How to Write a Reflective Paper: A Complete Guide

How to Write a Reflective Paper A Complete Guide

Essays are the most basic way to express thoughts and ideas as a student. Reflective essays provide an opportunity to express how experiences shape thinking and the inception of new ideas. Students must know how to write a reflective paper to apply the structure and experience when writing imaginative essays. These essays document their opinions on specific matters that revolve around learning. Reflection papers might either have an academic tone or be personal and subjective. In this article, our expert writers have provided a guide on producing the perfect reflection essay. They also help students achieve their best potential by writing stellar essays for their assignments.

What is a Reflection Paper?

A reflective paper is an essay that requires students to write about their opinion concerning a topic and back it up with personal observations and examples. Although opinion matters, it should be backed up by facts and proven theories. One’s opinion is never wrong, and there is no wrong answer. At the end of this article, we will offer clear and comprehensive guidelines on how to write a reflective paper. 

There are several topics you can discuss. Choose one you are conversant with, share supportive facts, and write a coherent essay. Writing a reflective paper will be easy if you follow the prescribed guidelines.

There are three types of reflective essays. Each of the 3 has its tones, which decides how the essay will be written:

  1. The Educational Reflective Paper – you can write about something you did in school, reading a book, watching an educational movie, or even a seminar you attended. The main aim is to compose it in a manner that educates the reader (the reader learns something from it)
  2. The Professional Reflective Paper – people write this essay in a psychology or education setting. For instance, it can be a paper to facilitate studying someone’s behavior. 
  3. The Personal Reflective Paper must be from a unique point of view and enable the exploration of one’s feelings or even private thoughts. 

Technically, a reflection paper is more like your resume since it summarizes your opinion, findings, and thoughts. 

The Reflection Paper Format

Reflective papers do not have a specific format. The writer presents their opinion and can write it how they feel comfortable. If assigned a reflective essay, your paper format will follow your instructor’s guidelines. College papers on reflective essays can range from 400 to 900 words.

How to Write a Reflective Paper Outline


While taking notes, the first thing you should begin with in your reflective paper is to read and understand the article question. Emphasize the critical elements of your writing and plan to write it down in the simplest ways.

To check if you have all the information you want to present to your readers, summarize your notes and, most importantly, the essential parts. Adding some diagrams, charts, and statistical data will enable you to deliver your information to your readers in a way they will understand easily.

After you read the article:

  1. Brainstorm all the premises and facts.
  2. Do not impose or overdo.
  3. Make it simple

We can develop a good reflective paper if you cannot clearly define your essay format.

Answer the Questions Below.

  • What effect did the article impose on you?
  • How does the article grab the reader’s attention?
  • Per the article, has it changed something in you?
  • After reading the article, were you left with questions?
  • Are there any essential issues that were not addressed in the article?
  • Following your past experiences, does the article relate to any of them?
  • Any reading experiences? Does the article agree with any of them?

Tips Before Writing a Reflective Essay

Before you prepare to write your essay, below are examples to help you have a picture of what you can write about:

  1. My view of rap music is how it has changed.
  2. My reflection on Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. The size of the universe is why my opinion keeps changing over time
  4. My view of clinical psychology students has changed and developed in the past year.

A written outline of your results from your brainstorming will include all the essential elements to appear in your final paper. Do not assume any step until you know its contribution to the essay. It will ensure that your paper has a good flow and is appropriately organized. 

The other advisable way is to put down your ideas in a three-column chart.

Main Sections of a Reflective Essay

How to Write a Reflective Paper Introduction

The introduction should focus on the main topic of discussion, giving relevant information and direction. It should tick the following boxes:

An example of how you can start your thesis 

Example: “After reading (state your main topic), I gained the knowledge of…”

The Essay’s Body Paragraphs

It should analyze your ideas and put them in context. Every paragraph should start with a fresh idea and follow it until it ends. If the idea spills over, develop a way to introduce the next concept in the next paragraph.

The chronology helps readers follow the discussion, boosting their understanding and conversion rate. It also offers a point of reference as it clearly describes how you felt, what you saw, and what you heard in detail.

For example: “In our weight experiments, many people participated. It was nervous, but also inspiring the event’s excitement amazed me.”

The Conclusion

A reflective paper essay has the same conclusions as other essays. It entails summarizing the discussion and inferring conclusions based on the points enumerated. The conclusion also gives the reader a fresh look into the topic and can influence their understanding of it.

Below are good ways through which you can conclude your essay:

· Encompass all the ideas that generalize the essential insights you have experienced 

· Summarizes your thesis statement and content to infer a conclusion.

Step-by-Step Outline of How to Write a Reflection Paper:

Step 1: Create a theme

After choosing a topic of interest, jot down a summary of what you understand. The reader should know your feelings towards the topic. They should be honest feelings and represent your perspective so your readers can relate to and understand them clearly.

Example: after I watched the movie (state the movie) by (main character). I was able to revisit my thoughts on how we treat animals. 

Step 2: Brainstorm Your Experiences and Ideas

Write down specific quotes and things that influenced you and your predispositions. In simpler words, how you felt.

Step 3: Analyze Ideas and their Impact on the Topic

Thirdly, Choose an idea that you faced last time and analyze it. Give a reason for your opinion. Interrogate it to develop a finding to drive the discussion to the conclusion.

Step 4: Connect Experiences and Observations

Factor assumptions, personal insights, and experience to shape the discussion. Since the discussion is about personal reflection, how you write a reflective essay is entirely your prerogative.

Some of the things that are primarily written about in reflection papers are;

  • Book – you start by writing the author’s biography. Then, you summarize the plot. You do this without telling the end to keep the readers interested in your work. Make sure you present the main themes, the names of the characters, and the issues mentioned in the book. The last thing is reflecting on what you have learned so far.
  • Course – the way to start writing these essays is to add the course name and description. Afterward, give the course flow and describe why you had to partake in this course. Tell the readers what you learned. All these features make the write-up reflection paper since you center the plot around your opinion, supporting it with examples.
  • Project – the rollout process of how to write a reflective paper is almost similar to that of a project outline. The only difference is the buildup elements of the project. After giving details of the project, you can also mention the advancements and changes you want to see in this project.
  • Interview – the first thing you should do is introduce the person being interviewed and mention the discussion. Tell the reader the essential points, the controversies, and the person’s opinion.

Before you write your reflective paper, read other samples to help you understand what is expected of you and how you will approach yours.

How to Write a Good Reflective Paper

When choosing the main theme, settle on something interesting to the reader to make it memorable. 

  1. Short and comprehensive –make your work attractive and include relevant and essential information.
  2. Your work should range from 250-750 words and thus be on point. 
  3. Clear and concise – be on point.
  4. Maintain the correct tone – use a professional academic tone 
  5. Cite sources – cite your sources; the number of in-text citations to the referencing page should be equal.
  6. Proofreading– reread your work and correct the minor and major errors you may have made. 

Do you have an idea but struggle to implement it on reflection paper?

Although reflective essays are subjective, very few students manage to effectively lay out their thoughts and opinions. Do you need help writing a reflective paper? Our team of professional essay writers will help you produce an essay that is equivalent to your precision.

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