bullets – no contractions).

If you are following the page lengths, you should create a paper that is minimally 8 pages long (text body with an introduction and conclusion – cover page and references do not count).

Readability Statistics

Being aware of the readability statistics of your writing is an extension of APA style. APA style emphasizes active instead of passive sentences. There is no hard or fast passive sentence percentage. The recommendation is that the passive sentence percentage is 13 percent of lower. Shorter sentences are encouraged so that working memory is not overloaded. There is a direct relationship between sentence length and Flesch Reading Ease. Scores above 45 are encouraged. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level estimation will vary depending upon the topic and the audience. This paper should be in a grade level range from 10-15.

On your Cover page – Please put a table of Readability statistics. In Microsoft Word readability statistics are displayed after a spelling and grammar check is run.

Readability Statistics











Sentences per Paragraph


Words per Sentence


Characters per Word



Passive Sentences


Flesch Reading Ease


Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level


The readability statistics consist of: Passive Sentences; Flesch Reading Ease; and Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level.

A helpful website about readability statistics is: (Links to an external site.) .If you do not use Word, you can obtain readability scores by cut and paste into this website: (Links to an external site.) It seems to be more informative than the tool included in the MS Word.

Sections 1-5 – Addressing Program Goals

With each of the Goal sections, create a description of how you have achieved each of the goals bringing in specific references to courses, assignments, and experiences. For example, for Goal 2: Ethical and Social Responsibility, I would expect that you would reference your ethics training. Beyond that, bring in relevant course work or assignments that supported that goal. While the details within each may vary, devote about a page length to each of the goals. Bring in external sources to support your justifications.

Five Program Competencies

The five BA-Psychology, BS-Social Psychology, and BA-Sociology Program Competencies are:

Goal 1: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Goal 2: Ethical and Social Responsibility

Goal 3: Communication

Goal 4: Professional Development

Goal 5: Knowledge Base in Psychology/ Sociology

(Note: To see an expanded description: Psych-Soc Program Competencies.doc)

(Note 2: Our Goals are aligned with the Guidelines from the American Psychological Association – APA Guidelines as Career Counselor Psi Chi Magazine 171201.pdf)

Current Researcher Section

For the sixth section, you are asked to describe the work of a current researcher in the discipline. While it is important to know the historical figures and theorists, our disciplines are living ones and new scholarship is constantly being released as journal articles, scholarly books, or popular books.

We want you to be familiar with some of this research. You will have a quick response to those people you meet who ask you about what is going on in the discipline. You could approach this as a way of describing to others your Psychology or Sociology “summer reads”. Our disciplines have so many interesting publications. Being able to reference these and speak to these gives others an impression that you are engaged in the current projects in your discipline.

Be sure to add citations of their work in the reference section. You should cite several of their publications so that you can convey patterns of their areas and interest areas. Remember this section is more about the researcher than describing one research study. Present the “Big Picture” of the contributions of this researcher. If you don’t know who to pick, I encourage you to focus on the key speakers for the major conventions, e.g., APA, APS, or ASA. Once you have a name, search out their personal website for a Curriculum Vitae (academic webpage). For example, cognitive psychologist Robert (Bob) Bjork received an award in May 2016 for his work given by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). Check out his webpage (Links to an external site.). I bet you can get the big picture from that page and the links.”

Defining Moment Section

“For the seventh and final section, you are asked to describe your “Defining Moment” as a college student. Typically, this is something you articulate in a personal statement for graduate school admission or during a job/ scholarship interview. You get the opportunity to present it first in here. Approach your description of your “Defining Moment” as expressing the key event, class, instructor, assignment, experience, etc. that solidified your future career or direction. Some of these defining moments can be academic or nonacademic (outside of the classroom, e.g., personal experiences). Typically, these are associated with emotions and the “a-ha” moment and provide the motivation to pursue your career path. Please be mindful that some defining moments can be very personal and to be careful if you present personal experiences that you do not overshare details. If you have questions about the level of appropriateness, let’s talk.”


Wrap up your Reflection Paper with a conclusion statement and a reference section.

Here’s an example paper to provide a concrete example –SAMPLE PAPER

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