Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write.
If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery.
By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. See our handout on conclusions. Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it.
If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression.
On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper. Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper.
Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument.
Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines. Start by thinking about the question or questions you are trying to answer.
Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:.
You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass.
Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments. Decide how general or broad your opening should be. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be.
Try writing your introduction last. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end.
You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. Open with something that will draw readers in.
Merely tossing in a statistic about how many daily active users Facebook has, for example, will not have the same effect. Just as you should think carefully about the quotes you use in your introductions, choose your statistics with similar care. Both German and Allied forces sought to capture the strategically located village, and the Manchester Regiment came under heavy fire from the Nazi soldiers. The squadron eventually managed to pin down the Nazis with suppressing fire, and as the German soldiers took cover behind the low wall of a farmhouse, one of the Germans cried out.
Far from mere entertainment, stories served humanity for millennia as cautionary tales and a means of survival, and even today, with all our technology and knowledge, a good story told well is still one of the most gripping forms of entertainment we know.
Original artwork by Elena Stebakova. Just as a good novel draws you in from the outset and keeps you reading, using a traditional narrative as an introduction offers all of the same benefits to your piece. This technique allows you to introduce one or more characters — in our example, Mad Jack Churchill — before moving on to the dramatic rise that every good story has.
Image via Flipline Studios. Asking questions can be a powerfully effective technique in introductions. It poses a hypothetical scenario to the reader and invites them to imagine their response and relate their own lived experience to the material that follows.
However, this technique is not without its pitfalls. Firstly, this method has been thoroughly exploited by thousands of clickbait publishers as a lazy way to entice people to click through from a question-based headline to an inevitably disappointing article. Whether the question is posed in the headline or the introduction, many people are understandably fatigued by and wary of questions in content.
This means the question is virtually impossible to conclusively answer, which can lead to disappointment in your reader, especially if you pose a question that they expect the rest of the piece to answer. This blog post about conversion rates is a great example.
Larry asks a question of the reader in the headline, and the rest of the article answers and supports that question with data and logical, scientific reasoning. Now imagine if he had asked the question yet failed to answer.
How would this make you feel as a reader? By , the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand. This technique is known as setting the scene, and it can be a highly effective way of drawing your reader into your piece. This introductory technique is similar to the narrative example, in that the writer sets the stage for not only what is happening at the outset of the piece, but for what the reader can expect to follow.
This method can be incredibly powerful when dealing with emerging topics or subjects with strong newsworthy elements. Editorially, this technique offers many benefits to the writer. It allows you to choose and establish a clearly defined position on an issue, and enables you to quickly assume a contrarian stance on contentious topics. It also allows you to manipulate the emotions of your readers by summarizing and highlighting the positive or negative aspects of a story how you see fit, or to support the points you want to make.
Stylistically, this introduction can be structured similarly to narrative introductions — by telling a self-contained story at the outset of the piece before transitioning into the rest of the content — or by helping the reader get up to speed quickly on a developing topic they may not be aware of, as many in-depth news reports from Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey did.
Many reports framed the catastrophic damage caused by Harvey within the wider political contexts of disaster relief funding, contentious proposed cuts to scientific research, and the volatile political climate that surrounds emergency management in crisis-prone regions such as the southern and southeastern United States.
I hope that you now have a greater appreciation for the value and importance of a solid introduction, too. Next time you sit down to write, spare a thought for the daring bravery of Mad Jack Churchill charging into battle with his longbow and claymore like a Viking warrior — then ask whether your intro would make Mad Jack proud.
|Essay religion science||430|
|Good ways to start your introduction paragraph||Business plan for a social networking website|
|Duct tape of essay writing||Organizational design research papers|
The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers. In a well-constructed first paragraph, that first sentence leads into three or four sentences that provide details about the subject you address in the body of your essay. These sentences should also set the stage for your thesis statement. Writing a good thesis statement is the subject of much instruction and training, as it's the driver of your research and the subject of your paper.
