The CARL Framework of Reflection


CARL is a widely used reflection model that can assist individuals in framing their reflective process based on their crucial experiences in professional life. Unlike other reflection models, this model is widely used by professionals during their feedback sessions and interview rounds. This framework can assist you in farming your answer as per the situational occurrences for providing a better understanding to the interviewer.

Four stages of CARL framework

Stage 1: Context

This section focuses on proving the background knowledge and information of the incident or experience briefly to give a broader picture of the context. This is one important section because this is where interviewers will connect the most. That is the reason, it is essential to focus on proving every minute detail possible to frame a good background story. However, you need to make sure that the provided information should not be too contextual that it ends up confusing the interviewer. Some assisting questions that can effectively assist you in framing context are mentioned below.

  • How did it all start?
    At this stage, you will highlight the factual information of the situation stating the place, time and the occurrence of the event.
  • How did you land up in the situation?
    In this, you will explain the main context of the situation and explain the main reason for your presence in the situation.
  • Which other people or elements were involved?
    While answering this question, you will highlight the presence of other people and elements in the situation.
  • What was the result of other people’s involvement?
    In this, you will highlight the main effect of roles played by other people in the situation.
  • What further actions did you take?
    For answering this question, you would have to highlight your actions after everyone’s involvement.

Stage 2: Actions

In the second step, you will give detailed information on the actions that you took. Besides, you will form a connection between all actions and the context of the situation you discussed.

  • Why did you do what you did?
    In this question, you will highlight the main reason for taking the action you took in response to the situation.
  • Why did you choose to take these actions?
    For this, you would have to answer the major reason behind choosing the reaction you gave.
  • What were the other possible actions that you could have taken?
    For answering this question, you would have to list out all the other possible responses in which you could have reacted in this situation.
  • How did other external factors influence your actions?
    At this stage, you will highlight the external factors that were the major reason behind the actions you took.

The four stages of CARL framework

Stage 3: Results

The third section of the model focuses on the results of the actions that were taken by you. Additionally, in this part, you will also elaborate on the consequences of your actions implemented. Through explanation, you will focus on the success you achieved and the satisfaction that followed along with the successful accomplishment of the goals. Even if the outcome was negative, you will briefly explain your feelings. Some assisting questions are

  • What was the main reaction of your actions?
    In this, you will highlight the reaction or results of the action you took based on the situation.
  • Were you able to achieve all your set goals?
    In this, you will analyze and state whether you were able to achieve the desired goal through the actions you took.
  • What other actions could you have taken that could have resulted in the same or better?
    In this, you will highlight the other alternative actions that you think would have been appropriate to get the desired results.
  • If you were not successful, what could have been the possible improvements in your actions?
    In this, first, you will state whether you will succeed in getting the results you wanted or not. If not, further you will explain the areas of improvement in your actions.

Stage 4: Learnings

This is the last section of the model; you will describe the learnings which gives you an opportunity to conclude and present insights that you have gained through all sections explained above. In this section, you can also include a future action plan but that is core voluntarily and it is up to you whether you want to give a detailed action plan for the future or not. Some exemplary questions are

  • What have you learned from this experience?
    In this, you will highlight your learnings from the whole situation.
  • What will you do if a similar situation arises again?
    In this, you will highlight the future actions you will take when a similar situation arises again.
  • Should you change anything in your action plan?
    In this, you will highlight the changes in your current actions that you will take to get better results in the future.


de Souza Melo, M., Sabey, M., Lima, C., de Almeida Souza, L., & Groppo, F. (2015). The Effect of 2 Injection Speeds on Local Anesthetic Discomfort During Inferior Alveolar Nerve Blocks. Anesthesia Progress, 62(3), 106-109. doi: 10.2344/11-00037.1

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Kathy denis

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