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Tips on Writing a Reflection Paper

Language & Lit

❶Give your reader insight into how your thinking has changed upon reflection, and what, overall, you have learned from the text or experience.

What Is a Reflective Essay?

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What Can You Write About in a Reflective Essay?

Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful? What am I learning from this? Your writing will be so much more coherent, your ideas conveyed with structure and clarity, and your essay will likely achieve higher marks.

An outline allows you to establish the basic details that you plan to incorporate into your paper — this is great for helping you pick out any superfluous information, which can be removed entirely to make your essay succinct and to the point.

Think of the outline as a map — you plan in advance the points you wish to navigate through and discuss in your writing. Your work will more likely have a clear through line of thought, making it easier for the reader to understand. It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. But what remains the same, is that you need to start your outline by drafting the introduction, body and conclusion. More on this below. Introduction As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin within an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement.

Refer back to the opening quote of this article — did it grab your attention and encourage you to read more? The thesis statement is a brief summary of the focus of the essay, which in this case is a particular experience that influenced you significantly. Body Next up is planning the body of your essay. They key here is to put plenty of time and effort into planning the body, and you can draw on the following tips to help you do this well:.

Try adopting a chronological approach. This means working through everything you want to touch upon as it happened in time. This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent. Lay out the important elements of your experience in a timeline — this will then help you clearly see how to piece your narrative together.

Ensure the body of your reflective essay is well focused, and contains appropriate critique and reflection. The body should not only summarise your experience, it should explore the impact that the experience has had on your life, as well as the lessons that you have learned as a result.

The emphasis should generally be on reflection as opposed to summation. Conclusion In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by providing a summary of both the points made throughout, and what you have learned as a result.

Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviours have been changed. Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations?

What might you do differently in similar situations in the future? What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience? Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard.

Congratulations — you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process. As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper or more likely fingers to keyboard can be daunting. But if you have put in the time and effort fleshing out a thorough plan, you should be well prepared, which will make the writing process as smooth as possible.

The following points should also help ease the writing process:. But make sure you stick to your plan. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes. Remember that reflective writing has a descriptive component and so must have a wide range of adjectives to draw from.

Be more specific — this will make your writing more engaging. Remember that this is a reflective task, and is the one place you can freely admit — without any repercussions — that you failed at a particular task.

When assessing your essay, your tutor will expect a deep level of reflection, not a simple review of your experiences and emotion. Showing deep reflection requires you to move beyond the descriptive. Be extremely critical about your experience and your response to it. In your evaluation and analysis, ensure that you make value judgements, incorporating ideas from outside the experience you had to guide your analysis.

Remember that you can be honest about your feelings without writing in a direct way. Has the reading, lecture, or experience changed your way of thinking? Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic? Does the reading, lecture, or experience leave you with any questions?

Were these questions ones you had previously or ones you developed only after finishing? Did the author, speaker, or those involved in the experience fail to address any important issues? Could a certain fact or idea have dramatically changed the impact or conclusion of the reading, lecture, or experience? How do the issues or ideas brought up in this reading, lecture, or experience mesh with past experiences or readings?

Do the ideas contradict or support each other? Part 1 Quiz When charting your thoughts, which column would include your subjective values? Your plan for your response paper. Keep it short and sweet. A typical reflection paper is between and words long.

Verify whether or not your instructor specified a word count for the paper instead of merely following this average. If your instructor demands a word count outside of this range, meet your instructor's requirements. For a reading or lecture, indicate what you expected based on the title, abstract, or introduction. For an experience, indicate what you expected based on prior knowledge provided by similar experiences or information from others. Develop a thesis statement. At the end of your introduction, you should include a single sentence that quickly explains your transition from your expectations to your final conclusion.

This is essentially a brief explanation of whether or not your expectations were met. A thesis provides focus and cohesion for your reflection paper. You could structure a reflection thesis along the following lines: Explain your conclusions in the body. Your body paragraphs should explain the conclusions or understandings you reached by the end of the reading, lesson, or experience.

Your conclusions must be explained. You should provide details on how you arrived at those conclusions using logic and concrete details. The focus of the paper is not a summary of the text, but you still need to draw concrete, specific details from the text or experience in order to provide context for your conclusions. Write a separate paragraph for each conclusion or idea you developed.

Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This topic sentence should clearly identify your major points, conclusions, or understandings. Conclude with a summary. Your conclusion should succinctly describe the overall lesson, feeling, or understanding you got as a result of the reading or experience. The conclusions or understandings explained in your body paragraphs should support your overall conclusion.

