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How to Write a Good Reflection Paper

Reflection PaperReflection papers are some of the most common college assignments. They test respective reflection skills in different disciplines, including social sciences, business, and health sciences. Due to their diversity, common assignments may include social work reflective paper, reflective management paper, history reflective essay, and nursing reflective essay. It is essential to keep in mind the objective of a reflection paper.

Such an objective entail:

“Giving the learner a chance to think about how their own experiences and observations influence their thinking and appreciation of new ideas.” When executing these assignments, you have to demonstrate excellent skills to write a reflection paper. Such skills include a good understanding step to essay writing and researching for an essay. To begin with, however, you must have a good understanding of a reflection paper. You, therefore, have to start by asking yourself, “What is a reflection paper?”

What is a Reflection Paper?

Ensuring a clear understanding of the assignment’s expectations is considered the most critical step in writing a reflection paper. If you need help, then you’ve come to the right place. Term paper writers help can provide you with a reflection paper writing help.

In simple terms, a reflection paper can be defined as:

“A type of paper in which you are required to express your opinion on a topic by supporting it using your observations and examples from personal experience.”


“Written work that identifies key themes from course readings coupled with classroom experience and how the two impact an individual’s thinking and practice.’

Based on the second definition, a reflection paper requires you to:

  • Include your thoughts together with your analysis of what has been read and experienced.
  • Show an understanding of the entailed material and its effect on an individual’s ideas and future practice.

A reflection paper is usually personal writing focusing on an experience. A good reflection paper could be distinguished by its tone and structure.

This is as explained below.

Tone and Structure

The tone and voice of a reflection paper should be personal. This requires you to use the first-person point of view.

On the other hand, the structure typically refers to the reflection paper outline.

Note that provided it incorporates the reflective writing approaches, this structure could assume the format of an essay as provided by an essay outline or even adopt the general outline of a term paper.

Types of Reflective Writing

You cannot effectively navigate how to write a reflection paper without a good understanding of the various forms of reflective writing.

That noted reflective writing is usually in two fundamental forms that include:

  • Experiential reflection and
  • Reading reflection

Experiential Reflection

This is usually common in professional programs such as social work, nursing, business, education, and forensics, under this form, skills on how to write a reflective paper demand that you make explicit connections between theory and practice.

Accordingly, a reflection on an experience in placement requires you to describe and evaluate the experience based on ideas gained from the class.

Reflection under this form should consider:

  • Assessing a theory or an approach based on practice and observations made
  • Evaluating own skills and knowledge within the specific professional field
  • Using specific frameworks like work placement objectives or course themes to deliberate on personal actions, choices, successes, and failures.
  • Using personal experiences to turn abstract concepts into concrete and real ones
  • Using reflection on personal experiences to develop plans for improvement

In line with promising approaches to writing a reflection paper, experiential reflection should seek to answer questions that serve specific purposes.

Such purposes and questions include:

Contextualizing your reflection, this should be realized by asking the questions

  • What are the organization’s objectives?
  • What are your learning goals?
  • How do the goals or objectives fit within the course concepts and themes?
  1. Providing important information

This entails providing details about the reflection.

It should ask questions such as:

  • What is the host organization’s name?
  • What is its mission?
  • Who does the organization serve?
  • What role did you play?
  • What did you do?

Analytical reflection

This entails a critical analysis of the experience.

Important questions include:

  • What was learned from the experience?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about working in the field?
  • What did you learn about society?

Lesson from the reflection

This looks at the contextual lessons acquired.

Questions to be asked may include:

  • Was experience fit with the organization’s goals or course concepts?
  • What can future lessons be learned?
  • What succeeded and why?
  • What should be done differently and why?
  • How should you prepare for a similar future experience in the field?

Reading Reflection

This form is also quite common when it comes to how to write a reflection paper.

It is standard in many interdisciplinary courses, and its objective is to inspire a balanced and thoughtful assessment of readings.

The purpose of this form of reflection is to stimulate informed opinions about ideas in the reading text and how they impact your interpretation.

In reading reflection, you should:

  1. Identify your assumptions
  2. Examine how the text challenges your assumptions
  3. Examine how the text has broken up your assumptions

Skills on how to write a reflection paper using this approach demand thoughtful and persistent inquiry.

Primary questions to ask are:

  • What is the thesis of the text?
  • What is the evidence provided in the text?

Note that although the above questions are critical, actual reflection questions seek to cover some key areas that include:

  • Text assessment

This seeks to identify the text’s purpose, impact, or theoretical framework.

Questions to ask include:

  • What is the text’s main point?
  • How is the main point developed?
  • What ideas stood out and why?
  • Were the ideas novel or in contradiction with existing knowledge?


  • Development of ideas

This encompasses self-evaluation within the context of the text.

Essential questions to ask are:

  • What about the topic do I know?
  • What is the source of my existing knowledge?
  • What experiences and observations shaped my understanding?
  • Do I agree with the argument or not, and why?


  • Development of connections

This is aimed at connecting the text with personal knowledge and assumptions.

Key questions to ask include;

  • How does the text challenge existing personal assumptions and ideas?
  • How does the text reinforce existing personal assumptions and ideas?
  • Does the text enhance personal understanding of the topic or exploration of the discipline?

