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Reflection and Reflective Writing - Skills Guide

Reflective Writing

What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing can take a number of forms.  You might be asked to write reflectively as part of your studies, for an assignment or during a placement.  This type of reflective writing is generally structured using a reflective model, and will be looked at by others, for example the person marking your work.  You can also use reflective writing as a way of reflecting on your experiences or on your skills.  These types of reflective writing can be less structured and do not need to be shared with others.

Why do I need to learn reflective writing?

Reflective writing is a very different style of writing compared to the more formal styles required for academic essays or reports.  Learning this skill will help you with reflective assignments.  Personal reflection on your experiences and skills will help you to get to know your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to create action plans to help you develop.

How do I write reflectively?

There are many ways of reflecting and lots of models that you can use to help. You can find further information about the different aspects of reflection by clicking on the tabs above.

Writing for reflection can be very different to writing an academic essay. In reflective writing, writing in the first person is generally acceptable. So you can often use 'I' when describing your experiences and throughout, whereas in an academic essay only the third person is accepted.  Make sure that you carefully read any instructions that you have been given about whether you should write in the first or third person.

It is important in reflective writing not to focus exclusively on the negative aspects, as you can also learn a lot from the positive aspects of an event or experience.