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Reflection and Reflective Writing - Skills Guide

Reflecting on Your Experiences

What is reflecting on my experiences?

Reflecting on your experiences is looking back on your past experiences in a way that helps you to learn from them.  Unlike reflective writing for an assignment, this can be a personal reflection does not need to be shared with anyone else.

If you are struggling with reflective writing for an academic assignment, you may find it useful to begin with a personal reflection and then adapt it to fit your assignment.

Why might I reflect on my experiences?

Personal reflection can be a great way to get to know yourself better, and to improve the way you work.  You might want to reflect on your studies - a recent project, a completed assignment, or on feedback that you received.  You might also want to reflect on things outside of your studies.

How do I reflect on my experiences?

Because this reflection is personal and private, you don't need to worry writing to a certain model or style.  You can experiment to find the way that works best for you.  Of course, if you find it helpful to do so you can still use one of the reflective models.

In general, reflection consists of three stages.  The first stage is a descriptive stage where you describe the experience on which you are reflecting.  The second is a critical thinking stage, where you ask yourself key questions about the experience to further your understanding or explore your emotions.  The final stage is a future focused stage where you consider what you might do next time you are in a similar situation.

During each stage, it can be helpful to consider questions beginning with What, Where, When, Who, Why and How.  You can find suggested questions for each stage below.  In the 'Downloadable Resources' section of this guide there is also a personal reflection activity, a blank reflective worksheet and a blank reflective action plan that you can download and complete to help you develop your skills.

Questions for Reflection

These documents contain possible questions to get you started as you reflect on your experiences.  You won't need to answer them all, and you could ask yourself other questions not listed here.

Each document is available as both a PDF and a Word document.

Reflecting on Your Studies

Reflecting on Your Studies Livestream - 30 mins

Alex and Tim discuss reflecting on your projects, studies and assignments.  This video was recorded live as part of our Library Livestreams.

Methods of Reflecting on Your Assignment