A model of reflection is a method for guiding personal and situational examination and improvement through a systematic process. The notion of reflection stresses self-awareness of one’s knowledge, prior experiences, and views.

Individuals gain from models of reflection because they help them understand their thinking and learning methods. Furthermore, reflective thinking enables people to connect new information to existing knowledge, analyze both abstract and conceptual concepts, and apply specific techniques to new problems. Individuals must choose which framework supports their job and will best aid their learning experiences from several reflection models.

What is Driscoll’s Model of Reflection?

The Driscoll model of reflection is one of the most basic models available. Driscoll created it three times: in 1994, 2004, and 2007. Driscoll investigated the following three stem questions, which were first posed by Terry Boston in 1970:

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?

You may begin to analyze and learn from your experiences by answering these three questions. First and foremost, you must explain the circumstance or experience. It’s critical to understand the context. This offers the user a better understanding of what’s going on. 

This is accomplished by pondering the question, “What?” What did you take away from the experience? The user is encouraged to consider the action made as a consequence of the reflection in the last step. Should one’s behavior be altered? Is it necessary to add something new? Or is the status quo adequate, implying that no changes are required?

Read Also – What is a Clinical Reasoning Cycle, and What are the Benefits Associated with it?

Steps Involved in The Driscoll Model

  • What?

This stage will cover the major incident’s description. It would reflect on a specific aspect of that event by asking questions like:

  1. What motivates you to revisit this event or situation?
  2. What occurred, exactly?
  3. What exactly did you see?
  4. What exactly did you do?
  5. So, how did you react?
  6. What were other people’s reactions?
  7. What are the most important components of the situation?
  • So What?

This step will investigate the occurrence. The person would realize that learning occurs as a result of the reflecting process. The following are the main issues that will arise:

  1. At the moment of the occurrence, how did you feel?
  2. What are your current feelings?
  3. Are there any distinctions, and if so, what are they?
  4. What effect did your reaction have?
  5. What good came out of the situation?
  6. What, if anything, is bothersome?
  7. How did your experiences compare to those of others?
  8. What are the most common causes of feeling different from others?
  • Now What?

Following the occurrence of the incident or experience, this stage would show the recommended actions. Implementing the new knowledge gained from that experience in clinical practice creates issues such as:

  1. What impact do you think it’ll have on you?
  2. What should be done to change the situation?
  3. What are your plans for dealing with the situation?
  4. What will happen if you don’t make any changes?
  5. What would you do differently if you were in the same scenario again?
  6. What knowledge do you need if you ever find yourself in a similar situation?
  7. What are the best methods to learn more about the issue if it occurs again?

Why Utilize the Driscoll’s Model of Reflection?

Reflective learning is promoted by professional nursing organizations such as the Royal College of Nursing and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. There are numerous models, and Driscoll’s isn’t the most popular; anecdotal evidence from peer-review literature suggests that Gibbs’ reflective learning cycle is more widely used. 

However, the Driscoll model may be considered to have numerous advantages, mostly due to its higher level of simplicity. When compared to other models with more prescriptive steps, the three-stage approach is easier to recall. 

It’s not only that there are just three phases; it’s also their simplicity, which makes memorizing the different stages much easier because they follow a logical and easy-to-remember sequence. This may also be regarded as one of the model’s benefits. However, there are certain drawbacks or flaws.

Why is Driscoll’s Model of Reflection is Good?

The Driscoll model has the potential to be a great reflecting model. It is the way the tool is used, not the instrument itself, that is the key to success with many tools, as shown in fields like analysis and diagnostics, and it is also true in reflective learning. Driscoll’s primary benefit is how simple it is to use; the ideas allow the user to finish the reflection process without having to resort to the model or guide notes. 

If a tool or framework is simple to use, the student nurse or practitioner is more likely to utilize it regularly, especially informally when just evaluating an incident rather than conducting a complete reflective learning analysis. The Driscoll model may aid in the formation of positive behaviors.

Driscoll’s Model of Reflection vs. Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle

Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle is one of the more complicated forms of reflection, but you could find that having many phases to guide you is soothing. Gibb’s cycle is divided into six stages:

  • Description
  • Feelings
  • Evaluation
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Plan of Action

Gibb’s method, like others, starts with a summary of the situation being considered. It then urges us to concentrate on our emotions during and after the event. The next stage is to assess the event and determine what was excellent and what was negative from our perspective. 

This evaluation may then be used to analyze the situation and try to make sense of it. This investigation will lead to a conclusion on what alternative steps (if any) we may have taken to get a different result. The last stage is creating an action plan of measures that we may follow the next time we encounter a similar circumstance.


It might be challenging to know where to start the procedure if you are not used to being contemplative. Fortunately, there are a variety of models you may employ to direct your reflection. Many similar motifs may be seen in these models, as well as any others you come across. 

