Best Reflective Writing Guide: Writing a reflection paper

A reflection paper is very popular with students. Every subject requires you to share your thoughts on certain issues. This article explains how to write a reflection paper while providing examples and hints to ease the reflective writing process.

Write reflection papers academically while also being personal and subjective. You should analyze and reflect on how a certain experience shaped your perspective and opinions on a subject in this type of paper.

Reflective papers can be educational, professional, or personal. Each one has a distinct tone:

  • Educational can be a response to a book, film, or a lecture
  • professional is a common task for teachers and social workers, focusing on analyzing their students’ behavior
  • personal is an expression of your feelings about a more personal subject.

Reflective writing

Reflection helps evaluate how personal opinions and observations influence one “s thinking and acceptance of new ideas.

Reflective writing help improve your critical thinking skills since it involves expressing what you believe and how and why you believe it. Furthermore, thoughtful analysis requires you to recognize that assumptions and preconceived notions shape thoughts. With reflective writing, you can realize the opinions of others, learn how their presumptions and preconceived concepts may have shaped their thinking, and possibly recognize how your ideas endorse what you read.

Reflective Writing Styles

Experiential Reflection

Reflection helps connect theory and practice in professional programs such as business, nursing, social work, forensics, and education. When asked to reflect on your experience in a placement, you do more than describe it; you also evaluate it using ideas from class. Reflect on your choices, actions, successes, and failures within a specific framework, such as course themes or work placement objectives. Based on your observations and practice, you can assess a theory or approach and your knowledge and skills in your professional field.

Reading Reflection

Many interdisciplinary classes may require you to write a reading reflection to encourage intelligent and reasonable assessment. Reading reviews provide an opportunity to identify – and possibly deconstruct – assumptions that the text may confront. Often, lecturers will tell students what they anticipate from a reflection. Still, the main objective is to evoke your expert opinion about the concepts given and consider how they impact your understanding.

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Tips for writing a reflection paper

Critical reflection paper

Critical reflection is the culmination of your learning experience. It produces intense thinking that demonstrates your abilities to observe, question, evaluate, and apply personal experiences to subject interpretation.

  • Describe an experience – give specifics about an object or an event
  • Examine the experience – take into account both personal and academic contexts
  • Provide an in-depth examination of those experiences
  • Tell the readers what you discovered after analyzing the data
  • Explain how the subject under consideration will be useful to you in the future
  • You can also speculate on how everyone else who is reading should feel about it

Reflection paper about a book

  • Begin with some background information on the author.
  • Provide a summary with as few spoilers as possible.
  • Concentrate on the main characters.
  • Describe the issues that a writer addresses.
  • Explain the references and influences.
  • React to what you’ve read and share your thoughts.

Course Reflection paper

  • Fill in the blanks with the course name and a brief description.
  • Make a summary of the materials discussed.
  • Tell me about the course structure and instructions.
  • Explain why you chose to take this course.
  • Define the key concepts and theories you’ve learned.
  • You are free to interpret those theories as you see fit.
  • Use real-life examples to express your point of view.
  • Examine the usefulness of your course.

Reflection paper on a project

  • You can reuse the structure from a previous paper.
  • Try to discuss the task’s benefits and drawbacks, as well as potential changes.
  • Calculate the difficulty and relevance in real-world situations.

An interview reflection paper

  • In the introduction, suggest a conclusion.
  • Begin by introducing a person.
  • Discuss notable points of view.
  • Concentrate on the controversies.
  • Describe why you like and dislike a person.

Format of a reflection paper

Reflective writing is expressed in various formats, but it is most commonly seen as a learning log or diary entry. Diary entries convey how the author’s thoughts have developed and evolved over the years.

Depending on the intended audience, the format of a reflective essay may differ. For example, reflective essays may be academic or featured as part of a larger piece of writing for a publication. While the writing format for class essay assignments can vary, the goal is generally the same – to inspire students to think deeply and critically about a specific learning experience or set of experiences.

Here are some examples of reflective essay formats that you may be required to write:

A personal growth focus: A reflective essay instructors use to analyze their exceptional life experiences and promote emotional growth and development. The paper provides the student with a better understanding of themselves and their behaviors.

A literary focus: This type of essay requires students to summarize the literature applied to the student’s own life experiences.

writing a reflection essay

A reflective essay is much more than just narrating a story. You must reflect on your experience by demonstrating how it affected your behaviors and altered your life. A reflective essay is highly personal and intended to engage the reader or target audience.

