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How to Write a Reflection Paper

Majority of students doesn’t realize that the most valuable subject they are going to study at college is their own personality. That is why it is so important to know how to reflect in an honest way, being able to understand your own abilities, skills and features of character.

Reflective paper is a very interesting subject. When it comes to purely physical explanation, people usually tend to reflect on themselves in mirrors, on screen surfaces or windows. This helps us to understand how other people see us and either be encouraged or sad because of our imperfections.

This is probably the best explanation of what is a reflection paper with the only difference that it concerns our personality, not appearance. All of us take public picture very seriously, because we want others to see us in the best light. That is why we can often be found in front of the mirror, choosing the best outfit and hairstyle before an important meeting or event.

Of course, the way we look is not the most important part of who we are, because there are many other features, which predetermine ourselves and what place we occupy in the world. That is why an ability to reflect on our personality is as important, as being able to reflect on our appearance.

Reflective essay definition

It is not surprising that more and more courses at colleges and universities help students to open up their personality, understand who they are and how it is possible to reflect on themselves in order to access every part of their lives properly. Do you fit in the group? What looks you have? How others portray you comparing to your own image? All these questions are more important than lab reports and book reviews, so it is not surprising that writing a reflection becomes a real headache for an increasing number of students.

Introduction to the subject

When you are asked to reflect on yourself, it means that you need to stand back and look at the things you have done, the reasons which caused such an action and all the thoughts you had at that moment.

To get the best reflection science definition during completing the task you will need to ask yourself:

  • Why did I do that?
  • Were there other ways of doing that?
  • Did it work?
  • Did it work well enough?
  • Would I act the same way if such situation happened in future?

So if you are asking yourself how to write a reflective essay, you should start imagining as if it was a mirror. A reflection, where you can study yourself and your actions to see how you presented yourself and used all the resources you could. For example, you have ordered term papers at WriteAnyPapers. Think of why you did that, the other ways to achieve the goal, which is geting a term paper on time, etc.

While surface reflections help us to study our appearance, such essays use words to build a picture of our feelings, abilities and skills, helping to understand our inner motives and hidden emotions. To give you a better understanding of the subject, let us look at a comparative example of an academic and a reflection essay.

Comparison example

If you are given a task to write an academic essay on cats, it will require lots of research, collection of evidence, analysis and backing your arguments with reliable data. For example:

According to information, provided by the National Geographic website, cats can’t detect sugar in any product they taste (National Geographic). Such claims are supported by the article, published in 2011 in a Scientific World journal, which stated that ‘spice and sugar have absolutely no interest for cats’ (Scientific World 2011).

However, if you were assigned with writing a reflection paper, it is necessary to shift the focus from cats (the main essay subject) to the writer. In such a way, your essay on the given topic may look as follows:

I found it quite difficult to write such an essay, because I am not a cat-type person and I don’t really like them. However, such assignment helped me to get a new skill and remain focused on a subject, which I am not interested in. Such skill will surely help me in future and reflective writing will definitely help me to understand myself better.

It was quite easy to find necessary information about cats, because they are very popular and there are multiple groups and even social media pages, devoted to them. I don’t know whether there were more credible sources but Scientific World seems to be authoritative. Unfortunately, I still find it quite difficult to understand what source is reliable and what – isn’t’.

Do you see the difference?

The first example is very objective and formal, and is focused on the topic. It cares about cats, not about the way you feel on the matter. However, second self reflection essay is more informal and gives us a better picture of the writer. As you focus on your personality and perception while writing your paper, there shouldn’t be much research and usage of credible sources.

By the end of an academic paper, the reader expects to find information about cats, which was previously unknown. While at the end of reflection writing audience aims to learn more about who the writer is and why he did what he did.

When writing a reflective essay, we recommend you to use the outline below. Although different topics may have different outlines this template should help with majority of reflective essays.

Useful tools

There are numerous tools and instruments, which may help you to write your essay. Many students stop their search on the SWOT analysis. It is analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This means that you analyze the topic through the prism of your abilities, skills and task performance. The same technique can also be used in the self-assessment essay.

Others, when learning how to write a reflection essay, rely on theorists, which offer different approaches to analyzing personality and having necessary insights. It doesn’t matter which tool you will eventually choose: it will surely help you to understand better not only your personality but also abilities and intentions. It is surely a great lesson to learn and a great skill for the future adult life.

A few tips to remember

  • How to start a reflection paper? Include a hook to the first paragraph. It can be an unanswered question, a spicy detail or a fact, which will grab and hold attention of the audience;
  • Choose the topic wisely. It should be a matter you are genuinely interested in. Only in such a way you will remain passionate and will know how to interest the reader;
  • Use vivid language. Apart from a reflective statement, your essay should consist of colorful examples, clear and engaging pictures, and lots of details;
  • Always revise your essay. Make sure it is free from any mistakes, typos, complicated phrases and wordy sentences.

If you doubt whether you have done everything properly, get familiar with reflective essay examples online or contact professional writing services.

Closing thoughts

Now, when you know how to write a reflection paper, you are ready to get started. Every day we reflect on our feelings and emotions even without noticing it. Remember the last time you told yourself ‘I will never do that again!’? It is a sort of reflection and you only need to put all the thoughts on paper to succeed.

Just take your time to think about your feelings, motives of doing something and you will be able to get a define written carefully. If we complete an assignment, which gets a high grade and wins a contest, we need to understand what made it so good to be able to achieve such success once again.

On contrary, if we fail to do our job good enough, we can analyze it step by step to avoid possible mistakes in future. That is the main idea of what is a reflective essay and it may greatly help you to succeed in future!

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