How to Write a Reflective Essay

If you want to produce a high-quality reflective paper, it is essential to know in depth how to write a reflective essay. Apart from considering your personal attitude to a specific issue while working on a reflective paper, it is essential to properly understand the structure and organization of an English reflective essay. Particularly, you should pay attention to how to start a reflective essay introduction as well as come up with a proper way of organizing reflective essay ideas in the body paragraphs. In case you encounter challenges in the process of developing body paragraphs, be sure that you can rely on professional assistance from expert writers. Essays Writer.net will gladly provide you help with college reflective essay writing and any other types of academic essays. When you visit Essay Writer net website and contact us "Write My Reflective Essay for Me", be sure that you will get an immediate response.

For many students, writing a reflective narrative essay seems like an easy task to write but actually they may be hard to cope with. First of all, when you are required to write a critical reflective essay, you need not only to provide your personal reaction to an issue, problem or topic but to base it on critical examination. In other words, you need to analyze your personal life experience and apply it to a specific situation. If you want to know how to cope with reflective essay writing, check out guidelines provided below in the article.

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What Is a Reflective Essay?

It is essential to investigate the definitions of what is a reflective essay before you sit down to write it. Check out the most widespread types of reflective essay definition:

  • A reflective essay is a type of academic writing that is aimed at describing an experience or specific event and then critically analyzing its meaning and role it played specifically for you. Moreover, you may also pinpoint to what lessons you have derived from it or how you have enriched your experience afterwards. In order to make the essay well-understood and comprehensive for the reader, it is essential that you use vivid descriptions and detailed narrations. This writing strategy may help your reader better imagine the situation and make them feel as if they have personally experienced it.
  • A reflective essay is an academic paper that provides a reflection of yourself. In other words, you have a specific topic and you share your own reflections in relation to it – you discuss the topic from your perspective and you share your own experience in relation to it. You may even focus on different memories, emotions, thoughts, and feelings that overwhelm you when you hear about a particular topic. Be ready to explain many things, especially if they are closely related to your feelings or your experience.
  • When writing a reflective essay, you will express your emotions and feelings about specific phenomena or events. When fulfilling this kind of assignment, you will have to apply your critical thinking skills as well as train your capabilities to discuss specific topics.
  • When working a reflective essay, be ready to examine and monitor the progress of your own experience. When dealing with specific topics, it is a good idea to reflect on how your own experienced has been changing over time. When you nee to provide a reflective essay as a part of your writing portfolio, it may be a good idea. In this case, it will pinpoint to your self-development.

Writing a Reflection Paper on a Movie

What Is the Purpose of a Reflective Essay?

It is not enough to get to know the definition of reflective essay writing – it is equally important to realize what is the purpose of a reflective essay. First of all, the main goal of writing reflective papers if to ensure that one gets in-depth understanding of the contexts when a specific situation occurred. For example, if you are writing on some event, you need to focus also on the setting, i.e. what led to the development of a specific story. Second, the purpose of a reflective essay is to structure your thoughts that correspond to the topic. Normally, when you hear a specific story, you reveal that a lot of thought appear in your mind. Here the main purpose is to mention them but make sure you develop them logically and highlight to some relations between them. In this way, you will explain your thinking process.

When developing your reflection paper, you will have to ensure there is a basic idea or argument in the paper. Afterwards, you will have to add the arguments, examples, and illustrations in order to make the paper vivid. Furthermore, you need to highlight what has been learned and what effect the experience has overall (both positive and negative influence).

The ultimate purpose of reflective paper writing is to:

  • provide readers with a call to action;
  • make it clear how the story you tell relates to the event;
  • investigate numerous perspectives of the issue/ event;
  • investigate what feelings, emotions, and thoughts one has in relation to the topic.

When working on a reflective essay, you should keep in mind your target audience and make sure they get more than just a narration of the story. Apart from merely retelling about some event, you need to focus on your experience and provide a clear and detailed outline of events that led you to specific changes.

If you wonder why teachers like to assign reflective essay writing, they want to check not only students` writing fluency but also let them delve deeper into the experience they previously had. Moreover, they want students to practice their analytical and critical thinking skills.

Personal Reflective Essay Outline

Personal Reflective Essay Outline

Before starting to work on the reflective paper dealing with your own experience, it is advisable to devise a personal reflective essay outline. Read on to find out what benefits devising an outline brings to you.

