A reflection paper is a study in human character. Reflective pieces shine light upon an individual’s opinions, mindset and way of thinking. Close analyses of these write-ups often reveal the very nature of the person behind the prose.
Human beings possess astounding analytical abilities. These come into action as a person begins reflecting upon a particular subject. An event, a person, a course, a topic- anything that arouses interest, will automatically trigger the brain to analyse that thing deeply. Upon such reflection, a person usually takes away some lesson or knowledge as the outcome.
Thus, if the question is “How to write a reflection paper?”, then, besides all the structural details and the writing styles, every writer must keep in mind the two vital points below:
Minutely interpreting the subject and delivering an honest opinion
Presenting the lessons learnt
Let us now dwell deeper into the topic.
What is a Reflection Paper? How to Go about Writing an Excellent Reflection Paper?
Reflection paper definitions vary subtly with their type. Three main paper types exist namely
Educational reflection papers are tools used by teachers to judge the mental faculties of their students. These papers help them to find out what their wards have learnt from a particular experience, how they evaluated said experience, and how they intend to implement the lessons learnt.
Professional reflection papers are used to gather opinions about an individual’s work ethic and manners.
Personal reflective pieces are self-explanatory, as they reflect a person’s thoughts on his or her own experiences.
The General Outline of a Reflection Paper
The format for any kind of reflection paper constitutes an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Titles for reflection papers are typically one-liners that cover the topic and written in the first person.
The introduction to a reflection paper should be able to grab the reader’s attention from the get-go. Introducing with eye-catching hook eggs a person on to read further. The subject topic should be mentioned in tandem with this hook. The analysis of the subject is stated next. What was the initial opinion and why it did or did not change upon reflection, must be highlighted within a few words. In the end, a thesis statement is added that acts as the transition to the body.
The body is where the personal reflections gain prominence. Description of the topic should be given in the first paragraph and should be delivered in brief. The subsequent paragraphs narrate the writer’s views and interpretation of the subject matter.
Reflections are based on one's analysis of the events, and the write-up must be able to reflect that to the reader. How the event or entity was looked upon and how one’s viewpoint changed upon reflection should form the heart of the body.
Reflection paper conclusions include the lessons which the writer gathered from their experience and how those results changed their outlook. Strong and emphatic statements will help put over the ideas better and make readers hang on to every word.
The outline given above is the most common reflection paper structure used across institutions. The outlines vary only with the writing templates.
Next, let’s take a look at some writing best practices.
Some Brilliant Tips to Remember While Writing Flawless Reflection Papers
Specific writing techniques exist that not only help speed up your writing but also enhance the quality of content.
Identify the primary subject and context of the topic question.
Jot down the points that stand out in mind. Think about how they affected your opinion or learning.
Create a chart and keep track of the points, your expectations and experience from them and how much you intend to share with the readers.
Carefully analyse the points above. Question yourself on how those points affected your opinion, broadened your mindset and change your way of thinking.
Statements must be emphatic so as to leave an impression on the reader. At the same time, try to keep the sentences short and to the point.
Every paragraph must smoothly transit to the next.
The whole essay must have a semi-formal tone and written in the first person.
Implementing the above reflection paper guidelines can pave the way to deliver sleek and impressive essays.
Common writing subjects
Reflection papers for academic writing can refer to various sources as their subject. Some common subjects are:
Reflection paper for a book
The writer must present their expectations, opinions and the things they learned from the story or the event described.
Reflection paper for a course
Typically written by students, the article should be able to convey what the student was capable of learning from a course, and the reasons behind so.
Reflection paper for a movie
These write-ups highlight a writer’s reflection on all the aspects of a film such as a plot, the casting, the screenplay, the direction, the cinematography, the production quality etc.
Reflection paper for a teacher
A student’s reflection upon the teaching methods of a person is the subject of these papers.
Reflection paper on an article
A reader reflects upon his experience of reading an article, for example, a piece like the one you are reading right now.
The writer's opinions, expectations and realisations form the bulk of the matter in all of the above essay types.
Moving on, here are the paper templates that are widely used by writers and professors.
The Two Most Common Reflection Paper Templates
All reflection essays share a typical outline, but the writing templates do vary.
The two templates used on most reflection papers are the APA and MLA styles.
Writing a reflection paper in the MLA format involves:
Using the Times New Roman font style in size 12 with double spacing.
1-inch margins on either side of the paper
The top right corner of every page must have the author’s last name and the page number.
Titles should be centre aligned.
Headers must have the course name, writer’s and professor’s name and the submission deadline.
All citations must follow the MLA format. The reference list is to be given at the end.
Similarly, writing a reflection paper in the APA style requires the following:
Times New Roman Font of size 12 with double spacing
1-inch margins on both sides
A header on the top of every page
Page numbers must be inserted on the right
References to be written in the APA citation format
Finally, here is a list of some essay topics to choose from.
Some Thought-Provoking Reflection Paper Topics
The following are some excellent subjects for reflective writing:
A lie and what came of it?
A time you wanted a thing that was someone else's
A confrontation with a teacher or a person in authority
The time when you did not deserve to be punished
When you were disappointed by someone’s opinion
When your parents told you that they were proud
When you realised you were in love
The challenges you faced as a first-year college student
Your least favourite course
What you hate most about a professor
Importance of technology in the life of a student
Paper topics can cover any subject on God’s green earth, anything that has the potential to influence a mind and makes a person look in retrospect.
With that, we come to an end to this somewhat detailed guide. Diligently follow the above guidelines, and you will be able to deliver brilliant reflection papers that guarantee good grades.
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