How to write a reflection paper

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How to write a reflection paper

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1. Answer key questions.To write a reflection paper, you need to be able to observe your own thoughts and reactions to the material you’ve been given. A good way to start is by answering a series of key questions.For example:What was your first reaction to the material? Was it positive, negative, or neutral?Do you find the writer (or director, presenter, etc.) to be credible?Has the material changed your mind in some way?Which issues or questions does the material fail to address?What new or remaining questions do you have after reading/viewing the material?What have you learned from this material?Does it remind you of any personal experiences, or anything else you’ve seen or read?Answering these questions will help you formulate your own opinions, draw conclusions, and write an insightful reflection.2. Identify a theme.Once you’ve answered a few basic questions, look at your responses and see if you can identify any common themes.What’s the main takeaway? If you could summarize your thoughts on this piece in one sentence, what would you say?Think about what you’ve learned, or how the material has affected you. Be honest about how you feel, especially if the material incites any strong opinions or reactions from you.3. Summarize.Your reflection paper should not be just a mere summary of the material you’ve read or studied. However, you should give a recap of the most important aspects, and offer specific examples when necessary to back up any assertions you make.Include information about the author (if you’re writing about a book or article). If you’re writing about a work of fiction, very briefly and concisely summarize the plot. If writing about nonfiction, share the author’s thesis, or the main argument they’re trying to make.Just be careful to not overdo the summary—you don’t want to reproduce or offer a play-by-play of the original work, but rather offer enough context so readers can appreciate your reflection and analysis.4. Analyze.Your reflection paper is a great place to practice your critical thinking skills, which include analysis. The questions in Step 1 will offer you a good start when it comes to thinking more analytically.Once you’ve offered enough context for your readers by including a brief summary, analyze thethe overall tone of the workthe credibility of the writer (or producer of the content)potential biasesthe intended purpose of the materialIf you’re writing a reflection paper on a work of fiction, be sure to check out our guide to writing a literary analysis.5. Make connections.reflection paper tips imageDoes the material remind you of any personal experiences you’ve had, or other books or films you’ve encountered? Can you connect it to any current events or real-world examples?Then, zoom out and try to see the bigger picture. What do these connections have in common? Can you point out a larger, more universal theme?The more of these connections you can tie in to your reflection to create a cohesive picture, the better.

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