How to Write a Reflection Paper
Believe it or not, there are academic papers in which you can use the pronoun ‘I’ and express your personal opinion freely. Sounds too good to be true? But yes, it is. These kinds of academic papers are reflection paper and response paper, and in this article, we will reflect on planning and writing a reflection piece of decent quality and with little anxiety and efforts. Be it a book, an event, an internship, lab class or tribal dance performance – everything can become a good starting point for writing, so fear not this task, we will accomplish it together.
What is reflection paper?
If you do not know what is a reflection paper, here’s a definition. It is a paper that has a format of a typical academic essay, but its content is more informal and personal than content in an argumentative essay or any other written assignment. Reflection means concluding how a specific issue impacted you personally. It describes lessons you learned, new ideas you came up with, new knowledge you gained (or not gained), maybe even psychological transformations you underwent. The list of issues and impacts is diverse, and to summarize it efficiently we can offer the following rubric:
- Personal reflection – your feelings, responses and ideas that emerged in the course of some crucial events and changes in your life;
- Educational reflection – your thoughts and opinions on a book, an article, a movie, a course taken or internship completed;
- Professional reflection (written by employees who often interact with people)
- analysis of own thoughts, reactions and behavior with other people who are customers, students or patients (it is useful for fixing possible interpersonal issues and developing guidelines to help prevent them in future).
Hence a reflection paper can be created about literally any chosen topic that has some relation to you. But what goes into it along with the opinion and how to start writing it? Well, with our guide and tips, you will complete it on your own, although it takes some time and thinking.
But what if you do not have time? Or if your brains desert you and say ‘nobody’s home’ when you need them for creative writing? Then you can order our essay services and be relieved from this trouble. Our writers at Cosmoessay are experienced in this kind of task, and their skills are high enough to create the most convincing personal writing piece. You only have to name the topic to reflect on and provide your thoughts on it if it is a personal essay. The rest is in our care.
Reflection paper outline
Still, if you want to give it a try, here’s the manual on how to write a reflection paper without serious damage to your health and self-worth.
- Organize your ideas on the paper. It is called mapping or drafting. Use whatever approach you like, just catch all the thoughts that you want to express.
- When you have them at hand, create the first draft of the reflection paper. Put everything together but do not focus on small hitches or wording that you do not like, you will fix it later.
- Let it rest a bit and then re-read. Now it is the time to polish it, find good wording, add or remove something. Check if you have all three sections prescribed in academic writing – intro, main body, and conclusion. Do not skip a thesis. It goes in the intro, right.
- Proofread it. Check spelling, grammar, typos and possible silly word replacements that word processors love so much.
- Ask someone to read it. Listen to their response and think about what you need to improve if your idea was clear to a reader.
Now a bit more about the three-part structure. These parts are introduction, body, conclusion, and they are present in any more or less formal essay.
Reflection paper – introduction
The intro will take about 5-6 sentences, since reflections are usually short papers. You will name the experience or the event in general terms, why it happened (briefly - you had to take an internship to complete the course, or you traveled far to see your distant relatives). Say that it impacted you greatly and build a thesis – say how exactly it impacted you.
Reflection paper – body
This part reflects your personal lessons and ideas in detail. How to express it? Depends on a topic. But remember to give 2-3 sentences of describing this topic before you set to speak about yourself. Divide the body into paragraphs, decide what topic sentence each paragraph will have. Then add evidence and thoughts into each paragraph. See if they flow smoothly, if all necessary information is given.
For example, if your reflection paper talks about some lab internship. Tell where it was, what status you had, and what were your duties. Tell what you did, how you did it, and how supervisor evaluated your work. Do it briefly, like ‘I did this and this, and this went well, but for this, I lacked experience. The supervisor was generally pleased with me and helped me learn new skills’.
Now you can give more profound reflection: I understood that I have gaps in knowledge, and I need to learn new skills. I saw how a laboratory works, what skills are crucial, and what is unnecessary. Add what you would change and why. Compare your experience to the theory you learned previously. Do they correlate or differ? Why? This is how to write a reflection paper on medicine or science in a nutshell.
Reflection on some personal experience will be very similar. Describe the event, how you were affected by it at first. How did you handle the situation? Did you cope with it? Were you at a loss? What have you understood from it? What will you have to do about it? Become more courageous, more compassionate, more responsible? Maybe you learned to have true fun and relax? Did you find new friends or a hobby? Maybe it changed your view of the world? How exactly? How do you see the world now?
Reflection paper – conclusion
Conclude your reflection paper by repeating the event or experience (find new words for it), mention key changes you underwent, or lessons learned, and say something inspiring or thoughtful. End the essay on a positive note. It makes a good impression on readers. Do not make the conclusion long, since the main information went into the body. Remember that conclusion should not contain any new info that was not mentioned in the body of the paper.
Tips on How to Write a Reflection Paper
Below you can find some great tips on writing a reflection paper, so use them freely to facilitate your task.
- Stick to formal style, formatting, and language. No matter how personal the paper can become, do not make it into your private diary. Follow the typical three-part structure of an essay (see above) and do not forget about an organizing thesis. Yes, it must be there. Use language that is appropriate for school or college, not messenger chats. It is not bound to be boring, but it should not be messy and slangy as well.
- Experience and your own thoughts and subjective ideas are a core of the reflection paper. But narrow them down to a few most important ones. Otherwise, you will have a memoir at your hands. Think carefully before you start writing. Find out the key points, what supports them, and what should be left aside.
- Now it is time to plan. Yes, you need an outline or a mind map. Your analysis and ideas are important, but they should be organized and move logically and coherently. When you organize, it is much easier to follow the 3-part structure of a typical essay.
- It is a reflection, yes, but it is mostly about facts and description of lessons you learn, not a stream of ‘It was a cool and unusual experience that gave me thrills.’ Name this experience, what impressed you most, why, and what you are going to do with this new experience.
- If you hire a writer at Cosmoessay.com to do a reflection paper example for you, be sure to provide everything you want to say in advance. What you feel, what you want to express, etc. if you do not have specific ideas on the issue, then let a writer do it their own way and be ready to accept this point. It is unreasonable to expect that someone will guess what you have inside your mind.
- Be sincere and serious. This task is not a joke. It is an exercise in self-analysis. It will be of great use to you in many situations, both in life and in work.