Understanding the processes of writing papers reflectively

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Abstract

Aim

This paper explores the writing of research papers using reflective frameworks.

Background

Reflective practice is integral to professional education and development. However, healthcare students, academics and practitioners have given limited attention to how to write reflectively. In addition, there are limited resources on the practical aspects of writing papers reflectively.

Data sources

The following major databases were searched: PubMed, Medline, King's Library, Excerpta Medica Database, Department of Health database, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. The searches were conducted using ‘free text’ and ‘index’ terms. Only relevant papers published in English were reviewed and scrutinised. Unpublished reports, internal publications, snowballing from the reference lists and personal contacts were also included in the search.

Review methods

This is a review paper that critiques the frameworks used for reflective practice.

Discussion

Writing papers reflectively is a complex task. Healthcare professionals and researchers need to understand the meaning of reflection and make appropriate use of reflective frameworks. Demystifying the process of reflectively writing papers will help professionals develop skills and competencies.

Implication for research/practice

This article provides a practical guide to reflection and how nursing and allied healthcare students, academics and practitioners can practise it. The paper identifies four generic stages in frameworks: description, assessment, evaluation and action, which are illustrated by annotated ‘skeletal’ examples. It is hoped that this will assist the process of reflective practice, writing and learning.

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