When writing a reflective essay as part of a college assignment, your teacher will ask you to focus on a specific episode – such as when you had to make an important decision – and reflect on the outcomes. You might consider some significant events in your life that had a significant impact, either positively, negatively or both. A life experience, a fantasized experience, an object or place, a person who motivated you, or something you watched or read are all examples of typical reflection essay topics. It’s also worth noting that the aftermath of the experience is especially important in a reflective essay; if you don’t include it, you’ll just be telling a story.

How to reflect on something?

The reflective process is the heart of writing this type of essay, so it’s important to understand it from the beginning. It is good to consider the personal experience you chose to write about had changed you. Assess the effects by using your memories and feelings of the experience.

After deciding on a topic for your reflection essay, research it and dedicate a significant amount of time thinking about it. List everything you recall, describing it accurately and clearly. Make notes using short phrases at this point, but you must ensure that you are capturing your responses, perceptions, and experience of the event (s). Remember to use adjectives to describe your experience and keep your five senses in mind.

After you’ve emptied your memory, begin reflecting by selecting some reflection questions that can help you think more deeply about the effect and long-term consequences of your experience. some good questions to think about:

  • What have you discovered about yourself as a result of your experience?
  • Have you grown as a result of it? How?
  • Did it have an impact on your life, either positively or negatively?
  • In retrospect, what would you do differently?
  • Why do you believe you made the decisions you did? Do you think these were the correct decisions?
  • What are your overall impressions of the experience? Was it a worthwhile learning experience? Which specific abilities or perspectives have you gained as a result?

These prompt questions will help you get started on your reflective process. Note that asking yourself many questions is necessary to guarantee that your thoughts are purely about your experiences. This technique is central to writing a good reflective essay.

Use reflection models such as the Gibbs or Kolb cycles before, during, and after the learning process to ensure a high level of analysis. For example, before you get too far into the process, consider what might happen (in terms of the experience)? Are there any potential obstacles to consider? What knowledge is best to prepare for the occasion? When planning and writing, consider the following questions:

  • What is happening in the learning process?
  • Is the process going as planned?
  • Is it possible for me to successfully deal with the accompanying challenges?
  • Is there anything else that will ensure the learning process is successful?
  • What am I taking away from this?
  • By using such a framework, you’ll be able to keep track of the reflective process that should underpin your work.

Planning a reflection essay – reflective essay outline

Start writing your essay after devising a comprehensive, well-rounded strategy. Your writing process will be more consistent, ideas will be communicated with structure and clarity, and your reflective paper will certainly receive higher marks. Writing a reflective essay is a great step – people tend to get ‘lost’ or disorganized when recounting life experiences as it is a personal subject. However, if you create a thorough outline and stick to it, you should be fine as you embark on the final step of writing your essay. We’ve summarized the key advantages of creating a detailed reflection essay outline below:

An outline helps define the basic information you intend to include in your paper – this is useful for removing unnecessary data.

Consider the outline to be a map that guides you through the points you will discuss in your writing. Your work will most likely have a clear, thorough line of thought, making it easier to understand for the reader. It will also help you avoid leaving out important information.

It’s a time saver! The outline serves as the skeleton of the essay. You’ll save more time when writing because you’ll be familiar with your points. As a result, you’ll devote more time to editing the paper and ensuring its high quality.

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How to write a reflection essay

Your reflective essay must begin with an introduction that includes a hook as well as a thesis statement. A ‘hook’ piques the interest of your audience or reader. You must depict the most intriguing aspects of your narrative in the first paragraph if you want to keep your reader’s attention. Remember the opening quote of this article? Did it pique your interest and entice you to read on? thesis statement is a summary of your essay, i.e., a specific experience that significantly impacted you. Give an overview of your experience – don’t give away too much information, or you risk losing your reader’s interest.


The next step is to plan the body of your essay. It can be the most difficult part of the paper; it’s easy to go through the plan before writing.   It helps to devote enough time and effort to the planning process. The following tips will help you’re your essay effectively:

Adopt a chronological strategy. It entails going over everything in order. This method ensures a systematic and coherent process. Take into account that a reflective essay does not have to be chronological. Make a timeline of the key elements of your experience; this will help you see how to piece your story together.