  • With the help of an outline, you will be able to identify the fundamental parts of details that you will incorporate in your essay. Thus, you will be able to differentiate between relevant and unnecessary information. With the help of an outline, you will be able to make the essay more specific and detailed.
  • The outline will serve the role of a road map for developing ideas in your paper. With the help of an outline, you will be able to structure the idea in the proper order (either according to chronological order or in some logical sequence).
  • Even though writing an outline requires some time, it will actually save time for essay writing in the end. When you have a written outline in front of your eyes, you will hardly ever encounter writer`s block in the middle of writing.
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Before starting to write your outline, you have to consider the following steps:

  1. Select an interesting topic. To come up with a catchy topic, recall an event that you might be interested in writing about or write down some interesting personal reflective essay topic ideas. Once you have chosen the approximate topic, try to delve into your emotions and feelings and investigate how you feel, what emotions you have, what you have learned from the event, how it has influenced your life, etc.
  2. Collect information on your topic. To better organize the information still in the process of reading and investigating some facts, try to draw a mind map. Afterwards, come up with the main arguments you would like to present in the paper. When you provide a mind map, you will see the approximate structure of your essay from the very beginning. To make the ideas well organized, think of the logical transitions you will incorporate in the paper. Take a look at some reflective essay examples to better understand what proper structure entails.
  3. Think of the strong and attention-grabbing opening paragraph. It should be eye-catching enough for the readers to be interested in your paper.
  4. Prepare a rough draft. Once you have an opening paragraph, go on with supporting your arguments, providing examples, illustrations, etc. Make sure that each body paragraph is devoted to a single idea.
  5. Provide a conclusion that summarizes the key ideas of the paper. Pinpoint to what new experience you have acquired, what you have learned, etc.
  6. Come up with references.

Reflective Essay Structure

It is essential to know the reflective essay structure since it has both similarities and differences with the other essay types. Check out the main principles of structuring paragraphs in a reflective paper:

  1. The very first paragraph should be an introduction. Here you need to identify the subject of your writing and provide background information on the topic. Do not ignore your own emotions and feelings and state what emotional impact the topic has on you. Be sure to end the introduction with a reflective essay thesis statement, where you outline the main idea of your paper.
  2. Switch over to the first body paragraph, where you outline the first idea of your paper. Remember to provide your own reflection on the first paper aspect, i.e. what impression you have got.
  3. In the second body paragraph, write about the second reason/ aspect and the impression it had on you. Make sure to provide explanation or justification. At the same time, be sure that there are no right or wrong answers – the thing is, how you reflect on it and how well you manage to explain everything.
  4. The third body paragraph should be devoted to the explanation/ discussion of the third paper aspect. Follow the same principles of paragraph development as in the former two paragraphs.
  5. Write a conclusion and be sure to reiterate your thesis statement for reflective essay and also summarize the main findings. Particularly, focus on the effect the experience had on you.

Self Reflection Essay Writing Tips

Self Reflection Essay Writing Tips

Despite the fact that there is much theoretical information about the proper ways of organizing an efficient paper, students may still lack self reflection essay writing tips that bear more practical role to them. Check out some of them below:

  1. Use the first-person pronouns to reflect on your ideas.
  2. After you have identified the topic, you want to write on, be sure to jot down all ideas that come to your mind when you think of the topic. To structure them, use brainstorming techniques, a mind map, a diagram, a table, etc.
  3. Try to explain your topic briefly in the introductory paragraph. Do not write more than ten sentences.
  4. Be sure to write a coherent one-sentence thesis statement. Be sure to support it further in the body paragraphs.
  5. Provide sufficient evidence, examples, and illustrations throughout the body paragraphs.
  6. In the conclusion, do not repeat the same phrases taken from the paper body but highlight the main points.
  7. On the whole, do not overthink before writing, i.e. do not think too much before writing the first sentence of each paragraph. First, as you are working on a draft, write everything that comes to your mind. Do not demand perfect sentence structure from the very beginning.
  8. Always proofread and edit the paper after you have written it.
  9. Pay attention to the overall tone and writing style. Check whether it is appropriate.
  10. Choose appropriate vocabulary in order to make your reflection as vivid as possible.
  11. Be honest when writing about your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
  12. Always pinpoint to why a certain experience is valuable and significant for you.
  13. Double-check punctuation rules and make sure your paper is error-less in terms of grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
  14. Make your piece of writing catchy but brief.
  15. Avoid slang and colloquial phrases in your essay.
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A List of Reflection Questions

The following questions will help you write a reflection essay:

  • What have I noticed?
  • Why I feel particularly these emotions concerning this issue?
  • What made me encounter these specific emotions?
  • What kind of uniqueness lies behind this experience? Are there any other people who have undergo a similar experience but feel differently about it?
  • Could I have done something in a different way?
  • What is the role of this occurrence in my life?
  • Do I have some other events of my life that made me feel similarly?
  • Can I use this experience to help other people deal with similar situations in life?
  • Does this event have a specific impact on the rest of my life?
  • How typical are similar events in my life?
  • Overall, was it a positive or a negative experience in my life?
  • Have I learned some new skills or overall something new from this experience?
  • Can I apply the experience I have derived from this situation to the rest of my life situations?
  • What challenges did this experience bring to my life?
  • Why did I have a specific reaction when I first encountered this situation?
  • How would I react if I had the same situation in my life?
  • Would I like to repeat this experience in my life?

