How to write a reflective report - individual & critical reflection

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Reflective report:

Reflective report is a written report that summaries the critical reflection of a person specifically a student related to particular topic or subject. In traditional writing, there is restriction on using first person but the whole reflective report is provided in the first person format. The main purpose of preparing reflective report is to provide critical reflection of past experiences or reflection on personal characteristics of an individual. It is often given as a homework in colleges and universities of the world to develop the reflective skills of the students.

Article Summary

This article talks about the reflective report and also defines the main aspects that how reflective report differs from other tasks or assessments. This article is helpful to understand the steps to write self- reflection. In order to define the steps to write reflective writing, proper template is given with the help of which it is easy to understand the main aspects that should be included to write appropriate reflective report.

How Reflective report differs from other assessments or tasks:

Reflective reports are different from anecdotal reports and another assessment as traditional assessments relates to description and analysis of specific topic or issue. The main aim of traditional or issue based assessment is to help students explore the area of their knowledge by studying the topic in more detail. The reflective report does not involve the learning of any new concepts and involves only critical reflection to the past situations or personal traits. Further, it involves critical reflection of personal actions and progresses. Along with this, reflective analysis helps in building up critical thinking skills of an individual by analysing what has been done and providing detail on what is needed to be done in future.

Self-reflection and how to write a self-reflection:

Self-reflection relates to the concept of self-examination and involves examination of personal traits by applying various tests or surveys or by directly evaluating the personal traits in personal self. Thus, self-reflection refers to the ability of an individual to examine the personal behavior and to learn about personal self. Writing a self-reflection is not an easy task and involves deep analysis of the personal strengths and weaknesses. However, writing a self-reflection also helps in identifying the changes that needs to be adopted in personal behavior. Writing the self-reflection involve analysis of various personal factors. it involves analysis of factors such as strengths, weaknesses, skills, problems, achievements, etc. Individual while writing the self-reflection evaluates the strengths and weaknesses faced in personal self while achieving various work outcomes. Also, it helps in evaluating the problems that are faced in completing various tasks. In addition to this, the self-reflecting report also helps in determining the solution to number of problems and weaknesses by evaluating the opportunities available for bringing change in personal behavior (Self reflection, 2019). Following points highlight the ways through which self-reflection is written:

  • The first point that needs to be kept in consideration is writing sentences in first person. It involves writing up the sentences in the form that helps others understand that the person is expressing his own behavior and opinions (Reflective Essay, 2019). Statements such as I learnt, I prefers, I used to, I will etc. are used in self-reflective essay.
  • The first part of every self-reflective essay begins with an introductory section where a brief introduction to the topic is provided and then personal views on the topic is provided by providing short synopsis to the topic. Introduction section in self-reflective report also includes an individual’s personal thesis statement which is supported by evidence in rest of the sections.
  • The main body of the report include personal experiences, career goals, strengths, weaknesses, problems, etc. of an individual. It also includes analysis of the factors that could help in making improvement in the personal behavior. The main body of self-reflective report includes detailed description of the past experiences to make reader understand the whole situation in most effective manner.
  • The last section of the report includes a conclusion section which include brief summary of the whole essay on self and also provide summary on the personal strengths and weaknesses identified in the report.

Thus, self-reflective report helps in expressing own opinion and also helps in providing detail on past experiences that have stimulated personal growth. Further, the self-reflective report provides clear idea on how past experiences affected an individual (Morgon, 2019).

Reflective writing template and how to use it for self-reflection:

The reflective writing template provides the structure of the report in which the reflective report is required to be written. The reflective essay template consists of three main sections i.e. introduction, main body and the conclusion part where the five paragraph format is required to be followed. Following figure shows the template for reflective writing:

Reflective writing template and how to use it for self-reflection

The above figure provides that reflective essay should have five paragraphs and three sections. This provides that reflective essay can also be used in self-reflective essay as well. The self-reflective essay also consists of three sections which are similar to the sections provided in the reflective essay. The above section helped in identifying that reflective essay should have introduction section where a thesis statement must be framed. Also, the self-reflective essay can be written in five sections where past experience can be explained in detail in three sections and an introduction relating to experiences and personal traits can be provided. In addition to this, the summary of self-reflective essay can also be written in the manner as provided in the template for reflective essay where summary of past experience can be provided and then, a brief on the lessons learnt from past experiences can be provided in the report. Thus, it has been identified that the format of reflective template can also be used for self-reflective report.

