How to Write a Reflection Paper

How to Write a Reflection Paper

Knowing how to write a reflection paper is critical in enhancing your academic performance. In fact, the skills will still be quite useful even after your course. To be successful in writing reflection essays, we have outlined some of the best avenues that you can always pursue in this section.

In order to effectively master the art of how to write a reflection paper, it is important that you first get to know what a reflection essay is. A reflection paper or essay refers to an academic paper that is written by students to portray their own experiences or thoughts regarding an event, a movie, lecture, article among other things. Writing a reflection paper will significantly develop your understanding of materials related to class work.

Reflection essays are considered to be personal and subjective since they are meant to show the author’s own observations or thoughts about situations or work. However, it should be noted that it is important to always maintain an academic tone while writing. Besides, you should also be keen on ensuring proper organization of the ideas.

In many occasions, your tutor may ask that you write a reflection paper on a particular event or even an article. However, there are times that you may also be given reflection essay assignments on general topics or subjects like, the best childhood experience ever.

Tips on how to write a reflection paper

With professional guidance, there is no doubt that you can easily find out how to write a reflection paper. Carefully read the guidelines below to master the art of crafting outstanding reflection essays.

Analyze the event or article

Just as mentioned above, a reflection paper requires you to give your own thoughts about a subject like a lecture, an article or occasion. Therefore, it is important that you first take some time to critically look at the subject or event in question so as to determine the main themes portrayed therein.

Themes are the ideas or materials that stand out from the event or article upon which your reflection is based. It is advisable that you note down the themes identified for use in writing the paper.

Clearly define your ideas

Not all the ideas or materials that you have identified as the themes will be used in the paper. Instead, you have to ensure that each is subjective and clearly outlined with evidence since only those with these qualities will be ideal for writing the essay. For instance, if you are writing a reflection paper about an experience, you should specifically give a small story of the event and even highlight instances, images or pictures to support the argument.

If you will be reflecting on various events, it is ideal that you draw a chart where small bits of information about the experiences can be clearly marked. These will be further elaborated in the paper during writing.

Gauge your own feelings

In the process of writing a reflection paper, you will be required to weigh your own feelings about the subject or topic. The best way of doing this is by asking yourself questions or establishing how the experience relates to you.

For instance, does the experience have any social, cultural, emotional or theological impact on you? If so, how does it affect you? Besides, you can further establish why the experience bothers you or comes out as very important.

Outline a thesis statement

The thesis statement will act as the basis of your argument throughout the paper. In fact, the body of the essay should be supportive of the thesis statement. After coming up with the main points that you want to reflect on in the essay, it is important that you create a sentence or statement that can summarize the whole argument in one piece.

A good thesis statement should give focus and cohesion for the reflection essay. It links the introduction to the rest of the paper.

Steps on how to write a reflection paper

Students often pursue different avenues when writing reflection assignments. However, most of these have proven to be quite challenging and tiresome. Before you begin writing, first create a draft to help you in remembering the points to cover in the correct order.

The following are the simple steps on how to write a reflection paper easily and fast.


The introduction should not only tell the reader what the entire paper is about but also be punchy enough to convince them to read on. However, all these should be achieved in a short but subjective paragraph.

In writing the introduction, give the expectations that you had for the event or article that the paper is based on. In the case of an experience, indicate what you were expecting from prior knowledge. The intro should also have the thesis statement.

Crafting the body of the essay

In the body of the essay, you are required to now give a more elaborate explanation of the event or article that is to be reflected upon. This is the point where you can illustrate the themes of the experience giving examples, quotes or other kind of evidence available to support your reflection.

When writing the body of the article, it is also important that you always dedicate every paragraph for a new idea. This will help in making your work to look properly organized and easy to read. However, you have to be keen when writing to ensure that all the illustrations are relevant to the subject so that you do not lose focus.

It is always wise to be specific in describing your ideas or experiences. However, there are instances that you may feel uncomfortable about something. In such cases, you can simply describe it in general terms.


The way your conclusion is written is another aspect that can easily tell whether you have mastered the art of how to write a reflection paper or not. Therefore, you should be very keen on what to include and how to tie up the discussion into one piece without losing the main concept. A good conclusion should bring the conversation of the text to a smooth close, thereby answering the questions that have been bothering your readers throughout the paper.

The conclusion should describe the overall lesson, understanding or feeling acquired from the experience or article of reflection.

Examples of reflection papers

The following sample reflection papers can also offer you more hints on how to write a reflection paper.

Example 1

‘’I found the article by Sonia Bodi to be quite informative and interesting. Although I agreed with most of the ideas presented therein, there were also some that I would like to oppose. I will start by answering the question asked in the title of the article; ‘’How do we bridge the gap between what we (professors) teach and what they (students) do?’’ To narrow this gap, both sides should work together. Students should strive to enhance their knowledge and help themselves to be more inquisitive, reflective and critical in judgment. On the other hand, professors should focus on and challenge students to becoming better thinkers and assist them in applying the skills that they have to their advantage …’’

Refer to to read the whole of this sample reflection paper.

Example 2

‘’As an English major, I have learned to appreciate the peaceful, yet exhilarating moment when my mind engages with the thoughts of an author on a page. As Toni Morrison points out in The Dancing Mind, ‘’(reading is) to experience an individual’s own mind dancing with another’s.’’ In my early years in college, I wanted to know the ‘true’ meaning of a work or the intention of the author. However, I have now come to the realization that this would rob literature of its most significant complexities. Individual interpretations create different insights to a work and it is also interesting to reveal the messages that may have not been realized by the author in the article…’’

You can read the entire sample of this reflection essay here.

Example 3

The following is a reflection essay sample based on an experience. It is titled; ‘I survived a Writing Class.’’

‘’Writing is one of those tasks that I hated so much. I do not like it when teachers challenge us to pass essay assignments and examinations. I hate it when I have to compete in writing contests because tutors asked me to. However, better performance in those contests significantly enhanced my self confidence. I had the feeling that I hated writing but I am quite good at it and this has worked well in making me fall in love with it. Things took a different turn when I had to handle two writing classes in college. This opened my eyes to the fact that I was not a good writer…’’

Click here to read the whole of this sample reflection paper.

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