A Guide on How to Write a Reflection
Do you want to find out how to write a reflection? This is not a traditional academic paper that you probably got used to writing, so having questions is quite obvious. Unlike traditional projects that you are assigned at an educational establishment, reflection comes up with the freedom to express your own ideas and thoughts on a given issue rather than summarizing the opinions of other authors. Still, it remains to be an academic piece of content, so you should know its requirements to present a good-quality paper.
What is a Reflection Paper?
It is impossible to write an excellent reflection paper without understanding what it is exactly. That’s why it is necessary to clarify the purpose of this assignment. It aims to present your own ideas and thoughts about a particular subject or work. In fact, you can write a reflection paper on anything you want, for instance, a book, a film, a speech, etc. In an academic context, the tutors often ask to craft a reflection on the book that you are reading or a journal article. Writing the following paper is a great way to step aside and look at your thoughts and emotions. It is your chance to express your own feelings at last instead of gathering evidence and thinking about arguments. Pay attention that there are a few types of reflection paper.
Types of reflection
Now you know what a reflection is and what purpose it has. While you are expected to share your thoughts and ideas on a definite topic, there are a few different types of reflection paper that you should know to create the best possible project:
- Educational reflection. This is the most common assignment that you are going to prepare while studying at university or college. It aims to respond to an article, book, or lecture that you have read or learned.
- Professional reflection. As a rule, it is used within fields like social work and teaching for analyzing professional development and behavior of a definite setting.
- Personal reflection. In it, you are exploring your opinions, feelings, and thoughts on a given issue.
- Self-reflection. Sometimes teachers ask students to create a self-reflection after the presentation. It has an informal character and aims to show your progress in the class.
- Experiential reflection. This type is connected with the business, nursing, or any other area where the theory is applied to practice. Here you need to take concepts and unite them with practical experience.
Elements of a good reflection
Due to the subjective character of a reflection paper, there are no wrong answers or viewpoints. Still, you may be wondering how a professor is going to check your project. As a rule, a tutor analyzes how you have interpreted your perception, the connections you set to broader ideas, and the established connections. Generally, professors want to see how your experience shaped your personality and the world around you. Look at the elements that the tutor will surely look for in your project:
- A personal link to a subject
- Clear language and appropriate organization of the writing
- A connection of a discussed issue to a broader context within the course
- Re-evaluation of your ideas
- Your ability to understand how your experience affected your interpretation
Common Subjects for a Reflection
There are a few common subjects for writing reflection papers. This list includes:
- Course. A good starting point for the course is mentioning its name and description. Next, you are free to tell about the course flow and the reasons that made you take it. Also, talk about the knowledge that you received. A good reflection on the course should contain a few examples from the course.
- Project. Generally, the instructions for the project do not differ a lot from the course. One more thing that you should keep in mind is adding advantages and disadvantages to the course. Feel free to talk about the changes that you would like to see and figure out how the gained skills are important for real life.
- Book. Begin your reflection with a brief introduction of the author and a quick summary of the plot. Avoid talking about the end in order to keep the target audience interested. Ensure that you add the name of every character, key themes, and other significant issues that are discussed in the book. Eventually, express your thoughts.
- Interview. Introduce the individual and quickly describe what the interview was about. Speak on the main points, and share your opinion about the person.
Reflection Paper Outline
Before starting to write a reflection, you need to choose one of two available approaches, which are original and traditional:
- Begin with a conversation on a particular issue, and hint at the ending. You can lead the readers but still keep some room for doubts. In this case, an analysis should be provided in the main body. Introduce the ending that is completely or slightly different from what the readers could expect at the beginning.
- Place the main idea in a thesis statement. Then, you should develop it in the main body with the help of supportive arguments and summarize the points by supporting a thesis statement once again.
It is evident that the introduction sets the tone for the overall paper, so you should do your best to let the readers know what you are going to talk about. Ensure that a thesis statement informs about your position. Also, you should mention what you are analyzing: a lecture, a passage, an experience, etc. Go on summarizing the work, and create a strong thesis statement that mentions how the subject influenced you. One of the most common ways to start your reflection is like this: “After listening to the lecture/reading the article, I understood that….”.
The main body consists of revealing the experience and examining the ideas that are related to your topic. Mind that each body paragraph must start with a topic sentence. If you are going to create a paper after reading an academic article or a book, consider adding some passage or a quote. This way, you will install the necessary connection with your readers, and feel free to describe what you heard, saw, and felt. For example: “I noticed how many people took part in our experiment. General atmosphere was just amazing, and I was impressed by the excitement of this event”.
