Reflective Writing – Gibbs Reflective cycle

Introduction to Reflective Writing

Through this article, you are going to study about reflective writing techniques. Most preferably we are going to concentrate upon one of the prominent methods of reflective writing – Gibbs Reflective Cycle. 

You may wonder why it has been associated with the term cycle? It is because the technique is used in an iterative manner to achieve the desired result. We will also have a little glimpse into the other writing techniques in order to understand the concept fully. There are some online resources that could help you in getting a better overview. 

Reflective Cycle is a practice of writing which ensures the seamless and consistent way of writing. If you are aware of the methods used in different reflective writing techniques, you will probably become very efficient in other academic writings as well. Before that, first, you need to know how reflective writing differs from other forms of writing. Therefore, let us first understand what is reflective writing. Make sure, you choose the best assignment service for that.

Reflective writing

Reflective writing is nothing but your own reflection towards certain event or scenario. Whenever you encounter a situation or read a journal, there are certain thoughts that occur in your mind. You express your thoughts and expression in reaction to that particular event. 

There is a deep analysis required while you are writing reflective writing. You don’t simply write the feelings or emotions that you stimulated while reading the original paper. You have to demonstrate your understanding and conclusions drawn from the event. Also, You can also use some paid service to get help on getting perfect examples on how to write a good assignment with the best reflective paper. 

Here, by the event, it means it could have been anything. It could have an interaction that you had with a certain someone. You might be describing some situation. It could be any incident. So, sharing your personal experience and learning outcomes from a particular event through your writing is known as reflective writing.

So, basically the purpose of this writing is to explore your own experience. You have to analyse it, draw positive and negative aspects of that situation. The conclusions shared in your writing must be able to deliver the solution or method. A solution that could be used to improve the possibilities of the respective event. 

There are plenty of methods created by great writers that can help you to write a very competent reflective paper. Choosing the best suitable method to deliver your reflection paper depends on you. All the reflective cycles have their own methodology and structure to write such paper. 

Mostly, the students choose the Gibbs Reflective Cycle to write their reflection papers. You might be wondering how do you suppose to evaluate your own thoughts. Sharing your thoughts into a paper could be a typical task. You have to make sure that your report is not just a reflection of your emotions. But it is a collection of all the effects and your reaction to that certain event. 

You have to be very careful while writing a reflective paper. It may feel as if you are writing your personal diary. It is just that your personal diary will be read by your readers. Your experience must be shared in the perspective of how others could have experienced the same event. The ways the situation could have affected other people of your stature.

Steps to writing a reflective writing

So want to know how to start a reflective writing paper? Here are the steps:

Choose a topic

The topic plays a vital role in reflective writing. Usually, it is assigned by professors, but if it is not then chosen by yourself.

Start Brainstorming

Do the proper research form the relevant sources and make notes about everything that is related to your topic. Choose an approach or point of vire for your topic.

Make a perfect outline

An outline should be a single sentence for each of your paragraph, Add one by one supportive idea for every part of your reflective paper. If you feel to change any concept while writing, then go for it.

Try to make questions

Once you feel that there no process in making, then go for the reflective essays. You can simply start from any question

Write a creative introduction

An introduction is the crucial part of any academic paper, make sure you make it creative and it would be better if you write it at the end, because at many times you cannot predict how will your idea go.

Don’t make your reflective paper too long

Once done with reflective writing introduction, write the main body part. Make sure your reflective paper should not be more than 750 words. Once done do proper editing and proofreading.

So these are some really easy steps that may be useful for reflection writing.

Reflective Thinking

First and foremost, you have to develop your thought process in order to write a reflective paper. You think before you write so you must keep your thoughts together. Reflective thinking could also be called as a method of moulding your inner self into making an unbiased and rational statement. 

The way you process your thoughts will also affect your results throughout your entire career. You should improve your ability to demonstrate your experience and share your knowledge. All these things you describe in your reflective paper and it will eventually open the doors to make further improvements. 

Your writings will be used as a reference by other readers and they will work upon the limitations that you mention. It is all about putting good use of your experience and knowledge. 

Reflective thinking is very important to reflective writing. Events are unpredictable and it is hard to recognize every event at the time of happening. For example, it could be an interaction between a customer and a support person. By the time, the interaction is concluded, the results come up. It is an experience. 

So, whatever you have learned from that interaction, you share your experience through your writing and it would be used later to find possibilities to improve that experience for the greater good. 

When you pursue to better your reflective thinking, you are striving to better your perceptions and develop an interrogative attitude. When you improve your perceptions it allows you to correctly identify the areas. You will be better able to judge the areas of improvements. 

