APA Reflection Paper Outline Complete Guide

APA Reflection Paper Outline Complete Guide

Writing imaginative Reflection Essays is an excellent way for students to improve their analytical thinking abilities. When writing using an APA format, it is necessary that students have an APA reflection paper outline. Using these types of papers, students can potentially refine their thinking while enhancing their analytical skills.

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APA reflection paper outline

We at Myhomeworkwriters.com provides students with knowledge on how to write a Reflection Paper. For years now, My Homework Writers has solidified its place as the best online essay help service money can afford. By relying on our pocket-friendly services, students can access and learn:

  • Reflective essay examples
  • How to write a reflection paper on a class
  • Reflection paper outline samples
  • Purdue owl reflection paper samples
  • Sample graduate course reflection papers
  • Purdue owl APA reflection papers

How Do You Write a Reflection Paper in APA Format?

Before dwelling much on the correct APA reflection paper outline and format, it is imperative that we first answer the question “what is a Reflection Paper?” Reflection papers are a form of essays that give the writers a chance to add their analysis and thoughts to their experiences regarding specific subjects. Through reflective writing, people can illustrate the understanding of certain subjects and how they affect their ideas and possible practices in future.

Whether you are writing a reflection paper on a book in APA, or any other subject, follow the guidelines below:

  1. Before beginning your writing process, you must know what writing an APA style paper entails. You should be aware of the four essential sections of an APA style paper, i.e. the title page, abstract, body paragraphs and bibliography.
  2. When creating an APA reflection paper outline, always include the abstract. The abstract should be assessing the outline that highlights all the essential ideas of your paper. As a rule of thumb, an abstract should not be very lengthy, as anything between 150 and 250 words will suffice. The purpose of this section is to introduce your readers to the subject of your paper, the participants of your study, queries, and techniques used during analysis, as well as the findings.
  3. The body paragraphs of your essay should demonstrate the development of your study. Additionally, they should reveal the impact of the study on your emotions and ideas. A particularly efficient way of handling this section is pointing out any factors that made you re-evaluate the subject. Indicate the discrepancy between your impression and mindset before the research and after it. When conducting your investigative work, always try to seize each specific idea. Doing this will make it easier to grab your audience’s attention while portraying the bigger picture.

APA reflection paper outline

4. No APA reflection paper outline is complete without a conclusion section. When writing your conclusion, remember that its primary goal is to present the manner in which your study has modified your mindset. Therefore, do not be puzzled by the fact that you have already highlighted some ideas during earlier steps of your writing process. Note that your paper’s conclusion is arguably the part that most readers will remember. Hence, use this as your opportunity to grab the audience’s attention and make them aware of your study’s findings.

How Do You Write a Reflection Paper Outline?

In this section will focus on how to write an APA reflection paper outline. Regardless of your reflective essay, remember that the best essays begin with attention-grabbing hooks. An attention-grabbing book should be more than enough to kick off your introductory paragraph. After the introductory paragraph, a Sage APA reflection paper outline dictates that you write about three body paragraphs, then finish off the essay with a conclusion paragraph. Following such a structure, as highlighted below, should allow your paper to have a logical flow of ideas. Below is a sample APA reflection paper outline.


As mentioned previously, your introductory paragraph should begin with a hook. Kicking off your essay with a good book increases your likelihood of catching the attention of your readers. In an APA reflection paper outline, the part that follows the introduction is a brief mention of the essay’s main points. These main points should be the driver of a well-developed reflective essay thesis statement. By including each of these vital components into your reflective essay introductory paragraph, you will have your readers at the edge of their seats for the body paragraphs.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a reflective essay contain several major components. It is worth noting that when writing your reflective essay, always seek to address each concept/component within its own section. On this note, always divide your ideas logically to ensure the flow of your paper is smooth, and all the details you explain are easy to comprehend.

APA reflection paper outline

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence, which should inform the readers of what’s to come. Topic explanations should form the bulk of your paragraphs, where you provide in-depth analysis and explanations. Also, make use of transitions throughout the essay to allow a seamless flow of ideas, from one to the next.


