How to Write a Reflection Paper: Full Guide with a Free Example

A reflection paper is a type of paper that is very common among college students. Almost every subject in which you enroll requires you to express your thoughts on certain issues. In this article, we will explain how to write a reflection paper, as well as provide examples and helpful hints to make the writing process easier.

Reflection papers should be academic in tone while also being personal and subjective. You should analyze and reflect on how an experience, academic task, article, or lecture shaped your perception and thoughts on a subject in this type of paper.

Here’s everything you need to know about writing a good reflection paper. Stay tuned until the end of our guide for some helpful writing advice from our writing team — professional paper writing service.








What Is a Reflection Paper

A reflection paper is a type of paper in which you must write your opinion on a topic and back it up with observations and personal examples. Instead of presenting your reader with the opinions of other academics and writers, you have the opportunity to write your own point of view in this essay—and the best part is that there is no wrong answer. It is YOUR opinion, and it is your responsibility to express it in a way that is understandable and clear to any and all readers who will read your paper. The topics are limitless. Here are some examples: whether or not you believe in aliens, your favorite TV show, or your thoughts on the outcome of WWII. You can write about almost anything.

There are three types of reflection papers, and the tone you write in will vary depending on which one you end up with. The first type of paper is an educational reflective paper. Your job here is to write feedback about a book, movie, or seminar you attended in a way that educates the reader. The second type of paper is the professional paper. It is usually written by people who are studying or working in education or psychology. It could, for example, be a reflection of someone’s behavior. The final type is the personal type, which delves into your thoughts and feelings about a personal subject.

Reflection Paper Format

Reflection papers are not usually formatted in any particular way. Because it is your opinion, professors usually let you handle it however you see fit. It is best to write your thoughts freely, without any guidelines. If your professor assigned you a reflection paper, the format of your paper may be determined by the criteria set by your professor. College reflection papers (also known as reflection essays) typically range in length from 400 to 800 words.

If you want your reflection paper to look professional, read one of our articles on how to format.





Chicago style

Here’s how we can suggest you format your reflection paper:


How to Start a Reflection Paper

The first step in writing a reflection essay is to thoroughly read your article while taking notes. You want to highlight key ideas and concepts when reflecting on an activity, book/newspaper, or academic essay, for example.

You can begin writing your reflection paper by summarizing the main idea of your notes to ensure that your paper contains all of the information required by your readers. It is beneficial to include charts, diagrams, and lists to better communicate your ideas to the audience.

It’s time to brainstorm after you’ve finished reading your article. For writing reflection papers, we have a simple brainstorming technique. Simply answer the following basic questions:

  • How did you feel after reading the article?
  • How does this article pique the reader’s interest (or does it at all)?
  • Has the article influenced your decision in any way? If so, please explain how.
  • Did the article leave you with any unanswered questions?
  • Were there any critical issues that went unaddressed in the article?
  • Does the article remind you of anything you’ve read in the past?
  • Does the article correspond to any of your previous reading experiences?

Before you begin writing your own, consider the following reflection paper topic examples:

  • How my feelings about rap music have evolved over time Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, as reflected and interpreted by me
  • Why has my theory about the size of the universe evolved over time?
  • How my clinical psychological observations have evolved over the last year

Your brainstorming should result in a written outline of the contents of your future paper. Make sure not to skip this step because it will ensure that your essay has a proper flow and organization.

Another effective method for organizing your thoughts is to write them down in a three-column chart or table.


Writing a Reflection Paper Outline


Your introduction should state what you’re thinking about. Make sure your thesis informs your reader about your general position, or opinion, on your topic.

  • Explain what you’re analyzing (a passage, a lecture, an academic article, an experience, etc…).
  • Provide a brief summary of the work.
  • Create a thesis statement that describes how your subject has influenced you.

One way to begin your thesis is to write:


“I gained knowledge of…” after reading/experiencing (your chosen topic).


Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should examine your ideas and experiences in relation to your topic. Make certain that each new body paragraph begins with a topic sentence.

If you are writing about a book or an academic article, you may include quotes and passages in your reflection. They provide your reader with a reference point to fully comprehend your feedback. Please feel free to describe what you saw, heard, and how you felt.


“I noticed a large number of people taking part in our weight experiment. The atmosphere was tense but energizing. The event’s excitement astounded me.”



You should summarize what you’ve learned from the experience, as you would in any conclusion. Tell the reader how your newfound knowledge has influenced your overall understanding of the subject. Describe how you felt and what you learned as a result of the reading or experience.

There are several effective ways to conclude a reflection paper:

  • Connect all of the ideas from your body paragraphs and generalize the major insights you’ve gained.
  • Restate your thesis and summarize your paper’s content.

