ORID: A simple method for reflection to introduce students to the practice


There are many ways in which one can engage in reflective practice. A useful and structured process is the ORID method – Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, and Decisional.

The ORID method is a structure for effective reflection for individual students or in groups with or without a facilitator. What the method can do is:

  • Provide for constructive and logical discussion
  • Broaden perspectives
  • Develop clear ideas and conclusions
  • Result in action and change
  • Allow for participation

The ORID process has four stages:

  • Objective
  • Reflective
  • Interpretive
  • Decisional

1. Objective

Collecting the factual information. For example:

  • What do you remember?
  • What happened?
  • What did you discover?

2. Reflective

Identifying emotions and feeling associated with the experience or event. For example:

  • Describe your response.
  • How did you feel about that?
  • How do you think the others felt?

3. Interpretive

Identifying the meaning and significance of the experience. For example:

  • How do you account for what happened?
  • What were the most critical factors affecting the project or activity?
  • What were the positives and negatives of the experience? How do you account for these?
  • What did you learn? What can be applied to similar or new situations?
  • What does your learning mean for the project/product/process? Does anything need to change?

4. Decisional

Identifying decisions or actions that will be taken as a result of the experience. For example:

  • So based on this reflection, what action will you need to take immediately, or in the medium or long term?
  • What improvements or changes can be made to the product, process or project?
  • What decisions need to be made, by whom and when? Write an action plan identifying tasks to be done now that you have undertaken the reflection, and who will do what by when.
  • What will you do differently next time you conduct a similar project or activity?
  • What actions or action plan can you now establish?

Adapted from the group facilitation methods of the Institute of Cultural Affairs outlined in R Brian Stanfield (ed) The Art of Focused Conversation 1997

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A model for structured reflection


This model for critical reflective practice was developed by C. Johns for nursing, but I think it is applicable across many disciplines. Critical reflection has the potential to transform one’s understanding of self and of one’s experience by thorough questioning and exploration. The practice of reflection can be conducted by individuals and groups of learners. I have made some changes to original model emphasising values and ethical considerations, ensuring action as a result of the refection and taking out the specific references to patients.

1. Description of the experience

  • Phenomenon – describe the here and now experience, including the people involved
  • Causal – what essential factors contributed to this experience?
  • Context – what are the significant background factors to this experience? (Social, historical, cultural etc)
  • Clarifying – what are the key processes for reflection in this experience?

2. Reflection

  • What was I trying to achieve?
  • Why did I intervene as I did?
  • What were the consequences of my actions for myself and the others involved?
  • How did I feel about the experience when it was happening?
  • How did the other people feel about it?
  • How do I know how the others felt?

3. Influencing factors

  • What internal and external factors influence my decision making?
  • What values underpinned my actions?
  • What were any ethical considerations that influenced my actions?
  • What sources of knowledge did/should have influenced my decision making?

4. Evaluation

  • Could I have dealt with the situation better? What do I mean by “better”?
  • How would I do things differently next time?
  • What other choices did I have?
  • What would be the consequences of these other choices?

5. Learning

  • How do I now feel about this experience?
  • How have I made sense of this experience in the light of past experiences and future practice?
  • How has this experience changed my ways of knowing – empirics (scientific); ethics (moral knowledge); personal (self awareness) and aesthetics (the art of what we do)?
  • Is there any action I need to take now?

The original model was developed in Johns, C. (1994) Nuances of reflection  Journal of Clinical Nursing 3 71-75. The version I have cited is from Michael Waring & Carol Evans (2015)  Understanding Pedagogy: Developing a critical approach to teaching and learning, Routledge, London.

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What is reflection?

In searching for some definitions for reflection and reflective practice I came across these definitions when I did a Google search. I was reminded that reflection is originally a terms from physics.

1. …the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat or sound without absorbing it…

synonyms: sending back, throwing back, casting back, mirroring, backscattering

2. Serious thought or consideration

synonyms: thought, thinking, consideration, contemplation, study, deliberation, pondering, meditation, musing, rumination, cogitation, brooding, agonizing;

What is backscattering? I just love that word! More physics!

Backscattering is to deflect (radiation or particles) through an angle of 180° as in

“The temperature of an optical fibre subtly affects how much light is backscattered”

So in reflective practice could this mean:

The understanding of an experience is affected by how much thoughtfulness is backscattered through a particular angle or perspective.

I think I have just performed reflection in the form of rumination!

Let me know if you have any better ideas of how backscattering can be applied to critical reflective practice. And what would it look like?

Reflective practice for fashion designers










Last week I facilitated a session with Fashion Design & Technology students at RMIT University. on reflective practice.

For a number of their assessments, and as a critical life skill, they are required to reflect on their designs and the design process.

I gave them an outline of a structured reflective practice based on the ORID method which takes you through four stages of questioning:

  • Objective – collecting facts, asking what happened
  • Reflective – questioning your emotional response and the responses of others
  • Interpretative – asking about the significance and meaning; seeking to understand
  • Decisional – deciding what you will do now as a result of your answers to these questions.

I provided the students with ORID reflective practice questions customised for the fashion industry.

The students seemed to appreciate this teaching from me, but did not appear to be all that excited. It was useful, that’s all!

It was when I suggested that reflective practice begins with self-knowledge as does branding, that they sat up. Branding is their kind of language and taps into dreams of having their own brand.

We then did an exercise which asked them to identify their values.

What is important for me or what do I value as a practitioner in the fields of fashion, design and technology ….What constitutes my particular approach…my signature…my brand

I supplied them with a lot of words from which they could choose and then narrow down to the top five.

Then they used these value words as a basis for coming up with their mission which I divided into three segments.

As a fashion designer…

I will ….(something for yourself)

I will ….(something for the fashion industry)

I will ….(something altruistic – for humanity, for the planet, for women, for a particular group etc)

We listened as each student read out their mission, making it a public statement, and I was so impressed to hear the altruism from all of them – bringing manufacturing back to Australia, contributing to an environmentally sustainable fashion industry, creating something truly Australian and ensuring ethical practice.

I reminded them of the connection between reflective practice and brand:

What you design, create and develop will reflect your values and your mission. Your signature. Your brand. And you will be able to articulate these to others. And critically reflect on what you do in relation to these values. And your values can shift and change, as will your mission, your signature and your brand.

For more about the ORID process:

Brian Stanfield R, (2008) The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace. Canadian Institute for Cultural Affairs. Can be sourced through http://icabookstore.mybigcommerce.com/

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