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Guide on How to Write a Reflection Paper

Most students are definitely required to perform a reflection paper once or twice a year in college. But what is it and how does it look like? What do we need to write an effective reflection essay? Here you will find all answers to these questions. Be attentive and try to memorize the main points.

The reflection paper is all about we think. It lets you communicate with your teacher or tutor about how a certain lecture, lesson or experience formed your insights of the material related to the class. Although it is a personal paper, it should keep an academic tone and be assiduously and holistically organized.

PART 1. Brainstorming

1. Define the main themes. Provide three or four sentences in your notes summarizing the experience, lesson or reading.

  • These sentences have to be descriptive and at the same time direct to the point.

2. Write down the material that emerges in your mind. Decide why that material shows up and what you find out about it.

  • For readings, you may note particular quotations or recapitulate the paragraphs.
  • For experiences, jot down a little description of the event that happened during your life and that is so memorable for you. Feelings, sounds, images and other sensory things can be included as well.

3.  Make a chart. Creating a table can help you organize all ideas and put your thoughts in the right order.

The first is key experiences column. These points may contain all specific details that writer considers to be important.

The second is personal response column. Provide here your personal replies to all points that are given in the first column. Add how your private values, beliefs, experiences affect your replies.

In the final column, make it clear, how much of your private responses to share in the reflection paper.

4. Ask yourself. If you are attempting to evaluate your own feelings or specify your own replies, try to ask yourself questions about lectures, readings, and experiences and how it concerns you. See the following sample questions:

  • Does the experience or reading test you theologically, socially, culturally and emotionally? If so, where and how? Why does it trouble or attract your attention?
  • How have lecture, experience or reading altered your thought process? Did it contradict the values or beliefs you’ve held before?

PART 2. Organizing a Reflection Paper

1. Keep it brief and sweet. The reflection paper usually includes near 300 – 700 words.

  • Check whether or not the instructor pointed out the exact number of the words.
  • If the instructor requires another word count beyond the rules, meet his/her demands.

2. What do you expect? To introduce your paper, you have to pinpoint any expectations you have for the experience, reading, and lesson in the first place.

  • For lecture or reading, specify what you expected concentrating on the title, intro or abstract.
  • For experience, point out what you expected focusing on previous knowledge given by similar experiences.

3. Create a thesis statement. You should end your introduction with one sentence that definitely explains exchanges from the expectations to the final part.

  • This is a vital short explanation of whether or not all your expectations were met.
  • You may structure a reflection thesis like in the following lines: “From this lecture, I’ve learned….”

4. Give the explanation of conclusions. Your paragraphs have to explain the inferences you achieved by the end of the experience, lesson and reading.

  • Explain. Provide logic details on how you got the conclusions.
  • Create a separate paragraph for each conclusion.
  • Every paragraph should have its own topic essay.

5. Finish with a summary. The conclusion should briefly describe the feeling or understanding you received as a result of the reading or experience.

  • The inferences explained in the paragraphs have to support the whole conclusion.

Part 3. As you write

1.Be wise. There are a lot of reflective essay examples and all of them include personal feelings and opinions of the person. Don’t reveal everything about yourself, decide what is really should be involved in the paper.

  • If you can’t avoid some uncomfortable personal experiences, in this case, describe the issue in more general terms.

2. Stick to an academic or professional tone. Keep your thoughts in the right way.

  • Always use accurate spelling and grammar; slang should be also avoided.
  • Eschew different internet abbreviation such as “LOL” or “OMG”, they are more colloquial, but not in the academic paper.
  • Check the grammar and spelling after your paper has been finished.

3. Study your reflection essay at the sentence level. Provide the essay with clear and well-checked sentences.

  • Make sentences of different length. Use both simple and complex sentences.
  • All sentences should have subject and predicate.
  • Eschew sentences fragmentation.

4. Use transitions. Transitional phrases let you demonstrate how one experience or detail connects to a conclusion.

  • There are some transitional phrases such as: “as a result”, “an opposite view is” and “for example”.

5. Associate the relevant information in the classroom with experience or reading. You may include information you’ve learned in the classroom with information about the lecture, reading and experience.

  • If you reflect a new social experience for a sociology class, you can combine this experience with specific ideas or social models that were discussed in the classroom.
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