Despite a longstanding commitment to the notion of reflection as an integral part of qualitative research, there are few explicit learning tools or published assignment guides to aid understanding of this important aspect of student learning. Reflection both as a researcher and within the context of an educational perspective can be challenging; however, creating reflective assignments can help students consolidate and assess the learning of qualitative research skills in practice. This article describes a critical reflective assignment highlighting the challenges, rewards, and reflections on designing and conducting an interview process as part of a qualitative research methods module with postgraduate psychology students. We also consider the evaluations students have provided for this assignment and our reflections on what can be improved in the future.


teaching qualitative research, critical reflection, reflection in qualitative research, reflexivity

Author Bio(s)

Elida Cena (Orcid no: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3830-9500) is a lecturer of psychology (Education) at Queen’s University Belfast, School of Psychology. Elida has a PhD in psychology from Edge Hill University, UK and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Elida is a qualitative research methods lecturer teaching at UG and PG levels. Her research focuses on qualitative research in psychology, international student experience, student mental health, and international migration. Please direct correspondence to e.cena@qub.ac.uk.

Stephanie Burns (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7482-7316) is a lecturer (Education) at the School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her teaching focuses on research methods and social psychology; she is the qualitative methods advisor for students on the QUB doctorate in educational, child & adolescent psychology and is currently the disability advisor for all students in the School. Stephanie is an interdisciplinary researcher, with interests across the fields of psychology, education, and peace studies. Her recent research has examined topics including students' feelings of belonging in higher education and perceptions of inclusivity and multiculturalism in higher education. Please direct correspondence to stephanie.burns@qub.ac.uk.


The authors wish to thank the rest of the teaching team for this module: my colleague Dr Katrin Dudgeon and the two Teaching Assistants Cara Ghiglieri and Phoebe McKenna who were part of the teaching team and have greatly contributed to the successful delivery of this module.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.