What is a reflection paper? How is this different from other writing?

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A reflection paper is one in which you give your thoughts, or reflect, on a topic. The topics set for reflection papers cover a wider range than those assigned for academic writing, and the focus is on your personal response to the topic, which could be a book or poem, a place, an idea, a situation, a decision you have made, or something else.

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A reflection paper, as the name suggests, is a piece of writing in which you reflect on, or think about, a topic. A reflection paper may cover the same topic as an argumentative essay, but it is less formal and more personal in tone, and it does not have a specific thesis.

One might, for instance, write a reflection paper on a book, such as The Great Gatsby. However, while an academic essay might focus on the central themes of the novel, asking what it says about the American Dream or the power of money, a reflection paper would focus on the effect the book had on you. What aspects and characters made the greatest impression, and why? What in the book relates to your experiences and preoccupations? Given that the novel is one of the most famous works of American literature, did you have any preconceptions about it, and how did these relate to your actual experience of reading the book?

Although they can cover the same topic as academic essays, reflection papers are typically set on a wider ranger of experiences. These might include a place to which you have traveled, a difficult decision you have had to make, or a life-changing experience you have had. Although the structure is less rigid than it would be in an academic essay, a reflection paper still needs a pattern of organization to prevent it from rambling.

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