By improving your reflective skills, you are improving your confidence to encounter multiple situations efficiently. You will be able to generalise common situations and create counter-measures to handle them. It is very useful. That is why reflective papers are given as assignments to many students to improve their learning abilities and perceptions. 

Reflective thinking the key to using any reflective cycle. You must make a priority to learn different methods of reflective cycles and improve your reflective thinking. There are opportunities where you will be required to change your approach a little different. Otherwise, the requirements for writing a reflective paper will be the same. If you want then you can also refer one of the most widely used reflective model pdf.

Regardless, you must first keep some of the key points into consideration before the start. To ensure the credibility of your paper. It will help you to write your paper on a broader aspect.

  1. Aim
  2. Implement
  3. Observe
  4. Reflect


Your aim must be created on a broader perspective. Your paper should be contextual. On a student level, you will be given to write an assessment that is based on a reflective paper. Your fellow students might also be given the same topic to discuss. They must be performing similar tasks. The possibilities of the experience will multiply. 

You must make sure that you are showcasing a distinctive and unique experience and outcomes. Considering these factors you can contemplate the ideas, perceptions and methodology in your writing. 

You can read in detail about Reflective writing and type of reflections with Gibbs cycle as an example


Once you have decided your aim and methods. It is time to implement your plan into action. As it has been said earlier, self-awareness is more important. You have to judge your inner-self first, only then you will be able to judge the scenarios perfectly. 

You should be prepared to encounter different situations and develop a strong approach towards each one of them. There should be a little creativity to the way you adapt different things and approach should also be dynamic. 


Again, it is time for self-evaluation. Once you have written about your experience and knowledge, it is time to observe the areas of improvement. Inspect your paper thoroughly and observe the paper from the perception of the reader’s mind. If you feel there are some statements that won’t be appealing to the reader, caste them out. Check for redundancy as well. It does not look good to share the same experience with the reader again. 


Finally, you have reached the final stage of your paper. Now, it is time to contribute all the materials of your findings and experience. Deeply investigate all the events. All the negative and positive aspects of the particular event should be mentioned very clearly and distinctly. 

Draw your strength and weakness associated with the particular event. Let us say, we have been describing an event. You should let know of the reader about your role very specifically. You should write about your actions how they have impacted the situation. 

Every action has a particular outcome. It could be positive or negative. If it was about a journal. You should mention about your observations. Describing your observation is not just enough. You have to justify observations by relating it to the existing theory. Describe how your observation fit to a particular theory. Considering the fact that you are planning to write reflective writing, you can go through the tips shared below to learn better.

Tips to write Reflective Paper

The scope of writing a reflective journal demands the writer to have critical thinking and good observation skills. Reflective writing is not simple writing. It demands the writer to be very intuitive and critical minded. There is a deep analysis required. It tests your ability to think critically and also your observation skills. These are the true asset that any writer should possess. You must be strong enough to dig deeper into the facets of truth before jumping into the conclusion part. If you want to get better help to know more tips and tricks to write an effective paper. You could refer to some reputed writing services online. 

There are some key points that you can ensure your quality to be consistent throughout your reflective journey

  • You should learn to stop, observe and continue. Do not let inconsequential events distract the main idea. 
  • Develop an objective attitude and critical thinking. 
  • Try to develop a different approach, change the angel of thinking and find better alternative explanations. 
  • If you are sharing your own thesis or statement, make sure they are supported by enough evidence. 
  • Opinions change but perception doesn’t change. So, make sure your opinions should not contradict your perception. 
  • In order to make sure the development of your perception, Discuss the same event with your fellow students to find deepen your insight. 
  • Make note of all the questions occurred. 
  • Try to keep track of all the main events and your responses to them.
  • Also, you should identify how you responded to a certain event. 
  • Definitely, the event must have influenced in some way. Find out the reasons. 
  • Find out if you could have reacted any differently or could you have done better in that situation?
  • Also, try the possibilities of a similar situation. What would you have done in a similar situation like that?

There are plenty of reflective cycles created to help writers to finish a good reflective paper. We are going to focus upon the few of the reflective cycles that are used widely by most of the writers. 

  1. Atkins and Murphy Cycle
  2. Johns Reflective Cycle
  3. Kolb Reflective Cycle
  4. Gibbs Reflective Cycle

Atkins and Murphy Cycle

It is one of the reflective models used widely. It is dedicated to helping you to focus of the events more deeply. If you are aspiring to write a reflection that has to be studied deeply, then you might want to use Atkins and Murphy reflective model. 

Johns Reflective Cycle

It is mostly used in organizational sectors. A lot of professionals use this model to share the experiences in a figurative manner. More often, the cycle is used to draw conclusions from the interrogative questions asked on a certain possibility or event. It could also be used by individual depending upon their method to reflect the scenarios. 

