The Complete Guide To Reflective Writing: Techniques, Tips & Example

It is human nature to reflect upon events and experiences. We tend to introspect and contemplate past happenings & gather insights from such ruminations.  Writing a reflection paper involves similar meditation on particular incidents and experiences. Irrespective of the subject or format, all kinds of reflective writing require one to brood upon some idea, person, or event and lay down the personal reflections. This article dives deep into the art of reflective essay writing and attempts to explore every one of its aspects in precise detail. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

What Is A Reflection Paper?

By definition, a reflection paper or any reflective write-ups consists of personal reflections and ruminations of a writer. The subject of reflective writing can range from particular experiences to self-reflections to informal evaluations of any entity. Reflection papers are an attempt by writers to dissect a particular academic or any other kind of endeavor or any educational material. Reflective writing is primarily about self-awareness as writers employ meta-cognition to think about their behavior, response, and ideas on a particular matter. Writing a reflection paper requires gathering one’s thoughts & cogitations and delivering them in an informal but cohesive manner. Many pupils struggle in this regard and need professional reflection essays & homework help to deliver their content.  Next up are some of the most commonly used reflective writing models and the generic reflection paper format & outline.

How To Write A Reflection Paper? Models, Format, and Outline

How to write a reflection paper- the answer to this is entirely subjective as every single person has their way of reflecting and introspecting. Nevertheless, specific general writing techniques and models exist that are applicable for different instances of reflective writings. Be it an academic essay writing or a professional paper; a writer must have a good idea about the specific traits and features of reflective writing to deliver a decisive paper.

  • Acute comprehensive and critical evaluation abilities

    are necessary to write a good reflection paper. Your comprehension of the central subject and subsequent scrutiny is the meat of the matter.
  • Reflect upon an experience and relate your ideas & knowledge with it. Evaluate any similarities and/or differences with your existing thoughts and describe the new insights gathered.
  • Relay your musings and ruminationsto the audience and show how your assumptions & ideas have been affected. And do everything in a clear, organized, focused, and analytical manner.
  • Organized structure and cohesive narrative are vital aspects of a reflection paper.  The write-up must not be disengaged from the central subject or appear unfocused.

Reflections on re-evaluated prior assumptions and insightful connections delivered via a focused narrative highlight a good reflection paper.

  • Comparison with past experiences, re-assessing assumptions & expectations, using existing knowledge to analyze & investigate a concept or phenomenon, illustrating the things learned- a reflection paper may require writers to approach a topic from varying angles.
  • Describing the learning outcomes of an experience or endeavor is a crucial aspect of a reflection paper. State what you have learned, how your ideas have changed or developed, and the significance of the things learned.

 Specific models of reflective writing exist that can aid writers in crafting a proper structure for their reflection paper.

Three notable models are:

  1. Reflection Before, During & After a Learning Process (Schön, 1983)

Think about what might happen, what challenges you might face, and what knowledge & preparation you need for the experience.  Then, reflect upon the event, its effects, and your responses as it occurs. Finally, introspect on everything that happened, what you learned, and any changes that occurred.

  1. Graham Gibbs Reflective Cycle

Description à Feelings & Thoughts à Evaluation à Analysis à Conclusion à Action Plan à Description .Think about how the experience made you feel, your evaluation & analysis of the event, the things learned, and then state your conclusion while mentioning the implications on your ideas & knowledge.

  1. 4R Model of Reflective Thinking

Reporting (Highlighting the details and importance of the event or experience),

Relating (making connections of the event with one’s experience, skills & knowledge),

Reasoning (describing personal experience and evaluation, reflecting upon new information gathered & delivering a holistic comprehension of the matter), and Reconstructing (further reflection during conclusion and musing over any alternative approaches)

The three reflective writing models above provide the perfect roadmap to crafting an excellent reflective paper on almost any subject possible.

The reader might have gathered a vague idea from the models mentioned above regarding the reflection paper format & outline.  The general outline or format of reflective writing involves:

  1. Introduction,where the subject of reflection and the significance of the paper is highlighted. Always keep in mind that this is how to start a reflection paper
  1. Thesis Statement that provides an idea about how the experience influenced the writer
  1. Body, which contains reflections and ruminations from an unbiased perspective
  1. A conclusion that reiterates vital points & contemplations and dwells into the ‘what ifs’

Formats and outlines of reflection papers are usually the same but structure does vary according to disciplines, subjects, and requirements. Before we round up this guide, here are some tips for writing good content, along with a short sample from a college reflection paper.

Reflective Writing Tips With A Short Example

  • Don't' describe but evaluate and reflect.
  • Don’t pour your feelings and opinions in an unstructured manner. Be cohesive and add constructive & relevant details.
  • Always relate to the central subject of the paper in the introduction if it has been mentioned.
  • Showcase your perspective and how it has been affected by the experience.
  • Use examples and evidence to highlight that you are well-informed.
  • Relate experiences with your ideas and compare.
  • Do not forget to contemplate how things could have been different if you had the information you acquired through the experience.
  • Keep things concise and get straight to the point.
  • Write in the first person.
  • Use an informal tone and keep it personal.
  • Add examples, pieces of evidence, and citations properly.
  • Edit and proofread before submission.

Keep the tips above in your mind while writing your reflection paper for the best results. And, below is a sample from a reflection paper on a student’s musings on his/her final year engineering training course.

A Sample From A Reflection Essay

“..I never thought my theoretical ideas were so inadequate until I visited the locomotive repair shed. There was a stark difference between the things we learn in the books and their real-life implementations. For example, the diagram of a traction motor in books has minimal resemblance with a massive structure with numerous wirings, couplings, relays, rectifiers, and cooling systems. The experience changed my outlook about electrical engineering and made me that much more motivated about obtaining a thorough practical idea about the actual designs & practical considerations…." And, with that, we conclude this guide. Hope it acts as a reliable source of information for delivering exceptional reflection papers. But, if you find yourself struggling to reflect in a focused manner, then do not worry, as has your back.

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