Any complete APA reflection paper outline should contain a conclusion section. The conclusion paragraph of your paper ought to have two aspects. The first aspect is restating the thesis statement using different words. Avoid using redundant wording and do not alter how the ideas come through. The second aspect is reminding your readers of the major points in the body paragraphs. Lastly, provide a final statement that wraps the paper up.

How Do You Start a Reflection Paper?

A common question among students curious on how to develop an APA reflection paper outline is “how to start and APA paper.” While it can be a bit confusing at first, it is nothing difficult. Introduce your readers to the subject in a single paragraph while integrating any key concepts into your opening narrative.

Remember, this paragraph should be short and concise enough to inform the readers what you wish to discuss. Therefore, view it as a means of setting the stage for subsequent paragraphs. Ideally, the introduction should be between three and six sentences long.

What Is a Reflective Essay Format?

The format of writing a reflective essay differs a lot from a research or an argumentative paper. Reflective essays are like well-structured stories or diary entries that are rife with reflection and insight. In some instances, students have to format their essays according to styles such as MLA or APA.

Typically, reflection papers are about 300 to 700 words long, but the length may vary depending on the subject’s content. Always make sure you are aware of the word length your instructor expects. While this essay is about your experiences, avoid using informal language excessively.

The ideal format of an APA reflection paper is:

  • 1-inch margins
  • Times New Roman 12 point font with double spacing
  • A page header on top of every page
  • Page numbers on the top right of each page

Lastly, divide your reflective essay into four sections, i.e. the title page, abstract, body paragraphs, and bibliography or references.

How Do You Start a Reflection Paper Example?

As an English major, I have become accustomed to appreciating the exhilarating moments when my mind engages with the thoughts of an author on a page. As Toni Morrison mentions in The Dancing Mind, “reading is to experience one’s own mind dancing with another’s.” During my early days in college, I desired to discover the true meaning of works of other authors, or what they intended to mean. However, I now realize that this would void the literature of noteworthy complexities. Different interpretations bring unique insights to a work of art. It is also interesting to identify messages the author may not have included or realized in the piece.

How Do You Write a Simple Reflection?

Always seek to keep your reflection paper short and sweet. Ideally, your reflection paper should have between 250 and 750 words. Avoid going off on tangents. Only provide information relevant to the topic. Seek to strike a balance between clarity and conciseness as much as possible.

Does a Reflection Paper Need a Title?

Reflective essays are applicable in a broad range of academic courses. When writing reflective papers, students have to reflect on their experiences and what they have learnt. The best APA reflection paper outlines indicate a need for a Title. Likewise, we recommend that you choose a reflective essay title before you begin writing.

What Is an Example of Reflection?

Some examples of reflection are:

  • Critiquing personal experiences
  • Describing critical experiences that changed your perception of the world
  • Peer review activities
  • Analyzing and critiquing literature

The language and style you choose to adopt in reflective writing are largely dependent on your discipline and the instructions of your assignment.

APA reflection paper outline

APA Reflection Paper Outline

When you refer to several APA reflection paper outlines, you discover that there are specific formatting rules that reflection papers should follow. Reflection papers are different and unique compared to ordinary, such essays. The former should resemble a diary or journal. It is less lengthy compared to ordinary, such essays, with typical word counts ranging from 300 to 700 words. However, you should always confirm with your instructor regarding the ideal word length.

Despite the subjective and personal nature of reflection papers, never overuse informal language. A well-balanced combination of both informal and formal language should be good. After writing your essay, the next reasonable step is formatting it, in this case in the APA format. Note that it is still important to ensure your essay follows an academic style of writing. If your instructor requires you to use APA formatting, follow these pointers when writing your reflection paper:

  • Your paper’s margins should be 1-inch
  • Use a Times New Roman 12 point font and double spacing
  • On the top of each page, insert a page header
  • Include page numbers on the right side of each page
  • Divide your paper into a title page, abstract, body paragraphs, and references

The Outline

Since you cannot write a quality APA reflection paper without a complete APA reflection paper outline, follow the pointers below when developing your outline.

