Hatton and Smith (1995) identified four levels in reflective writing:
This is a description of events or literature. There is no discussion beyond description. The writing is not considered to show evidence of reflection.
2. Descriptive reflective
This is basically a description of events, but shows some evidence of deeper consideration in fairly descriptive language. However, there may be no real evidence of the notion of alternative viewpoints.
3. Dialogic reflection
In this writing there is a ‘stepping back’ from the events and actions which leads to different level of discussion. There is a sense of ‘mulling over’ events, a dialogue with yourself and an exploration of your role in events and actions. There is evaluation of your judgements and a consideration of possible alternatives for explaining them and hypothesising about them. The reflection is analytical or integrative, linking factors and perspectives.
4. Critical reflection
This writing takes into account the views and motives of others and considers them against your own. There is a recognition that the frame of reference with which an event is viewed can change according to the acquisition of new information, the review of ideas and the effect of time passing. This writing shows evidence that you are aware that actions and events may be ‘located within and explicable by' multiple perspectives, and are located in and influenced by multiple and socio– political contexts’
In this module you will learn about writing reflectively at the third level, dialogic reflection. In the advanced reflective practice module we will move on to writing at the fourth level, critical reflection.
To practice identifying different levels of reflective writing go to Activity 2.