How To Write a Reflection Paper in 8 Step: Full Guide With a Free Example

March 21, 2022 Jun
reflection paper format

Writing reflection papers is no easy task especially if you are doing it for the first time. However, following the right instruction along with a complete reflection paper writing guide can certainly help you write some amazing reflection papers. The key to writing excellent reflection papers that stand out is to connect your theoretical knowledge and your personal experiences in a meaningful and easy-to-understand paper.

Most of the time students are required to reflect on a doc mantuary, a live event, or some personal experience to evaluate their critical thinking skills and not just their writing skills. Here is everything you need to know on how to write a great reflection paper that stands out.

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What is a Reflection Paper?

Reflection Paper

A reflection paper also known as a reflective essay is a type of academic assignment in which students use their academic writing skills to reflect on some personal experience. Analyzing your feelings and emotions and writing them down helps a person reflect and helps students develop critical thinking abilities. Reflection papers also help students put theories and emotions into practice.

A reflection paper is all about reflecting on the following things:

  • What, Why, and How you feel about the subject
  • Why and How you did something
  • Why do something and someone react in a particular manner
  • What you would have done or thought differently

A good reflection should have the following characteristics

  • It should showcase that you have great critical thinking skills
  • It should have an analysis of your emotions, ideas, feelings, attitude, and thoughts
  • It should be inviting for people to explore the main subject even more

Reflection Paper Format

You must follow the format of the reflective paper that is given to your by your instructor. However, if that is not the case then you should follow the standard reflection paper format. A standard reflection paper format includes:

  • It should be double spaced
  • It should have 1″ indentation in each margin
  • It should have 12 pt
  • It should be around 750 to 800 words

The Basics Reflection Paper Format

  • The Title page
    The title of your essay should be boldfaced and it should use standard capitalization. Add a logo of your institute and add other relevant details as specified by your instructor.
  • Abstract/ Introductory paragraph
    Start your abstract from a new page and not under the title page. Type the word abstract in the first line and make it bold and centered.
  • The Body of Your Essay
    Add all the relevant details regarding your thesis statement or main idea in the body paragraphs. We recommend you only discuss one main argument in one body paragraph.
  • Referencing
    Use the referencing style that is specified by your instructor. If no specific referencing style is specified use the APA format as it is flexible and easy to use for beginners. Start each entry for reference with the author’s name in an inverted format.

These are the 8 Steps To Writing A Great Reflection Essay

Reflection Paper

Tip # 1) Avoid These While Writing a Reflection Paper

Remember that a reflection essay is not like an ordinary essay. You should never add irrelevant or unnecessary details if you want to get a good score on your educational reflection paper.

  • Never add descriptions of standalone facts that don’t contain any reflection of your feelings or experiences
  • Don’t give judgment about events that you experienced if the subject doesn’t ask for judgments and arguments.
  • Don’t do reflective essays like you are writing some paper that is meant for problem-solving
  • Avoid adding a summary of your experiences and knowledge

Tip #2) Choosing The Right Topic for Reflective Paper

If a topic is already specified by your instructor then you can skip this step. However, if that is not the case and you are free to choose any topic then choose the one that interests you the most. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of information about the topic that you choose, as long as it is interesting for your it can work. Finding more about the topic through books and articles will ensure you never get bored until you reach the end.

Choosing an interesting topic will also make it easier for you to complete. Some common reflective essay topics that are easy to do include:

  • Reflective essay about a book, movie, or documentary you watched
  • Reflective paper about your family or your role in the family
  • Academic paper reflection about your work environment and your office
  • Describing your thoughts through essay writing about your likes and dislikes
  • Reflect on one of your favorite memories regarding a loved one or a pet or someplace.

Tip #3) Make a Reflection Paper Outline

Making a reflective essay outline is essential to writing a good reflection paper that stands out and scores a good grade. Outline your paragraphs, list your supporting arguments, and make sure you stay relevant to your topic with the help of your outline. Outlines also help you create a logical flow between paragraphs and make your reflective essay very easy to read and understand. Remember to include your thesis statement in the introduction paragraph and follow the standard essay format while outlining.

