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Template for all student academic writing lib guides

Critical Thinking, Critical Analysis and Critical Reflection are terms commonly used to describe the type of writing necessary to complete an academic writing task. The terms are similar and may seem confusing!

So, what's the difference?



Processing information that you receive
in an evaluative and investigative way.
Asking questions about the material.

Breaking information into components
to compare and evaluate ideas. 
Assessing or evaluating a process
or event and deducting conclusions.  

What is Critical Reflection?

Critical Reflection is the process of drawing conclusions and discovering outcomes or learning possibilities that arise from an experience.

“Critical reflection is an extension of “critical thinking”. It asks us to think about our practice and ideas and then it challenges us to step-back and examine our thinking by asking probing questions. It asks us to not only delve into the past and look at the present but importantly it asks us to speculate about the future and act,” (Department of Education and Training Victoria, 2007, para.4.)  

Watch this short video for an explanation of Critical Reflection and an example layout for your work

When you write a critical reflection, you won’t just be describing or journaling your experience. Critical reflection is going a step further to analyse and examine your experience to gain a deeper understanding of what your learnt during the process and how you can use those skills or that knowledge in a broader context, (Cottrell, 2011, p. 209).

Note: In an academic Critical Reflection you may also be asked to back up what you learnt using references, or compare what you learnt with examples, from research or literature that has already been undertaking in the industry. You can learn more about the importance of referencing here.

How to write a Critical Reflection

When you are writing a critical reflection on a learning experience or a project you have undertaken you will be examining that experience by exploring its outcomes, limitations and further questions that arise.

You can use the questions below to prompt your reflective process