English Language Support | Department of Student Services | Ryerson University


On-line Workshop on Writing a Comment or Reflection Paper


One type of writing that is common in many university courses is called the comment paper or the reflection paper. Although some research may be required for this type of paper, the main purpose of a comment paper is to give your opinions, views, or thoughts about something, such as a book that you have read.


A comment paper is usually written in the form of an essay. If you need to review the parts of an essay, see the On-line Workshop on the Parts of an Essay.


Before you continue, click on the link below, and study the handout on writing a comment paper.

When you are finished, click on the return arrow at the upper left of your word processor screen to return here.[http://www.ryerson.ca/els/Handouts%20for%20ELS%20site/Comment%20Papers.doc]





Reflection papers


A special kind of comment paper is the reflection paper. In a reflection paper, you write about your own personal experiences and analyse them.


For example, in a sociology course, you may be studying the problems faced by newcomers to Canada. If you are a newcomer, you may discuss your own experiences as a newcomer and relate these experiences to problems that you studied in the course. This type of paper may require some research. You may need to learn about the subject by reading books and articles, etc., and then use your own experiences as examples.


Since this type of paper is also structured as an essay, be sure that you are comfortable with the format for an essay.

See the On-line Workshop on the Parts of an Essay, if you need more help with this.







A comment paper requires analysis. It is not enough to summarize a book or to narrate an event from your life. You need to analyse the meaning of the book or the event and explain its significance. A large part of your paper should contain analysis.





Checking your knowledge


Now check your understanding of comment papers and reflection papers by answering the following questions:


1. If your professor asked you to write your views of a musical performance that you attended, what kind of paper would you write?


2. If your professor asked you to do some research on a current problem and then use your own experiences as an example, what kind of paper would you write?


3. What do you learn by writing a comment paper or a reflection paper?


4. If you write a reflection paper ten years from now on the same topic as one that you have just written, do you think it would be essentially the same, or would it be different? Why?





If your first language of academic study is not English, and if you have any questions about English or would like to discuss how to write a comment paper, you can make an appointment at English Language Support Services by going to [http://www.ryerson.ca/els/ProgramsOnlineRegistration.htm].


Whether or not your first language of academic study is English, you are welcome to use the services of the Ryerson Writing Centre, located in the library. Follow this link: [http://www.ryerson.ca/writing-centre/].