Development and Evaluation of a Reflective Log Assignment Designed to Enhance Postgraduate Psychology Students’ Learning Experience


  • Rachael Powell University of Manchester
  • Panos Vlachopoulos Macquarie University, Australia
  • Rachel Shaw Aston University



Reflection, reflective log, assessment, Master’s, postgraduate, psychology.


This paper describes the development and evaluation of a reflective log assignment introduced on a taught postgraduate psychology programme. Whether the reflective logs were an effective tool to enhance thinking and learning across a module was examined and how valuable students found the logs was explored. Logs of 13 students were examined using content analysis to establish the extent of reflective writing. Students demonstrated high levels of reflection across the course. Eight students participated in focus groups which explored their experiences of completing logs, and focus group transcripts were analysed thematically. Participants generally viewed the log positively, using it to aid retention, voice opinions and further deep thinking. Preference for the log to count towards course credits was voiced. The logs therefore proved to be effective learning aids and were acceptable to, and valued by, postgraduate psychology students. Further consideration as to how logs are assessed is required.

Author Biographies

Rachael Powell, University of Manchester

Rachael Powell is a lecturer in health psychology at the University of Manchester. She is interested in how students’ learning may be improved through practicing reflection. Her other research interests include psychological aspects of undergoing medical procedures, use of self-testing technologies and physical activity.

Panos Vlachopoulos, Macquarie University, Australia

Panos Vlachopoulos is Associate Professor and Associate Dean Quality and Standards in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University in Australia. Panos has international experience as an academic educator and researcher in the areas of online learning, learning design and reflective practice.

Rachel Shaw, Aston University

Rachel Shaw is a Reader in Psychology and Health Psychologist at Aston University. Her research focuses on care and communication between healthcare professionals, patients and their families, collaborative decision-making, developing behaviour change interventions for healthcare professionals, and experiential learning.


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Original Research