How to Create an Outline for a Reflection Paper

Your outline should be handwritten so that you can highlight key points.

You have just watched a film or read a book in class. Or perhaps your class discussed a particular concept or listened to a guest speaker. Regardless of the particular venue, your teacher has now asked you to write a reflection paper about the experience and your first step is creating an outline for it. You know that your paper will need a good introduction, a middle portion and a conclusion, but you're not sure what each section should contain. One method is to follow a simple formula.

Make a list of the main points of the speech, film, or story. You should have at least four or five key points.

Expand each of the items listed in Step 1. Think of quotes, examples and details that support the main items.

List your thoughts and feelings on each of the main points. Give examples from your own life that relate to these points when possible.

Write an introduction for your paper. The introduction should include a summary of the speech, film or incident you are reflecting on. Your final sentence--the thesis statement--should give an overview of your thoughts.

Write a conclusion for your paper. This should give a brief summary of the material or explain how you will use this information in the future.

  • Write your outline by hand instead of using a computer. This will allow you more time for reflection, as well as allow you to highlight your ideas. While your outline can be written in any order, many people find it easier to write the body of the paper before the introduction and conclusion.

Carolyn Kaberline has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications and have covered a variety of topics. In addition to writing, she's also a full-time high-school English and journalism teacher. Kaberline earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical journalism from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts in education from Baker University.