Kolb’s Reflective Cycle

The reflective cycle is particularly used for the events that are hypothetical in nature. It is completely used for experimental purposes. If you are intending to write a reflection paper on an imaginary or experimental event, this reflective cycle will suit you the best. It can also be based upon one’s experience to relate it with a different experience. It could hypothetical but a little similar. 

Now that you have a brief idea of how major reflective cycle models work. We will now focus on the most discussed reflective model of all – Gibbs Reflective Cycle

Gibbs Reflective Cycle

It was discovered in the year 1988. It was created by a pronounced sociologist and psychologist, the name was Graham Gibbs. This model was not introduced in the impression to create a model itself. It was merely one of the methods that were suggested in his book. The name of the book is “Learning by doing”. 

It was created to help students to present their writings systematically. It gave the students an opportunity to share the experiences associated with certain activity or event. The reflection is also considered as knowledge gathered by a certain situation. The purpose was to help them deliver knowledge profoundly and most importantly in a professional way. 

It was a learning model created for the writers and readers to cope better with the situations or events. It helps to spread awareness towards monitoring our own actions and reactions to some event. 

Gibbs Reflective model is very useful. It helps us to find different possibilities that will help in anticipating future situations. A slight intuition of the future happening might help you to change the outcomes. 

You will be aware of the scenarios so you will act accordingly. Different actions result in different outcomes. Your objective is to produce a better outcome. 

It could also be termed as a self-reflection tool. Your methods and actions in response to a particular event could be useful to someone who has never encountered the same event. You should make sure the methods and responses that you are writing in your cycle be credible. It should result in any different. You can also find the best experts online on mainstream assignment writing services.

  1. Description
  2. Feelings
  3. Evaluation
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion
  6. Action Plan


First, you describe a brief insight towards your reflection. You should not just jump in the main event directly. You can provide your brief using some examples that resemble the same event. The readers get a slight idea of the way it is going to be. 

You can mention some background information and provide a topic of your reflection. You can also share the details of the person or entities that were involved. 

Just keep one thing in mind. Do not draw any kind of conclusion in the description. Just mention the details of events such as, what and when the event happened?


Once you have mentioned about the event. Now, it is time to share your feelings in response to that particular event. What were the situations that triggered to make you think or respond in a certain way? You might want to include your feelings honestly here otherwise your words may not put a strong impression.  

There are few points that you need to focus upon. What were your feelings before and after the event? Why did you feel that way? What others could have felt in the same situation? How do you think of the same situation now? 


Now, it is the third step. You have to evaluate your performances during the event. You should find out whether your actions made a difference to the event. If yes, then how did it affect the event. Drive the negative and positive outcomes of your action. Find out if you could have responded any differently to improve the outcomes. 

You must clearly demonstrate your contribution to that event. Draw limitations and defaults of your response. So that it could further help the readers to find the areas of improvement. Also, include the contributions of other people or entities that were participating in that event. 


In the analysis part, you have to synchronize all the outcomes and evaluate them as a whole to analyse them later. There might be a chance where your actions may have affected the event positively or negatively. Note down the areas of improvement. Suggest some of the ideas. The analysis is all about further evaluation of the event. You collect the information to draw conclusions later. Gather as much detail as you can. 


Once you are through your analysis, you have to consolidate all the data you have acquired in your analysis and draw conclusions. You have to display the solutions to the problems that occurred in the situation. Also, describe the contingencies or difficulties one might face with a similar situation. Help the readers with all the possibilities where the situation could have been handled in a better way. 

Action Plan

The final stage is the action plan. You have to suggest to the reader about the actions that need to be taken while encountering such a situation. Perhaps, you should take a little help from your professor to write this section. It is recommended to take help from your professor because to take necessary actions needs experience and experiments again. 

It could be difficult for you to foresee the results of the action. Therefore, you need to make sure that actions taken under those situations should end positively. 

Gibbs Reflective Cycle example – How to use it

If you want you can use Gibs reflective cycle in a variety of ways. Any individual can use the cycle. If you’re open to active change yourself, then the reflective cycle can be a helpful tool for you. A reflective cycle is basically often used in higher education when carrying out the internship assignments. This is a great way to make an intern aware of his actions. Also, after all, at the end of an internship period, an intern should be have developed enough to carry out all the internship assignments independently and behave accordingly.

By Alex Walter

Alex Walter has been working as an academic consultant with for last one year. Alex holds a master degree in Psychology and currently on the verge of completion of PhD. With academic knowledge , Alex has guided many students in picking the right career choices. Alex also has a great experience in writing on academic topics