Tip #4) Use A Conversational Tone to Describe Your Feelings

Remember to write your reflective essay in a first-person singular style. Try to use a conversational tone and engage the reader by writing your reflective essay like a story. You must create a natural flow between paragraphs so that the reader won’t get distracted. Don’t use too much informal language as it can also distract the reader from the main subject.

Tip #5) Do Not Add Too Much Description

Simply logically describe your emotions, and don’t add too much fluff or fillers to complete the word count as it can result in negative marking. Also, avoid long descriptions that don’t have any reflection on your feelings or emotions about the main subject. Don’t dig deep into how people feel about the subject and how your readers should feel about the subject. Focus on how you felt and describe your experience.

Tip #6) Avoid Slang

Slang or colloquial expressions should be avoided and you should focus on key ideas. Remember that a reflective essay is not some informal writing, it is still your academic assignment that will be evaluated. Use a reflection paper sample to decide how to avoid slang from your essay. Remember to proofread and edit your essay for mistakes that most students make regarding being informal in a reflection paper.

Tip #7) Exhibit Critical Thinking Through Your Essay

Your observation and evaluation of your experience in a reflection paper are used to evaluate your critical thinking ability. Make sure you give you are extra careful while evaluating your experience and you only do it after an in-depth analysis of the subject. Make sure the evaluation of your thoughts is to the point and relevant to your essay.

Tip #8) Edit and Proofread Your Reflective Writing

Once you are done writing your first draft, carefully proofread the whole document. Evaluate your own evaluation that you wrote in your essay and ask yourself if your evaluation justifies your thinking, feelings, and emotions about the subject. It is a good practice to ask a friend or a relative to provide feedback about your reflection paper as it will help you know what’s lacking in your writing.

Reflective Essay Example

Reflection Paper Example 1:

Sample Reflection Paper: Reading My Favorite Book

Reflection Paper

I have been reading books other than the school curriculum since I was a child. I never understood my ever-growing urge of reading books. Reading books is my hobby and the perfect pass time for me. I read many books until one day I came across a classical love story called “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare. I would go on to read as many books as I could until one day when I read the fascinating but agonizing story of love in the book Romeo and Juliet. This classic love story instantly stirred a wave of love within me that I never believed existed. Here is what I felt when I read this famous love story from William Shakespeare.

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I did not intend to read this book as I never personally bought it for myself. I originally bought it for a friend who then insisted I also read it first before handing it out to him. The book mesmerized me instantly. I even asked my friend not to take this from me and buy another one for himself as I went on to read the book many more times.

When I first cracked opened the cover to read this book I just felt like a burden and only felt like reading it because my friend wanted me to. I was determined to hate it as I was never a loved person. by reading and rejecting that book I was determined to convince my friend to read about the technology and science-related books that I liked. Well, I eventually started reading the book and by the time I reached page 2, I did not feel like continuing to read that book. However, there was something about the two powerful families (the Capulets and the Montagues) and the two young people that kept me going. The moment I read about how the two fell in love and got married sent a fresh breeze of fresh air towards me. On the other hand, the hatred between the two families towards each other and the tragic event of Juliet’s cousin passing away sent waves of disbelief and agony to my heart.

The moment I reached the end and read about the suicide of Romeo after he saw Juliet dead while she was not actually dead and then Juliet killing herself for real melted my heart. For the first time in my life, I started crying after reading a book. The emotional bond I made with the two characters literally melted my heart and I fell in love with this masterpiece from William Shakespeare.

I never thought I would ever say that a book changed me emotionally and sparked a mixed feeling of love and hatred within me, but that actually happened. This beautiful love story taught me that you should never hide your love and affection for someone and if you are to marry a person you should declare it publicly without any fear. It also taught me a lesson that if you love a person so much that you are ready to die for him or her then you should have the guts to declare your love publicly to avoid confusion. However, not everything can be dealt with by logic and reasoning, fate and destiny are also playing their role. This book also made me a believer in fate and destiny which I never understood before reading this book. I recommend that you all read this book to understand the true meaning of love and sacrifice.