Document Type : Original Article


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Government Dental College, Hyderabad, Telangana, India


INTRODUCTION: Self‑directed learning is a vital principle promoted in health profession’s education,
particularly with the increasing use of online learning methods. Likewise, reflection has been
recognized as an indispensable and formidable concept for learning which plays a positive role in
fostering students’ self‑reflection, critical thinking, and development of professional values and skill.
Hence, the present study was undertaken to identify the effect of reflective thinking on academic
performance among undergraduate dental students.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Reflective thinking was assessed among 2nd‑, 3rd‑, and 4th‑year
undergraduate dental students and interns of a dental college and hospital in Hyderabad. Reflection
questionnaire assessed habitual action, understanding, reflection, and critical reflection on a 5‑point
Likert scale. The percentage of marks obtained in the last university examinations was considered for
academic performance. The completed questionnaires were analyzed using the Statistical Package
for the Social Sciences software (SPSS version 20). P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: A total sample of 263 individuals comprising 188 (71.5%) females and 75 (28.5%) males
participated in the study. Our findings showed that the four scales of reflective thinking, such as habitual
action (P = 0.0001*), understanding (P = 0.02*), reflection (P = 0.02*), and critical reflection (P = 0.01*),
showed statistically significant difference based on the year of study. However, no difference based
on gender was noted. Reflection (17.2 ± 2.41) and critical reflection (16.3 ± 2.77) mean scores were
highest among 4th years. Higher understanding (17.83 ± 1.78) and reflection (17.33 ± 2.01) mean
scores were observed among students who attained more than 75% in their academic performance.
CONCLUSION: Thus, the present study emphasizes the role of reflective thinking and its significance
in academic learning process.


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