Reflective Essay – Explanation, Hints & Tips

Edinburgh Business School
Leadership – C11LD
Reflective Essay – Explanation, Hints & Tips
The 2500 essay for the course should be reflective and so be inward looking. This means that
you have to use your own experience, thoughts and beliefs and challenge them using the content
of the course. You should present analysis of your own views on leadership, how these may have
changed over the course and importantly critically review what you have previously done or
ascribed to and how this has or has not changed and informed the approach you will take to
leadership in your current or future career.
Throughout, your essay should be supported by academic evidence and should be referenced
appropriately. Your essay should include a minimum of 10 academic references.
What is a reflective essay
The purpose of a reflective essay is to show how you learn from your educational experience and
importantly how you critically evaluate the learning as well as your actions and logically argue how
you apply that learning. You should be very specific in giving your experiences and examples but
should also consider what experiences you wish to share and of course which you would not feel
comfortable or appropriate to share.
One of the biggest challenges of writing a reflective essay is being critical and analytical. Consider
what you didn’t do as well as what you did, what were the consequences of your actions positive
and/or negative. Your reflection should be honest and genuine but should not make you feel
uncomfortable or apprehensive about sharing and knowing that others will read.
Hints & Tips
• As this is a reflective essay, you should write it in the first person.
• Although a reflection it is like any other essay, it should have an introduction, a body and a
• Read the marking guide – this details what the markers are looking for in your essay
• Create an essay plan – what are the key points you are going to put across in your essay.
This helps you use the word count wisely and ensure you stay focussed.
• Keep your paragraphs shorter (3-8 sentences) for a reflective essay.
• You may find it useful to structure your essay around a recognised reflection model such
as Gibbs Reflection Cycle or Kolb’s experiential learning cycle. Examples of both are
contained in the assessment section of your vision course.
• Much like your actual course content, develop your academic skills by reading further on
reflective writing, critical analysis, referencing and research. These are not only important
skills for your overall programme but also tend to be parallel to actual business skills.
C11LD – Leadership – Individual Reflective Coursework
Student Name: Registration No:
Assessment Criteria 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Theory – a synopsis of the theories, concepts and
approaches that underpin leadership is provided.
This should be relevant the personal reflection and
not an inclusion of every aspect of the course.
No literature covered
or literature covered is
not relevant and out of
Predominantly based
on course materials
with little additional
Demonstrates ltd.
Limited coverage of
additional literature.
Largely descriptive.
Good coverage
predominantly from
books with some
journal content. Critical
in content.
Demonstrates good
literature coverage that
is critical in style.
Practice – Provides a personal reflection of previous
experiences and approaches in sufficient depth,
including analysis of what went well and what did
not. No more than two incidents/situations should
be used and evidence of a structured reflection
process should be included.
No description of
personal experiences
and approaches
Limited and superficial
description of personal
experiences or
approaches and no
attempt at explanation
of such approaches
Previous experiences
and approaches to
leadership are
described in some
depth but the analysis
of what workerd is not
made explicit
Good description of
previous experiences &
approaches in some
areas and superficial in
others. Supported by
analysis of what was/
was not effective and
In-depth description of
previous experience
and approaches to
leadership supported
with robust analysis of
what worked and what
did not
Analysis – Quality of the critical analysis comparing
practice to theory leading the reader towards
conclusions. Use of a learning or reflective cycle is
Tenuous analysis that
lacks logic and critical
Largely descriptive
analysis with some
logical content
Some critical content
weakened by
descriptive content.
Mostly logical.
Good critical analysis
that clearly links theory
and practice and leads
Comprehensive critical
analysis linking theory
and practice. Leads the
reader clearly towards
the recommendations
Recommendations – Draws reasoned and
authoritative conclusions as to what they can do to
improve their leadership and the impact on their
future roles and careers
No or a very weak set
of recommendations
that are not discussed
and that do not link to
previous analysis.
A weak set of
recommendations on
with tenuous linkages
to preceding analysis
A reasonable set of
recommendations with
reasonable linkages to
preceding analysis
Clear set of
recommendations built
good arguments that
are mostly traceable to
the preceding analysis
Clear, concise and
recommendations that
are fully traceable to
the preceding analysis
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
General Comments: Overall Mark:
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