To start with the definition of a reflective paper, it is an essay in which you show your experience and impressions about how some events, books, people, classes and any other things influence your personality. It is completely personal and subjective type of writing, and, on the one hand, doesn’t include any type of research quite often, but, on the other one, it should be written in a proper academic tone.
Such papers are often used by tutors in order to communicate and find out more information about their students. Someone may think that this task is not complicated, but you should understand that reflective paper has its own specifics.
Main Points You Must Always Remember about Reflective Papers
- Write clearly and concisely. Despite being a subjective piece of writing, the logic of presentation should be met; otherwise it will be pretty hard to understand ideas you want to share.
- Think of the main themes. First of all, try to gather your thoughts together in one-two sentences; it will be the key point of your writing. After that you have to decide why these thoughts come to your mind, if there are some special moments or association, write down them. For example, you can note some visual and auditory associations, write out quotes from books or articles that impressed you the most. A good practice to organize your impressions and associations is to draw schemes and tables.
- Ask questions to get more details. You are writing about your own experience, for that reason you have to focus on those questions which have arisen in your mind when you perceived new information. You should reflect on your personality. If you aim to write about some book, ask yourself what episode you like the most, what problems are the main ones, what important social, emotional, cultural issues are raised. The number of such questions may be extremely long.
- Create a reflective essay outline. It is extremely significant thing for such papers, as it helps to create a map of the paper, determine essential ideas and make the process of writing much easier. By means of the outline you won’t forget to include some element in the text, because you see the order of paragraphs in front of you.
- Write briefly. Usually the number of words in the paper varies between 300 and 700, but your instructor can change it. If it happens, you have to meet his or her requirements. Pay attention to this point before you start writing.
- Write the text. The structure of the reflective paper is similar to other essays. It starts with an introduction. Students talk about their expectations at the very beginning before you read book/journal, listened to the lection or had any other experience. Choose appropriate words to make readers interested in the whole text. At the end of the introduction you have to write a thesis statement. The following part is body, in which you share emotions and feelings that you had after watching, reading, listening and so on. Pay attention to the brightest details and create one paragraph for each idea. In the conclusion, the final part of the paper, you give brief information about the points told in the body.
- Good academic tone and proper sharing of the information. Forget about slang and abbreviations, be attentive with spelling and grammar, because you write the academic paper, not a personal diary, even if you can use pronoun “I”. In the reflective papers you include the information about yourself, and it is preferable to avoid names of people, who played unpleasant role in your experience. In this situation it is better to emphasis on the actions and their