Writing a reflective report

Nowadays many of the dissertations and thesis at the Masters level are to be accompanied by a reflective report. Self-reflection is building on the skills developed during the course and analysing the value of the work done during the dissertation and hence writing a reflective report is now part of  a thesis. A practice in reflecting on the past is the main area of a reflective report. The students are encouraged to take an objective view point of own work, the value to oneself, to others and especially to the discipline of study when writing a reflective report.

Most of the tutors would require a consolidated experience of learning during the process of doing the research. The approach to the learning process, the challenges in the way of research, the method adopted to overcome the challenges, the most engaging and influencing aspects of the research are the main concepts to be included in the reflective report. Many tutors are expecting the student to illustrate an in-depth capacity to analyse own behaviour/responses towards various challenges faced during the dissertation process. The most important element of the reflective report would be the learning style for which several models are available.

Most of the reflective reports are not marked or it does not contribute to the ultimate grade of the dissertation; nevertheless writing reflective report has become an important element of most of the dissertations and thesis in many universities. However recently, many universities are allocating a certain percentage of the grade to the quality of the reflective report as well. Many students leave the reflective report to the last minute and do not put sufficient material for actual reflection on experiences, the analysis of the learning style and so on and hence are poorly scoring in this area.

One can gain good grade in the reflective report if sufficient evidence is provided about the reflection, the challenges encountered and the learning cycle adopted. I have given my help in writing reflective reports to many students; although I advise students to write the reflective report themselves since it has to be a personal statement. In many cases the tutors know the students personally and when writing a reflective report, one has to attribute to the personal values, ideas, models and philosophies. When a third person is writing a reflective report, it might not be true to the student and this is one reason why I advise many students to write the reflective report themselves.

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