How to write a reflective report?

In the above section of the report, it has been identified that reflective essay is written in three sections of the report. Also, it has been identified that five paragraph format is followed for writing a reflective report. However, there are various points that are needed to be taken in consideration while writing a reflective report. Following are some of the points that needs to be taken in consideration while writing a reflective report:

  • The base of writing a reflective report is writing the report in first person and thus, reflective report should be written in “I” format.
  • Introduction with a thesis statement should be provided in the report to provide the basis for writing this report.
  • Reflective report must include description of purpose of project report and detail on past experiences or situations. Along with this, description of the learnings from past experiences should also be provided in the report. In addition to this, description of feelings regarding some past situation should also be provided in the report.
  • The ending section of the report include a conclusion that provides the summary of the report by defining the experience or situation and by defining the learning from the past situation.

What needs to be done and what points to be followed?

Further, for writing a reflective report, various things are needed to be taken in consideration. Also, critical thinking is must to write a reflective report. Following are some of the points that highlight the things that are needed to be done while writing a reflective paper:

  • Identifying the past situation confronted in life or situation that is highly important for our life.
  • Analyzing the past situation and past experiences.
  • Stating everything clearly and appropriately. Person writing the reflective report should not afraid to state what went wrong and must also afraid to state what went right.
  • Outcomes of past experience should be properly evaluated and suggestions should also be provided for improving the future positon.

Following points further highlight the sequence of operations that are to be followed during the reflective essay writing:

what needs to be done and what points to be followed?

Following are some of the points that are must to be followed while writing a reflective report:

  • Reflective essay must begin with an interesting paragraph to create interest among the reader. Also, interesting beginning increases the likelihood that reader will read the entire reflective report.
  • All the material information should be provided in the report regarding the topic of discussion to maintain the interest of reader. Also, all the viewpoints should be provided in “I” format to maintain the interest of reader in the report. Good and bad of every situation must be properly evaluated along with evaluation of feelings during the happening of the situation.
  • Conclusion of the report should include brief of the ways through which the experienced situation helped in changing the life of an individual.

Following table shows the steps to be followed to write a god reflective report:

DescriptionIntroduction and description of past situation Personal report on what happened and what had been done
AnalysisPersonal report of how you felt and what you liked or disliked during the situation.
AnalysisReflect on good/ bad and all other experiences
AnalysisReflect the reason for past experiences and provide detail on what you have learnt through past experience
ConclusionIdentify the gaps in skill and knowledge base to deal with the situation and provide detail on steps that are needed to be followed to improve future skill base to deal with every situation (Reflective writing, 2019).

Individual reflective report example:

The above section helped in identifying the steps for writing a reflective essay. These are the steps of Gibbs reflective cycle. For better understanding, a reflective report has been prepared by taking clinical placement and training as an example.

  • Description:

    During my clinical training, I have been placed in a surgical ward where I was supposed to care a young man who suffered from an accident and got a major injury on his head. The senior doctor asked me to remove the dressing from his wound. My mentor was also standing behind me and instructed me to remove the dressing tape carefully. I faced huge difficulty in removing the dressing tape from the wound as the dressing tape got stick to the wound. I applied astringent on the wound to wet the wound tape and to remove the tape from the wound. I carefully loosened the tape from the skin of patient and used the medical gloves for holding the old dressing and for pulling it off.

  • Feelings:

    Since, it was my first practical treatment and training session, I was excited to work and gain practical knowledge. However, I was placed in a surgical room where I was supposed to take care of the wound on the head of patient. Also, I was responsible to provide details regarding the health of patient during the day. I was feeling highly nervous while removing the dressing tape from the wound. However, later, the instructions provided by my mentor helped me in grabbing huge confidence to deal with the situation. I also talked to the patient during the day time. The young man (patient) told me that the doctor hadn’t washed his hands while dressing my wound. I felt that patient may have failed to see the doctor washing his hands due to unconscious but later I talked about the same with my mentor. Talking with mentor about the same caused huge embarrassment to me as doctor is highly experienced than me.

