How To Write Reflection Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Do you have any questions about how to write the methodology?

Now is the time to answer one major question. How to write a reflection paper? To write reflection content, you will need to know a lot of things, and you will need to understand the format and types and also get additional help if you are a newbie. Below we have all of that in a simple and plain form so you can get all the help you need in one place. You will also learn the insights of reflective paper writing, how to format it, and how to make the process more comfortable and appealing. At the end of the day, you will have stunning reflection papers that will impress your professor. All of this may sound complicated or impossible, but it is definitely something you can do, and now you will see how.

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What Is a Reflection Paper?

Before we share what you need to know about reflection paper writing an effective reflection, we need to clarify what this type of essay is. It is your personal opinion and reaction about something. It can be a book, a movie, or a trip. You will have to write about how that topic affected you instead of using facts and arguments only. As such, these papers are very appealing, and most students enjoy writing them. Of course, some don't like these; hence they rely on research paper writing service, and they will always get a paper done in no time that is also professional and answers the main idea perfectly. There are a few variations here, and we will have to explain each one below. The purpose here is to create a paper expressing your thoughts and opinions about the main topic.

Types of Reflective Writing

To write a reflection paper, you must pay close attention to the type you will use. Word count is low here; hence you need to stay focused and use all the steps and all the proper elements. The essential element here is to know about three different types. These will determine how to write a reflection paper, how you need to optimize body paragraphs, and so much more. This is also one reason that makes writing reflection papers so hard.

Critical Reflection Paper

This is the most common and the hardest type here. It will be based on your studying and has to include different points. For example, you need to elaborate on what you have learned, the experiences you received, and how and what challenges it took. You don't have enough room only, so you will need to be professional in this kind of academic writing, and you still need to focus on the main themes. In addition, you will have to provide details about your experiences and reactions and analyze them in detail. Studying reflection paper example papers may be necessary to get a general idea.


Studying math at college: My experience.

Personal Reflection Paper

Here you also need to provide your experiences. But you will also have to explain how it concerned you. There are countless examples and plenty of things you are about to discover. It is different from a critical reflection paper and has a greater focus on the personal element of the experience rather than on anything else. You can always write about all the personal experiences you like and want, but try to focus on the essential occasion. This is an essay that will have a huge effect on your life.

Reading Reflection Paper

A reflection paper is a type of essay that has a huge role in education. This means you will need to clarify how a book or the books have affected you and what experience you got from them. A reflection paper on a book is the most common type at some schools. All teachers will want you to write about this, and you will need to include all the main points and all the elements of this academic paper. How long should a reflection paper be? This type is usually 2-3 pages long.


Why did 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea make me want to read all the books of this genre?

Approaches to Reflective Inquiry

When you start a reflection paper, the first task is to understand your teacher's requirements. Not even mentioning your analysis should be closely related to the course you are studying. The personal subject you’ve decided to reflect on should be directly connected with the key principles you have learned in the course of the subject. The professor will evaluate not only the structure of the work but also the compliance of your opinions to write the essay. That is why you must go through a long thought process requiring critical thinking. As a result, you must come to unique insights that will mirror your perspective toward the analyzed situation.

Experiential Reflection

Talking about your own experiences can be difficult because things become very intimate. When writing a reflection paper based on personal observations, you must clearly link the situation to the learning context.

Reading Reflection

When you are asked to write a reflective essay based on what you have read, focus on the interpretation of key ideas. Combine the impression of the book or article with your general beliefs. How did the information you read strike you?

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Writing a Reflection Paper Outline

You may ask yourself what an outline is and why it is important. This is a clear plan for writing your work, which gives you a reliable perspective. A reflection paper outline is necessary to mention all the essential facts and keep the correct structure of the reflection paper. These days you can easily use "write my paper for me" and get an outline that will be spotless. The outline is very important in helping you write a reflection paper, and we must reveal something about it.

First comes the Introduction. It is the passage to interest the reader in your reflection paper. To make it coherent, follow these guidelines:

  1. Begin with a thesis statement. It is a strong phrase that summarizes and presents the main topic of your reflection paper.
  2. Catch the reader on a hook. It can be any intriguing fact that is related to your study.
  3. Do a brief overview of what is presented in your essay.

A body paragraph is the heart of any reflection paper. This is the part where you are reflecting on your personal experiences and expressing how your thoughts changed or consolidated because of the occasion. To keep the structure strict, start each new idea with a new paragraph, although having more than three body paragraphs is not advisable.

