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    Critical Reflection : What is it and Perspectives?

    Home / Blog / Critical Reflection : What Is It And Perspectives?

    Critical Reflection
     Admin  Published On Sep 16, 2021 | Updated on Aug 10, 2023  General

    Critical reflections are quite common in coursework and homework across a wide slew of disciplines in the USA. There are different forms of critical reflection. For example, you can be asked to develop a formal essay or write short paragraph answers using critical reflection. Critical reflection is when we challenge the appropriateness and validity of our beliefs and assumptions related to a specific context. You need solid pieces of evidence and a fluent writing style to write the critical reflection and convince your readers of the validity of the reflection.

    What Is Critical Reflection?

    A critical reflection is also known as a reflective essay. It entails the processes of identifying, questioning and assessing the assumptions that we have held deeply in our brains. The assumptions can be based on our knowledge, our beliefs, actions, feelings and the way we perceive issues and events.

    Remember, critical reflection is not a summary of an activity, an emotional outlet or a reading assignment. It is one of the activities that can change your thinking about a subject, thereby influencing your behaviour.

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    Why use critical reflections?

    Writing a critical reflection is not an easy feat. Thus, it is only normal to wonder if this activity has any purpose. Well, a critical reflection can help reflect upon the following:

    • An action including your past experiences
    • The action that is happening right now
    • The action that you might want to take in the future

    In short, it is a meaning-making process that helps us set goals. It also helps us analyse our past actions to inform future actions considering the real-life implications of our thoughts. It is the bridge between our thinking and doing. Read more about Critical Thinking.

    How to critically reflect?

    There are two phases involved in writing a critical reflection:

    The first phase- Analyse

     This is the first phase where you analyse the issue thoroughly along with your role by asking critical questions. It is better to use freewriting to come up with good ideas. You don’t have to worry about organised paragraphs or proper grammar at this stage. This phase is a three-stage model and is quite a popular method.

    The three-stage model is:


    In this stage, you need to describe the issue thoroughly. Convey what your role is, your reactions and observations are. This is where you encounter your initial observations about what you feel or think. You don’t have to check out your readings or lecture notes here.

    You can use the following questions to get through this stage:

    • What did you do?
    • What exactly happened?
    • What did you expect?
    • What did you find different?
    • What was your reaction?
    • What have you learnt?

    So what?

    In the second stage, you need to try to understand the significance of the issue on a deeper level. Use the details you have gathered in the first stage and get information from your course materials. You can also your previous experiences to think through the issue from a variety of perspectives.

    There are three perspectives you can consider:

    • Academic perspective

    The questions involved are:

    • How did the experience influence your understanding of a skill, theory or concept?
    • Did the experience challenge or confirmed your understanding?
    • Were you able to identify your strengths and loopholes in your knowledge?
    • Personal perspective

    The questions involved are:

    • Why was the experience important?
    • What are the consequences?
    • What shocked or surprised you about the experience?
    • Did the experience confirm or refute your previous experiences?


    • Systems perspective

    The questions involved are:

    • Who was harmed or who benefitted from the experiences?
    • What changes do you suggest?
    • How does this experience influence your understanding of a system or an organisation?

    Now what?

    In this stage, you need to explore how the experiences shape your thinking, future and behaviour.

    The questions involved are:

    • How do you plan to apply what you learned?
    • What are you going to do about the consequences?
    • What will you do differently?

    The second phase- Articulate

     Now that you are done with the analysis, it’s time for you to dive into the writing part. By the end of the first phase, you will have an unorganised yet coherent story. In this stage, you need to build a clear and organised argument about how you changed and what you learnt.

    The steps involved in this phase are:

    • Develop a thesis statement

    You need to come up with a clear argument to help your readers understand what you learnt. The argument should string together different themes from your analysis and turn them into the main idea.

    • Create an outline

    The outline provides you with a direction for writing a critical reflection. Here is how you can organise your essay:

    • Introduction

    Background details, thesis statement

    • Body

    1st paragraph

    Introduce idea A

    • Your past thinking
    • Moment of learning
    • Your current thinking

    2nd paragraph

    Introduce idea B

    • Your past position
    • Moment of learning
    • Your current thinking

    3rd paragraph

    Introduce idea C

    • Your past position
    • Moment of learning
    • Your current thinking
    • Conclusion

    Summarise the learning

    • Discuss the significance of learning for self and for others
    • Discuss future actions
    • Write and revise

    By now, you should have completed the writing of a critical reflection. So, now it’s time for you to check and revise the writing thoroughly before the final submission. Keep an eye on grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes while revising the content. Remember, critical reflections should be formal because your audience may still be academic.  Read about Copy-Editing Vs Proofreading.

    Wrapping Up,

    Critical reflections are an integral part of an academic curriculum. The task is anything but easy. However, you can get it done easily with the right steps like the ones mentioned here. Read some online samples of critical reflections to understand how the content should look like. Consult with your professors if you are still confused about the structure of critical reflections. Get help from your classroom lecture notes and other course materials to make the most of critical reflections.

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    Writing a critical reflection takes time. So, if you have a time crunch, it is better to seek online assignment help from our PhD qualified subject matter experts. Our team has acquired their PhDs from reputed universities. We follow your university guidelines while writing the critical reflections. You can provide us with your lectures or other notes that you want us to follow while writing this paper.

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