Elements of a Good Reflection Paper

Skills on how to write a reflection paper require that you incorporate some features that make your work outstanding. These features include elements such as:

  1. Concise work

This is an important feature and requires you to keep your sentences and arguments short and precise.

Good tips on writing a reflection paragraph also demand that you include content only relevant to the advanced idea.

  1. Proper organization

This feature focuses on the articulation of ideas in the paper. Such organization is realized through the proper construction of sentences and paragraphs. Further, good practices on how to write a reflection paragraph require you to stick to one idea in each paragraph.

  1. Professional tone

This is another critical element to consider when it comes to how to write a reflective paper. It requires you to retain a professional tone while ensuring that the reflection paper remains personal in its approach. In this, you need to adopt a formal tone or approach when expressing personal opinions, feelings, and experiences.

  1. Emphasis on feelings and thoughts

This is a critical feature in any good reflection paper and requires you to appeal to personal feelings and thought during the writing process. A reflection paper explores personal thoughts and the effect of new ideas and should therefore intertwine available evidence with personal views and opinions.

Reflection Paper Format

Note that there is no one specific recommended reflection paper format. You should not be worried about the format. Instead, you should make sure that you follow the provided instructions to the latter.

Besides following the provided instructions, adhering to a conventional reflection paper outline is advisable. The paper should usually assume the sections of an essay. You could adopt common formatting styles like APA, MLA, or Harvard for the reflection paper format.

Reflection Paper Guidelines

There are numerous rules to adhere to when writing a reflection paper. These rules also come in handy when developing the outline of a reflection paper.

Such rules may include:

  1. You should not summarize the work

This is one of the fundamental reflection paper guidelines. It requires you to avoid using your space and time to narrate what is in the entailed work, whether an article, a book, or a collection of materials.

Instead, you should go straight to advancing your arguments, critiquing the work, and analyzing the material.

  1. Ask questions about the entailed work.

As another of the critical reflection paper guidelines, asking questions helps the writer become more analytical when crafting the reflection paper. Proper skills on how to write a reflection paper demand that you ask numerous questions to help keep you on track.

Some of the areas these questions should focus on include:

  • Why did the author write the work
  • What the author was arguing about
  • Why the author was arguing that way
  • Whether you agree with the author
  • How the author could respond to your opinion and why
  • What the common issues or themes in work are
  • How you would respond to these issues and themes
  • How the work is related to classwork or discussions
  1. Do not use the second-person narrative

This is another of the critical reflection paper guidelines. It requires you to avoid the use of second-person pronouns and determiners like:

  • We
  • Us
  • Our
  • You

This is because a reflection paper should be personalized, making it impossible to express another person’s opinion.

  1. Effectively answer the questions.

This is a fundamental guideline. It forms the basis of the best approaches to writing a reflection paper. When observed, the guideline effectively helps limit incidences where you could be lured into summarizing the work. Besides the above questions on critical areas, you should look for the question asked by the author and critically engage with the work by answering it.

  1. Limit the scope of issues to address

The scope of your work should be considered in the outline of a reflection paper. In doing so, you should identify one or two things about the work to discuss. You should not attempt to discuss the whole article or book. This is because a reflection paper is usually limited by length and should focus on issues it can exhaustively analyze. Determining the scope as a skill for writing a reflection paper is usually developed over time.

To realize the appropriate scope, you should look for an interesting argument by the author in scopes like:

  • A page
  • A paragraph or
  • A sentence
  1. Give the reader a direction

In one part, this guideline looks at starting a reflection paper. It demands that you provide the reader with:

  • A precise indication of the direction the paper goes
  • A brief conclusion on a summary of what the paper says

These two are critical to the outline of a reflection paper and should help the reader acquire a better and quicker understanding of your arguments and intentions.

  1. Start with strong opinions.

According to Term paper writers help, this guideline also focuses on how to start a reflection paper. It requires that the strongest opinions should appear first. These opinions must, however, be backed with facts. The expression of personal feelings and views should be accompanied by intellectual analysis.

To do this, you should:

  • State an opinion
  • Explain why you hold the opinion
  • Contrast the opinion with that of the work under review

Tips on how to Write a Reflection Paper

You can apply several tips as a guide on how to write a reflective paper. This pertains to the course and tone you want to assume in your reflection.

Some of such tips include:

  • Jot down what stands out in your mind

This requires you to write notes on the ideas or issues that captured your mind in the reading text or placement experience. You should be able to determine why they stand out for you.

  • Use restorative questions

Using these questions would play an essential role in helping generate critical thoughts and feelings about the readings, placement experience, and course experience.

  • Consistently use the first person.

This is the core of reflection paper writing. You should use “I” in your writing to relate your readings, class experience, or placement experience to prior knowledge and experience.

  • Deliberate changes in opinion

You should consider how the placement experience, read text, and learned changes have affected your practice within professional and personal contexts.

  • Review class notes and readings

This is important in the proper display of skills on how to write a reflection paper. It demands that you go through class notes and readings to ensure that all relevant information has been included and meaningful connections made.

  • Use an appropriate structure.

This requires that you employ an appropriate reflection paper format in your writing. Such a format should have the respective reflection paper outline sections, including introduction, body, and conclusion.

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