Tips for reflective writing

Yesterday, I attended a “Your Guide to Certification and Chartership” course run by the CILIP Career Development Group (CDG calendar of events).

I was particularly interested in developing my reflective writing skills. The personal statement must be evaluative rather than descriptive, and I know that is going to be a challenge for me!

Here is a reminder of the criteria for chartership

  1. An ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
  2. Active commitment to continuing professional development
  3. An ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
  4. Breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context

Keep these in mind when constructing your personal statement, and make it easy for the assessors to see how you have achieved each criterion.

How do I know if I am evaluating?

  • If you are NOT describing
  • If you have measured your effectiveness
  • If you can demonstrate how you have put into practice what you have learned
  • If you are asking questions, and answering them

Evaluating as questioning – things to think about

  • Why do I need to achieve that?
  • Why did I do that?
  • What did I learn from it?
  • Did anything change as a result?
  • What would I do differently next time?

The reflective practitioner’s cycle

Reflective cycle: pause - reflect - learn - apply

When considering which pieces of evidence to include in your portfolio, ask yourself “I’ve chosen to include this – so what?” Ensure that all of your examples are explained in terms of what you learned or did differently as a result.

Here are links to some resources which were mentioned during the course

ILS Skills Portfolio (developed from the RAPID – Recording Academic, Professional and Individual Development – system)

e-learning and technology individual self-assessment – manage your own online learning e-portfolio for free (powered by Mahara)

See also: On the road to Chartership



  1. Laura,

    As a librarian from the US, I found this reflective writing requirement fascinating. Our American Library Association certainly has no such requirement but I think it’s just a very nice idea. While anyone who has decided to blog hopes to be read by others, my desire to reflect on my professional life was what primarily pushed me into blogging (it just seemed more natural than a print diary, I guess). Thanks for teaching me something new about UK librarianship!

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