I thought that I have figured out what are types of reflective practice in my last post until today I saw another one on the website of Community Healthcare Bolton. Now I realize why I was lost when I tried to find out the stages of Reflective Practice because what I got was levels of RP not the types. Therefore I can’t find any stages in it. So I changed the title of my previous post to “levels of reflective practice” and write this new post.

According to Edgar Schon, there are two types of reflection, reflection in action and reflection on action.

Reflection in action means:

“To think about what one is doing whilst one is doing it; it is typically stimulated by surprise, by something which puzzled the practitioner concerned” (Greenwood, 1993).

Reflection in action allows the practitioner to redesign what he/ she is doing whilst he/she is doing it. This is commonly associated with experienced practitioners. However, it is much neglected.

Reflection on action is defined as:

“The retrospective contemplation of practice undertaken in order to uncover the knowledge used in practical situations, by analysing and interpreting the information recalled” (Fitzgerald, 1994, p.67)

We can see here that reflection on action involves turning information into knowledge, by conducting a cognitive post mortem.

Which type is most appropriate for the purposes of this paper?

Reflection on action is looking back after the event whilst reflection in action is happening during the event. I think reflection on action is more appropriate for this paper as I can record, look back, analyse and improve after each activity I conduct in my project.


Fitzgerald M (1994): Theories of Reflection for learning In Reflective Practice in nursing, A Palmer and S Burns (eds). Blackwell Scientific, Oxford.

Greenwood J (1993): Reflective practice a critique of the work of Argyris & Schon. Journal of Advanced Nursing 19 1183-1187

Schon DA (1983): The Reflective Practitioner. Basic Books, New York.