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How to Write a Reflective Essay With Sample Essays

How to Write a Reflective Essay

❶Images, sounds, or other sensory portions of your experience work, as well.

What Can You Write About in a Reflective Essay?

I Survived a Writing Class
What Is a Reflective Essay?
Collection of essays on any occasion!

Mention how your subjective values, experiences, and beliefs influence your response. In the third and last column, describe how much of your personal response to share in your reflection paper.

Ask yourself questions to guide your response. If you are struggling to gauge your own feelings or pinpoint your own response, try asking yourself questions about the experience or reading and how it relates to you. Sample questions might include: Does the reading, lecture, or experience challenge you socially, culturally, emotionally, or theologically? If so, where and how? Why does it bother you or catch your attention?

Has the reading, lecture, or experience changed your way of thinking? Did it conflict with beliefs you held previously, and what evidence did it provide you with in order to change your thought process on the topic? Does the reading, lecture, or experience leave you with any questions? Were these questions ones you had previously or ones you developed only after finishing?

Did the author, speaker, or those involved in the experience fail to address any important issues? Could a certain fact or idea have dramatically changed the impact or conclusion of the reading, lecture, or experience? How do the issues or ideas brought up in this reading, lecture, or experience mesh with past experiences or readings?

Do the ideas contradict or support each other? Part 1 Quiz When charting your thoughts, which column would include your subjective values?

Your plan for your response paper. Keep it short and sweet. A typical reflection paper is between and words long. Verify whether or not your instructor specified a word count for the paper instead of merely following this average. If your instructor demands a word count outside of this range, meet your instructor's requirements. For a reading or lecture, indicate what you expected based on the title, abstract, or introduction.

For an experience, indicate what you expected based on prior knowledge provided by similar experiences or information from others. Develop a thesis statement. At the end of your introduction, you should include a single sentence that quickly explains your transition from your expectations to your final conclusion.

This is essentially a brief explanation of whether or not your expectations were met. A thesis provides focus and cohesion for your reflection paper. You could structure a reflection thesis along the following lines: Explain your conclusions in the body. Your body paragraphs should explain the conclusions or understandings you reached by the end of the reading, lesson, or experience. Your conclusions must be explained. You should provide details on how you arrived at those conclusions using logic and concrete details.

The focus of the paper is not a summary of the text, but you still need to draw concrete, specific details from the text or experience in order to provide context for your conclusions. Write a separate paragraph for each conclusion or idea you developed. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence.

This topic sentence should clearly identify your major points, conclusions, or understandings. Conclude with a summary. Your conclusion should succinctly describe the overall lesson, feeling, or understanding you got as a result of the reading or experience. The conclusions or understandings explained in your body paragraphs should support your overall conclusion. One or two may conflict, but the majority should support your final conclusion.

Part 2 Quiz What does every good body paragraph include? A topic sentence, a conclusion or new understanding, and an explanation of how you reached that conclusion.

A thesis statement including your conclusion, a topic sentence, and an explanation of how you reached that conclusion. An introduction including your expectations, a topic sentence, and evidence supporting your topic sentence. A reflection paper is somewhat personal in that it includes your subjective feelings and opinions. Instead of revealing everything about yourself, carefully ask yourself if something is appropriate before including it in your paper.

If you feel uncomfortable about a personal issue that affects the conclusions you reached, it is wisest not to include personal details about it. If a certain issue is unavoidable but you feel uncomfortable revealing your personal experiences or feelings regarding it, write about the issue in more general terms. Identify the issue itself and indicate concerns you have professionally or academically.

Maintain a professional or academic tone. A reflection paper is personal and objective, but you should still keep your thoughts organized and sensible.

Avoid dragging someone else down in your writing. If a particular person made the experience you are reflecting on difficult, unpleasant, or uncomfortable, you must still maintain a level of detachment as you describe that person's influence. Avoid slang and always use correct spelling and grammar. Do not treat it as a personal journal entry. Check and double-check your spelling and grammar after you finish your paper. Review your reflection paper at the sentence level.

A clear, well-written paper must have clear, well-written sentences. Keep your sentences focused. Avoid squeezing multiple ideas into one sentence. Make sure that each sentence has a subject and a verb. Vary your sentence length. Include both simple sentences with a single subject and verb and complex sentences with multiple clauses. Doing so makes your paper sound more conversational and natural, and prevents the writing from becoming too wooden.

Transitional phrases shift the argument and introduce specific details. They also allow you to illustrate how one experience or detail directly links to a conclusion or understanding.

Common transitional phrases include "for example," "for instance," "as a result," "an opposite view is," and "a different perspective is. Relate relevant classroom information to the experience or reading.

You can incorporate information you learned in the classroom with information addressed by the reading, lecture, or experience. For instance, if reflecting on a piece of literary criticism, you could mention how your beliefs and ideas about the literary theory addressed in the article relate to what your instructor taught you about it or how it applies to prose and poetry read in class.

As another example, if reflecting on a new social experience for a sociology class, you could relate that experience to specific ideas or social patterns discussed in class. Part 3 Quiz What is an example of something you should include in your writing? The first-person point of view. How do I write a reflective essay without using the personal article "I"? You can use "one" instead.

