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How To Make A Reflection Paper

How to make a reflection paper

What is a reflection paper? A reflection paper is a review of what you've learned. It's about you, how you understand an experience you've had, and your thoughts on how it's changed you. There are two types of reflection, experiential (about what you've experienced) and reading (about what you've read).

Types of reflection papers

Experiential – This is popular in professional programs, like nursing, education, and business. Reflection is used to make the connection between theory and practice. Using your observations and practice in the field, you can evaluate your own knowledge and skills, as well as assess a theory or approach. This provides you with time to think about your choices and actions, with the resulting successes or failures.

Reading – Generally, reading reflection assignments are meant to get you to give your opinion about ideas presented in the text that you read, along with your classroom experience, and how both affect your thinking. Reading reflections are not a summary of the course readings or meant to be a mind dump on paper.

Understand the assignment

Before you even begin writing, it's important to understand the assignment. There are a few "housekeeping" things that should be clear before you start. They include:

  • The word limit (if any)

  • How much the paper counts against your course grade

  • The reason you're being asked to write the reflection paper

  • What your instructor expects you to learn by writing

  • What you expect to learn by writing

  • Who the audience is (you, a classmate, your instructor?)

  • What tone of voice is expected (personal/conversational, or academic?)

Read the assignment instructions carefully, highlighting key words if needed.

Create an outline

An outline will help you organize your writing. Brainstorm some key ideas and words. Your outline will probably look something like this:

  • Introduction

    • Main purpose for this reflection paper

    • Lessons learned from your experience

    • How your views or thoughts changed

    • An introduction to the main themes that will be written about in the paper's body

  • Key themes

    • For each theme:

      • Identify the theme

      • Expand on personal experiences that support the theme

      • Note connections to course materials or personal experiences, also to support the theme

  • Final thoughts/conclusion

    • Highlights of your experiences, what you learned, and what happens or happened afterwards

Write the first draft

You've done some brainstorming, and created an outline. Now it's time to start writing. This won't be a finished product, but your first draft. Don't worry if it's not perfect. That's what first drafts are for. They're meant to be a rough version that you can build on for the final product. Make use of your outline, and write out the details.

Revising and editing the first draft

Revising, editing, and proofreading are important parts of every form of writing. Give yourself some time between writing the first draft and the revision process. You need to be able to see your reflection paper with fresh eyes. Check through each of the components of the paper.

Content – Is information presented in a clear way, at the right point in the paper? Does your paper go into enough depth and detail? But don't go too deep – make sure there isn't too much detail. Check that all the information is relevant. If some of the material doesn't meet these criteria, cut it.

Structure – How you've structured the paper, and the flow between its parts, is important. A reader should be able to follow your logic without getting confused or losing their way.

Paragraphs – Every paragraph should have a main idea and a purpose. It needs to be cohesive and connected from beginning to end. The information should flow and not be disjointed.

Clarity – Each sentence should have a focus on one idea or point, and it needs to be clear. If you read a sentence out loud does it sound awkward? If it does, rephrase it. for a new

Style – Style will depend on your audience. Is your language too informal or too formal? Should your paper be phrased in a more academic manner, or be more personal?

Grammar – You will lose credibility as well as grade points if your spelling and grammar aren't correct.

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