If you are writing a reflection paper for the first time, most likely you will encounter difficulties. Of course, you do not have a single idea of how a top-notch reflective essay should look. In most cases, reflective essays are based on personal experiences. Students write about the lessons they have learned from their successes and failures. Reflective essays are always personal. They describe personal thoughts and feelings. Now you can produce an ideally formatted reflective paper, if you follow our guidance.
How to Write a Reflection Paper: Strategies for Effective Writing
Before you submit your reflection essay to your professor, you need to be well aware on how to write a reflection paper. Check out the following tips and guidelines for reflection paper writing.
Strategies on How to Write a Reflection Paper:
- Make sure you apply descriptions to your essay. Focus on the clear and detailed description of the ideas. When doing it, make sure you provide a clear and logical layout of your thoughts. When providing descriptions and explanations, your readers should understand the main point you intend to convey.
- Keep in mind that your essay should have characteristics of the narrative style. Since a reflection essay is an academic paper, you need to adhere to the reflection paper format.
- The structure should be standard and classical. Make sure you adhere to the generally accepted mode of essay organization: an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
- When providing reflection on a specific issue or problem, it is crucial to provide more examples and illustrations than simply your personal experience. Make sure you collect some other facts and evidence from sources.
- Make sure the essay is not personal. Although the bulk of your discussion should relate to personal experience, you need to realize that it is not a letter to a friend but a type of academic writing.
- Do not try to write the essay at once. Make sure you plan sufficient time for all pre-writing, writing, and post-writing stages. You need to make sure that you have adequate time for researching and reviewing literature as well as for brainstorming or creating a mind map.
- All thoughts in the paper should be structured and logical. Writing an academic paper is not the same as free writing. You need to clearly outline the core facts and ideas and present them in a logical or chronological manner.
How to Write a Reflection Paper Based on a Book?
If you have an assignment to write a reflection paper on a specific book (either fiction or non-fiction), start of thinking about the factors of discussion that will suit the standards of academic writing. Regardless of the book type, you need to match it with your own experience in order to be able to provide a reflection paper. Keep in mind the following aspects:
- The writing needs to have a specific purpose. When you provide a reflection on the book, you do not simply have to summarize the ideas or present the main aspects of the book you have read. The main goal that needs to be attained is that you should present some new facts to your reader and explore a new phenomenon.
- The essay should include personal information. Even if you do not have any personal experience in relation to the assigned book, you need to apply a personalized approach to writing. In other words, you should be ready to explain your standpoint on a specific issue or a problem.
- The writing should be perceptive. You are not supposed to tell the story but rather apply your critical and analytical thinking skills to investigating the connection between different aspects from the book. More so, you need to identify the author’s thoughts expressed in the book and pinpoint to their role.
- The paper should be brushed up before submission. Make sure you re-read the paper requirements once again before submission. Carefully edit, proofread, and revise the paper.
How to Write a Reflection Paper on an Interview?
The structure of a reflection paper based on an interview will not differ much from the other types of reflection essays. The general rules are the same and you need to meet the requirements fully. For example, when you start writing the introduction, you need to make sure it provides a hint to what the whole essay will explore. Moreover, the central thing you should remember about is your experience.
One of the things that make a reflection essay different from the other essay types if the possibility to write in first person (“I” or “we”). Apart from narrating about the experience in general, you need to pinpoint to some outcomes or conclusions you have made (for example, whether it was a positive and a rewarding experience or not).
Tips for the Structure:
- Start with the introduction. Here focus on your personal feelings regarding the interview. Make sure you end the introduction with a thesis statement. Emphasize on what makes your paper significant and what the reader can expect from reading it.
- Develop the body paragraphs. When developing the body paragraphs, you need to elaborate on your thesis. Each body paragraph should be related to a single aspect from your thesis statement and should start with a topic sentence. When needed, you can even quote parts of the interview in the body of the paper for better expression or illustration of specific phenomena.
- Provide a conclusion. Here you should re-emphasize the main ideas and provide a logical conclusion to your paper. It is recommended to reiterate your thesis as well.
Reflection Paper Format
Begin with an Introduction: What Is Your Idea?
Your reflective essay must always begin with an introductory paragraph. In your introduction, be sure to specify the issue you are going to describe and the lesson you think you have learned from it. Your introduction must set the context for understanding your reflection. It must capture your readers’ attention. The last sentence will actually become your thesis statement. Keep it simple and up to the point.
Reflective Essay Body
In the body of your paper, you will describe the experience and the lesson you have learned from it. There is no specific format for this aspect of your paper. However, you want to be as specific as possible when describing the details of the event. How long ago did it happen? Why did it happen? What preceded the event? Could you anticipate it?
You will also need to review the effects the experience has had on you. For example, you may explore how it has changed your personality, your perceptions of the world, your relationships with family and friends, etc. Be systematic describing and analyzing these changes.
Now you are ready to write a reflection. Try to reflect on your experiences and the lessons learned. You do not need to do any outside research. Your reflective essay is based solely on your opinions, beliefs, and considerations. Your feelings and responses to the situation make up the biggest part of your paper. Try to analyze the goodness or badness of the consequences the experience has had for you and your significant others. Are there any lessons you have not learned but you wish you could learn at that time? Discuss the advantages of your reflection and provide recommendations for your audience.
Although you do not have to follow any specific rules, you are still expected to include a comprehensive conclusion, which will restate your thesis statement and revisit the key points you have described in the body of your work. Your conclusion is actually a summary of your life event and its consequences. Do not limit yourself to facts. Share your thoughts, feelings, and observations with the reader. Make your paper sound vivid and interesting to your readers.