A reflective essay incites the writer to reflect on topics from the framework of personal experience. Reflective essays must have a clearly defined focus with a consistent point of view. They should provide background information and include narrative elements such as plot, characters, setting and conflict. Reflective essays should present events in a clear format such as chronologically. Although they differ from other essays in their content, they follow the same basic format.
Introduce and define the essay topic. The first sentence should be strong to enable the reader to become immersed in the topic. Do this by providing interesting details and stating personal feelings and/or expectations. Provide background and personal information in the context of the essay topic. The point of view of your essay can be in first or third person but should be consistent.
Provide the purpose or rationale for writing the essay. Ensure that your stated purpose is clear as it will anchor your flow of ideas to the topic. Although this does not have to be persuasive or argumentative, your reader should be able to get a sense of why you chose the topic.
State your thesis about the topic. Your thesis should encapsulate your viewpoint about the topic. Make this statement realistic and able to be substantiated with information provided in the body of your essay.
Edit your introductory paragraph at the completion of your essay. Check that your flow of ideas is logical and you have avoided any ambiguity about the topic, rationale and thesis. Ensure the paragraph is free of grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
Emily Rose is a full-time freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2010. Rose's interests include psychology-driven topics such as mental health, human relationships, addiction and stigma and discrimination. She has a bachelor's degree in arts from the Queensland University of Technology and is currently obtaining a degree in creative writing (nonfiction narrative) at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.