How to write a reflective paper example

by Samantha Smiles   Google

In writing a reflective essay, your purpose is to look back on some situation or experience and evaluate its significance in your life. You may also be required to reflect on some bit of course materials, to show your teacher that you have understood it right. Reflective writing implies deep exploration of a subject and its detailed explanation. Reflection paper is viewed as personal and subjective, but you still need to present your strong arguments and to organize your paper cohesively. Reflective writing is usually associated with Literature course, but it can also be a crucial element of numerous other courses because it is a good way to achieve clarity about some controversial issue and to make advances in your self-cognition. What are the main features of reflective writing? It must be based on a particular experience, whatever it is. You should form your own response to this experience, not just emotional, but also moral or intellectual. When writing a reflective paper, you are expected to approach the experience or event from different viewpoints and to demonstrate your critical thinking abilities. 

Starting with something

Reflective papers are very different, and no universal advice would suffice to meet all your requirements. To appeal to your teacher and to score high, your reflective paper must be properly and coherently structured. As a rule, reflective essay has to start with a brief description of the situation that you are going to reflect on. A common trap that most students fall into is making this part of the paper too long. It is clear that you may want to make your paper lengthier in an easy way, but be sure that your result won't be better. Quite to the contrary, your teacher may want to punish you for making him read the whole page of waffle that is obvious to him and to you. So, keep the description short: usually, three to four sentences are enough to make it clear why you are writing this paper. 

Sharing your experience

Next, you should go over straight to the interpretation of this experience. However, it does not mean that you can pour all your emotions on the paper and be done with it. Try looking at your experience through the prism of different theories and perspectives. However, don't make your reflection paper too theoretical either. Your major purpose is to find the balance between these two extremes! Identify the challenges that you faced I this experience, either cultural, religious or intellectual. You can brood on your anxieties or uncertainties a little, but keep it moderate and always keep broader perspective in mind.

In some reflective essays, it is also relevant to point our causes and effects of the event or situation under discussion. It's only in the conclusion that you can take wholly personal approach. You need to identify what you have learned from this experience and what implications it has for your future. You can try comparing it with other situations of your life, to provide some background.