How to Write a Reflection Paper: Guidelines and Recommendations


We believe that in order to understand how to write a reflection paper, it is useful to know what a reflective essay is. A reflective essay or a self-reflection essay is a type of essay where you describe your thoughts and express your own point of view regarding specific statements, notions, events, ideas, etc. in a proper format. To master a reflection essay format, you need to not only adhere to standards of writing but also possess excellent skills in writing and analytical thinking. 

Recommendations for Writing a Reflection Paper

  • Make sure to write in a descriptive way when working on your reflection paper or essay. It means that you are allowed to describe your thoughts and main ideas. Just try to do this in a clear and consistent way – so that people who read your essay get the point easily.
  • Do not forget that to write a reflection paper, as any other academic writing; you have to follow a certain style of narration. Make your work sound formal and meet the demands.
  • Speaking of structure, a self-reflection essay, like any other essay, must be written in a standard form. The introduction is essential to describe the point of your writing. Main paragraphs (usually two are required) will plunge a reader into more detail, and the conclusion is aimed to summarize your thoughts. So, if you thought before that you have no idea how to write a reflection paper, consider this problem solved now.
  • Pay attention that besides your own experience and thinking, other known facts and examples are also advisable. They will make your paper more professional and complete.
  • Even though a reflective essay is about your own experience, it is still an academic work. And it should not sound too subjective or intimate. That is why ensure to adhere to style.
  • To understand better how to write a reflective essay, try to keep a balance between your experience and general knowledge. Also, ascertain that the experience you write about is well-defined and fully coincides with the topic of your paper. Try to select the best suitable points from your own knowledge and practice instead of writing about all and everything.
  • It will also be a good point to divide your writing process into several stages. Do not challenge yourself to have the paper done in a single burst. Create a so-called roadmap and write step by step. Thus, you will have more chances to accomplish the task properly and without any mistakes.
  • Keep in mind that your self-reflection essay is not a flight of imagination with no limits or scope. The structure must be well thought out. It refers to both your viewpoints and the ready data, which you provide in the essay. Keep track of logic narration and coherent thought.

Guides on Writing a Reflective Essay about a Book

You already know how to write a reflection paper. But what if you got an assignment to write it on the basis of a book? – Here are recommendations and tips will be very handy.  

Whatever kind of book you are going to write about, the main point is to preserve the reflection characteristics of the paper. Below you will find some useful tips in order to formulate your writing work in the right way. If you follow them when composing your reflection essay on a book, you will definitely fit the style of this paper:

  • Define the goal of the text

Reflection papers are aimed to show the readers the situation or idea described from other angles. People who are going to read the text must discover something new for themselves. It means you cannot just write a simple description of what you read. It should not look like annotation or story-telling. Your text should include a definite structure, where you provide your reflections in a logical way. Each point you describe should have a clear message to readers. 

  • Deliver own vision

No matter whether you write about something you have experienced yourself or just read about in a book, your essay should convey a personal attitude. This advice concerns any type of reflection papers. So, if you are not sure how to write a reflection paper, try to understand your feelings about the book you are describing, events, or ideas provided in it. When your attitude if formed and you have your own vision on the situation, you are ready to start.

  • Be insightful 

The role of the self-reflective essay or a reflection paper is to analyze and express critical evaluation of the book. The task is not to narrate the story, you know, but to include fair judgment and analysis. Deliver to your readers what is between the lines in the book. For that, try to put yourself in the author’s shoes and think what was his/her message to readers.

  • Refine 

It does not matter which type of paper you write; one thing should always be unchanged – it is accuracy. Do your best to avoid mistakes and ambiguity. Your reflection paper should fulfill academic requirements and be lexically and grammatically correct. In the end, make it a rule to proofread and double-check your writing. 

Guides on Writing an Interview-Based Reflection Paper

For all types of reflection papers, be it a book, news, interview, or own experience, there are similar rules of writing and principles of building the structure. What you should always remember is to comply with the standards. The beginning of your paper has to provide some cues about the following paragraphs and the possible ending. Together with that, the readers should trace your viewpoint in the text and find your experience as proof of your thoughts. 

If you doubt how to write a reflection paper in terms of narrative voice, the answer is evident – the 1st person must be used. So, you can use such pronouns as “me,” “I,” “myself.” At the same time, do not forget about citations and extracts with direct speech. It will make the plot of your reflection paper richer and more meaningful. Moreover, you can include information not only about a positive experience but about the negative as well. You can even mention factors, which improved it or made it worse. 

Want to Proceed?

Below you will find some pieces of advice regarding the composition:

  • Work on your Introductory paragraph

Although a reflection paper requires your critical thinking and expressing your own attitude to the matter, it is not only about that. The way you write should be compliant with the established standards of peculiar academic work. One of the requirements is to state the thesis sentence in the introduction paragraph. It will penetrate your readers into the topic and help them understand what will be next.  

  • Develop the Main part

The main part of the reflection paper or any other paper is often called the body. Here you cover the topic and explain your thesis sentence. When you write a reflection paper on the basis of an interview, it is advisable to divide the body according to the ideas discussed. Usually, the reflection paper body consists of 3 paragraphs. You should provide some quotes from the interview in your text, as it is a good way to strengthen your own thoughts and statements. Your point of view cannot exist on its own – it is linked to a specific situation or experience. That is why use this tip and enrich your writing with original speech and real examples.

  • Compose the Ending

This part of the reflection paper carries the main outcome of your text. If the Introduction is aimed to bring up an issue, the Ending or conclusion has to take the issue off the table by means of a clear summary and closing argument. In conclusion, your task is to declare in a few words that everything described in the main part has a specific point. In this paragraph, you don’t need to provide any new information or get the readers hooked. It is a section with final words and the final picture, which will stay with readers, as the ending is a best-remembered part of the whole text. 

  • Final statement

Reflection paper or essay, as most academic works, evaluates your skills and knowledge. Students who want to know how to write a reflection paper successfully need to understand that without practice, it is almost impossible to get a good mark. You must learn how to express your opinion, explain your point of view and embed it all to the known facts or data. Improve your writing skills by training and reading. Eventually, you will master how to compress thoughts and write according to requirements.

Need professional advice or help with writing your Reflection paper? – Do not hesitate to contact us.

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