A separate blog post is dedicated to writing an effective conclusion. Check it out for a detailed look at how to make a good final impression on your reader.

Do you need a helping hand with your reflection paper outline? Count on the support of our professional writers.

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

Step 1: Create a Main Theme

After you’ve chosen your topic, write a brief summary of what you’ve learned from your experience with it. Allow readers to know how you feel about your topic—and be honest about it. Your readers will most likely be able to relate to your opinion or, at the very least, the way you form your perspective, which will help them understand your reflection better.

For example:

I was able to rethink my preconceived notions about the negative effects of cold exposure after watching a TEDx episode on Wim Hof.


Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas and Experiences You’ve Had Related to Your Topic

You can jot down specific quotes, predispositions, things that influenced you, or anything else that comes to mind. Be specific and explain how you felt in simple terms.

For example:

• Many people believe that even a small amount of carbohydrates will cause people to gain weight.


  • During a period when I was struggling with an excess weight, I completely avoided carbohydrates.
  • The consequences of my actions, which prompted my research
  • Nutritional science evidence and studies claiming that carbohydrates alone are to blame for obesity.
  • My newfound knowledge of eating a healthy diet with a well-balanced nutrient intak
  • The impact of other people’s perceptions of the dangers of carbohydrates, and the role they have played in my lif
  • Innovative concepts As a result of my shift in perspective, I’ve created


Step 3: Analyse How and Why These Ideas and Experiences Have Affected Your Interpretation of Your Theme

Choose an idea or experience from the previous step and expand on it. Write down your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing.

For example:

I was raised to believe that carbohydrates cause people to gain weight.


Most people believe that eating carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, and sugar will cause them to gain weight. I was so convinced of this myth that I avoided all carbohydrates. As a result, my blood glucose levels were extremely low. To finally overcome my beliefs, I had to do a lot of my own research. Following that, I adopted the philosophy of “everything in moderation” as a key to living a healthy lifestyle.

Step 4: Make Connections Between Your Observations, Experiences, and Opinions

Connect your ideas and insights to create a unified picture of your theme. You can also try to identify and deconstruct your assumptions, which you may want to challenge in the future.

There are some topics for reflection papers that are frequently written about. They are as follows:

  • \sBook


  • Begin by describing the author’s biography and summarizing the plot without revealing the ending to keep your readers interested. Include the names of the characters, the main themes, and any issues raised in the book. Finally, express your thoughts and thoughts on the book.
  • \sCourse


  • A good place to start is with the course title and description. Then you can write about the course flow, explain why you took it, and tell readers what you learned from it. Because this is a reflection paper, express your thoughts and back them up with examples from the course.
  • \sProject


  • The structure of a project reflection paper follows the same guidelines as that of a course. One thing you might want to include is the course’s pros and cons. Mention any changes you’d like to see, and assess how applicable the skills you’ve learned are in real life.
  • \sInterview


  • To begin, introduce the person and briefly describe the topic of the interview. Discuss the main points, controversies, and your feelings about that person.

Writing Tips

Everyone has their own way of writing a reflective essay – and that’s the beauty of it; you have a lot of leeway with this type of paper – but there are a few guidelines that everyone should follow.

Before you begin writing your paper, read some examples of other papers; they will most likely help you understand what they are and how to approach yours. When choosing a topic, try to write about something unusual and memorable — this is more likely to pique your readers’ interest. Never write the entire essay all at once. Schedule your time slots for working on your reflection paper at least a day apart. This will free up your mind to generate new ideas and reflections.

  • Keep it short and sweet.


  • The majority of reflection papers are between 250 and 750 words long. Don’t veer off into tangents. Include only pertinent information.
  • Concise and clear


  • Make your paper as concise and clear as possible. Use a strong thesis statement so that your essay can follow it with the same vigor.
  • Keep the Right Tone


  • Even if the writing is personal, use a professional and academic tone. • Cite Your Sources


  • Make an effort to cite authoritative sources and experts to back up your personal opinions.


  • Not only should you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but you should also proofread with an eye toward organization. Respond to the question posed in the introduction.Reflection Paper: Video Guide



Free Reflection Paper Example

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of writing a reflection paper and how to approach it, we’d like to show you some examples that will undoubtedly assist you in getting started on your paper.

Reflection of Angela Jones’ Lecture on Poverty


The lecture began with a quote from Buzz Aldrin: “If we can conquer space, we can conquer world hunger.” This quote had already made me consider how incredible it is that we have sent humans and animals into space. If it is possible to survive in the infinite vacuum known as Space, how come billions of people struggle to survive on Earth? This seemingly simple idea drew my attention and made me feel sympathy for all of the world’s starving children and families. On a typical morning, our guest professor delivered a lecture that had a profound impact on me.











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