Just as in any other paper, the final part of your reflection must summarize the information you have experienced. Be sincere and tell the readers how recent discoveries impacted your understanding of the issue. Share your feelings and a general lesson that you had received after reading a definite source. Among the best ways to conclude your reflection paper are:
- Restating a thesis statement and summarizing the content from the project
- Uniting all ideas from the main body and generalizing the main insights which you got
Writing Flow of a Reflection
You should keep one thing in your mind. Your writing must not be descriptive but reflective. You are expected to analyze, discuss and conclude. So, if you want to succeed, then be ready to follow the next plan:
Choose a topic
In most cases, a professor gives a topic or a few options to select from. It is better to prefer the topic that is interesting for you. Also, you should create a summary of the experience that you gained. Try to express your own feelings and be honest with the target readers. In this case, you have more chances that they will look at the same issue from your perspective and better understand your reflection.
Put down notes that are related to the issue. Decide what your attitude is, and select a point of view. It would be great to write down some predispositions, specific quotes, or any statements that are memorable for you. Keep to a personal tone.
Craft an outline
It is recommended to prepare at least one sentence per paragraph. Write key points for introduction and conclusion. Then add supportive ideas, and feel free to change your concept within the writing process.
If you do not notice good progress, it is reasonable to ask reflective questions to clarify everything. For instance, “What connection does it have to my daily life?”. Use the answers to evaluate your progress and understand your further actions.
Proofread the paper
Once your reflection is ready, you need to read it through again and make sure it has no weak point. It is recommended to put the project aside and rest. Only then will you be able to notice available punctual grammar or spelling mistakes and correct them. Ask your friend to have a look at the paper to find out the impression of another person and make sure that you have done your best.
Reflection Paper Format
The reflection paper aims to share your thoughts, observations, and the way some experiences shaped your personality, so you will not have to adhere to some specific requirements. If the project is assigned to you by the tutor, then in most cases, he/she will give you some efficient recommendations. Generally, you should keep in mind such simple points:
- Text size is 12 points in any readable font (e.g., Calibri, Times New Roman, etc.)
- The margin on every side is 1-inch
- All quotations are cited in accordance with Chicago style, APA, or any other format assigned by the professor
- Double spacing between lines
- Standard A4 paper
- A word range – 250-750
Last-minute Tips for a Good Reflection
The main point of reflection is to share your ideas, experiences, and thoughts for making a personal connection with subjects/materials and determine how your perception shaped the way you perceive data. A significant part of learning how to craft a reflection is enhancing reflective skills. Do you want to impress your tutor? Then try to improve the quality of your reflection in any possible way:
- Keep to a professional tone. The fact that you can use the first-person narration doesn’t mean that you are free to add inappropriate phrases or ignore grammar rules.
- Do not try to write a summary as it is exactly a reflection paper rather than an article summary.
- Explore a few examples of reflection to get the idea of how to gather all ideas and thoughts in one good-quality text.
- Choose a few definite points from the text and analyze them from your point of view and perception.
- Avoid telling the entire story of your life. The professor wants you to share the information that is directly connected with a specific issue.
- Do not write too much and try to keep it short, clear, and professional.
- Strictly address the learning objectives and goals when you are writing experiential or professional reflection.
Example of a Reflection
If you want completely understand how to write a reflection, then look at a good example:
“If we can conquer space, we can conquer world hunger” was the professor’s quote to start the lecture. Only some hours later, I understood how it affected my way of thinking. I couldn’t stop imagining adults and children that try to survive. Along with this, we managed to send animals and humans into space.
I was so surprised to discover that many countries do not even have access to clean water, basic education, and so important medical services. In general, about eight million children die from poverty every year. I think that most of us know about this problem, but exactly that lecture made me realize its size. When I looked around, I didn’t see that other students had the same reaction. Perhaps it is explained by the fact that I suffered from unfortunate circumstances. As a result, I was more sensitive to the problem than other people in the classroom…
This guide aimed to present you the basic elements of a reflection paper, its types, and effective tips. If you still have some questions, are tired of preparing assignments, or you have not enough time to come up with a good-quality paper, then cooperation with a professional team seems to be the best idea. There is no need to spend sleepless nights trying to organize all your ideas correctly. Entrusting such tasks to experts is what many students all over the world choose. If you want to have free time for more interesting or more important activities and tasks, approach a reliable company without hesitation. Professional writers know all peculiarities of a good reflection and the expectations that most professors put on the students. Eventually, you will get a top-quality, unique paper that deserves the highest grade and still save your precious time.