Useful tips on how to write a reflection paper
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio
A reflection paper is among the most frequently assigned papers in college. Most of the subjects you enrol require you to express your opinion on certain matters. This guide will explain how to compose a reflection paper, and provide you with examples and vital tips that will make the writing process easier.
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Reflection papers can be personal or subjective but should have an academic tone. This type of paper requires you to evaluate and reflect upon how an experience, academic task, article, or lecture shaped your perception and thoughts on a particular subject. Here is what you need to know about writing a compelling reflection paper.
What is a Reflection Paper?
A reflection paper is a type of paper that requires you to present your view or opinion on a particular topic, backing it with your observations and personal examples. In this type of paper, you get an opportunity to write your point of view as opposed to presenting the opinions of other academics and authors. The best part is that no answer is wrong since it is YOUR opinion, and you get the opportunity to express your thoughts in a manner that is comprehensive and clear to all your readers.
The topic range is endless. Here are some examples: whether or not you think there is life after death, what your favourite movie is, or what your opinion is on the outcome of WWI. You can write pretty much about anything.
Reflection papers can be categorized into three types, and depending on which one you end up with, the tone you write with can be slightly different. The first type is the educational reflective paper. In this type, you are required to provide feedback about a piece of literature, movie, or trip you went—in a way that teaches the reader about it. The second is the professional paper. It is usually written by scholars’ or people who study or work in education or psychology. For example, it can be a reflection on someone’s behaviour. And the last is the personal type, which reflects your thoughts and feelings towards a particular topic or subject.
Reflection Paper Format
Generally, most reflection papers do not follow any specific format. Since most focus on your opinion, you have the freedom handle them any way you are comfortable with. For best results it’s recommended you express your thoughts freely, without guideline restrictions. However, if your reflection paper was assigned to you, the format of your paper might require you to follow the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers are not that long and can typically range between about 400-800 words in length.
How to Start a Reflection Paper
Before putting pen on paper, it is best to read your article thoroughly while taking notes. Your aim should be to highlight key ideas and concepts. You can start writing your reflection paper by summarizing the main concept of your notes to see if your paper includes all the useful information intended for your readers.
Adding charts, diagrams, and lists helps in delivering your ideas to the audience in a clear and comprehensible way. After you have finished reading your article, it’s time to brainstorm. We’ve developed a simple brainstorming technique for writing reflection papers. The following questions will guide you:
- How did the article affect you?
- How does this article attract the reader’s attention?
- Has the article changed your mind about something? If so, explain how.
- Has the article left you with any questions?
- Were there any unaddressed critical issues that didn’t appear in the article?
- Does the article relate to anything from your past reading experiences?
- Does the article agree with any of your past reading experiences?
Writing a Reflection Paper Outline
Your introduction should specify what you’re reflecting upon. It should be clear, concise and relevant. Your thesis should inform the reader about your general position, or opinion, toward your subject.
- State what you are analysing.
- Provide a brief summary of the work.
- Write a thesis statement that creates a focus on the essay’s main idea or objective.
The body paragraphs should examine the ideas and experiences you’ve had in context to your topic. While writing the contents of your article, each paragraph should start with a topic sentence. The topic sentence should relate to your thesis statement to put emphasis and strengthen your ideas.
The body provides background information on your topic and highlights the primary purposes of your content. If you are writing about a book or an academic article, your reflection may include quotes and passages that will give your reader a point of reference to fully understand your feedback. You may describe what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt.
The conclusion is the most crucial part of writing an essay. Writing a conclusion may seem an easy task, but it requires more focus and effort to produce excellent content. When concluding your essay, you should provide a summary of your main points or ideas. Restate your thesis statement to make it striking and convincing.
Consider making your summary brief and relevant by providing a summary of your content’s main ideas or thoughts. While writing a review of your content, avoid introducing new information or ideas that was not included earlier in your content. Finally, highlight the purpose and relevance of your essay to the audience and recommendations for future results.
Useful Writing Tips
Before you start your paper, ensure you read some examples of other reflection papers to help you get a better understanding of what they are and how to approach yours. When selecting your topic, try to write about something captivating and more likely to capture your readers’ attention. The following tips will help you in crafting a captivating reflection essay:
- Short and Precise– Most reflection papers range between 250 and 750 words. Don’t write a very long paper that will be boring to your readers. Write a short but compelling paper that will be memorable.
- Clear and Concise – Make your paper as clear and concise as possible. Avoid using sophisticated words that may cause misunderstanding. Use a strong thesis so that highlights the main contents of your.
- Maintain the Right Tone – even though the writing is personal, ensure you use a professional and academic tone.
- Cite Your Sources – Try to cite credible sources and experts to support your personal opinions.
- Proofreading – proofread your final piece to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors. Ensure you also focus on the structure and organization of your essay as well.
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