Reflective Question/Topic

Always make a point of including a reflective question or topic when developing an outline for your APA reflective essay. For instance, if your essay will focus on the topic of racism, then illustrate how this subject has impacted or continues to impact your feelings at an individual level. By following this pattern, you will set a suitable tone and theme for your reflection essay to follow.

APA reflection paper outline

Develop an Attention-Grabbing Introduction

We cannot stress how important it is to develop a strong introduction for your essay. Make your introduction as brief as possible, while ensuring that you only include between three and six sentences in your introductory paragraph. This range will allow you to provide adequate information about the paper, without coming across as unnecessarily lengthy.

To grab the attention of your readers, write an introduction with “a hook.” Avoid writing introductions that are too plain or bland. A good way to start your introductory paragraph is by including an anecdote or quote that closely relates to your topic. At this point, your audience should know what your subject of choice is. It should be concise and contain the primary/main theme of your essay.

Develop a Thesis Statement

Somewhere within the first paragraph, introduce your thesis statement. Make sure you develop a thesis statement that explains the purpose of your reflection essay. In summary, your thesis statement should act as your roadmap regarding the content you intend to present in your paper.

Include a Detailed Body

This section should form the bulk of your paper. It is here that you get to explain your thesis statement in detail. To fill out your body paragraphs, dive deep into your opinions, ideas, and experiences regarding the subject in question. Write from the point of an in-depth perspective when detailing your personal experiences, opinions, and ideas. Since this is “the heaviest” section of your reflection essay, do not shy away from introducing new ideas and expanding on the thesis statement.

Remember that your body paragraphs are primarily an explanation of the thesis statements. Extrapolate each individual aspect that you list under the thesis within the body paragraphs. To have a complete body, you should ideally write three paragraphs.

To make everything clearer for the audience and enhance the quality of your research paper, include some quotes. For instance, if you are reflective essay is about racial discrimination as highlighted in a specific film or book, avoid making general comments. Always include direct references from your sources, e.g. words said by the main character of a film. Following such a pattern will ensure your writing is easier and make you convey your content to the audience much clearer.

Write a Conclusion

After developing the flesh of the paper in the body section with relevant and adequate content, finish it off by summarizing your ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Wrap up the content of your reflection paper by developing a brief, concise conclusion paragraph. Do not introduce any new ideas in this section, lest you confuse your readers.

Think of this paragraph is the introduction, in terms of writing in a manner of brevity. However, this should be no excuse for a boring paragraph. Instead, give it the oomph it deserves while summarizing the content of your reflection paper. After successfully capturing the attention of your audience in the introduction and body of your essay, leave a lasting impression in conclusion.


Ideally, this section of your APA reflection paper should have a page of its own. Also known as a bibliography, it is in this section that you acknowledge the sources of your paper’s content. Such sources could be books, articles, movies, and documentaries.

Top Tips for Writing an Attention-Grabbing Reflection Paper

Write Concisely

We cannot stress how important it is that your writing remains concise. Regardless of whether your subject matter is objective or not, aim to detail the logic of your paper in an organized, yet understandable format. Right from the word go, ensure that your audience can comprehend the points you make from scratch.

Follow Some Major Themes

Always have the major themes of your paper in mind and adhere to them. Strictly adhering to the major themes will ensure that you write the paper in an organized fashion. Therefore, jot down all the primary points you wish to include in your paper.

Incorporate Questions

A significant aspect of reflection papers that students often neglect is incorporating questions. It is necessary that you ask yourself questions, get answers to the questions, and you integrate both of them in your reflection essay. Regardless of what you are reflecting about, develop non-rhetoric questions to give you adequate points to support the claims you make in the paper. Also, to avoid writer’s block during the writing process focus on any questions you have in mind.

Have a Map of Your Paper

Before you embark on writing, develop a framework and a map that you will follow when coming up with ideas for the paper. Set aside a scope of plausible ideas to facilitate your research. Following an outline will make it easier to include vital information while following a logical flow.


This article is a snippet of how you should write a Reflection Paper using the APA format. Follow our guidelines and personalize your essay to ensure the readers understand the topic from your point of view.

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