Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 547-558

First online:

First year specialist trainees’ engagement with reflective practice in the e-portfolio

  • Helen McNeillAffiliated withFaculty of Health, Edge Hill University Email author 
  • , Jeremy M. BrownAffiliated withFaculty of Health, Edge Hill University
  • , Nigel J. ShawAffiliated withFaculty of Health, Edge Hill UniversityMersey Deanery School of Medicine

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Doctors in specialist training posts in the Mersey Deanery are expected to reflect on their clinical practice and to document their learning experiences in an e-portfolio. This study aims specifically to explore how they have engaged in reflection on their practice and how they utilise their learning portfolio to document evidence of this. A modified Delphi technique was used to develop a grading system to indentify the level of reflection recorded by participants in the e-portfolio. Transcripts of the reflective accounts were then analysed using a qualitative approach which involved coding and categorising the data. This study demonstrated a wide variation in both the quantity and quality of reflection. Of particular note in the qualitative data analysis were themes relating to clinical knowledge and skills, learning in practice, communication, feelings, types of learning experience reflected on and wider aspects of medical practice. Findings indicate there is variation is the extent to which doctors both engage in and document evidence of reflection. Further research is needed to explore factors that enable or inhibit the use of the e-portfolio for reflection and whether recorded reflection is a true picture of the cognitive process involved.


Depth of reflection E-portfolio Post-graduate medical education Reflection Written reflection