Further Reading & Acknowledgements

In searching for ideas on Reflection a number of related concepts will be encountered each in different ways relating to the contemplative state.  Reflective Practice has been described here as the term that can most closely be ascribed to the GMC’s guidance with respect to good medical practice but you will encounter various Reflective Models, and reference to Reflective Writing, Reflective Learning Styles and Reflective and Experiential Learning and other Tools for Thinking.  Those looking for further guidance and insights into Reflection may find the following sources useful:

The Wales Deanery has an academic section for Medical Education.  Its ‘How to…Series’ can be found here and includes:

  • ‘How to: Assess Reflective Practice’
  • ‘How to: Teach Reflective Practice’

Those interested in Educational Theory will find several references to academic texts but many will find the work of Schon to be an interesting starting point:

  • Schon, D.A. (1995). Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. Arena: Aldershot.

The concept of Reflective Writing is championed by Jenny Moon and further reading on this can be found here:

  • Moon, J. (1999) Learning journals: a handbook. Kogan Page, London.
  • Moon, J.A. (2004). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: Theory and practice. Abingdon: Routledge Falmer.

A variety of models of reflection are promoted but perhaps the most familiar of these for medical and nursing practitioners is the Gibbs model or The Reflective Cycle:

  • Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning Methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic. 

Some will be interested in the work of Peter Honey and Alan Mumford on Learning Styles that arose from the work they did on David Kolb’s model based on Experiential learning. This led to the development of their Learning Styles Questionnaire familiar to many GP Registrars:

  • Honey, P & Mumford, A (2006). The Learning Styles Questionnaire, 80-item version. Maidenhead, UK, Peter Honey Publications

Peter Honey also has his own website with links to further training materials for this who may be interested:


Finally, and for those who are looking to develop more advanced critical thinking skills that help to challenge established clinical practice and perceived wisdom one might be interested in the work of the philosopher Daniel Dennett.  In his work ‘Intuition pumps and other tools for thinking’ he invites us, for example, to develop a ‘surely alarm’.  This simple device encourages us to spot the weakest point in a person’s argument when your interlocutor is asking you to accept a premise that is not necessarily supported by evidence but which he regards to be self-evident.  

Examples from history might include

‘Surely the sun goes around the earth’, or ‘Surely bed rest is the best management for an acute lumbar back pain’ or even ‘Surely prevention is better than cure’.  The more observant of you will have noticed, for example, perfectly respectable contributions to the BMJ that at least call into question the last of these most self-evident remarks.  His ideas can be found here:

Daniel C Dennett (2014). Intuition pumps and other tools for thinking. London, Penguin books.


Thanks to Dr Peter Rowlands, Appraisal Coordinator for Gwent, for writing this module.


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