What is a reflective essay and How to write it?
A reflective essay is an essay in which the writer writes about the topic as per his/her real-life experiences. Basically, it talks about the writer’s personal opinions and experience on a particular subject (Topic). Its structure depends on the purpose, and who the audience is for that essay. For Example, A reflective essay written for the college course will differ from the reflective essay written for the magazine because of the change of audience and purpose.
At first, it seems like an effortless task, but when students write it they realize that the academic reflective essay requires a lot more than what they think of. It requires a conscientious approach and attention to every detail to ensure that it exposes the relevant information.
To write a reflective essay it is essential to choose an appropriate topic and set a direction of your thoughts regarding that. It will help you focus on the details which you are going to include in your essay and also help you narrow down the information. Doing this will lead you the right way to write a reflective report.
But what exactly you need to include in your reflective report? What are the core areas in which you need to focus and how to write a perfect reflective report? The answer to all the above question is in the structure of an academic reflective essay which I am explaining here.
Structure of a Reflective Essay:
The structure of a reflective essay comprises an introduction, body and conclusion. The academic reflective essay’s structure doesn’t differ a lot from others, but it is mandatory to include all the details as per the topic chosen and to follow all the requirements.
An introduction has a brief idea provided by the writer about the topic so that the reader understands the major focus of reflection. You can include here a few key features, which will be discussed later in the body part of the essay. One should write a statement on how this experience has influenced him/her in such a way that catches the eye of your reader.
The introduction allows the author to imply the key idea of an essay directly or indirectly. An essay hook should be used to focus on the different aspects of the essay which you will be covering later.
The Introduction part plays a vital role in attracting the attention of your reader from the beginning, and that is why always keep it interesting by providing an engaging and important detail, but it should avoid also revealing too much information in the introduction.
Suggestions: Although an academic reflective essay should be more direct in explaining what aspect of experiences the writer will talk about, you can also start your Introduction with a quote, a short story or a flashback and even to make it interesting you should also use quotations.
The body part describes the reasons that motivated the writer to select the particular topic and what exactly he/she wants to achieve with this reflective essay. It explains what the writer has learned with the experience or what things caused the writer to build a particular opinion regarding the topic.
The two ways of scientific research are deductive and inductive. In deductive research, the real-life cases are tested by theory or hypothesis, whereas the inductive research generates theories and explanations to understand why something has happened in real life.
It is always considered good practice to not only share the change but also provide supporting examples with it. For example, if the writer has discussed becoming optimistic in life than the example should be provided, which shows what has caused for the particular change. Such incidents will always add weight to support the writer’s opinion. The body part is a combination of thoughts with proper references.
Suggestions: Provide critique and reflections about the key idea, follow chronological succession.
The conclusion is a sum of the entire essay, should be transparent, formulated and concise as per the information and facts mentioned in the essay. Here, you have to summarize the work briefly and objectively, which shows the positive and negative aspects of the mentioned situation/experience. The transformations should be listed along with the statement that explains whether you find it useful to overcome difficulties on the way to success or not.
Suggestions: The writer needs to be competent, sound reasonable and confident while concluding his/her essay.
Few tips to write an exceptional reflective essay:
- Provide at least 1-inch margins from all sides and use visible font size.
- Reflective essays should be written from one’s personal experiences try not to invent.
- Don’t use slang words and use formal language and follow the scientific style of writing.
- Always provide references to support your essay.
- Follow the requirements/guidelines of the essay and write as per that only.
- Focus on the core idea of your essay, don’t make it too long or tedious. It should be clear and concise.
The purpose of a reflective essay is to express writer’s personal experiences, emotions and attitudes regarding significant life incidents. Always remember to read your reflection essay few times to make sure you have covered all the requirements of the essay.
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