How to Write a Reflection Paper
Professors in almost all college courses require students to write a reflection paper. Unlike other academic essays, these types of papers encourage students to express their opinions on a topic.
A reflective essay allows you to consider how your beliefs, assumptions, preconceived ideas, observation, and experiences shape your thinking. While doing proper reflection sounds easy, understanding how to write a reflection paper is often a challenge to many, especially those tasked with working on the assignment for the first time.
Luckily our expert writers have compiled this comprehensive piece to help you discover what is a reflection paper, the structure to use, and the correct way to write it. This article will also answer frequently asked questions about a reflection essay.
What is a Reflection Paper?
Want to better understand how to write a reflection paper? Before you can write content that will impress your professor, you must first ask yourself what does reflection mean? Reflection is examining our perspective, experiences, attributes, and action to gain better insight into a topic. Your reflection also needs to be honest, thoughtful and analytical. Additionally, it should relate to wider contexts, theoretical frameworks, and other perspectives.
Overall, a reflection paper is an academic essay requiring you to write your opinion on a topic and support it with your personal experiences and observations. Apart from testing your writing skills, reflective writing tests your knowledge and helps improve your analytical and critical thinking skills.
Types of Reflective Writing
There are two types of reflective writing:
This type of writing allows you to connect theory and practice. It’s common in courses such as nursing, business, and social work. To ace this reflective paper, you must reflect upon an experience in a placement like an internship and evaluate it based on ideas taught in class.
If you’re struggling to understand how to best develop impressive writing, read several reflection essay examples from a trustworthy expert writer.
This type of reflection paper is given to assess a particular text in class to help elicit your opinions on a specific text. This can be in response to a book or lecture studied in class. Instead of only giving facts, to get good grades on this type of reflection paper, you must take a personal approach to the topic. Additionally, you should analyze the source material and support your opinions using real-life examples.
What are the 3 Basic Parts of Reflection Paper?
Although you’re encouraged to write your thoughts freely, a reflection paper has three key elements:
- Introduction paragraph
- Body paragraphs
When structuring the text ensure the reflection paper analyzes how the ideas you learned in that particular course are connected to your experiences or affect your personal beliefs.
How to Write a Self Reflection Paper
Want to know how to write a reflective paragraph? Do these three things:
- Analyze the situation
- Reflect on your experiences and feelings
- Connect them to your theoretical knowledge
Start by analyzing the argument, event, or content of the text. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with the material. Equally important, show the reasoning behind your argument. Finally, ask key questions that help bring out your opinions and reference personal experience.
In addition, ensure your reflection paper starts with an intriguing introduction, the body paragraphs have an in-depth analysis of the thesis statement, and end with a good conclusion.
Reflection helps to expand on your ideas. During this stage, describe how the information you’ve summarized shaped your understanding of the topic/ subject. If the reflection paper is based on a class reading, state whether you agree or disagree with the author’s argument.
Show how the source material or event helped to broaden your knowledge and whether it challenged or reinforced your beliefs or assumptions. Ensure you have made a connection between your opinions, observations, and experiences.
How to Start a Reflection Paper?
When you start working on a reflection paper, the first thing to do is to read the source material and take notes of any key ideas or concepts. It’s important to review the material before you start writing so that you can understand the context. Next, summarize the text or event in paragraphs, which will help guide your writing.
On each topic sentence, include a brief statement of your opinion. Finally, brainstorm to come up with a narrow focus and strong analysis. When brainstorming, ask how the source material or event changed your mind about something. The questions are to help you reflect. Don’t forget to write an outline of your ideas and supporting evidence/argument.
Finally, write two or three paragraphs which will make the body section and add one conclusion paragraph.
Reflection Paper Format
What is the format of a reflection? There is no specific format for a reflection paper; it depends on your professor’s preference. If your professor does not set the criteria, you should use the guidelines from the previous assignment from that course.
Some of the formatting accepted in academia include:
- Readable font, preferably Times New Roman or Calibri
- 12-point text size
- 1-inch margins on each side
- Citations preferred in that field, such as MLA, APA, etc.
The final part of writing a high-scoring reflection paper is to format it appropriately so that the text is readable. You only need to know which citation style to use and follow the current guidelines. Dont forget to edit the text.
We hope this article has given you insight into how to write a reflection paper that will impress your professor and translate to a good score.
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FAQ on How to Write a Reflection Paper
What is a reflection in writing?
It’s an academic assignment that allows students to express their thoughts on a topic and support them with personal experiences or observations.
How do I start my introduction in reflection paper?
Write an overview of the topic and a thesis statement in one sentence.
What should I write in a reflection paper?
Write an overview of the topic and include a thesis statement. Next, provide examples to support your opinions, and summarize the ideas/arguments presented in your reflection paper.
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