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Reflective writing: Sources of evidence for reflective writing assignments

“If stuck for material, ask yourself questions”

McMillan & Weyers, How to improve your critical thinking & reflective skills

Sources of evidence for reflective writing assignments

Where university assignments involve reflection and reflective writing, it is important when presenting evidence to draw on several sources. With reflection, there are three core dimensions to evidence:

Self

Theory

Experience(s)


Placement/work as evidence

The following examples show how reflection on a placement draws on the three key areas:

Self

  • What do you know?
  • What are your career aspirations?
  • How are you learning from experience (Experiential learning theory)
  • You as a learner (see below)

Theory

  • Application of theory to practice
  • Comparison of models to practice
  • Theory in relation to reality
  • Application to other modules/learning

Experience(s)

  • Organisational review
  • Work-based issues
  • Placement-based issues
  • Theory in practice
  • What skills are you developing through placement?
  • What are you learning through placements that can be applied in your career?

Study/learning as evidence

The following examples show how reflection on learning draws on the three key areas:

Self

  • What do you know?
  • What do you want to know?
  • What are your academic and career aspirations?
  • What study targets do you have?
  • How do you manage your time?

Theory

  • What learning theories do you use?
  • What learning strategies do you use?

Experience(s)

  • How have different strategies affected your grades?
  • What learning strategies have worked for you in the past?
  • How long does it take you to complete aspects of study?
 

Volunteering as evidence

The following examples show how reflection on volunteering activities draws on the three key areas:

Self

  • Why are you volunteering?
  • What motivates you?

Theory

  • How does any training you received relate to the role?

Experience(s)

  • Volunteering-based issues
  • Theory in practice
  • What skills are you developing through volunteering?
  • What are you learning through volunteering that can be applied elsewhere?
  • What learning experiences have occurred in your volunteering role?

Adapted from Watton et al. (2001)

Summary

There are many rich sources of evidence that you can use in your reflections. Each time you reflect, you can draw on the following sources of evidence:

  • Yourself. How you feel, what you know and how you learn.
  • From theories, strategies and training. Focus on how they relate to practice/reality.
  • From your experience(s). This can be from placement, study and/or volunteering.