A reflective paper is an attempt to convey one's thoughts about understanding and reflection on any part of the course material. Reflection as the word suggests is an attempt to convey what all the student could gather from what the teacher has taught. A reflection paper although is an informal writing assignment, it still has to include certain things to serve its purpose. For this, few steps have to be followed for writing an effective reflection paper that will ensure that the paper was written is of good quality.
Reflection is generally informal. There are no hard and fast rules that you have to follow but the essence of a reflection paper needs to be fulfilled which can be done by the following steps-
Start with listing out your thoughts which you feel are relevant for the paper.
Secondly, show what is the relationship between your thoughts and the course material. This needs to be a critical analysis and not only a descriptive analysis.
Thirdly explain your thoughts in detail. This would form the chunk of your reflective paper as it will consist of the main arguments you make, their explanation, and what made you have the thoughts which you have.
Start with the introduction. Mention the topic you are writing the reflection on. The introduction should start with the expectations you had from the course material or lecture or in case you are writing about an experience, then explain what you had heard about the experience. End your introduction with a thesis statement that explains what the lecture and experience taught you. This should be brief but clear.
Thereafter, in the body portion of reflection, write the conclusions and why you came to that conclusion. This part should start with a topic sentence. This should be in the form of a claim, the claim should be backed by a reason which should be backed by evidence. The claim should end at a warrant. According to reflection writing instructions, it should have a logical ending that explains the claim, reason, and logic behind the conclusion. Every conclusion should start in the same manner as mentioned above. This should contain what you understood, why you came to the conclusion you did, and what are the particular contents.
The reflection paper should end at the conclusion which should succinctly sum up all the ideas and feelings you have. The main conclusion should be in consonance with all the ideas mentioned above. It should be written in such a manner that any person who reads the conclusion should be able to understand the whole experience and reflection on the paper.
A reflection paper is different from a research paper and a critical paper. It has a set format that is to be followed and which is discussed above. To write APA style reflection paper, follow the APA referencing guidelines.
A conclusion should reflect not only what you gathered by way of reflection of the reading or experience but also what you could have done better and how you can improve the reflection next time. You can also suggest how better course material would have helped you. Also, restate the thesis statement and summarise all the ideas, thoughts and also give suggestions. Make sure that your conclusion reflects the ideas mentioned in the body as much as possible.
The reflection papers may be of many types depending upon the question of the assignment. The purpose of the reflection will determine how to write a reflection paper. Majorly there are two types of reflection papers. These are-
Writing a reflective paper on the research you are writing the reflection on, then you can write the reflection as per those parameters. If you want to analyze an interview for its authenticity, then you will see what information is gathered from the interview. If you want to write a reflection of the research methods used, then you will write the reflection on the research, methods used.
A self-assessment paper as the word suggests will be less formal and would require analyzing one’s improvement on a particular subject. Generally, it would require studying the notes, checking the assignment papers are reflect on the improvement the person has made. Similarly, the assessment would require reflecting on the course material and what the student could gather from it.
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