Simple Steps to Start Writing a Reflection Paper


Wondering how to write a reflection paper? It’s quite a common task for students to write in all schools and colleges, be it higher or secondary education. This is why learning how to write a paper focused on reflection is extremely important for your academic success.

Paper reflections are quite interesting yet challenging to write. They must have a formal quality and simultaneously should be an expression of your personality. Your thoughts, opinions, and notions should shine through as you write the dissertation.

We’ve got helpful tips and insights prepared for you! Simply read through all the information we’ve included, and you’ll learn how to write a paper reflection with ease.

What’s the Purpose of a Paper Reflection?

Before learning how to start a reflection paper, let’s discuss what it is and why it’s ubiquitous. Paper reflections are focused on expressing your personal notions on a specific topic, sufficiently supplying the ideas with thought-out arguments.

If a student knows how to write one well, they show that they’re capable of many important skills. These include things like:

  • Critical thinking
  • Highlighting important points
  • Logical reasoning, and so on

What’s also different when you write a paper reflection in opposition to other assignments is this. You usually simply retell other people’s ideas, be it other academics, prominent scientists, or simply one of the greats. When you write a paper reflection, you get a chance to express your thoughts as if you were on the same level as other great thinkers.

Of course, writing this type of task has its own complications, which we’ll partially address down below.

Generally, reflective papers have only 2 types. The type of task will surely define how you will approach writing it. However, as a learner, you have much less to worry about, because most likely, you’ll have to deal with only one type.

Experiential Type

People usually write this type of assignment as they’re completing their work at some place. Psychologists, teachers, social workers are usually writing such reflective papers well into their professional lives.

They pick a subject that sticks out to them the most and expresses their real-life observations made at work. Quite often, they also conduct personal empirical research to expand on their topic as best they can.

Reading-Based Type

This is the type you’re more likely to deal with several times throughout your education. Reflective writing based on reading is when you read a couple of professional works on a specific topic.

Then, you analyze and assess the information present in the sources you used and gather your own ideas. After that, you simply put your notions on paper in words.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Formatting the Paper Reflection

Let’s move forwards to more details on how to write a reflection. These papers usually don’t have strict requirements when it comes to the actual formatting per se. As the text you wrote is mostly your beliefs and notions, tutors don’t commonly put many limitations.

The only restriction you’ll have is the word count. Paper reflections are usually between 500 and 900 total words. However, it’s, of course, a subject to change according to your tutor. The formatting is usually one of the main academic formatting styles.

If you don’t even have a defined formatting style, we recommend going with the following option. Double-space the entire text, and don’t indent the first word on each paragraph. Instead, let the paragraphs have space after them to distinguish between them. Have a single-inch margin on all sides and use the 12-points size Times New Roman font.

How Do I Begin on a Paper Reflection?

Not even a reflection paper example will help you to write the task.


Because no amount of reading paper reflections on unrelated topics will prompt you to come up with interesting ideas yourself. Yes, you can borrow the way someone structures or formats their text. Still, it won’t result in you coming up with something good and being able to write it down.

Yes, the hardest part of such a task that we mentioned is being creative. Reading something and then generating your own unique arguments is incredibly hard. However, it’s not impossible, and we can help you with this part.

By following our steps, you’ll easily single out interesting ideas and write the paper you want. Yes, being creative is a skill that you can work on, just like writing academic reflections.

So, don’t fret and employ our tips below.

Assess What You’ve Read

First and foremost, you have to have researched the topic you’ll be writing the reflection paper on. It’s the main prerequisite for writing the task, without which you won’t know what you’re really writing about.

After reading each source, write small summaries, concisely retelling the main points and their developments. Also, include whether these points are in contradiction to the common sense or beliefs people have.

Expand Your Thoughts

When you’re done with reading up and researching, it’s time to ask yourself important questions for the reflection you’ll write.

What do you know about the topic of the paper, knew previously, and learned after research?

Consider your current personal opinion on the subject and write out all your notions in a list. Don’t worry about keeping everything structured, simply focus on generating content.

Organize It All

After you finalized the main ideas for the reflection paper, you should organize them. We recommend using a 3-column technique.

  • For the first column, you write out the main one-word adjectives from the ideas list.
  • The second column will then include short explanations and reasonings to the initially included adjectives related to the topic.
  • Lastly, the third column contains your reactions and reflections on the ideas in the two other columns.

Revise Until Satisfied

After writing out the 3 columns, you have fully-developed points and arguments you can include in your paper. Don’t be afraid to change your reflection points! Revise them until you’re satisfied with them enough to add them to the paper.

Write a Paper Reflection the Correct Way

Here, we’ll continue to discuss reflection paper format, but a different aspect. After you’ve written your reflections and sufficiently developed them, you can start thinking about the paper structure itself.

As we’ve mentioned, there are typically no special requirements for a paper of a reflection type. For this reason, most of them end up having a common essay structure of intro, main part and ending. Since the papers with academic reflection aren’t that big, the writing stage isn’t that hard.

In fact, many learners say that having done this preparatory work of coming up with ideas makes writing effortless. However, you shouldn’t write before thinking out what you’ll include in each section of the paper.

Intro Section

The intro section should merely introduce the reader to what you’re sharing your opinions on. In other words, you can think of this part as a very small thesis for the whole paper. State the specific subject you’re talking about, summarizing the main points.

Main Part

According to the generality of the reflection paper format, you can structure this part as you want to. Be it more argumentative or narrative type, you must ensure that your ideas flow from and to each other.

Make sure to include quotes and facts to reason your opinions in the paper. Another thing to include is your emotions in the reflections to make the text more expressive.


As the case is with all the endings in other papers, your reflections should come into a single point. The ending should blend all the ideas you talked about in the main part. Don’t be afraid to simplify your notions for the end because you’ve presumably discussed the detail in the main part.

Advice on How to Write the Paper Reflection

Eager to write the Reflection essay already?

We recommend that you first sketch out all the paragraphs for the paper reflection.

How? Simply write one sentence idea for each potential paragraph according to the structure.

This will allow you to correctly place all your opinions in a continuous, uninterrupted flow. Then, the writing part becomes a matter of filling out the paragraphs, rather than coming up with everything at once.

Also, here are some helpful additional tips to keep you on track:

  • Don’t do on tangents or rants; keep your ideas concise.
  • Brevity s key: use the most impactful but shortest phrasings possible.
  • Keep it personal, not informal — preserve the academic stylings.
  • Don’t leave any fact or quote without a reference.

Get Help if You Need It!

Can’t do the task without a proper sample reflections paper?

It’s quite a hard assignment. So don’t get discouraged! Instead, you can delegate the reflection writing to a professional on our platform. They’ll gladly do it and aid with your academic load.

Reach out to us and get started!



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