Your reflective essay’s body should be focused and include appropriate criticism and reflection. The body should summarize your experience and analyze the effects on your life and the lessons learned.


summarize the points made and what you have learned. Include a few facts about why and how your attitudes and behaviors have shifted. Consider how they influenced your personality and skills; for example, what conclusions can be drawn about your problem-solving abilities? What conclusions can be drawn about your approach to specific situations? What would you do differently in the future if you were in a similar case? What steps have you taken to put everything you’ve learned from your experience into one place?

Reflection writing process

  • Writing your essay can be intimidating. However, if you have spent the time and effort planning, you will be prepared, making the writing process easy. The following suggestions should also aid in the writing process:
  • Read other reflection papers to know the tone and format of writing your essay
  • Don’t worry about the beginning, starting writing, and back and editing anything you don’t like later. Your draft won’t be your best essay writing task, but remember, the earlier you begin writing, the more time you’ll have to rework your paper. Don’t be afraid to use a free-flow method, writing and recording your thoughts and feelings about your experiences as they occur to you. However, make certain that you stick to your plan. Your plan is your road map, and it will keep you on track if you stray too far from it.
  • Support each point you make about an experience or event by explaining how you were directly affected, using specific words rather than vague ones to convey exactly how you felt.
  • Write in the first person, making sure that the tone of your essay is very personal and reflective of your personality.
  • If necessary, refer back to our earlier notes on creating an outline. As you work through your essay, remember to present your ideas systematically while keeping your key learning outcomes in mind.
  • Begin your introduction with a short anecdote or quote to pique your readers’ interest, or use other engaging techniques like flashbacks.
  • -To narrate your feelings and emotions, choose your words carefully. Note that reflective writing includes a descriptive element and thus requires a diverse set of adjectives. Avoid using ambiguous adjectives like ‘okay’ or ‘nice,’ as they don’t provide much perspective into your feelings and personality. Make your writing more specific – this will make it more engaging.
  • Be open and honest about your feelings and opinions. It is a reflective essay assignment, and you can openly admit that you failed at a specific task without fear of repercussions. Teachers expect a great level of reflection from you when assessing your essay, not a simple review of your experiences and emotions. To demonstrate deep reflection, you must go beyond the descriptive. Be brutally honest about your experience and your reaction to it. Make value judgments in your evaluation and analysis, incorporating ideas from outside your experience to guide your research. Remember that you can be open about your emotions without writing directly about them. Use words that suit you and are consistent with your personality.

After learning and reflecting on your experience, ask yourself, “What did I particularly value from experience, and why?” In retrospect, how successful was the process? Consider your immediate reactions to the experience and how they differ now so that you can assess the gap between your primary and current perceptions. Such questions will assist you in producing reflective writing that is both effective and efficient.

  • Use a variety of punctuation. It contributes to the dynamic nature of your writing!
  • If you want to pique your reader’s interest, use imagery to paint a clear image of your experiences.
  • emphasize your turning point. Your subsequent thoughts and feelings aren’t valid, and your argument isn’t strong if you don’t have this moment.
  • emphasize the lessons learned from your experience.


The aim of writing a reflective essay is to demonstrate what you have learned from your experiences and why and how these lessons have shaped you.

Identify and scrutinize your thoughts about a specific experience. Don’t be afraid to investigate any prior knowledge or experience with the topic. It will assist you in determining why you came up with certain opinions on the subject. Remember that examining your attitudes, assumptions, and values is central to reflective essay writing, so be honest about how you feel. Reflective writing can be quite therapeutic, assisting you in identifying and clarifying your strengths and weaknesses, particularly any knowledge gaps that you may have. It’s also a good way to hone your critical thinking skills. It allows you to take a reflective approach to your experiences and how you learn/make sense of them.

If you’re still having trouble beginning the writing process, try mind-mapping, it will help you structure your thoughts and ideas, allowing you to produce a coherent piece. Constructing a mind map ensures your argument is systematic and easy to follow. Look for online essay help for more assistance

Here’s a summary of the contents of this article to use when creating a mind map:

  1. Decide on a topic for your writing.
  2. Write down ideas related to the topic and draw a diagram to connect any issues, theories, and ideas.
  3. Let your ideas flow, then edit your work later.
  4. Take into account how your notions are related to one another, then begin writing.

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