How to Write a Reflection Paper and Where to Start
Reflective paper is a very specific type of writing, as it combines academic traits with subjective experience. That’s why if you are assigned to create such paper, it means you are expected to share how some particular experience (it may be considered as any event, book, film, meeting and so on) affects your understanding of the material. Here we gathered all necessary things you should know about productive reflection.
- Declare the main themes and note the brightest materials that come to your mind. First of all, you should summarize and write down your readings, lessons and experiences in short form – 2-3 sentences for every point are enough. The next step is to determine why they come to your mind, and again don’t forget to note your thoughts. It may be somebody’s statements, quotes, music, images, life episodes and even senses – all of them are good.
- Make gradation of your ideas. For that you should take a sheet of paper and divide it into three with your pen. In the first section you should write down the experiences found the most important. In the second one your responses to the above points should be listed. In the third section you define how much response you would like to share in the paper.
- Specify your response by means of questions. Ask yourself about how some experience relates to you. The types of questions you raise can be the most diverse, in particular, has it changed your point of view/way of thinking? Have you experienced an internal conflict? Did you feel some doubts and misunderstandings?
- Thinks of the paper structure. Keep in mind that the common reflection paper covers 300-700 words. That’s why you should effectively divide the number of words and ideas you want to write.
- Express your expectation in the introduction. This part of the text is a perfect opportunity to share with readers what premonitions based on your previous knowledge and background you had at the beginning.
- Create a thesis statement. Its place is at the end of the introduction. In one single sentence you link your expectations with the conclusion and show whether you met the expectations or not.
- Shape the body of the paper. You are expected to reflect how you came to your conclusions. A key detail is to explain everything using details and logic. Details only create a context, that’s why be careful and don’t turn your paper on the text summary. One paragraph should cover one idea and begin with a topic sentence.
- Work on the final conclusion. This paragraph characterizes the specific knowledge, feelings, emotions and experience you ultimately got. Your body paragraphs should support the conclusion.
- Writing process. When everything is thought out, it’s high time to take the pen in your hands. If you are a bit unsure of your writing skills, you can have a look at reflective essay examples the best ones created by very talented students are very often published by colleges.
- Reveal your personal information carefully. You can avoid some facts of your life, if their sharing with others makes you feel uncomfortable. Another possible solution is to tell it, but in very general words.
- Follow the requirements of the appropriate academic tone. In the reflection paper it’s a decisive factor to keep balance between subjectivity and academic requirements. This may be done when the writer don’t drag other people and focus on actions, use “I” and apply relevant evidences, forget about slang and create sentences according to the grammatical and spelling rules.
- Review the written text. First of all, pay attention to your sentences. Combine different length of the sentences (but always with a subject and a predicate), and the text will look naturally and stylistically developed. Don’t touch two ideas in one sentence.
- Make smooth transitions. For doing that you will have to add transitional phrases into the text. As a result, you will get a tightly connected chain of the arguments and evidences.