Reflection‑in‑Addition: Using Reflective logs to Build Research into Undergraduate Projects


  • Martin Rich


Keywords: Reflective practice, projects, observation


Abstract: This paper explores the scope for using reflective logs as a component in final year projects taken by students on an undergraduate management course. Students often wish to build practical experience into the final year of their degree, but they are also expected to carry out a certain amount of independent research as part of a final year. There can be a tension between students⠒ desire for experience and the requirement for research. The context of this is a management degree where a significant piece of independent work is regarded as a crucial component of the course, but where an unintended consequence of framing this piece of work in a way that encourages autonomy among students, is that there is some ambiguity about quite what students are expected to deliver. An observation made by some of the markers of these projects is that it is not uncommon for them to read like good consultancy reports, which do demonstrate the students⠒ writing skills and often prepare them for their future careers, but which do not necessarily score highly against the criteria associated with a major academic piece of work. Within the author⠒s institution some thought has been given to providing alternative forms of project, and a tangible move in this direction has been to introduce an option where some students combine their project with working alongside an organisation on a practical task. For these students an integral part of the process is the requirement that they maintain a reflective log on their work, following the principles of Schon (1983) in framing and reframing questions to elicit knowledge based on the students⠒ experience. One interpretation of this is that the reflective log can constitute part of the primary data that the students draw on in their research. Such an approach has clear attractions for students and academic supervisors alike. There are well defined formats which a reflective log can follow and which can foster experiential learning (Moon, 2004). Because this type of project is based on practical activities



1 Dec 2015