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Reflection and Reflective Writing - Skills Guide

Reflective Assignments

What is a reflective assignment?

Reflective assignments can take many different forms and there will be differences between courses and between modules.  An assignment might require you to reflect on your skills, or experiences, or both.  It will generally (although not always) require you to use a reflective model.  In the Resources box of this page you will find key sources of reflective models.  Some of the conventions of academic writing are different for reflective assignments: It is generally acceptable to write in the first person (e.g. "My task was to..."), and you will be expected to draw upon your own experiences.  Other things remain the same, for example you will usually still be expected to read around the subject and include references to the work of others.

How do I write a reflective assignment?

Because reflective assignments can vary so much, it is important that you fully understand the question and the assignment brief.  Make sure you understand what you are being asked to write, what format you should submit your work in and if there is a specific reflective model that you need to use.  If you are in any doubt then check with your lecturer.  Sources for some of the key reflective models can be found in the 'Further Reading' section of this guide.

It can be difficult to balance the personal nature of reflection with the knowledge that what you write will be read by someone else.  If you are struggling you may find it helpful to begin with a purely personal reflection using some of the tools on the other pages of this guide.  You can then adapt your reflection to fit the requirements of your assignment.

Another challenging aspect can be including references to academic sources, as it can be difficult to see how these fit in to writing about your own personal experiences.  Academic theories or research can be used to enhance your understanding of your experiences and help you make sense of what has happened.  Again, it might be useful to begin with a personal reflection and then review this with an academic theory in mind, looking for ways that the theory could apply to your personal experience.

Sources for Key Reflective Models

Reflective Writing Tips and Advice

Alex and Tim discuss reflective writing, outlining their tips, some useful reflective models and tips from students.  This video was recorded live during the Reflective Writing Livestream on the 14th October 2020.