How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Documentary

For a student to deliver good, compelling documentary reviews, they must learn how to write a reflection paper on a documentary. Writing response or reaction papers on documentaries requires students to properly understand the material in question and present logical arguments about how they fit into their respective coursework. Documentaries can be both entertaining and informative, hence, making writing response papers on documentaries a very enjoyable process.

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how to write a reflection paper on a documentary

Besides passing a term paper or an assignment, knowing how to write a reaction paper on a documentary can be helpful in more areas than you can think of. It is a realistic way of enhancing student’s analytical and evaluation skills, which has a good carryover into better communication skills. When thinking about how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, students should realize that their main aim is to express ideas about the documentary, whether they agree with them or not.

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How Do You Write a Reflection Paper?

A reflection paper or response essay involves a very subjective form of writing. The process of “how to write a reflection paper on a documentary” is more or less similar to “how to write a response paper” and “how to write a documentary report.” Generally speaking, reflection papers give writers the flexibility to express their own thoughts and opinions about specific topics. When you think about how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, you quickly realize that similar rules apply and you can express your thoughts on a specific documentary.

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how to write a reflection paper on a documentary

As such, if you ever feel stranded about how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, then remember that you should express your thoughts in the first person unless your teacher or lecturer instructs you otherwise. A quick review of a scholarly response on any forum for homework assignment help, and you quickly gather that writing a good reflection paper on a documentary requires you to provide an opinion about it and plenty of evidence in the form of examples from the documentary to support your opinions.

How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Documentary

Write a Good Introduction

According to most experts that write reflection papers on documentaries, the best way to write the introductory paragraph of your reflective paper is describing your initial attitude, expectations and experience before watching the documentary.

For instance, you may have had very high expectations about a certain documentary due to its title. Vividly express the first impression you had before watching the documentary, then proceed to express everything you gathered from watching the documentary. Your introductory paragraph should have a concise thesis statement.

Create a Thesis Statement

Similar to other kinds of academic writing, reflective essays on documentaries require central, unifying ideas in the form of strong thesis statements. By writing a strong thesis statement, you can adequately sum up the content of your whole reflective essay on the documentary.

Write A Few Body Paragraphs

As a rule of thumb, a reflection paper on a documentary should have at least three body paragraphs and no more than five. The body of your response essay should elaborate your thesis statement further while explaining everything you gathered from watching and analyzing the documentary.

To demonstrate your process of reaching certain conclusions about the documentary, cite specific examples from the documentary. For instance, you can choose to quote a few statements made by the main characters of the documentary to support your thesis statement. In addition, include any reactions and thoughts about the documentary or the general experience watching the documentary within the body of your reflective paper.

An excellent way of beginning the body of your essay is expressing your feelings and explain your conclusions based on these feelings. Always ensure the points you bring out in the body are cohesive with particular references to specific parts of the documentary that you draw inspiration from. Note that you can include some personal experiences in your reflection of the documentary if they are relevant to the subject.

Wrap up the Essay with a Conclusion

The final paragraph of your reflection essay should be a conclusion where you explore the initial experiences and attitudes you had towards the documentary while analyzing your reactions and feelings towards it.

Naturally, at this point, you have already elaborated your feelings about the documentary. Therefore, explain the reasoning behind your specific conclusions or reactions. A good way to conclude your essay is informing your readers on how they can apply all the knowledge you gathered from the documentary.

Edit and Proofread Your Work

We cannot stress enough the importance of this step. A simple survey of students regarding how they tackle assignments reveals that most students never proofread their work after completing it. Avoid this mistake and proofread your reflection essay in case it needs any revision or editing. Ensure your paper is as flawless as possible before submitting it.

How Do You Write a Reflection Paper on a Book?

Similar to knowing how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, knowing how to write a reflection paper on a book is a very crucial skill. This is particularly true for students who from time to time, may have to write reflection papers as part of their coursework. In this case, reflection papers refer to essays that are at least two or three pages long, which allow the writer to share their thoughts on their experiences after reading a specific book.

Students that handle reflection papers on books ought to apply what they learn from such experiences to their education and life. While reflection papers on books are mostly academic in nature, they are less formal. The reduced formality is because of the flexibility that this sort of writing provides the writer since the paper should be about their experience and personal feelings after reading a specific book. After writing a reflection paper on a book, the writers have to support their personal feelings with examples they cite from the book.

Remember, reflection papers regardless of the piece of literature, are not just a summary of experiences and opinions. Writing reflection papers on books entails deconstructing and analyzing the book completely. Most professors or teachers do not seek their students to write a recap of the storyline or events of the book, but instead, dig deeper while providing accurate opinions about specific aspects of the book. To save you the hassle of searching how to write a book response, below are some steps you can take when writing a reflection paper in a book include:

Prepare to Write Your Paper

The process of writing a reflection paper on a book should begin with adequate preparation. For instance, if your instructor gives you a writing prompt, then read it thoroughly and make sure you understand it. As you read the book, you need to write a reflection paper about, have your instructor’s prompt in mind.

