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How to Write a Good Reflection Paper: An Ultimate Guide

How much do you feel your instructor values your perspective in your college class? In academia, it can sometimes feel like the student’s point of view isn’t as important as the professor’s or the textbook’s, but in a reflection paper you have the ability to center your own views and ideas and to show your instructor what you know and how you feel. But do you know the best way to write a reflection paper?

A reflection paper is a type of academic assignment that helps students present their point of view about a documentary, movies, article, book, scientific paper, or almost anything else. One should read and understand the material in order to share one’s professional opinion about it. Your paper will need to be more than a self-reflection paper and will need to have academic analysis and critical evaluation. Many students find it quite difficult to complete an original reflection paper, because it has numerous requirements and norms of writing. Below you will find a few writing tips, which will help you cope with writing a reflection paper effectively.

Step One: Define the Main Themes of the Work You Are Reacting To

When you need to start a reflection paper about a work you have been assigned to review, the first step is to be sure that you have actually reviewed the work you are about to reflect on. Whether you need to review a book, video, movie, interview, presentation, documentary, journal article, or any other type of work, carefully examining the work in question and thinking through it carefully is the essential first step. If there is anything you don’t understand, you need to be sure that you ask for help before going too far in the reflection.

To write a good reflection paper, you ought to read or watch the work attentively in order to understand its main themes. You ought to write down the most important moments of the piece, or any particular example you found interesting, to be sure you can examine it from all sides. Moreover, you should open your presentation with an introduction in which you provide a short summary of the piece, similar to an abstract, to provide the reader with the basic information about its content.

Step Two: Prepare a Set of Questions in the Form of the Outline

It is useful to develop an outline before you start to write so you can plan each of the main points you plan to discuss and the evidence that you will use to support your point of view. One way to organize your paper is to write about the main points mentioned in the work. Since this is a reflection, obviously, you should choose those points which are personally important for you. It is the main characteristic feature of a reflection paper. You write about the problems, which are interesting for you. Then, you need to share your reflections about the problems you have discussed, including what you feel about them, how they will impact you and society in general, and what evidence supports your reaction. Finally, as you prepare your reflection, you should consider the factors that shape your personal response.

It is useful to organize your work logically. If you want to cover all parts of your article, you should brainstorm a few questions, which will guide your reflection paper properly. To begin with, ask whether the work touches upon social, artistic, cultural or other problems. Secondly, ask whether the article has changed your point of view about the subject under analysis. In simple words, ask whether the author has managed to persuade you to change your opinion. Then, ask whether the author has managed to provide a thorough and complete discussion. Very often students have questions when they read articles or lectures, because they do not understand the entire content or the author’s idea. If you are left uncertain, that too is a valid final reflection. Sometimes the author doesn’t make a strong case.

In the end, you can write about how the article has influenced your knowledge about the suggested problem or provide a sample of ways that the work in question has changed your thinking. Say whether you have learned something new or not.

Step Three: Organize Your Reflection Paper

While your instructor will provide you with guidelines for the length of your paper, in general terms a reflection paper is typically very brief. Most of the time, even the longest reflection paper rarely covers more than 700 words. Consequently, you should try to keep your writing tight, focused, and concise. You must write clearly and convincingly. Furthermore, you need to keep to the right structure and format suggested by your instructor, which means following APA style, MLA style, or whichever format your instructor has required. As you enter the discussion section of the paper, it is a good idea to write about your expectations. Explain what you expected to learn about and whether the work in question provided something new in order to improve your knowledge about the issue. You can also write about the connection between your prior knowledge and the new facts.

Step Four: Develop Your Reflection Paper and End with a Strong Conclusion

Your paper needs to start with a compelling opening and a clear thesis statement which sets up the paper and orient the reader to ensure that the reader knows what to expect. Then, you ought to share your reflections about the main points of the work in question and provide the reader with the most important conclusions devoted to each point. Bear in mind that you should be critical—though not simply reflexively negative—if you want to prepare a successful reflection paper. The goal in your writing should be to build to a conclusion about your feelings on the work in question and the work’s broader value to society. Your paper should end with a conclusion that does more than simply summarize your paper. Instead, the conclusion should leave the audience with a compelling final thought that they can keep with them even after they have finished reading.