Assignment Guidelines: Personal Narrative & Discussion

Identifying Your Immediate Context in a Personal Narrative

The first step in your exploration of the larger context for your field of study will be to identify and articulate your immediate context in a personal narrative.  (With any examination of context, it is important to first examine your own frame of reference. You may find assumptions that need challenging!) The following guidelines will help you to develop your narrative.

Purpose: A personal narrative is a written conversation between you and others in which you talk about your own experiences and ideas. The purpose of the personal narrative you will be writing this week is for you to identify and articulate where you are in your thinking about your field of study and its associated professions, in preparation for the larger context research assignments.

Because you will be using your personal narrative as a reference for other assignments in the course, the more specific you can be, the better your narrative will serve as a reference for you, your instructor, and your classmates as we work together throughout CRIT 602 to understand the current larger context for your field of study and its implications for your academic and professional development.  You do not need to reveal private details about your life; this assignment is intended to be as a starting point for your own critical analysis and strategic thinking as wells as a way to share with your classmates how you got to be taking CRIT602 at the College of Professional Studies at this point in time.

Content: Please use the following prompts to develop your narrative:

  1. What is your field of study, and why did you choose it?
  2. Based on the “Understanding Context” reading, how would you characterize where you are in your academic and professional development?
  3. What context do you currently believe is most relevant to your academic and professional development: professional organizations, employment trends, social media, or information resources?
  4. What knowledge or strengths do you already have related to your field of study?
  5. Are there trends related to your field of study that you’re already aware of?
  6. What areas of your field of study are most exciting or intriguing to you?
  7. What information have you heard about your field that concerns you?
  8. How do you want to use CRIT 602 to your own best advantage this term?

Please keep in mind that while the above questions are intended to prime the pump of your thinking, there is no set expectation of what the answers should be, and some questions may be more relevant to your situation than others.

Looking Ahead to the Critical Inquiry Question

In an upcoming assignment, you will be asked to develop a critical inquiry question to serve as a focal point for the research assignments. The answer to either #5 or #6 above can serve as a good starting point for identifying a focus area that can be articulated as a critical inquiry question. (More to come about the characteristics of a good critical inquiry question in an upcoming reading!) We’ve included #8 as a reflection question to give you practice in thinking strategically at the beginning of a course.

A Note about the Personal Narrative Assignment & Credit for Prior Learning

While some CRIT 602 students are just beginning their bachelor’s degrees to prepare for their chosen professions (or areas of scholarship, in the case of majors in the humanities), other students come to CRIT 602 with a great deal of knowledge in their fields of study already from workplace training, on-the-job experience, self-study, and other methods of acquiring knowledge outside of the college classroom. In this instance, by focusing on question #4, the personal narrative assignment can be good preparation for developing a prior learning credit plan later in the course.

Page-length & Format: Your personal narrative should be between three and five double-spaced pages. You should cite according to APA format unless you are more familiar with Chicago-style footnoting.  Click on the link below to see an example of how to set up your paper in MLA format:

Note: Later in the course, the format for your exploratory paper will be determined by your major. Majors in the social sciences, education, and management will use American Psychological Association (APA). Majors in the humanities will use MLA. History majors will use Chicago-style.

Discussion Assignment

In this class, context is everything. We start with your own background, or context, before exploring your field of study and its various contexts.
In this discussion board, please answer the following prompts by Thursday night.  These responses will be the draft to your personal narrative, due Sunday night.  Your responses may be informal, however they should be proofread for clarity, syntax, and content.

Discussion Prompts:

  • What knowledge or strengths do you already have related to your field of study?
  • Are there trends related to your field of study that you’re already aware of?
  • What areas of your field of study are most exciting or intriguing to you?
  • What information have you heard about your field that concerns you?
  • How do you want to use CRIT 602 to your own best advantage this term?


NOTE: This is an assignment tailored to this specific course.  Submitting a personal narrative from another class is not only a form a plagiarism, but will not necessarily fulfill all the requirements for this assignment. For details, please go to Ch. 4 “Assignment Guidelines: Personal Narrative & Discussion.”  in the e-book.

By Sunday night, please also respond to at least two other student posts in this forum. Your goal is, in part, to act as a peer reviewer of their personal narrative draft. Because this is a personal narrative, please be sure to keep your comments constructive, and please also receive student comments constructively as these are meant to help improve the content of your writing. Please do not copy edit.  If there are grammatical or mechanical errors, suggest only that the student check over for clarity and to proofread.

In forming a substantial response that moves the conversation forward, you may want to draw connections between your experience and the student’s, ask students to elaborate on their prompts, build on their findings, or connect it to the readings and videos from last week.

Submission for Grading

The final activity for the week will be to submit your personal narrative to the instructor for grading, either the version you posted for the class discussion or a revised version; please use the assignment submission link found in the activities section for this week.

Any assignment submitted later than three days after the due date will receive a zero for the assignment.

Note: As a point of clarification, a personal narrative you may have written for another course will not meet the requirement for this assignment. Your submission must be new work.



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