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Reflective journal writing

  • Generally, a reflective journal requires you to map the progress and changes in your thinking about a subject or a topic, or about the learning journey in which you are engaged

  • You may be asked to make regular entries in a journal (over a period of time), which will then have to be submitted and assessed

  • You may also be asked to use your reflections built up over a period of time as the basis of an essay or a report

  • If the journal is to be assessed, it should be well structured and clearly expressed for the benefit of your audience, even though it may have elements of personal writing

  • If the journal is for yourself and is to be used as the basis of an essay or a report, make sure that your writing will make sense to you when you refer to it to compose your essay or report

  • Consider the following when writing a reflective journal:

    • Describe the events and your experience – What did I do/hear/see?

    • Interpret and evaluate the events from your perspective – What do I think about it now? How does it relate to other things that I know? Explain your experience; reveal your new insights, connections with other learning, your hypotheses, and your conclusions.

    • Reflect on how this information will be useful to you – What questions do I have? Have I changed how I think about the situation? Where do I go from here?

  • If you have been given specific questions or tasks to perform, use these as headings to help organise your writing

Adapted from the following sources:
Morley-Warner, T. 2009, Academic writing is… A guide to writing in a university context, Association for Academic Language and Learning, Sydney.
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology 2009, Study & Learning Centre, accessed 15 June 2009, <>.