Each model takes a different method, but they all go through the same stages. The primary distinction is the number of stages contained and the level of detail selected by their authors. Depending on their interests, various people will be drawn to different models.

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Reflection is an essential yet mysterious skill that all Occupational Therapists need to dominate. Part of completing a reflection is an inner feeling of discomfort so it is no surprise because many people try to get by without it. To start with, reflecting on your activities is something that needs conscious determination after the event but eventually, it will become an automatic thought process even when you are in the middle of experiencing the event. 

If you are not used to being reflective it can be challenging to know where to begin the procedure. Luckily, there are several models which you can utilize to guide your reflection process. Gibbs’ Model of Reflection is one of the most popular models. 

Most people realize that they learn best from their past experiences. Moreover, if they don’t reflect on their experience, and if they don’t knowingly think about how they could do better next time, it is tough for them to learn anything at all. This is where Gibbs’ Model of Cyclical Reflection is useful. You can utilize it to assist your people to make sense of stipulations at work. They can comprehend what they did good and what they could do better in the future.

Read Also – What is a Clinical Reasoning Cycle, and What are the Benefits Associated with it?

What is Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle?

In 1988, the American psychologist and sociologist Graham Gibbs published his Reflective Cycle Model in his book “Learning by Doing”. Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle inspires people to think analytically about the experiences they had during a particular event, situation, or activity.

Utilizing a circle, reflection on those experiences can be organized in phases. This sometimes makes people ponder about an activity, experience, or event in more detail, making them aware of their actions and better allow them to adjust and change their behavior. By looking at both the positive and negative impacts of the event, people can learn from it.

The Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle begins at the Description stage and then continues to Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusion and ends at Action stage, hence return to Description stage. The numerous stages are elaborated below: –

  • Stage 1: Description

In this step, you explain the event, situation, or activity in detail, without making any kind of conclusions right away. The most basic questions that can assist in creating an objective description are: – 

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who was involved?
  • What did you do yourself?
  • What did other people do?
  • What was the end result of these activities?

It should be realized that significant details must not be left out. For example, why certain people were involved in the situation in question. All details that are key to better comprehending the situation are relevant.

  • Stage 2: Feelings

This step is about the feelings that the situation triggered, as well as what someone’s thinking was during the activity or event explained in stage 1. The intention is not to talk about the feeling in detail or remark on it directly. Emotions don’t require to be judged or evaluated. Awareness is the most essential goal of this stage. Helpful questions that are commonly used: 

  • What did you feel leading up to the situation?
  • What did you feel during the situation?
  • What did you feel after the situation?
  • How do you look back on the event?
  • What do you think other people felt during the activity?
  • How do you think others feel about the situation now?

Because people sometimes have problems talking about their feelings, it helps that they are inspired by the questions. This also proves that Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle can be utilized in an individual setting, or even in a counseling or coaching setting. The final two questions also enable one to see the situation from other people’s perspectives. 

  • Stage 3: Evaluation

In this phase, you ask yourself if the experience of stage 1 was good or bad. It can be hard for people to be objective about the event. To carry out a proper evaluation, the following questions might be helpful: –

  • What went well during the situation?
  • Why was that?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • Why was that?
  • What was your contribution?
  • What contribution did other people make?

It is also worth evaluating bad experiences because the consequent stages in Gibbs’ Model of Cyclical Reflection help people learn from them.

  • Stage 4: Analysis

This stage is about what you have learned from the event, situation, or activity. Due to the experience, you now know what to do in familiar, future events. This means that both negative and positive things and issues you faced will be jotted down and analyzed individually. After all, humans learn from mistakes. This analysis is sometimes done together with stage 3.

  • Stage 5: Conclusion

This is the stage where you take a step back and look at yourself and ask what else you could have done in this event. The data collected earlier is very valuable in this phase and can inspire you to come to a useful and good conclusion.

  • Stage 6: Action Plan

In this final stage, activities are designed for future events, situations, or actions. Based on the 5th stage, people make rigid promised to themselves. The purpose is to keep these promises. If things went well, you can promise yourself to do the same thing next time. 

Gibbs’ Model of Reflection vs. Driscoll’s Model of Nursing

Another easy model was made by Driscoll in the mid-1990s. Driscoll based his model on 3 key questions: –

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?

By asking these three easy questions we can start to analyze our experiences and learn from them. Initially, we should explain what the experience or situation was to set it in context. This gives us a direct idea of what we are dealing with. We should then reflect on the situation by asking ‘so what?’. The final step asks us to think about the action we will take as a result of this reflection. 

It is essential to remember that nothing alters as a result of reflection and that we feel that we trying everything we should during an event. This is equally effective as a result and you should not worry if you can’t think of something to alter. 


These are some of the common models of reflection that are accessible. You might find one that really works for you or none of them suits you. Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle offers a useful guide to start but reflection is a very private procedure and everybody will work towards it differently. Take some time out and select the one that works for you. 

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