A reflection paper is a type of writing where students illustrate their position about a specific subject. There are three significant types of reflection papers including; educational, professional, and personal reflection papers. Developing a reflection paper varies depending on the type of reflection paper you are assigned to do. Learning to create a reflection paper is an essential endeavor for any student or professional. The article explores guidelines for writing a good reflection paper without effort.
Reflection papers typically do not follow any specific writing format. Since the essay encompasses presenting your opinion, many professors allow students to handle them as they see fit. Many times the structure adapted depends on the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers or essays usually range between 500 and 900 words in length.
The first step of writing reflection papers involves carefully reading the material you are to work on. You also want to highlight the main ideas and concepts. You can start working on your essay by summarizing the main ideas to see if the paper provides all the information necessary for the readers. After reading the material and summarizing the main concepts, it is time to brainstorm. There is a simple brainstorming technique for writing reflection papers and involves answering the following questions;
How did the material affect you?
Has the material changed your perception of something? How?
How does the article catch the reader’s attention? Or how does it not?
Has the material left you with any questions?
Were there any critical issues that were not covered in the paper?
Does the article relate to anything from your past reading and life experiences?
Does the article agree with any of your past reading experiences?
The result of brainstorming should be an outline of the contents of your reflection paper. The outline is essential and will ensure that your essay has the proper flow and organization.
Writing your Reflection Paper
The introduction section of your reflection paper should specify what you are reflecting upon. The thesis statement should inform your readers about your position or opinion about the material. The introduction section has three main parts;
State what you are analyzing
Briefly summarize the material
Write a thesis statement showing your position and how the material has affected you.
The body paragraphs of your reflection paper should focus on examining the ideas and experiences you have had in context to the material. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence. If you are reflecting upon a reading, the reflection paper can include quotes to give the reader a broader point of reference.
The conclusion section of your reflection paper should include;
Summary of what you have learned from the material
Overview of how the newfound knowledge affects your understanding or perception
Description of the general lesson you have learnt from the material or experience.
Step by Step Guide to Writing a Reflection paper
Step 1: Develop the central theme
Creating a theme involves choosing your topic and writing a summary of your experience with the subject and what you have learned. You will concentrate on letting the readers know how you feel about the topic.
Step 2: Brainstorming ideas
We have provided questions that can help you brainstorm, and you might want to note down specific quotes and predispositions that had a significant influence on you.
Step 3: Analyze how and why these ideas affect your perception
Pick an idea from the previous step and analyze it further. Make sure to emphasize your reasoning for agreeing or disagreeing with it.
Step 4: Making connections between and among your observations, experiences, and opinions
Try to connect the different ideas and insights to form a cohesive picture that supports your theme. You can also concentrate on breaking your assumptions about a particular subject.
The beauty of a reflection paper is that you can write it any way you see fit. However, there are a few tips that can make your essay stand out. Before starting your essay, make sure you read some examples of other papers, which will help you understand how you will approach your writing. When picking an area to focus on, try to select something unusual or memorable- it is more likely to capture the readers’ attention. Never write a paper once. Taking time off will allow you to generate new thoughts and reflections that will help your essay. Some excellent writing tips for a reflection paper include;
Short- most reflection papers are typically short, between 300 and 900 words. Only focus on relevant information.
Clear and concise- Make sure your paper is as clear and as straightforward as possible. Create a strong thesis that will support a strong essay.
Use the right tone- Although you are expressing your opinions, it is necessary to use a professional or/and academic tone.
Cite sources- Try to cite relevant and authoritative references from experts to support your personal opinions.
Proofreading- Make sure to proofread your work for spelling and grammatical errors. Proofreading also allows you to improve the organization of your paper.
There are several subjects for reflection papers, but the main ones include;
Books: You can start your paper by mentioning information about the author and summarize the plot. Include the name of characters, the main themes, and any issues that warrantied special mention in the book. Proceed to express your thoughts and reflection of the book itself.
Course: A reflection on a particular course will include the name of the course and its description. You can then proceed to write the course flow, your reasons for taking the course, and what you have learned from it. Express your opinion and support it with examples from the course.
Project: The structure of a reflection paper about a project uses the same guidelines as a reflection paper about a course. You might want to include changes you wish to see and analyze how relevant the skills you acquired are to real life.
Interview: Make sure to introduce the person and mention what the interview was about. Concentrate on the main points, controversies, and your opinion about that person and that subject.