how to write a reflection paper complete guide

Complete Guide on how to write a reflection paper

Whether you are a university or a college student, you will be required to write a reflection paper at one point in one way or another. Writing a reflection paper applies to all students in higher levels of learning, no matter the institution that one learning is in. Whether local or international, writing a reflection paper is a must. When a student is writing a reflection paper, they are awarded a chance to air out their thoughts. In academic paper writing, this kind of freedom is not commonly given to students due to the strict rules that are to be followed when one is doing academic writing. But when it comes to reflection writing, students are given the freedom to write their thoughts out.

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A reflection paper is one amongst the few papers that will often give college students a chance to speak their minds. A reflection paper encourages students to take a look at things from a personal perspective and thus share one’s personal views. Writing a reflection paper is something that not only makes the studying process fun but also encourages most of the learners on self-recognition and personal understanding thus boosting leaners confidence. Now that we have familiarized ourselves with a reflection paper, let’s now look at how to effectively write a good reflection paper.

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What is a reflection paper?

Instead of just giving facts, reflection paper writing is a chance for a writer to express their personal thoughts. When writing a reflection paper, one is required to write their personal thoughts on the main topic to be discussed. A reflection paper can be categorized under the following categories: personal reflection paper, professional reflection paper, and educational reflection paper. In each of the different categories of reflection papers, each category has a slightly different tone:

  • In educational reflection paper here, the students gives responses to some books that they have been instructed by the professor.
  • In a professional reflection paper, here the main aim is to focus on one’s personal behavior.
  • The personal reflection paper, in this category of reflection papers, is supposed to express personal feelings and thoughts.

Below are more categories of reflection papers and the steps to take when writing each one of them.

Critical reflection paper

When one is writing a reflection paper, a critical reflection paper tends to be one of the most difficult reflection paper to create. When writing a critical reflection paper, this tends to be culmination of the studying process. A critical reflection paper tends to influence improving of the critical thinking skills that impact one’s ability to analyze, questions, and evaluate the questions provided, thus applying the experiences on a personal level and giving a correct interpretation to the matter at hand:

Steps to take in writing a critical reflection essay:

  • Describe an experience – where you are to give the description of an event.
  • Examine the experience – here. You are to use the academic context and the personal context.
  • Provide an analysis of the experiences in a detailed manner.
  • Here you need to clear out the air on how in the future, the analyzed subject is going to be useful.
  • Here give your thoughts on how others that are reading are supposed to feel about the essay.

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Book reflection paper

The first step is to tell the target audience some brief information about the author of the book.

  • Give a small spoiler and a brief summary of the book
  • Give your focus on the main character
  • Give some of the points that the author touches on in the book
  • Give explanations on the influence of the book and some of the book allusions
  • Share your impression of the book, thus reacting to the context in the book

Course reflection paper

The first thing to write is the name of the course and the description of the course.

  • Give the materials discussed in summary form
  • Give the instructions and the flow of the course
  • Give the reasons why you decided to pick the course
  • Give the main thing (theories and concepts) that are learned in this course
  • From a personal level, interpret the theories mentioned above
  • Through the use of real-life examples, express your opinion
  • Your course relevance, do an evaluation on it
  • Project reflection paper

You use the same structure that we used in the course reflection paper. You can apply the same.

You can add the pros and cons of the project and give changes

Estimate the difficulty of applying the project and the relevance of the project in our daily lives

  • Interview reflection paper
  • In the introduction, give a speech the introduction
  • At the start, give an introduction to the person
  • Give a discussion on the viewpoints that are notable
  • The controversies, focus on them

On a personal level, express the things that you do not like about the author

Reflection paper outline

Below is a reflection paper outline visual guide that will help you have a better understanding of the structure of a reflection paper.

Book reflection paper

When writing a reflection paper, there are usually two different approaches. A traditional approach and an original approach.

  1. The reflection paper’s thesis statement express the main ideas. By giving arguments that are supportive of the main topic, develop the paragraphs of the reflection paper. And also, give support to the thesis statement one more time and conclude the facts.
  2. Hint on the conclusion by starting on the main topics of conversation. Give thoughts on where the subject is going to lead and leave some room for some doubts. Give the body’s analysis and then create a collusion that is different from the beginning’s expectations. The conclusion may be entirely different or maybe a little bit different.

Let us now move to the outline

The introduction

When writing a reflection paper, one of the most important elements is expressing the subject. When you are expressing the subject, one thing that you should note is that you aren’t supposed to be too emotional. You are not supposed to express your thought in a sentimental way but in a reasonable manner. At this point of the reflection paper, you are supposed to tell the readers what they can expect in the reflection paper, thus giving them and slight pick of the essay. In order to grab the attention of the reader, summarize the central claim and build up the idea.

Elements that a reflection paper’s introduction should meet:

  • The introduction of a reflection paper is supposed to be brief and catchy
  • Ask the reflection question in the text
  • The introduction of a reflection paper is supposed to have a good thesis statement


This is the part of a reflection paper that you are required to explore on the thesis statement. This section of your reflection paper is supposed to be explained in a number of paragraphs, each having a different point to explore in paragraph.

Ensure there is a smooth transition from one paragraph to the next. You can use transitional words to enforce this smooth transition. Get a list of transitional words from

In the body of the reflection paper:

  • You can start with good reasons as to why you choose the paragraphs
  • Explain the nuances properly
  • Be logical

As you are writing the body of your reflection essay, put into use the quotes and examples.

Show the reflection paper’s reader on how the subject has caused an impact on you on a personal level.

The conclusion of a reflection paper

When writing a conclusion of a reflection paper, make sure that the conclusion is striking and solid. This is usually the last section of your reflection paper that shows that your ideas have been fully formed. In this section, place strong accents and wrap up your reflection paper. If you want to get more information on how to write an effective conclusion, visit

In the reflection paper’s conclusion,

  • Highlight the main points
  • Create a conclusion that is effective and persuasive
  • Answer the questions that you asked in the introduction

15 reflection paper topics

Below are some of the reflection paper topics:

  1. How to deal with stress
  2. The things that inspire you
  3. How to admit that personally, one is wrong
  4. In the world, what is your favorite place
  5. In the whole space, are we alone
  6. When you are telling lies, what do you feel
  7. Your life’s biggest challenge
  8. One the best place in the world that you have visited?
  9. Which is your favorite country
  10. Top ten qualities that people must have
  11. What is your biggest fear
  12. In 100 years, how will technology affect the humans
  13. How decision-making is impacted by social media
  14. The role of famous people in the society
  15. That one thing that changes your life

Above are just but a few examples of reflection paper topics. Visit professional writers for a more comprehensive list of reflection paper topics.

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