What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing is about providing your response to a stimulus. In this unit, we ask you to write reflectively on topics that you choose related to the weekly learning materials. In essence, you get to tailor the stimulus; you can choose your own adventure and explore what interests you. Your job is to share your thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences, reactions and ideas related to those prompts. We also want you to share your thoughts on reading you’ve done or examples you’ve seen in your travels.

Check out UNSW’s guide to reflective writing.

Reflective doesn’t mean uninformed

Although we are interested in your thoughts, we don’t want you to write reflective posts that are purely opinion. We want you to tell us how you arrived at your opinions; we want you to respond to things you’ve read; we want you to substantiate your opinions with references. What has informed your opinions?

Sometimes, you might write a post about your own original thoughts, but usually something triggers your writing. For example, last year I wrote a blog post about why I don’t use public libraries, inspired by discussions I saw happening at a couple of industry events and a visit to my new local public library. I’ve referenced those catalysts in the post as background. You’ll also notice some hyperlinked words and phrases in the text (specifically, links to information on the value of public libraries). These are resources that back up my opinions and provide further reading for anyone who might like to follow up on my post.

Reflection is not just fluff

I think for some the word ‘reflection’ conjures up the idea of fluffy writing that is ‘nice’, introspective, unsubstantiated, and of little value. But that is not the case at all. What we’re asking you to do in this unit is share critical, informed reflections. Reflective posts are like essays that take advantage of the platform by incorporating supporting links and multimedia, and by fostering dialogue through comments.

Critical reflective writing takes care and crafting, and it can deal with big issues.

Useful resources on reflective writing

Still not quite clear on what reflective writing is? Need help developing your reflective writing skills? Here are some places to start.