Tips to write Gibbs Reflective Cycle

time15-Mar-2023 10:02 AM

Gibbs' reflective cycle is one of the theoretical models used for writing reflections about a particular experience. It is a systematic approach for writing down every aspect of the concerned situation, activity, or event. Writing reflection is a huge part of realizing one’s potential and erroneous measures taken at that time.

The reflection also helps in devising ways for improving the lacking areas by defining an action plan. It also focuses on the positive parts of the encounter so that it can get better the next time.

Thus, reflection makes one person aware of their strengths as well as weaknesses. 

“It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalizations or concepts can be generated and it is generalizations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively”, said Gibbs in 1988. 

There are six definite stages composing the Gibbs reflective cycle. Every stage has its own function. It captures six different aspects of the incident. Description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, and action plan are the six steps.

The first three stages revolve around all the details of the experience and the last three are concerned with the improvements that can be achieved for a better outcome next time. Let us see in detail what all stages mean separately. 

Description Stage Of Gibbs’ reflective cycle 

This is a very basic section of the reflective cycle. It can also be treated as an introductory paragraph. This section requires information about the situation or experience you encountered. You need to explain all the actual and factual data in this paragraph. It is required to be written in such a way that the reader should get an idea about the question, “what happened?”. This needs to be written very precisely and without any further information . It is definitely not storytelling so you can exaggerate it. This section needs crispness and to-the-point information. 

Feelings Stage Of Gibbs’ reflective cycle 

This section of the reflective cycle requires information about the inner hassle experienced at the very moment of crunch or emergency. You need to jot down the thoughts, behaviour, rush, and every other feeling that you were experiencing at that particular time. You can take the help of the following questions to complete this section efficiently: what was your feeling at the time of the incident? What came to your mind at first? Have you ever experienced this feeling before? What was your feeling after the experience was over? This stage is also a descriptive one but analytical in nature. 

Evaluation Stage Of Gibbs’ reflective cycle

Evaluation encircles both positive and negative aspects of the situation or experience. It is about your perception regarding the extent to which good or bad things occurred. You can consider the following question for completing this section. What were the key elements of the event that went well? What were the things that did not work in association for the betterment of the situation? You can also include the activities of other people if you want. What were they doing? How was their involvement? How did their involvement make the situation good or bad at the instance?

Analysis Stage Of Gibbs’ reflective cycle 

It revolved around those things that were positive in helping you during the time of emergency or event. Analysis tries to find answers for why the concerned experience was negative or positive.

You can take several things into account for writing this section properly. Like, if you have a previous experience like this so does the remains from the past help you in handling the situation properly.

Did you consult with anyone? If you did, then how did the consultation help you in improving the situation towards betterment? You can also give credit to your role in the experience and the contributions that made the situation positive.

If, however, the situation got out of control, according to you where was the lack? Was it the lack of preparation or can also be some external factors that were not under your control?

You can also include the details of input provided by other people present in the situation. What were their views about what happened? Were their actions and reactions similar to yours? If their thoughts and reactions were not similar then according to you what is the reason for the same? 

Conclusion stage of Gibbs’ reflective cycle 

This part of Gibbs’ reflection cycle is one of the most important stages. It is a great deal to underline the major points from the experience that can stay with you. It also helps the reader to develop final thoughts about your encounter. This part should include your learnings from the experience.

You need to write about the ways in which the result or outcome could have been better. Did you develop any new skills as a result of the experience? If yes, then how you are going to imply that in the future for similar situations? How can you gain better knowledge about the lacking areas? Is there any part of the experience that you would wish to be different from?

If yes, how would it have impacted the outcome? You can also use examples from the above parts for supporting your conclusion.

If the overall experience was positive then you can rest assured that you will continue practising to achieve perfection. If the overall experience was negative that you can include the improvisations you need to do.  

Action plan stage of Gibbs’ reflective cycle 

The action plan of the reflective cycle sums up your writing. It is a very important stage that completes the whole cycle. You can consider the following questions for completing this section.

What are the actions that you would take for building the knowledge or skill? What is the training you can acquire for building the skills for handling such situations properly?

What are the different sources from which you can study for expanding your horizon? You can also take support from people who can provide you with the best advice. 

You need to follow the above process properly so that the reflection can be composed in an effective form. This is very helpful for the betterment of pursuing your profession effectively.

You can get a clear view of Gibbs’ reflective cycle by reading the following example. 

Example Of A Gibb’s Reflective Cycle 


We are a group of five friends. Every one of us decided to host a dinner for everyone. t was my turn to cook and prepare a nice meal for my friends. 


I was very anxious and nervous regarding the event I had to host. I had never cooked for them. Moreover, it was supposed to be a spread for five people. I had cooked for a maximum of two people. I was very underconfident because such an elaborate menu is the work of at least someone who likes cooking. However, all the nervousness got vanished when my friends came to my place. I started feeling excited about preparing the meal with them. They were very supportive towards me as they could sense a fear in my approach. The meal turned out to be great and the positive compliments relaxed me. I felt really happy as all my hard work paid off. Even I was able to enjoy the event organized by me. But my preparation of meal was not like the others. The others cooked a really delicious meal. But I was satisfied with the fact that I could put up something in front of my people. 


The positive angle that can be derived from the above description is the establishment of a happy atmosphere. Everyone was relaxed and had fun at my place. The evening was not devoid of negative factors. I has prepared a chicken dish and the chicken was undercooked. I had to cook it for another twenty minutes before serving. The dinner time got extended. The vegetables were overcooked. I could not do anything for vegetables as there was no hope left to make it right. And last but not the least, I got ran out of wine. Everybody was impressed that I has included wine but it was not enough for all of them 


When I am writing the reflection on the experience, I can say that I should have kept a check on the cooking times for everything. The use of a timer would have helped me immensely with this timing issue. On the other hand, we all spent a great deal of good time with each other. This was a great way to catch up on everyone’s life. Our evening was full of fun. Some of my friends told me that my outspoken personality made them feel at home and they did not have to hesitate about anything. There was no obligation to do formality. 


I developed confidence in cooking as a result of this experience. I think that it is totally fine that there were some lacks. Practice makes a man perfect. 

Action plan 

The next time, I am supposed to do such a thing, I would definitely practice before. I would use a timer for keeping an eye on the time or just put on a reminder on my phone. I would take some advice from my mother. Who can be better to give pieces of advice on cooking than our mothers? I will be a bit organized and put up impressive dishes for my guests. 

Break Up Of The Word Count For Writing A Reflection 

If the total word count is 1000, then the description is supposed to be 20%, feelings 10-20%, evaluation should be 20%, analysis is supposed to be the greatest i.e., 30%, and the conclusion can be 5-10% and action plan can also be 5-10% of the total word count. 

Alternate Solution For Drafting The Most Impressive Gibbs Reflection Cycle 

I hope that the above discussion has made the basics clear to you. But if you still feel that you are not confident to draft it on your own then you can take academic expert help from online academic writing help services. The experts are well-versed in the requirements of the reflection cycle. They will compose flawless content. It will guarantee the best grades up for grabs. A little help can harm no one. You can also get your written reflection checked by academic experts. They will rectify the erroneous portions and provide you with extra tips for writing an impressive reflection. In any case, I want to wish you the best of luck!  

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