How to Write an Analytical Reflection

At a certain point in your academic or professional career, you may be required to write an analytical reflection. Do not become intimidated by this task, as writing an analytical reflection is simply an exercise in articulating your thoughts with honesty and from an observant perspective. Before handing in your final product, submit it to a mentor, adviser or peer to review. It is easy to get so caught up in getting your point across that you forget the rules of grammar and spelling.

  • immerse yourself in your topic. To analyze anything, you must be thoroughly familiar with the subject matter. If you are writing an analytical reflection on a book, read it twice. If you are writing about a piece of art, study it for long periods of time and take occasional breaks to freshen your perspective. Do not allow anything about your topic to escape your attention.
  • Take notes. Write down your impressions and thoughts surrounding your topic. Do not worry about sentence structure, punctuation or chronological order; the important thing is to get your thoughts on paper. Take notes over a period of time as you simultaneously ponder the work; record how your impressions either change or become stronger. Reflecting on a piece of art, for example, you might write that the piece projects a warm and inviting mood; days later, you might decide that the painting feels oppressive.
  • Research your topic. Whether you are analyzing a book, work of art, poem, play or piece of clothing, understand it in the context and perspective of its creator. Understand the social, political, emotional, financial and mental constructs that contributed toward the creation and development of your subject. For example, if you are writing an analytical reflection about a book by James Baldwin, research his life and ask yourself, "Why did he start writing? How was his creative work influenced by events surrounding his life? Given his history, how might he have wanted his work to be interpreted?"


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