Having the writing prompt in mind will enable you to write a reflection paper that not only meets but could possibly exceed their specific requirements. After thoroughly analyzing the writing prompt, logically organize your ideas to develop an outline and take notes of all the major points you intend to cover in your paper. Arrange the points in your outline in a logical fashion. Having such an outline will help keep you focused throughout the entire writing process.

Write the Introduction

Although reflection papers are very personal and subjective in nature, you should not put your thoughts on paper aimlessly. Since most of the time, this is an academic assignment, write an introductory paragraph complete with a thesis statement.

A good way to introduce your reflection paper is describing the initial attitudes and expectations you had towards the book. Let your readers understand your first impressions before reading the book and your experience after reading the book.

Include a Thesis Statement

Just look at other writing assignments, a reflection paper on the book should have a central, unifying idea in the form of a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. Therefore, develop a strong thesis statement for the reflection paper that reflects your opinions of the book while indicating all the specific knowledge you gathered from it. The theme in which you base your reflection paper should be your thesis statement.

Write the Body

In the body paragraphs, elaborate your reflection paper’s thesis statement. Avoid expressing your experiences in a general fashion in the body paragraphs. Instead, express your process of arriving at different conclusions after reading the book. Cite specific examples of such conclusions from the book. For example, you can quote direct excerpts from the book to support your opinions. These citations will help you provide a clearer illustration of the topic, which enables the readers to see the value of your experiences as well as the knowledge you gathered from reading the book.

Write the Conclusion

After supporting the thesis statements in the body paragraphs using relevant examples from the book, develop a conclusion to tie up all the major points together. Your conclusion should briefly summarize your final feelings of the book based on the points and evidence you provide. You should also discuss the implications of the major points. Therefore, whenever readers go through the conclusion of your reflection paper, they should have a clear summary of your entire paper.

How Do You Write a Reflection Paper for a Class?

A reflective paper on a class is a personal reflection of how a specific class affected a student. These reflective essays analyze the core concepts, ideas and course material theories presented by instructors throughout a specific class, then summarize the writer’s feelings about the class. Like all essays, reflective papers for classes should follow the conventional introduction, body and conclusion format.

Introduce your readers to the class by summarizing all the material you cover in the class. Describe all the major topics covered and the method of instruction. Inform the readers why you took the class and the educational benefits you expected from it.

Identify the core concepts and theories that were part of the class curriculum. In your own words, explain these theories and concepts to demonstrate that you understood the material.

Describe how you feel about the concepts and theories of the class. Go a step further by analyzing them and applying the theories and concepts in real-life scenarios if possible. Tell your readers about your feelings towards the subjects of the class, and describe how, why/why not you have specific feelings towards the subjects, core concepts and theories. Also, dive into how these perceptions developed or changed throughout the class.

Conclude your reflection paper for the class with a summary of your feelings towards the course material, especially before you began the class. Summarize your feelings after completing the class and state whether the course was useful or not.

What Are Some Examples of Reflection?

Some types of reflective writing assignments include:

Journal Writing

For students, writing a journal requires them to write weekly entries throughout a given semester. When writing journals, base your reflections on the course content.

Logbook Writing

This form of reflective writing is common in disciplines that depend on experimental work, e.g. science. Writers have to log or note down what they have done. Through logbook writing, scientists and other users have accurate records of processes, which help them reflect on past actions to make more informed decisions on future actions.

how to write a reflection paper on a documentary

A Learning Diary

Similar to journals, learning dairies are places for writers to communicate in writing with other people. The only notable difference between learning diaries and journals is that learning dairies may involve group participation.

Reflective Notes

Reflective notes are quite common in law. They encourage legal practitioners to think about their personal reactions to legal issues raised in a specific course.

Essay Diary

These can take the form of annotated bibliographies, where the writer examines sources of evidence that they may include in the essay, and critiques, where the writer reflects on his/her own research and writing process.

Peer Review

This usually involves students presenting their work to their peers for constructive feedback.

Self-Assessment Tasks

These require writers to comment on their own work.

How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Documentary

The following guidelines will help you plan on how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, in case you ever need to write one.

Tips on How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Documentary

When given the option to select a documentary to review, never waste this opportunity. Go for documentaries that you are genuinely interested in and would wish to watch. Avoid documents that contain very complex stories and plots that you will likely not understand.

Watch the Documentary and Take Notes

You will only be able to write a response or review to a documentary after fully understanding its message, contents and elements. Therefore, we recommend that you watch your specific documentary more than once to properly understand it and figure out what it is all about.

As you watch the documentary, ask yourself if you agree with the position that the creators of the documentary take and whether the positions they have taken have sound judgement. When watching the documentary, treat it more or less how you would reading a letter or a story. Note down the most striking features of the documentary such as the scenes, characters, messages and how the documentary relays everything.

Also, take adequate notes on the position of the documentary writers relative to your topic and determine if they exhibit any bias. As you take notes, try to make comparisons and formulate arguments between the documentaries elements to get a proper context. Your notes should be very general, highlighting only aspects that stand out regarding the documentary.

