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How Do Veterinary Students Engage When Using Creative Methods to Critically Reflect on Experience? A Qualitative Analysis of Assessed Reflective Work

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stefanie ReissnerORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by University of Toronto Press , 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Critical reflection, the exploration and questioning of one’s experience, beliefs, assumptions and actions, supports resilience, empathy, the management of uncertainty and professional identity formation. Yet for many students and educators, the techniques to engage in critical reflection are elusive. Creative methods, which foster engagement with emotional and uncertain aspects of experience, reportedly help some students to reflect at a more critical level than when they use reflective writing, and this study explores more deeply the experiences of such students, who used creative methods to critically reflect on challenging or troubling past events. A narrative methodology was utilised, in which researchers collaboratively co-constructed an understanding of students’ experiences of reflection, to identify the activities and steps they used. Creative methods did not inherently lead to critical reflection, but when this was achieved, the creative approaches seemed to facilitate a staging of reflection, which incorporated five sequential stages: pre-planning their creative depiction, experimenting with different ideas, deliberate completion of the reflective piece, reflecting on their creative work, and reflecting again on their learning and development. This cyclic, repeated revisit to experience, as students engaged in each stage of their work, appeared to facilitate both a deep connection with the emotional elements of experience, and a more distanced analysis. This ultimately led to a deepening of understanding of events, including the construction of their own beliefs and empathy with the views of others.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Armitage-Chan E, Reissner SC, Jackson E, Kedrowicz A, Schoenfeld-Tacher R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Veterinary Medical Education

Year: 2022

Volume: 49

Issue: 5

Pages: 632-640

Print publication date: 03/10/2022

Online publication date: 09/09/2021

Acceptance date: 01/07/2021

Date deposited: 12/07/2021

ISSN (print): 0748-321X

ISSN (electronic): 1943-7218

Publisher: University of Toronto Press


DOI: 10.3138/jvme-2021-0070


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