  1. Clearly describe the experience.
  2. Link your practice to the concepts you’re studying.
  3. Elaborate the conclusions and explain your point to the reader.
  4. Analyze your new cognitions and link them with your previous beliefs.

The conclusion is an integral part of a reflection paper. To write one, you should summarize the data you received while reflecting.

  1. Make the conclusions coherent with the introductory section.
  2. Be brief when summing up the results.
  3. Tell the reader how the received data can be useful in life.

Know how to structure your paper

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • 0" between paragraphs
  • 1" margin all around
  • double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
  • 0.5" first line of a paragraph
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PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.

Right Structure

Reflection Paper Format

Here we can see one crucial fact about reflective writing. All papers of this kind must use proper formatting. It is more important than you may believe. A reflective paper format will make your essay look as it should, and you won't have any issues with your professor making any mistakes possible. In simple terms, this is the template you can use for all papers of this kind. To encourage you to explore your own ideas for different reflective essay topics, we will have to interpret the main facts below, and you will need to use them. Keep in mind that your school may have a different requirement, in which case you will have to talk to your professor and get the guidelines and then use them to write a reflection paper. You need to do this before any academic writing, and it is different worldwide.

  • You need to write on A4 paper (in Office Word or on real paper).

  • Margins must be 1 inch.

  • The text size is 12 points.

  • Fonts you can use are Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri.

  • All lines must be paired with double spaces.

  • The citation will be defined by a teacher (usually, it is APA or Chicago style).

  • The length should be between 250 and 750 words.

How to Write a Reflection Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Here we will have a complete process of creating an effective reflective paper. All the experts use this simple guide, and it can have a huge effect on your writing. Each reflective paper must follow the points, so you can imagine how crucial these are. It is necessary to add that you should use all of them and don't skip one. If you do, you can finish up with a poor result and get a lower grade. While at college, you can use these all the time but only on papers of this kind.

Choose the topic

The first is to pick the topic if that is possible. If you do, you will have an easier time writing, and you will be able to focus more on the things you like and find interesting. You can also find some reflection paper topic examples. If the topic is not something you can opt for, you will probably have a harder time. This is one of the reasons why so many students need help and want to get a good reflection paper done. They don't want to write about some topic they don't like. You can always buy research paper or any other and get it over with. In addition, the topic you choose must be a perfect match for your experience and your opinion, and you should be passionate about it. Here is one example.


How can I deal with stress these days?

Start with the main theme.

Here you will need to write about what you have learned from the experience you are defining. Try to match the readers. They will want to be able to link up with you, and they will need that. In other words, if you can choose this, you have a good reflection paper already. They should be able to relate to that from reading your essay. If you are trying to define this from a book, you can use strong words and a lot of details. At college, this is essential.


After watching X-Files, I realized that there are a lot of secrets in society.

Brainstorming part

This can be an interesting part. You will need to relax, and you will need to write down all the ideas that you have on your mind for reflective writing. It is not substantial how silly they are or how special they sound. Just write them down. Once you are done, you can organize them and make corrections. You should start with a title page when this is a more significant element. In general, you will have to write down anything memorable that may have any impact on the essay you are writing now.


Main theme: A constant fear of missing out.


  1. I only feel FOMO when I’m studying instead of having fun.
  2. Studies show that FOMO is a display of fear of social exclusion.
  3. Social media foments the fomo.
  4. Now I realize the main solution to FOMO is to spend less time checking on the feed.

Analyze how and why

Now you will need to choose that idea and analyze it in depth. Here you will need to write about how and why it hit you and your experience at the end. This is more important than you may believe, and it has a huge role. While at school, you always need to ask yourself how and why. These are mandatory questions for all types of writing, which can help you get the grade you like.


  • “Before” questions: What will I receive from this experience? Which skills do I need to overcome it? Are there any issues I can face?
  • “During” questions: What is the expertise I receive from the occasion? How do I feel about it? Does this experience change my outlook?
  • “After” questions: How have these past experiences altered my life and thoughts? Did it meet my expectations? How can I express my feelings about it?

Connect your opinion, experience, and observation

Here you will need to write about the connection between what you thought about that idea, what experience you had, and what you have observed. Try to link these in a simple way and try to reach your readers as well. It may sound obvious, but it is one element that can be essential for understanding. If you are writing about the book, you will need to say something about the author, the characters' names, and how it affected you.

