English Extension 2: Reflection Report on your Independent Investigation

After the Viva Voce, one of the major internal assessments is the report/reflection that you have to write on your independent investigation.

Generally, schools will require to write a 1000 word report or reflection due early Term 2, which requires you basically talk about the independent investigations that you have done thus far, and essentially how it has shaped and developed your major work. Remember, Extension 2 isn’t about writing your own great novel or poem in a complete vacuum or blackhole. Research and investigation is a considerable part of the whole Major Work process.

What does the assessment involve?

Board of Studies has a support document, which most schools will use as the basis of designing the assessment. If you have a look at page 5, it sets out what your school will often ask you to write about:

  • offer a brief assessment of the achievement of purpose to date, with specific reference to audience
  • outline and evaluate the impact of the investigative process to date
  • identify and evaluate the usefulness and impact of specific sources of research
  • consider both form and concept
  • identify challenges encountered and their resolution
  • clarify the development of the work’s focus since the first assessment task
  • evaluate their progress to date and anticipate the most effective way forward
  • write reflectively, critically and succinctly.

Page 6 also provides draft marking guidelines that your school may use to mark your report/reflection.

What do I write about?

The dot points above basically set out what you should be writing about. But I’ll try elaborate.

Purpose/focus and audience

  • How has your work gone in achieving the purpose you initially set?
  • Has your purpose changed/developed as a result of research? Perhaps your focus area has changed (broadened/narrowed)?
  • Have you looked at existing texts that achieve a similar purpose to what you’re trying to achieve? What learnings have you gained from that?
  • Has your intended audience changed too?

“consider both form and concept”

Write about how you investigated both your chosen form AND concept. Often people research about the topic they’re writing, but you also need to talk about how you researched form. For example, if you’re doing poetry, what poets did you look at to determine the type of poetry, style, structure, techniques that you wanted to use? How did your ideas about form change/develop as a result of looking at these other works? Did you read non-fiction books on how to write poetry? What genre of poetry were you interested in?

To structure your reflection/report, you can make it 50% investigation into concept and 50% into form.

“identify and evaluate the usefulness and impact of specific sources of research”

Although you can refer to as many sources as are relevant, try to identify a few specific sources, which you can discuss in more detail. These should be sources which had the most impact on the development of your work. In my own reflection, I referred to many sources, and one of the comments I received back was that I should have picked a few and established (in more detail) how they influenced my work. Otherwise it seems more like listing of sources (which is what the bibliography is for).

Writing a creative work?

Things you can talk about:

  • Did you research HOW to write your story? How to write in that genre? Or that style? Or about that content?
  • Did you do research into the background of your story? Where is it set? What time is it set? What is it like in that situation?
  • Did you read other creative works that cover a similar concept/style to what you want to achieve? What did you think was good or bad about them? How did this influence you?
  • Did you do research into developing character? Plot? Suspense?

Remember that for a creative work, you can research by not only reading creative works that achieve what you want, but also non-fiction texts about writing or that provide factual information for the background of your work.

How do I write it?

For a lot of students, it has been somewhat drilled into them that there are only two types of writing – objective critical writing, and subjective creative writing.  So, reflection writing is kind of a challenge then! It’s kind of an in between of the two. To help you out, here are a few tips of mine:

  • Write formally. So don’t use colloquialisms like “stuff” and “kid”. You will be marked on your expression!
  • Flow your writing from describing (what investigation did you do) to evaluating (what you found in your investigation), and then finally to reflecting (how did it affect your ideas/work).
  • Use reflective phrases eg. I realised, I noticed, I was surprised, I found, I came to understand
  • Use linking words to show development. For example, “Originally, I limited my analysis to…” and “However, as I became more drawn to…”
  • Refer to specific research sources as you write, rather than just “research I did” or “articles I read”. Most assessments will actually require you to include a bibliography.
  • Have an introduction, paragraphs and conclusion.

Have a read of this guide to get more ideas/examples on how to write in the style of a reflection.


In attempting to grasp the fundamental ideas which I wanted to explore, websites such as X were instrumental….

Forum discussion such as X challenged my own views of the concept by asking “XXXX….”

…and I became more directed towards investigating X….

This provided me with a firmer understanding of how to connect X with Y….I was able to determine milestones within the X…this formed the focal areas within my composition.


I think that’s pretty much it in terms of writing this reflection/report! Any question, leave a comment!

1 comment for “English Extension 2: Reflection Report on your Independent Investigation

  1. Walter Attenborough
    April 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    This has helped so much, thanks!

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