For example, "One might say Not Helpful 17 Helpful Think of your answers to the following questions: Do you like dolphins? How have dolphins changed your life? Do dolphins help you with everyday tasks? If you were a dolphin for a day, what would you do? These are the tough questions that you need to ask in order to start writing your paper. Not Helpful 35 Helpful It can have as many paragraphs as you see fit, but there is usually at least an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

It depends on what your instructor outlines as an expectation. Usually this will be outlined in the assignment if the answer is 'yes". Not Helpful 28 Helpful If I have five questions to answer in a reflection paper, should I have a title in bold for each question and my reflection below them?

Not Helpful 20 Helpful List all of the qualities a leader needs, and then write how each of those leadership roles applies to you. Not Helpful 22 Helpful Once could start with a statement or question: Not Helpful 14 Helpful If you are writing it on a film and a piece of writing, compare and contrast the two. A reflection paper is your personal opinions; write about what you thought of the two - whether you liked or disliked them.

Here are some useful questions that you can consider:. Do you think these were the right choices? Was it a useful learning experience? What specific skills or perspectives did you acquire as a result? These signpost questions should help kick-start your reflective process. Remember, asking yourself lots of questions is key to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences — a skill that is at the heart of writing a great reflective essay.

Consider using models of reflection before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis. For example, before you really get stuck into the process, consider questions such as: Are there any possible challenges to keep in mind?

What knowledge is needed to be best prepared to approach the experience? Is the process working out as expected? Am I dealing with the accompanying challenges successfully? Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful? What am I learning from this? Your writing will be so much more coherent, your ideas conveyed with structure and clarity, and your essay will likely achieve higher marks.

An outline allows you to establish the basic details that you plan to incorporate into your paper — this is great for helping you pick out any superfluous information, which can be removed entirely to make your essay succinct and to the point. Think of the outline as a map — you plan in advance the points you wish to navigate through and discuss in your writing. Your work will more likely have a clear through line of thought, making it easier for the reader to understand.

It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. But what remains the same, is that you need to start your outline by drafting the introduction, body and conclusion. More on this below. Introduction As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin within an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. Refer back to the opening quote of this article — did it grab your attention and encourage you to read more?

The thesis statement is a brief summary of the focus of the essay, which in this case is a particular experience that influenced you significantly.

Body Next up is planning the body of your essay. They key here is to put plenty of time and effort into planning the body, and you can draw on the following tips to help you do this well:. Try adopting a chronological approach. This means working through everything you want to touch upon as it happened in time. This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent. Lay out the important elements of your experience in a timeline — this will then help you clearly see how to piece your narrative together.

Ensure the body of your reflective essay is well focused, and contains appropriate critique and reflection. The body should not only summarise your experience, it should explore the impact that the experience has had on your life, as well as the lessons that you have learned as a result. The emphasis should generally be on reflection as opposed to summation.

Conclusion In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by providing a summary of both the points made throughout, and what you have learned as a result. Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviours have been changed. Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations?

What might you do differently in similar situations in the future? What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience?

Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard. Congratulations — you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process.

As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper or more likely fingers to keyboard can be daunting. But if you have put in the time and effort fleshing out a thorough plan, you should be well prepared, which will make the writing process as smooth as possible.

The following points should also help ease the writing process:. But make sure you stick to your plan. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes. Remember that reflective writing has a descriptive component and so must have a wide range of adjectives to draw from. Be more specific — this will make your writing more engaging. Remember that this is a reflective task, and is the one place you can freely admit — without any repercussions — that you failed at a particular task.

When assessing your essay, your tutor will expect a deep level of reflection, not a simple review of your experiences and emotion.

Showing deep reflection requires you to move beyond the descriptive. Be extremely critical about your experience and your response to it. In your evaluation and analysis, ensure that you make value judgements, incorporating ideas from outside the experience you had to guide your analysis.

Remember that you can be honest about your feelings without writing in a direct way. Use words that work for you and are aligned with your personality. Looking back, how successful has the process been? Think about your opinions immediately after the experience and how they differ now, so that you can evaluate the difference between your immediate and current perceptions. Asking yourself such questions will help you achieve reflective writing effectively and efficiently.

It helps keeps your writing dynamic! Think about possible sources, like newspapers, surveys, books and even journal articles. Generally, the additional sources you decide to include in your work are highly dependent on your field of study.

Analysing a wide range of sources, will show that you have read widely on your subject area, that you have nuanced insight into the available literature on the subject of your essay, and that you have considered the broader implications of the literature for your essay.

The incorporation of other sources into your essay also helps to show that you are aware of the multi-dimensional nature of both the learning and problem-solving process.

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Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI).

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May 19,  · Step-by-step explaining how to write a reflection paper with topic ideas and a sample igmosb.gqs:

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What makes a successful reflective essay? Great guidelines on how to write a reflective essay for your college. This is a presentation explaining the process of writing reflective essays. It includes structuring the essay using a reflective model and suggestions for intr.

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A reflective essay, akin to a diary entry, is one of those sorts of essays that seem oh so easy, and yet oh so hard to write, all at the same time. An essay on "My Summer Vacation" could be a reflective essay. However, a reflective essay is not to be confused with an informative essay. While an informative essay relates facts like where you went, what you did, and how much things cost, a reflective essay is an evaluation.