One or two may conflict, but the majority should support your final conclusion. Part 2 Quiz What does every good body paragraph include? A topic sentence, a conclusion or new understanding, and an explanation of how you reached that conclusion. A thesis statement including your conclusion, a topic sentence, and an explanation of how you reached that conclusion. An introduction including your expectations, a topic sentence, and evidence supporting your topic sentence.

A reflection paper is somewhat personal in that it includes your subjective feelings and opinions. Instead of revealing everything about yourself, carefully ask yourself if something is appropriate before including it in your paper.

If you feel uncomfortable about a personal issue that affects the conclusions you reached, it is wisest not to include personal details about it. If a certain issue is unavoidable but you feel uncomfortable revealing your personal experiences or feelings regarding it, write about the issue in more general terms. Identify the issue itself and indicate concerns you have professionally or academically. Maintain a professional or academic tone. A reflection paper is personal and objective, but you should still keep your thoughts organized and sensible.

Avoid dragging someone else down in your writing. If a particular person made the experience you are reflecting on difficult, unpleasant, or uncomfortable, you must still maintain a level of detachment as you describe that person's influence. Avoid slang and always use correct spelling and grammar. Do not treat it as a personal journal entry.

Check and double-check your spelling and grammar after you finish your paper. Review your reflection paper at the sentence level.

A clear, well-written paper must have clear, well-written sentences. Keep your sentences focused. Avoid squeezing multiple ideas into one sentence. Make sure that each sentence has a subject and a verb.

Vary your sentence length. Include both simple sentences with a single subject and verb and complex sentences with multiple clauses. Doing so makes your paper sound more conversational and natural, and prevents the writing from becoming too wooden. Transitional phrases shift the argument and introduce specific details.

They also allow you to illustrate how one experience or detail directly links to a conclusion or understanding. Common transitional phrases include "for example," "for instance," "as a result," "an opposite view is," and "a different perspective is.

Relate relevant classroom information to the experience or reading. You can incorporate information you learned in the classroom with information addressed by the reading, lecture, or experience. For instance, if reflecting on a piece of literary criticism, you could mention how your beliefs and ideas about the literary theory addressed in the article relate to what your instructor taught you about it or how it applies to prose and poetry read in class.

As another example, if reflecting on a new social experience for a sociology class, you could relate that experience to specific ideas or social patterns discussed in class. Ann Trent has been publishing her writing since She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in counseling. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language.

A reflection paper asks the writer to call on her own experiences and reactions. Keep a Journal A reflection paper should center around the writer's reactions to a text. Refer Back to the Text Connect your ideas back to the text. Provide Analysis Reflective essays generally contain three elements: Synthesize Your Thoughts Synthesis asks you to see how the various parts of the text work together and how your reflection relates to the text: Provide Evaluation The evaluation is where you can further reflect on your learning and tell your reader what you have taken away from the experience or text.

References International Institute for Restorative Practices: Reflective Essay Saint Mary's University: About the Author Ann Trent has been publishing her writing since Accessed 14 September Tips on Writing a Reflection Paper.


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May 19,  · The organization of a reflective essay is very similar to other types of essays. An outline of a great reflective essay is laid out for your use below. Introductory Paragraph. Your first paragraph should be an introduction in which you identify the subject and give the reader a general overview of the impression it made on bestqup2m.gas:

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Using a Reflective Essay Outline to Organize Your Thoughts The goal of any essay is to write clearly and concisely about whatever topic you choose or are assigned. Unfortunately, with reflective essays, some people tend to get a little disorganized and start sounding like the Walrus, talking about anything and everything in no particular .

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Writing an Article Reflection An article reflection paper can be written on an assigned piece of reading, a speech, or an experience, (internship, volunteering, etc). For the most part, a reflection paper records reactions, feelings and analysis of an experience in a more personal way than in a formal research/analytical essay. Reflective essays are those sorts of essays that seem oh so easy, and yet oh so hard to write, all at the same time. To put it simply, reflective essays constitute a critical examination of a life experience and with the right guidance, they .

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Writing A Reflective Essay. Reflection essays are usually requested by professors or teachers, as they allow you to share your experience about an article, lesson, or lecture. This article is about how to properly prepare and write a reflective essay using all tactical and literary writing techniques. A reflective essay always has the goal to introduce the reader to some interesting moments from the writer’s life and fix attention on feelings about a certain issue.