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CROSS Topic Paper

Reflective thinking

Region: CROSS-UK Published: 1 December 2016


Reflective thinking is a constant drive to ask questions and to make appropriate responses to them. It is characterised by a healthy scepticism about all inputs to processes, about the processes themselves and about the outcomes from processes.

It is a pervasive activity in all risk reduction strategies such as: using the design process, using predictive models, using codes of practice, adopting an ethical approach.

Some engineers adopt a reflective approach naturally. They may look at a drawing, for example, and quickly identify faults in a design. It need not, however, be a tacit skill. It can be and needs to be fostered.

Note: this Topic Paper was published by SCOSS (Standing Committee on Structural Safety). Since March 2021, SCOSS is integrated under the name Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS).

Who should read this?

Civil and structural and civil engineers in practice, teachers and students in universities and other further education organisations concerned with structural analysis and design.

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