  • Evaluation:

    The day of taking care of young with mam with huge wound on his head was highly challenging for me as I was to require to remove the dressing from the wound of patient. Also, I was required to talk with my mentor about the dressing situation of young patient as he felt the doctor had not washed his hands. This helped me in identifying that hand washing is must in clinical practices. Senior doctor also took this discussion in positive way and changed his habits after discussion of mentor about the same. I also learnt that taking everything in positive manner and changing the habits by taking the feedback from other individuals helps in creating positivity. I also found that positive behavior with colleagues helps in safeguarding the wellbeing of patients and also helps in keeping patients satisfied with various clinical services.

  • Analysis:

    Hand hygiene is must while treating wounds of patients. (WOUND CARE, 2018) also provided that it is must to wash and dry up the hands while dressing up wounds. My experience at the clinical training taught me that it is must to wash hands before treating the wounds of any patient. Also, instructions of my mentor taught me that medical gloves help in preventing spread of infections among patients and doctors or clinical staff members.

  • Conclusion:

    Looking back at the situation provides me insight into the fact that I should had analyzed the activities of my senior doctor to ensure that the doctor had washed his hands while treating the wound of patient. I also had to remain cautious to the guidelines of my mentor to ensure that no mistake is done in removing the dressing of patient. I also gained knowledge of the ways such as applying astringent to treat the wounds of patients. Further, my experience at clinical training helped me in developing my communication skills. I also get to know about the working of hospital organizations.

  • Action plan:

    In future, I will try to strengthen my analytical skills to identify and evaluate the working of doctors and to ensure that patients are treated in best manner. I will also build up my confidence level in my next training session to ensure that I learn and do every task with higher degree of confidence. I will also discuss with my mentor to provide me opportunity to provide treat patient of all age groups.

Thus, the above example provides the framework of Gibbs reflective cycle that is needed to be followed while writing a reflection on some event and task. An example of clinical training has been provided in the above section of the report which provides that every reflective essay should be written in first person format and must include detail on past experiences, feelings, conclusion and action plan for future.

Providing example of self-reflection:

The above section helped us in identifying the steps required to be followed in reflective journal. Now, an example to self-reflection has been provided by using Johari window. For this purpose, two surveys that is Daniel Goleman EQ test and global leadership and emotional intelligence test have been conducted. Following section shows the personal reflection using the results of both tests:

  • Part 1: Analysis of the results of surveys performed.

    Johari window is a four quadrant window that is used to generate interpersonal awareness and communication. Each quadrant of this window has its own relevance as each section helps in evaluating the behavioral characteristics of an individual by analyzing the behavior and interactive capaitcity of individual. (Robert, 2019). Also, each quadrant helps in identifying the emotional intelligence skills of individual known by self or others. Following figure provides the four quadrant framework of Johari window that will be used to compare and analyze the results of self-assessment and assessment from peers:

    Analysis of the results of surveys performed

    In the current times, most of the tasks are performed in teams. Team outcomes becomes highest when large number of informational or behavioral traits are present in the open arena of quadrant. Following is the detail on the results of tests by using self-reflection approach:

    • Open area:

      Analysis of outcomes of two tests helped me in identifying that my awareness level, my lifestyle and ability to manage various situations and things falls in the open area category i.e. these are the skills that are known publicly i.e. self as well as others. I found that I have the ability to manage my own behavior. This skill is known among the public as well. Further, I get to know from the analysis of results that I have good social skills which helps in building strong relations with people in social and professional life.

    • Blind area:

      I also get to know about number of personal traits that are only in the darker area in my life i.e. I found myself unaware about various behavioral traits. The first trait that was found in the blind area is self-regulation and motivation ability. This also includes the motivation to eliminate procrastination. Results from my peers provided me that I possess higher degree of these traits but results of my own test provided me that I am unaware of my ability to self-motivate and self-regulate.

    • Hidden:

      I also get to know about my number of abilities that appropriately positions in the hidden area of this window. The scores of both tests provided me that my friends are not aware of ability to understand the feelings of other people. I also have higher relationship management ability. This ability is also found in the hidden quadrant of the window as peers have been found to be unaware of my relationship management abilities.

    • Unknown:

      Analysis of results of both tests helped me in identifying that my ability to understand the behavior of others and my leadership abilities falls in the unknown area of the window. Thus, I get to know that I needs to indulge in regular discussion and shared discovery sessions to identify my skills and to communicate my skills and abilities to others.

