Skip to main content

Reflective writing: Types of reflective assignments

“Reflection in a programme of study or professional context is a purposeful activity. It drives learning and change...”

Williams et al., Reflective thinking

What do you reflect on as part of assignments?

While you should be reflecting on all of your studies and assignments, the previous page introduced some aspects of courses that often explicitly require reflection. This page will consider what issues you should address when reflecting on each area of your course - especially as part of an assessment.


Types of reflective assignments

There are two different kinds of reflection that you may encounter at university and the sections below consider each. If the focus of your assignment is to look at theory in practice, you are likely to be looking at reflection focused on theory and academic evidence. This is often the case for disciplines where reflective practice is an important part of the profession (Social Work, Nursing and Education are good examples). If you are being asked to reflect as part of your learning or as personal development, you are likely to be looking at reflection focused on you and your development. This is also the case for students reflecting as part of their Hull Employability Awards.


Reflection focused on theory and academic evidence

In this kind of reflection, the aim is to relate theory and academic evidence to practice (and vice versa). This is achieved by comparing your experiences to theory and exploring the relationships between both. This will enable you discuss to what extent they are comparable or not. Theory can also be used to reflectively interpret your experiences.

For any kind of reflection, you should consider:

Interact with the boxes below for more information.

Reflection focused on you and your development:

In this kind of reflection, the focus is on you. You need to reflect on your experiences to highlight the learning and development you have achieved. You need to use your experiences as reflective learning points to inform future events.

For any kind of reflection, you should consider:

Do not forget to also consider:

  • your motivation
  • your attitudes and ideas, and changes in these
  • the skills you need for different components of your study and learning
  • if anything is blocking your learning
  • the gaps in your knowledge and skills
  • how you might address any of these gaps.



Do not be too hard on yourself or underestimate your skills, but be honest. You often know more than you think you do. An example of this is the mature student who has been out of formal education for a few years, but who has a wide range of experiences and transferable skills that he or she can use in his or her learning. For example, s/he might be good at multi-tasking or a great manager of time.

Also, think positively about moving yourself and your skills forward - keep motivated. 




There are many different layers of reflection. You may be doing a lot of this already, but consciously acknowledging your reflections will help you to take account of your progress and plan for the future. If you reflect on the learning process itself - it will help you improve as a learner, giving you more time to focus on your discipline.