Common Mistakes in Writing a Reflective Essay

  1. Excessive amount of personal information.
  2. Deviating from the principles of essay structure.
  3. Informal tone of writing.
  4. Attempts to cram all detailed information about yourself in the paper.
  5. Trying to write everything you have planned at once.
  6. Free writing style, when you are just trying to cram everything into the paper (ideas, thoughts, and feelings) without any logical coherence.

What Is a Reflection Paper?

If you want to get in-depth understanding of what is a reflection paper, read the information presented below. It will help you realize the core differences between reflection essay writing and the other types of essays.

The essential thing you have to know about the reflective essay meaning is that it is mainly a personal reflection on a given topic. Normally, you do not have to overestimate the task since you are not expected to conduct any additional research on the topic or compose a literature review. It is less formal than the majority of academic essays, namely it can be written in first person. More so, it mainly focuses on your providing your personal opinion on a specific subject. At the same time, apart from merely being able to express your opinion in a logical and concise way, you have to also rely on expert evidence and opinion from professionals. When you support your opinion, it will make it more reliable and credible.

Types of Reflection Paper

Types of Reflection Paper

Actually, the whole process of writing a reflection essay depends on the types of reflection paper you have been assigned. Check out the following types of reflective essay in high school and college that you may be assigned by your professors:

  • Educational. Normally, this kind of reflective writing refers to the reflective paper on a movie, book, article, video, etc. It can be anything studied in academic setting and that needs to be reflected on. If you look at the educational reflection paper example, you will see that it reflects on the material that a student has learned.
  • Professional. This paper focuses on the analysis of your professional conduct in relation to a specific topic. As a rule, professional reflection papers are written in social, business, medical, as well as in the educational sector (among teachers). A nursing reflective essay may be one of the examples of professional reflective paper.
  • Personal growth. In this reflective essay type, you have to investigate your feelings, thoughts, and emotions you have when it comes to some sphere of your personal growth and development.

How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Book: Tips and Strategies for Writing

One of the most frequent questions among students is how to write a reflection paper on a book since frequently students are assigned to read a book and then reflect on it.

The very first thing one has to understand about writing a reflection paper on a book is that reflection writing has some specific characteristics. As such, you need to adhere to specific features of writing in order to make sure it can be called reflective.

Writing a Reflection Paper on a Book

Reflection Paper Writing Prompts on How to Provide a Successful Essay on a Book

  1. The essay should be polished. If you are to provide a paper in APA style, be sure that you follow reflective essay APA format. Moreover, always proofread and edit the paper in terms of content, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  2. Make the writing brief and clear. Do not exceed the word count limit of your paper. Normally, reflective papers range from 250 to 750 words in length. Therefore, include only the most relevant information.
  3. Adhere to the proper tone of writing. Be professional despite the fact that semi-formal style may be appropriate.
  4. Provide a reference page and cite all the sources properly in text. If needed, look through reflective essay examples to know how to format the sources correctly.
  5. Proofread the paper before submitting it.

Reflective Essay Topic

If you have not been assigned a specific reflective essay topic for your paper, be sure to come up with an interesting one that you are most passionate about. Check out the following categories of topics provided below.

Reflective Essay Topics

Reflection Essay Topics on Relationships

  1. Recall a conversation when you became angry. When did the conversation take place? With whom did you talk? What were you angry about? Can you understand now why?
  2. Recollect a specific moment when you felt disappointed about something. What was it?
  3. Reflect on the very first moment in your life when you realized you were falling in love.
  4. How do you feel when you see that someone is proud of you?
  5. Have you ever met a new family member you did not know before? Who was it? How did the situation occur?

Reflection Essay Topics on Nature

  1. Reflect on your feelings and emotions when you are observing a sunrise.
  2. How do you feel when your feet are buried in the sand?
  3. Your reflections when you go to the forest to pick mushrooms or berries.
  4. Reflections on the first time you started swimming.
  5. Reflections of your childhood memories how you played at the seashore with other children.

Reflection Paper Topics about Important Places and Events

  1. How has your room changed as you were growing up?
  2. Your favorite shop as you were a child.
  3. Your experience of attending an amusement park.
  4. Reflections on your favorite kind of transport.
  5. Your favorite holiday.
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