  • Part 2: Analyzing personal strengths and weaknesses on the basis of results of tests:

    I get to know about various strengths and weaknesses in my behavioral and personal traits through evaluation of results of both tests. I found that I am good at various skill bases but also lacks various skills that needs to be developed for future. These skills can even help me reach my goal to become a CEO or to reach the highest stature of my company. My present strengths include self-regulation, motivation, management and empathetic behavior abilities that helps me in understanding and evaluating my own behavior and others behavior. I found that understanding the emotions of others helps me in managing number of situations. Along with this, I found that I have good ability to develop social interaction through positive communication and empathetic behavior. My current strengths also includes good communication and leadership abilities which can help me in attaining effective position at higher level. However, I also found that I lack various skills which can result in failure to achieve managerial position in industry. Despite the good emotional intelligence abilities, I found that I lack self-awareness and social awareness skills which could result in failure to effectively participate in solving various social issues. Also, lack of self-awareness could result in failure to identify various strengths and personal traits. This further could result in failure to use the hidden talent to fuller extent. Thus, review on results of both tests helped me in identifying number of strengths and weaknesses in my behavior.

  • Part 3: Reflection of competencies that needs to be strengthened (practical examples by supposing the current working position in culturally diverse global organization)

    The main aim of conducting this self-reflection was to identify various personal traits that needs to be developed to work effectively in organization and the organisational commitment possessed by me. I found that I lack in various aspects of emotional intelligence that could lower down my abilities to work effectively in some large MNC. For the purpose of this section, it has been assumed that I am currently working at Coca cola company. There is large number of ethical issues running in the organization such as racial discrimination, pollution, depletion of natural resources, anti-competitiveness, product safety, health issues, etc ("The Coca-Cola Company Struggles with Ethical Crises", 2019). All these factors require me to develop my communication and relationship management abilities. Further, building up communication abilities is must to accomplish all operations in this large MNC.

    I will take number of measures to strengthen up my communication skills. Along with this, I will take initiatives to strengthen up my self-awareness and social-awareness abilities. These skills will help me in analyzing the negative impacts of various products and their manufacturing activities on the society as a whole. Development of social skills will also help me in developing ethical work culture in organization which is one of the most important factor for holding leading position in Coca cola company. I will also be required to take number of measures to reduce negative impact of various actions on environment. I will try to build up self motivation ability to keep myself motivated to achieve various technological or product based innovations. In addition to this, I found that I also needs to take numerous initiatives to boost my empathetic behavior as empathetic behavior will help me in understanding and analyzing the emotions of various employees at lower level in Coca cola.


Reflective report is a critical reflection report that includes the summary of past experiences and situations. This report differs from other assessments due to analysis of past situation and also due to the nature of writing style that is required to be adopted in writing a reflection report. The above report helped in identifying number of factors that are to be kept in consideration while preparing a reflective report where it has been identified that this report is written with an introductory and conclusion section along with three to four sections of main body where whole situation is described and analysis of past feelings and emotions is conducted to define the future plan of action.


  • Morgon, K. (2019). How to Write a Self-Reflective Essay. Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • Reflective Essay. (2019). How Do You Write A Reflective Essay Introduction? - iWriteEssays. Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • Reflective writing. (2019). Genres in Academic Writing: Reflective writing. Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • Robert, I. (2019). How open are you? (The JoHari Window). Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • Self reflection. (2019). Self reflection | The Open University & Unison in Partnership. Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • The Coca-Cola Company Struggles with Ethical Crises. (2019). Retrieved 30 December 2019, from
  • WOUND CARE. (2018). Wound cleaning 101: How to clean wounds for proper healing. Retrieved 30 December 2019, from


Self-assessment test:


Tests given by friend A:


Tests given by friend B:

Article By:

Paul Smith

Ex- Management faculty of University of Sydney. Along with an extensive interest in management studies, he is a sports enthusiast who loves to spend time in the basketball court. Just like smart playing the opposition in basketball, he smartly instills
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What is a reflective report?

This is a report which provides a self-view or reflection about a particular subject or topic. Herein the students can detail their own experiences and can give an account of their self-realisations with respect to the topic. In this, the student is motivated to use a personal approach in writing.

How to write a reflective report?

Writing a reflective report requires a student to adopt a critical thinking approach. In addition to this, the student must also not forget to write a detailed account of the event and self analyse the situation. He must also take out the learnings for future from the same.

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