Essay on Differences Between Reflective and Academic Writing

Published: 2021-07-12
497 words
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Boston College
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The fundamental differences between academic and reflective writing depend on who the audience of either is. Reflective writing is majorly focused on personal experience; this means that it is closest to the person writing thereby involving the use of first person perspective ("Reflective Writing Guide", n.d.). Personal pronouns such as I/we and my/our are used in reflective writing to share personal comments, conclusions, experiences, points of view, and opinions concerning particular events or scenarios. The third person is often used in reflective writing to give comments to particular theories or research. For example This is what I say: no one has to watch news every night, unless one is married to the anchor (Lamott, 2010). Reflective writing involves a lot of critical thinking coupled with emotional expressions and personal opinions. It expresses ones thoughts and what has been learnt from the past or observed experiences. The examples include but not limited to personal journals, essay diaries, log book reflective notes, and self-assessments.

Unlike reflective writing, academic writing is centered on literature that one has read the exploration of facts presented (Condon et al. 2013). It compares and contrasts the views held by other people concerning particular fields of knowledge. This kind of writing is done in third person perspective. The writer distances themselves from whatever is presented, researched or reviewed while citing evidence regarding references. Third person perspective is used in this writing. Academic writing is always done in formal style, and rules such as truncation and usage of nonstandard language are often prohibited.


The similarities between the two styles include the fact that both applications use of formal writing techniques. In both, references are often made available at the end of writing (American Psychological Association, 2009). Both kinds of papers are presented in a formal structure. The terminologies and word choices used often correspond to specific subject areas in both styles.

Advantages and disadvantages

From the perspective of the reader, reflective writings present an opportunity to share learning experiences and apply critical thinking techniques (Lamott, 1995). On the contrary, it can be too subjective and biased. Academic writing showcases academic prowess and critical analysis skills, on the other hand, it might restrict the reader to purely factual and statistical data that could be dull and boring to read. All in all, I think there is significance in reflective writing in academics because it acts as a checkpoint to review whether the learning objectives are achieved.


American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Ed).Condon, J., Corkindale, C., Luszcz, M., & Gamble, E. (2013). The Australian First-time Grandparents Study: Time spent with the grandchild and its predictors. Australasian Journal On Ageing, 32(1), 21-27.

Lamott, A. (1995). Bird by bird. Some instructions on writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books

Lamott, A. (2010). Time Lost and Found. Sunset publications. Available from

Reflective Writing Guide | UNSW Current Students. Retrieved 9 July 2017, from

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