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Steps in Writing a Reflection Paper

by Sean Butner, Demand Media Google

    Reflection papers allow students the chance to reinforce what they have learned through coursework, lectures and personal experience. Although reflection papers focus on the writer's personal feelings and experiences, they often require multiple sources and frequent use of concrete examples. Often, students involved in experiential classes or capstones such as internships or practicums find reflection papers invaluable for synthesizing their theoretical knowledge with their applied experience. Learning how to write a reflection paper helps you organize your thoughts methodically and gain more from practical experience.

    Step 1

    Provide a brief summary. Write a narrative of your experience with the topic upon which you are reflecting. Detail factual information, as well as your feelings and impressions.

    Step 2

    Compare your experience with your prior knowledge. Introduce any ideas that you had encountered. Point out why you feel the concept pertains to the experience. For instance, if you are reflecting on a lesson plan you had taught, you could discuss articles that you have read on writing and teaching lesson plans.

    Step 3

    Analyze your experience according to the theoretical concept. Illustrate the ways in which your experience diverged from what the theory expects as well as how closely it conformed to theoretical expectations. Discuss why you feel the theory either described or did not describe your experiences.

    Step 4

    Edit your reflection paper. Look for the thesis of your paper. Adjust your paper to keep a consistent focus on that thesis. Check for grammatical and stylistic errors.

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    About the Author

    Sean Butner has been writing news articles, blog entries and feature pieces since 2005. His articles have appeared on the cover of "The Richland Sandstorm" and "The Palimpsest Files." He is completing graduate coursework in accounting through Texas A&M University-Commerce. He currently advises families on their insurance and financial planning needs.

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