How to Write a Quality Reflection Paper and get an A+ for It

A reflection paper may not be the most complicated academic assignment, but to make sure you submit quality work, there are a couple of things you’ll need to know about it. First of all, a reflection paper is not a collection of random thoughts. It is a carefully structured academic assignment that deals with a particular subject — no matter if the subject is the author (that is, you) or a scientific article under analysis. Most of the time, you’ll be assigned to analyze someone else’s material and reflect on it. Let’s find out how you can do that to get an A+ you deserve.

Things to know about a reflection paper

Even though you are supposed to analyze other writers’ work, there is some room for personal expression in any reflection paper. In this kind of essay, students are supposed to tell how a certain article has proven useful for them. Essentially, you have to explain how this material helped you understand the subject better.

Of course, a reflection paper will have its share of analysis and, on some occasion, even criticism. Don’t forget that this paper focuses on your understanding of the subject, so some critical evaluation is expected from you.

On the one hand, it may seem that reflective papers are simple because you are to give a subjective evaluation of other people’s writing. It is partly so; on the other hand, even subjective evaluation has to be supported by evidence and textual examples from the original source. So, don’t even try to dumb this paper down to “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” A reflection paper must be more grounded than that.

Still, there are a couple of tricks students will definitely find useful when working on their reflection papers. Follow the advice from our expert writing team, and you should be able to write an excellent reflection paper.

Initial analysis and your first draft

Attentive reading is the key to a quality reflective paper on any subject. At this point, it does not matter if you are reading a newspaper article or someone else’s academic essay — you just have to carefully go through the material and make notes on the go.

Here are some questions you will need to focus on when reading the paper and analyzing its contents:

  •  Does the article have any effect on you?
  •  Can this article grab readers’ attention?
  •  Have you found out anything new?
  •  Do you have any questions about the article?
  •  Did you notice any omissions? Logical flaws?
  •  How about the topic of this article? Does it bring any new insight into the subject?

As you can see, you can make notes on all of these questions on the go, as you read the article for the first time. Of course, you will have to double-check the answers after you’re finished, but still — your initial notes should prove helpful in a reflective analysis.

Formatting a reflection paper

At this point, you may think that formatting is not important, but the truth is quite the opposite. For starters, you always have to consider your paper length — even when drafting down your thoughts. Since most refection papers are written in a five-paragraph format, you should think of the three main arguments you are going to make in the body of your paper (one argument per paragraph). Two remaining sections will be your intro and conclusion.

Besides, academic papers presuppose referencing, and reflective essays are not an exception. Most of the time, reflection papers are formatted in MLA style. Its referencing page is called ‘Works Cited,’ so you should be prepared to include any additional materials you’ve used in this work. And, of course, it’s easier to mark necessary quotes — this way, finalizing your first draft will take less time and effort.

Outlining your essay

As you think of your main arguments and mark important quotes to prove your point of view, you may actually think of creating a quick outline for your reflective essay. Most students ignore this step, thinking that a five-paragraph essay is not worth the effort of outlining. Still, even when dealing with short papers, an outline is a useful plan that helps you stay on track as you write.

Usually, it all starts with a thesis — a statement you are supposed to place by the end of your introductory paragraph. Always remember that a thesis cannot be a simple fact — ideally, it should be a statement not everyone agrees with. Apart from the thesis, a quality introduction should have a brief overview of the main points you will discuss in this paper. Use this space to highlight why the subject in question is important — this is the best strategy for a student.

Working on main body paragraphs

As already mentioned, you should discuss one argument per each body paragraph; and, essentially, all of your body paragraphs should prove your thesis statement. Yet, there is more to ensure your main body logic runs smoothly:

  •  Start each paragraph with a topic sentence (it’s the main statement you are making in this particular paragraph)
  •  Dwell on the statement a bit and provide textual examples from the article you are analyzing
  •  Conclude with a statement of how this point relates to your thesis
  •  Make ground (logical transition) for the next paragraph

Concluding a reflection paper

The first thing to remember about any academic conclusion is that it should not discuss any new info. This part deals with what you’ve already discussed.

Some advice on writing a good conclusion:

  •  Summarize your main points
  •  Restate the thesis
  •  Prove your thesis right
  •  Express your opinion and make it clear for the readers

Academic writing tips that work with any essay

  •  Don’t overcomplicate things — state your ideas clearly and coherently
  •  Avoid cliche phrases, jargon, and colloquialisms; stick to neutral language
  •  Don’t combine too many ideas on one sentence
  •  Don’t use definitions unless you understand their meaning
  •  The first person narrative is acceptable in reflective papers, but try not to overdo it
  •  Always proofread your essay after you’re done — once for spelling and grammar, and once again — for logic and style
  •  Don’t postpone writing; the sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to polish it up.

This quick guide should prove helpful for anyone who’s determined to write a quality reflective paper independently. Still, we all know that sometimes, the amount of homework is just too overwhelming, so most students are forced to focus on their major subjects and reassign the minor ones to professional writers. Our expert team has completed thousands of reflective papers on a variety of subjects, so if you are looking for a trustworthy academic helper, we’d be happy to assist.

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