Reflection and r eflective writing. Chris Doye Institute for Academic Development University of Edinburgh November 2012. What is reflection?. Exploration / examination of ourselves and our actions (often written but also spoken) considered rational, unemotional*
Institute for Academic Development
University of Edinburgh
Exploration / examination of ourselves and our actions (often written but also spoken)
Why do it?
*(even though it often deals with feelings, reactions and emotions)
(Cited in Jasper, 2003, p.99)
Describing event or process
Future goals and actions
Thinking and analysis
(Atkins and Schutz, 2008, p.26)
Self-awareness is the main skill that is not usual in other academic writing.
This technique can help you to start thinking freely about something.
The idea of free writing, from which focused free writing is adapted, was popularised by Peter Elbow(1973)
At the time
(Cited in Jasper, 2003 .p.77 but, N.B. she puts description instead of analysis!)
Ability to give effective account > others understand what happened as you saw it:
Aims for deeper understanding
Hatton and Smith's (1995) four levels of reflection, summarised by Gillett et al. as:
(Gillett et al., 2009, p.165)
Goodman’s 3 levels (1984) often referred to – roughly equate to:
Largely descriptive; looking at practical things in terms of responsibility, accountability, efficiency ..
Moving out from your particular experiences – relationship between theory and practice; broader implications, issues, values..
Broadening out to consider implications in context of ethical / social / political influences
(Goodman, 1984, cited in Jasper, 2003, pp.72-75)
Employers want graduates:
Atkins, S. and Schutz, S. (2008) 'Developing the skills for reflective practice', in Bulman, C. and Schutz, S. (eds.) Reflective practice in nursing. 4thedn. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 25-54
Elbow, P. (1973) Writing Without Teachers. New York: Oxford University Press
Gillett, A., Hammond, A. and Martala, M. (2009) Successful academic writing. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Jasper, M. (2003) Beginning reflective practice. Cheltenham: Nelson ThornesLtd
Moon, J.(2006) Learning Journals: A Handbook for Reflective Practice and Development. (2ndedn.) London: Routledge
The University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Award:
Reflective writing, university of Portsmouth: http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/ask/resources/handouts/writtenassignments/filetodownload,73259,en.pdf