Identify The Elements to Focus on

The basis of your reaction paper should be to present your own opinions and thoughts regarding the documentary. However, should back such opinions and thoughts using evidence or examples from the documentary. Academic papers require students to identify specific angles to pursue their writing, which formed the basis of their papers.

Therefore, you need to develop ideas based on how the documentary inspired you. For instance, if you feel that the documentary was good, give reasons backed by evidence to support this claim. Similarly, if you are in disagreement and feel that the documentary was not good, then provide reasons why and back them with evidence.

Pick between five and ten pieces of evidence that stand out from the documentary. Bear in mind that the general expectation of reaction papers is that they are short, and your response paper to the documentary should be no exception.

When identifying the areas of focus for your paper, do not simply emphasize the documentary. Instead, compare it with comments from experts in the documentary’s field, other documentaries on similar subjects, and your general knowledge. If possible, also relate your personal experiences to the documentary.

Determine The Elements To Discuss

After identifying the general direction to pursue, start collecting points and evidence to support your points. Based on specific aspects that you wish to discuss in your review, gather adequate points that stand out from the documentary to use in proving your response.

For all the key points that you identify, also include evidence or examples from the documentary to prove them. All the elements that you select should tie to the focus of your paper and effectively evaluate how you respond and the purpose of your writing.

If possible, do further research to discover more about your points of discussion to present them compellingly and logically. Be very specific when selecting the elements of the discussion. For each point, identify two or three examples for adequate support.

Develop an Outline

An outline is a simple plan that acts as a map of how you will present your review. Your outline should briefly highlight the paper’s introduction, body, and conclusion. Simply put, an outline is like a blueprint that provides easy reference during writing.

Steps on How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Documentary

Regarding how to write a reflection paper on a documentary, there are several approaches students can take. One popular approach is supporting the ideas or arguments of the documentary or focusing on disputing them. Besides reacting to the documentary, you can also generally address the whole documentary without selecting parts. Depending on the approach you settle on, there are some considerations to make when writing a reaction paper on a documentary.

Similar to other academic papers, response papers should follow specific writing formats. Below, we provide a guide on how to write a reflection paper on a documentary.

Introduce the Paper

Begin by providing a brief summary of the documentary in the paper’s opening statements. In this section, include basic information about the paper’s title, the piece, characters, date of screening, producers and other major elements.

Also, briefly describe the producer’s position on the documentary. Your reactions towards the contents of the documentary should be included in the body paragraphs.

how to write a reflection paper on a documentary

How Do You Write an Introduction for a Reflection Paper?

Begin your introductory paragraph with an informative statement regarding the topic to pique the interest of your readers in the paper. Make your introductory statement specific to what you intend to talk about throughout the paper and avoid any vague or general statements. For instance, instead of writing “among the most controversial books of the 20th century is The Catcher in the Rye”, write something like “since the publishing of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger in 1951, there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the allegedly offensive material presented in the book, including adult language, premarital sex and alcohol abuse.” Writing such an Introduction provides readers with some brief knowledge about the book, and what the documentary is about while informing them that you will be writing about specific debates and controversies related to the book. This technique is also applicable to writing reflection papers on other pieces of literature, e.g. movies and articles.

Write one or two more sentences to continue the thoughts you brought forth in the opening statement. You could talk about overarching themes or present important facts that you gathered from the assignment. Continuing with the example of the book ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ you could write a few sentences revealing statistics of how many libraries around the world have banned the book. Alternatively, you can name a few organizations and groups that condemned the book.

Finishing the Introduction

Finish your introduction with a strong thesis statement. Your thesis should ideally be only one sentence long. In all academic works, including reflection papers, writers use thesis statements to bring across a striking conclusion or observation that they encountered and how they plan to defend such positions throughout the paper. It is necessary to make your position clear via a thesis statement and to be steadfast in such a position throughout the rest of the paper.

how to write a reflection paper on a documentary

For instance, an example of a thesis statement for the introductory paragraph regarding the alleged offensive material in the book “The Catcher in the Rye” could be something along the lines of: “I believe that without these alleged controversies, this book, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ would not achieve its current status of a literary classic.”

Evaluate the Documentary

This should be the symbolic flesh of your paper. In this section, you should present a comprehensive, non-biased evaluation of the documentary. Your body paragraphs should indicate to the readers that you watched and understood the context of the documentary.

Each paragraph should explain and strongly establish your response and position on various subjects in the documentary. Back these positions with adequate examples and evidence from the documentary. Devote each paragraph to specific ideas and some related pieces of evidence.

Your stance on the documentary can be opposing or supportive of the view of the documentary’s producer. However, it should be articulate enough for readers to understand without the need of watching the documentary.

Write the Conclusion

When writing the final paragraph of your response paper, aim to summarize your final position on the documentary. You can do this by restating the focus of your paper and the key points you presented in the body paragraphs.

Remember, your conclusion should be concise and not start a fresh discussion. Avoid introducing new ideas in this paragraph because they would likely confuse the readers and affect the flow of ideas in your paper.

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