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What is a Reflective Paper?

Every student sooner or later faces with the task of a reflective essay writing. It seems to be pretty interesting and valuable experience. In general, reflective papers bridge the communication between an instructor and a student, where the latter has to tell how a specific subject or lecture shapes and changes own understanding and views on the world.

Academic papers of this type are always subjective and personal. However, they are still academic assignments, where a proper tone and accurate structure should be preserved.

A reflective essay is an essay in which a writer should examine own life experience taking into account the class-related material. It is expected from a writer to put all that in a paper, including the information about self-formation and changes.

Steps for Creating an Outstanding Reflective Paper

  1. The first thing you have to do is to brainstorm the main ideas of your paper. In other words, you need to identify the main themes you are going analyze in your essay in accordance to the information from the lesson or lecture. So, it would be great to take some notes summarizing your experience. Another good idea while brainstorming is to chart things out. Create 3 columns which will help you to track the information you want to use. The first column has to contain only the main points and the most important experiences, alongside with key details. The second column is for personal responses to the points listed in the first column. The last column is for describing your personal responses and viewing how they shape into your reflective paper.
  2. Then, the organizing follows. Your essay should be short but nice. Typically, any reflective essay is about 300-700 words long. However, when it comes to the word count, you have to specify the requirements from your instructor and meet the demands. Speaking about the introduction, it is a part where you have to express your expectations you had before a particular lesson or lecture. A thesis statement should be placed at the end on the introductory part of your essay. It is a single sentence which serves as a transition from your expectations to the conclusion about it. In simple terms, you have to tell whether your expectations were met or not.
    Your body paragraphs should explain the conclusions you got by the end of the lessons, lectures, reading etc. Here you have to explain everything in details. Each conclusion has to be clarified in a separate paragraph. Don’t forget to start each paragraph with a new topic sentence. You have to conclude your paper with a summary. Here, the overall feeling and understanding of the material have to be presented in short. It should support each idea written in a paper before.
  3. While writing, you need to present the information wisely. A reflective essay is something personal. However, the appropriate tone should still remain. You have to use appropriate terms and expressions, avoiding rude words and slangs. Having written your paper, it is a good idea to review it at the sentence level in order to make sure it goes smoothly. A clear paper is all about logic and well-written sentences. All your sentences need to be of a different length. In your reflective paper, you have to use transitional phrases not just to jump in from one point to another. It will make your essay readable and more understandable for readers.
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