In order to grasp the meaning of reflexive, first consider the degrees of comparison of apparent or real modes of thought: pensive, meditative and reflective. The "weakest of the three, suggests dreaminess or wistfulness, and may involve little or no thought to any purpose: a pensive, faraway look. Meditative involves thinking of certain facts or phenomena, perhaps in the religious sense of 'contemplation', without necessarily having a goal of complete understanding or of action: meditative but unjudicial. Reflective has a strong implication of orderly, perhaps analytic, processes of thought, usually with a definite goal of understanding: a careful and reflective critic".
Reflexive originates from reflexīvus (middle Latin 1580-90), meaning 'turned back'. Reflexivity is about "ways of seeing which act back on" (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2000:248)—it is about reflecting on existing theoretical assumptions of doing. The word has a double meaning, namely indicating multiple levels of reflecting about interaction of levels on each other.
Reflection is about afterthought and mirroring, or focussed reflection on method, whereas reflexive is about multidimensional and interactive breadth and variety. "Reflexivity arises when the different elements or levels are played off against each other" (p. 249).
Alvesson, M. & Sköldberg, K. 2000. Reflexive Methodology—new vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.