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Tips on Writing Your Paper

The ideas from your body paragraphs can vary, and there are countless examples. We have provided you with some experiential reflection writing tips to make this easier. All the experts use the ones below, and in fact, they were developed by professionals. As such, you will want to implement them into any piece of writing you can. We will keep all of this simple and easy because the best tip is the one that is easy but has huge importance.

Firstly, we already have mentioned that it is essential to choose the topic if possible. It will make the title page and the essay a much simpler task for you. You can also check the writing essay service for comprehensive self-reflection paper examples. You will need one topic that you fully understand and are passionate about. If you have to work on something you need help understanding, you probably will need more time to explain all the elements and thoughts.

Secondly, writing an educational reflective paper will be a complicated task. As with any other, you will need days or even weeks to produce high-quality content. This means one thing only. You need time to finish the job, which will take more than 15 minutes. Start as soon as possible, and you can complete it. Even professionals like this tip and have been using it for ages.

Another fact you should know is the importance of a reflective essay outline. It is a path you will follow. It can help you avoid any mistakes and focus on the most important thoughts of your reflection essay. You will need to complete this before you start with the actual writing, and it will apply to all papers and all types of writings out there.

An important remark is that if you use slang words, you might have a problem. Professors don't like these and don't have any room for professional reflection essays. Instead, you will need to use proper and professional words. Use big words when you can so you don't see any problems. But you also need to be direct, and you need to stay focused at any given moment. These are mandatory elements, and they deserve a special spot.

Furthermore, you need to use first-person singular in your reflection essay! This is another mistake many students make, and it can have a huge side effect on the whole content. There are no exceptions, so you can memorize this tip and always use it.

Remember that reflection papers are deep, and they don't need to touch the idea in a shallow way. You need to express as much as you can and use plenty of details. The more details you use, the better. In other words, this is more than a simple summary you will need to provide, and you are done with it. This is complicated content that needs to explore personal emotions, opinions, thoughts, and reflections in the deepest way imaginable. The deeper you get, the easier it is to connect with the readers.

Finally, the description must focus on the life experiences and how they affected your thoughts and understanding, not on the objects or locations. Many students believe the opposite, so they will waste time explaining the wrong element here. Remember that this is not an essay where you must explain all the elements in the same detail level. Some elements, like experiences, are far more important than others.

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Reflection Paper Example

“Reflecting on the Moment I Received a Long-Desired Possession”

I still vividly remember the day I received the item I had been longing for - a sleek, silver MacBook Pro laptop. It was a momentous occasion for me, as I had been saving up for it for months and constantly researching and comparing different models and features. The laptop symbolized a new level of independence and creativity for me, and I was beyond excited to finally have it in my hands.

As I eagerly tore open the box, I felt a rush of emotions - excitement, gratitude, and a sense of accomplishment. I had worked hard for this, and it was a tangible representation of my efforts and determination. I felt proud of myself for setting a goal and following through with it, and I couldn't wait to start using my new laptop to its full potential.

Using the MacBook Pro was like a dream come true. Its sleek design, fast processing speed, and advanced features made it so much easier for me to accomplish tasks and unleash my creativity. Whether I was working on school projects, writing personal essays, or just browsing the web, I felt inspired and empowered.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson about the power of perseverance and hard work. I learned that if I set my mind to something and put in the effort, I can make it happen. This sense of control and autonomy was empowering and gave me a new level of confidence.

In conclusion, receiving my long-desired MacBook Pro was a moment that will stay with me for a long time. It taught me about the rewards of hard work and perseverance, and gave me a new sense of confidence and independence. I am grateful for this experience, and I am looking forward to using my laptop for many years to come.


What is a reflection in writing?

It is your personal opinion about something. It can be a book, a movie, or a trip. You will have to write about how that topic concerned you instead of using facts and arguments only.

How many paragraphs are in a reflection paper?

The structure of such a paper is quite usual, including the introduction, the body paragraph, and the conclusions. To keep the structure strict in the main section, start each idea with a new paragraph, although having more than three body paragraphs is not advisable.

How to conclude a reflection paper?

The conclusion is an integral part of perfect reflective paper writing. To write one, you should concentrate on the data you received while reflecting. Make the conclusions coherent with the introductory section for better understanding. Be brief when you summarize the results. Tell the reader how the received data can be useful in life.

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