Tips on Writing a Reflection Paper
Reflection papers allow students to explain how they understand a certain lesson, article, or lecture. Such papers are subjective and personal, however, they should be written in an academic tone and properly organized. We at College-Writers decided to help you write a reflection paper with our tips.
First of all, you have to understand what you’re going to write about. Try to summarize everything you’ve read or learned in a couple of sentences. Make sure that these sentences are both descriptive and informative. After this, determine the most important material. For example, when working with readings and lectures, you can jot down certain quotations or passages. Write a brief summary, noticing events and experiences that stand out. You need to divide your experience into specific portions.
We also recommend that you create a table or chart to organize your ideas. For example, you can list your main experiences and points in the first column, including important details and information emphasized by the author. Use the second column to list your own opinions. Explain what impact your values or beliefs have had on your personal response. In the third column, you can select personal opinions worth including in paper.
Start asking yourself questions and answering them in order to create a blueprint for your response. You may ask yourself, whether the lecture, reading, or experience have changed you emotionally, socially, or culturally. You may also address conflicts with your beliefs or their development due to the author’s arguments. Did the author address important issues? Did they provide interesting ideas or conclusions? Do these ideas contradict each other in any way?
Make sure that your reflection paper is concise. Usually, such papers are 300-700 words long. However, your instructor may provide their own requirements. Start with an introduction. Here you can explain what expectations you had based on the title, introduction, and abstract of a lecture or reading. When writing about an experience, explain how you built your expectations based on your prior knowledge.
Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement. This sentence should connect your expectations with conclusions, briefly explaining whether or not these expectations were met, and focusing on the main themes of your paper.
After the introduction, start describing and explaining your conclusions in the body of your paper. Provide details that will help your readers understand how you came to certain conclusions. Although a reflection paper shouldn’t look like a summary, you won’t be able to explain your conclusions properly if you don’t provide enough examples and details about the text or experience in question. Devote one paragraph to each point, and start each paragraph with a topic sentence, identifying your key points and conclusions before considering them in more detail.
At the end of your reflection paper, provide a brief summary of everything you’ve said before. Draw general conclusions and focus on your understanding of the topic as a whole. Make sure that conclusions that you’ve described in the body don’t contradict your final conclusions.
First, you should understand that reflection papers are a personal sort of writing. Therefore, your paper should provide insights into your emotions and personal opinions. However, you should be careful when choosing what to include. If something personal affected your conclusions but you feel uncomfortable when talking about it, it’s better not to include it in your paper. If you want to omit certain details about your personal feelings or experiences, try to use more general phrases.
We recommend that you stick with an academic or professional tone. Although this sort of writing is personal, you should still properly organize your thoughts. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t drag someone down in your paper, even if this person made your experience unpleasant. Instead of making judgments about the person, just explain what actions made you feel uncomfortable and why.
Even though reflection papers require you to stick with the academic tone, they nevertheless allow you to use the first person pronoun. However, you shouldn’t use slang or abbreviations from the spoken language. Make sure your paper is perfect in terms of grammar and spelling.
Check the sentence structure of your paper. Make sure that you stay focused on your topic and don’t squeeze too many ideas into one paragraph or sentence. Get rid of fragments and make sure that all of your sentences have verbs and subjects. In addition, check the length of your sentences. We suggest that you use both short and complex sentences, making your writing diverse and natural. To ensure the smooth flow of thoughts, use transitions between paragraphs and transitional phrases in sentences (e.g. “as a result,” “for instance,” “in contrast,” etc.).
We also recommend that you link the experience or reading to some relevant classroom information. For example, when writing about a book, consider the theme of reading in the context of what your instructor said in class.