What Is a Reflection Paper?

Under “reflection paper” we mean personal reflection on a particular topic. It may be a reflection on a compelling book, a new film, or a modern trend. A reflection paper is a less formal type of academic essay. In many cases, this paper can be written from the first person. You should find out exactly from the teacher though. This assignment can be appealing if you like creativity in your writing and expressing your thoughts on the topic.

A reflection paper expresses a personal opinion on the chosen topic. But apart from providing personal opinion, it’s necessary to support it with facts, examples, authoritative opinion or well-grounded studies.

Comprehensive reflective papers are centered around your opinion. Trusted sources are also used in them to back up your view.

It’s not required in your paper to study every aspect of the topic. The most significant aspect of the paper is your opinion. That is why you need to give the topic a thorough thought before you start writing it.

A reflection essay is one of the academic assignments. You need to follow certain guidelines to write it successfully. In this article, you will find a detailed step-by-step plan to help you write a reflection paper.

Steps to Write a Reflection Paper

To write a quality reflection paper you need to know its peculiarities. Main guidelines and requirements will be defined by your teacher. You will have to write two or three pages to present your opinion on a subject (a book, a film, a lecture or a social event, etc.). It’s important to write about how you are going to use your acquired experience and knowledge in your life or study. Key elements of success of a reflection essay are a concise structure, thoughts united by one principal theme and examples.

Choose a topic for your paper

The first step to writing a top-notch paper is to choose a good topic. For a reflection paper, a good topic means that this topic is known to you, inspires you, motivates you to express your opinion.

A topic for a reflection paper is given by the teacher. The subject of the paper is frequently a film, a lecture or a contemporary novel. Students are often asked to describe their personal experience concerning the subject matter and opinion about it.

When the topic is broad enough you’ve got room for maneuver. In this case, you can easier choose what topic is more interesting.

Even if the topic is already recommended, take your time to explore it. You should decide what you are going to write about. If you have to choose a topic yourself, don’t be in a hurry to choose and study it thoroughly.

Brainstorm for ideas and write an outline

If you want to write a high-quality reflection paper, you should take notes. One of the benefits of taking notes is in structuring your thoughts in a logical order. So taking notes makes writing your paper a lot easier. At first, you can write a summary of your future paper that will consist of several sentences. That will be your starting point for brainstorming. Then think of correlating ideas, write them down. Several important ideas will come to your mind while you brainstorm. As a result, you will have a rough outline that will greatly help you in your writing.

4 Tips to write a compelling reflection paper

  1. Keep it concise, relevant and up to the point.
  2. Write a powerful and impressive thesis statement.
  3. Your paper is personal and reflective but adhere to academic style in your reflection essay.
  4. Back up your ideas by citations.
  5. The structure of your paper will be standard (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion).
  6. The essay should consist of personal experience but that is not enough. Back it up with examples and quotes.

Write an introduction of your reflection paper

When you write a reflection paper to express your thoughts and ideas is your number one task. To be overemotional is not a very good idea though. Presenting your thoughts and ideas you should use academic style. Write your views in a reasonable not sentimental manner. Give your reader a hint of what they are going to read about in your essay. If you summarize your principal idea in one sentence, that will allow you to capture the reader’s attention. Your introduction should contain meaningful information, be concise and interesting. Write a concise and strong thesis statement.

Write the body

The body usually consists of several paragraphs, most frequently of three. In it, you will expand the thesis. In the first paragraph, you describe your experience and what impact it had on you. In the second paragraph, you compare your experience and thoughts with those of others. In the third paragraph, you write what you have understood from the experience.

In the body, give thorough explanations and adhere to the logical arrangement of the paragraphs. Use transitional phrases to link paragraphs together. Use examples and quotes to back up your opinion. Examples should demonstrate why you’ve come to these conclusions. Quotes are used to illustrate your ideas. Examples and quotes help to convey the significance of your conclusions.

Write the conclusion of your reflection paper

The conclusion of your essay should be impressive, convincing. It should sum up your paper and demonstrate that your ideas are advanced. Finish the paper by giving strong emphasis to the principal points of your reflection essay. Write about how you are going to use the experience you’ve gotten in your life, why it is important. Your task is both to share your opinion and give your readers useful information to think about.

15 Topics for a Reflection Paper

Here are several topics which you can use to write your reflection essay:

  1. The film that inspires.
  2. How nature influences people.
  3. The book is worth re-reading.
  4. How you can deal with lies.
  5. What was the biggest ordeal in your life?
  6. What are the three qualities that are important to achieve aspirations?
  7. How depression prevents a person from living a full life.
  8. How to live a full life and succeed.
  9. How the two worlds – the world of things and the world of the spirit – interact.
  10. What is your most strong and inspiring belief?
  11. Music often heals the human soul.
  12. The development of technology allows us to drastically expand the worldview.
  13. The most impressive lecture I’ve attended.
  14. My favorite painting.
  15. The development of science helps to save human lives.

How to Format a Reflection Paper

The format of a reflection paper is similar to that of any academic paper.

  • Use standard paper of the A4 format.
  • Use margins of 1-inch on each side.
  • Text size needs to be 12-point.
  • Use any readable font (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, etc.)
  • Between the lines use double spaces.
  • Use the formatting style recommended by the teacher (Chicago Style, APA, etc.).
  • The length of the paper is between 250 and 750 words.