Interpretive Reflection (IR)


Your Interpretive Reflection (called an IR) is a concise presentation of Your Two-Minute Insight on a text/theme/issue for the Intellectual Community and to think deeply on it. These tend to be short, 500, 700 or 1400-words only. (But length may prove to be a veil because putting these together demands much thought, rewriting and revision.) Some students have found this intellectual practice quite frustrating.


▪️ Since you are writing for the intellectual community that is already familiar with the text, do not restate or summarize the readings. 

▪️ It’s not an op-ed or an expression of how you felt about the readings.


▪️ Since it’s about deep thinking, with limited words at your disposal, write only after having fully developed your thoughts so you could state those as clearly and succinctly as possible.

▪️ Usually, ONE insight is already plenty. At most, only two insights can be accommodated.  

▪️ Seek to speak from both within and without the text. (Ask the instructor to explain this distinction.) A good IR will be a deep engagement with an aspect of a text, or a theme connecting different texts, themes or/and issues. A good grasp of relevant texts and pertinent issues is therefore a prerequisite.

▪️ Be direct and get straight to your insight and present it in a compelling manner. Build your case and show not tell. Like most oratory (and writing), it is geared toward persuading an audience of your insight.

▪️ Answer to a FAQ: Yes, you can use first person pronoun. The question is what kind of “I” is speaking in the IR. An “I” that is unreflective, or/and does not engage readings or the audience misses the mark.


Choose to reflect on aspects of readings that you find fascinating, intriguing, contentious, or simply unclear/confusing. You may ask: do I care? Is this idea worth my time and effort? Do I care about the topic/theme/text? Also, is the idea manageable within the word-limit prescribed for the assignment?


▪️ ILLUMINE: Does the IR offer something different/new or merely summarize? Why should the intellectual community care about what you have to say?

▪️ SHOW/PERSUADE: Does it show (not just state) what it was meant to convey to your audience? Does it successfully convince or persuade your audience?

▪️ You are encouraged to engage and provide feedback on IRs written by others. You may also be asked to peer-grade these IRs.

▪️ Do mention the WORD COUNT in the end.

The Bible & The Quran – Illustration