What Makes a Good Reflective Paper?

Anne Walling, MB, ChB; Johanna Shapiro, PhD; Terry Ast

Several leading medical journals publish reflective papers, and interest is growing in this form of professional writing. These papers are increasingly recognized as adding value to clinical and professional experiences, mainly by addressing their emotional content and enhancing “reflective capacity” in both authors and readers. Defined as the ability to critically analyze knowledge and experience to achieve deeper meaning and understanding, reflective capacity has been identified as a core clinical competency that allows physicians to be attentive, curious, self-aware, and willing to recognize and correct errors.

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