How to write a self-reflection paper

Updated February 17, 2017

A self-reflection is a great opportunity to learn more about your experience and think critically about what you've learnt. It is a valuable resource for self-teaching and learning more than what you thought you could from a project, experience or course. In self-reflection, the major principles to remember are specificity, connective thinking and honesty about challenges and obstacles.

Write an outline with three to five major points you'd like to cover. These points could include specific things you learnt during a process or could represent categories. For instance: improvements, challenges, strengths, weaknesses and new goals/interests.

Write a short paragraph for each main point. In each paragraph, be as specific as possible about your experience and your review of th experience. For instance, if you are assessing your completion of an essay revision, you might include details such as the following:

-How you reorganised your thoughts

-What patterns of error you were able to find and correct (e.g., comma splices and run-on sentences)

-what you learnt specifically about the proofreading process (e.g., It is helpful to proofread an essay aloud to catch mistakes.)

Write an introduction that broadly introduces the overall topic. The introduction paragraph should consist of a few sentences and give the reader a hint of what you'll cover in the rest of the paper.

For example: In the process of revising my essay, I learnt a great deal about organising, writing effectively and proofreading. Reflecting on the process, I understand the importance of writing multiple drafts and editing thoroughly, as well as asking someone else to proofread my writing.

Write a conclusion. Leave the reader with an ending paragraph that reiterates the importance of what you learnt, not simply a verbatim account of the points in the body of your paper.

Print and proofread your self-reflection. Read it aloud, and mark any sentences that need editing. This way, you can return to the computer and easily make the necessary edits to polish the final draft.


Proofreading aloud will help you catch errors that your eyes might miss. The brain corrects things when you read silently, so it is important to read aloud so you can hear the mistakes and catch punctuation, spelling and structural errors.

Things You'll Need

  • computer with word processing software
  • printer
  • pencil or pen
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About the Author

Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.