The Best Tips on Writing a Reflection Paper
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Louise Ammentorp, a Ph.D. candidate in Developmental Psychology, gained a B.A. in Psychology and Art History at Rutgers University. Her current thesis is dedicated to linguistic meditation and the way children perceive conflicts. Here, you will find her most recent works, so follow the updates.
In high school or college, you will inevitably be required to write a reflection paper, probably, more than once. However, not everyone is familiar with this type of papers. Writing is quite a challenging process on its own, and the task becomes more complicated if you do not understand what it is that you have to write.
What Is a Reflection Paper?
If you are tasked with preparing a reflection paper, your instructor expects to receive an essay in which you share your thoughts on the topic (this could be a movie, book, recent event, etc.). In other words, this is a paper with your thoughts on something. Although the topics may vary, you will have to deliver a profound and coherent piece of writing to receive a good grade.
What a Reflection Paper Is not
Being aware of some “don’ts” will help you deliver the right type of paper. For instance, do not write a compilation of other people’s arguments. This is not research, so no matter which distinguished experts you may quote in your essay, you will fail at completing the task. Instead, you have to share your own ideas and judgments.
Things to Include in Your Reflection Paper
Here is the list of things you have to include into a reflection paper:
- Life experiences
- Personal observations
Although the paper does not have to be limited to the list, including some of the point mentioned above is a good idea. In fact, reflection papers are relatively easy to write because you have to share your own thoughts and observations. Telling how you see things should be easy once you organize your thoughts properly.
Helpful tip: start your introduction by describing the big picture of the issue. Although there is no strict rule to follow while writing an introduction, you still have to make a gripping statement in the first sentence and move on to the background information about the issue. Reflection papers, just like the rest of papers, must have a thesis statement at the end of the introduction. This is a sentence or two in which you succinctly sum up the whole idea of the essay.
Apart from the introduction, your reflection paper should include several body paragraphs and a conclusion. While other types of essay require you to conduct a profound research and include many references, here you should focus on your personal insights. Use phrases like “I think,” “It seems to me,” “I believe,” etc.
Summing it all up, a reflection paper is an essay which reflects your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. You still can use a couple of quotes, but they should only support your own ideas. As to the structure, it is similar to that of other essays: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The rest of the success will depend on how original and profound the thoughts you express are.