Study level


Master of Philosophy



Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Information Systems

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Andrew Gibson
Lecturer in Information Science
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Reflective practice is an important professional capability that is often developed through reflective writing. Within many disciplines, reflective writing is used as part of the learning process to help students develop reflective practice capability. However, this kind of writing is very different from other forms of writing as it is more about personal development and learning than it is about particular topics.

Much of current Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies are designed to focus on the content of text. This project will involve using state-of-the-art NLP technologies to extract textual expressions that contribute to the 'reflectivity' of text. It will require consideration of how people think and learn, and synthesising human factors with application of NLP technologies.

Research activities

In this project you will:

  • develop software to use Spark-nlp to extract reflective expressions from text
  • combine applied NLP approaches such as information extraction and sentiment analysis to identify salient reflective expressions in natural language text
  • link theories of thinking, learning, and reflection to specific textual expressions and NLP techniques
  • run analysis on existing corpora of reflective writing
  • contribute to other related reflective writing analytics projects
  • help to progress the field of learning analytics through reflective writing analytics development
  • contribute to the development of Applied NLP techniques


On completion of this research project, we expect the following outcomes:

  • strong links between NLP techniques and relevant theories of reflection and reflective practice
  • new approaches to the extraction of salient expressions in reflective writing
  • development of new applied NLP software that draws together key NLP technologies for reflective expression analysis.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you should have:

  • strong programming skills in either Scala, Java or Python
  • an understanding of NLP technologies and how to apply them to common text analysis problems
  • a strong interest in human factors, particularly how people learn and think
  • an interest in synthesising theory and application in software development.



Contact the supervisor for more information.