An evaluation of a framework for facilitating and assessing physiotherapy students' reflection on practice

Physiother Theory Pract. Mar-Apr 2007;23(2):83-94. doi: 10.1080/09593980701211952.


Reflective practice is promoted in the health care professions as a developmental process leading to competent and effective practice, although the link between reflection and enhancement of physiotherapy practice remains speculative and conjectural. This article provides evidence that reflection can influence developing practice based on the evaluation of a reflective framework for students on clinical placement. The evaluation explored, in depth, students' experiences and perceptions of its benefits and limitations. Thematic analysis of response data from five focus groups (n = 43) representing three student cohorts resolved significant outcomes-related themes: personal insight, linking reflection to the physiotherapy process, and learning and personal change. Process-related themes focused on strengths and weaknesses of the framework and associated issues. Evidence supports the effectiveness of the framework in facilitating reflection and in linking reflection to higher order cognitive processes such as gaining new insights and understandings, facilitation of systematic enquiry, problem solving, and decision making. Feedback from students indicated that the experience was meaningful and valuable in preparation for practice because they were guided to question themselves and could see the relevance and value of that for their practice. We recommend that educators consider this approach to facilitating reflection in physiotherapy undergraduate education.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comprehension
  • Curriculum
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / education*
  • Problem Solving*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self-Assessment
  • Students, Health Occupations* / psychology
  • Teaching / methods
  • Writing*