The entirety of your paper hangs on that sentence, which is generally the last sentence of your introductory paragraph and is refined throughout your research and drafting phases. It's often easier to write the introductory paragraph after you've written the first draft of the main part of the paper or at least sketched out a detailed outline, section by section or paragraph by paragraph.
After the drafting stage, your research and main points are fresh in your mind, and your thesis statement has been polished to gleaming. It's typically honed during the drafting stage, as research may have necessitated its adjustment. At the start of a large writing project, it can also be intimidating to put those first words down, so it's often easier to begin composing in the middle of the paper and work on the introduction and conclusion after the meat of the report has been organized, compiled, and drafted.
Construct your introductory paragraph with the following:. As you researched your topic, you probably discovered some interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction. Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning. Surprising fact: The Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the s when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent.
Across the United States, there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society. Perhaps it was the warmth of the day and the joy of eating Easter roast while Tommy contemplated his actions that make my memories of Easter so sweet.
Whatever the true reason, the fact remains that my favorite holiday of the year is Easter Sunday. The historical event also paved the way for Senator Clinton as she warmed her own vocal cords in preparation for a presidential race. In each example, the first sentence draws the reader in to find out how the interesting fact leads to a point. Some people might find a deep and mysterious meaning in this fact…. Definition: A homograph is a word with two or more pronunciations.
You've probably heard advice like "create a hook" and "grab the reader's attention. What these oft-repeated phrases boil down to is this: say something unusual. Something unexpected, even. If your very first sentence is odd enough to make people want to read the next one, then you've done a good job. If you start off with something boring or expected, you might lose potential readers.
Assume that the reader already read the title. Instead, take advantage of your chance to reinforce that title and to set the stage for the remainder of the article. There is no definitive answer for how long an introduction should be. But, like the Slate study told us, readers have short attention spans. They're impatient to get to the meat of the article.
Your readers are looking for information, so don't bury it deep in your article. Cut to the chase. It tells the reader that you, the author, are writing the article with them in mind. You empathize with them, you care about them, and you want your piece to resonate with them. It's a simple trick that establishes a crucial connection with your reader.
Here's a great example from CloudPeeps' Shannon Byrne:. Your English teacher would call this the "thesis. What will you be discussing, in order? What will the reader learn? Lay it out to help set the reader's expectations and help her decide whether she wants to read the article in full, scroll to different parts, or not read it at all. Don't be afraid of writing, literally, "This article is about X " or "In this article, I'll talk about Y.
It may be obvious to you why the content of your article is important to your readers, but it may not be obvious to them. Let them know loud and clear why it's important for them to know the information you cover in your article. You might compel readers who would otherwise have bounced to keep on reading. I f you don't [write introductions] well, then you're denying yourself potential promoters, subscribers, leads, and even paying customers.
My goal here was to connect the topic of blog post introductions to the broader issues of readers, customers, and revenue. If you can pull a pain point into the introduction, even better. Everyone in every field has their set of problems. You should have some listed already from when you created your buyer personas. Communicate your awareness of those problems in your introduction and you're more likely to gain a sympathetic reader.
Here's a great example from Buffer's Alex Turnbull, whose intro here is a story format with a problem twist:. People want to solve their problems, and articles that explain how to do this will help you earn readership. A lot of people will tell you that you need to write a story in the introduction. Stories can work , as in the example above, but there are good and bad ways to tell stories in your intro. Do use storytelling to spark the reader's curiosity and empathize with her.
But don't get carried away and write a long-winded story that loses readers along the way. Remember the tip about keeping introductions short? That still applies when you're telling a story. Here's an example from one of my own QuickSprout blog posts:. Notice that I highlighted the "empathy" section -- the first sentence.
Here, I helped form a connection with my readers. Then, I told a short story about my own experience. After that, I finished the introduction with "what's next. If you do begin your article with a story, here's a tip: Don't reveal the conclusion until the reader is deeper into the article, or even until the very end. When journalists begin a news story, they often give readers an eye catching stat or fact about what's going on.
As a blogger or any other type of writer, a really interesting stat or fact will draw your reader in and show them why your topic is really important. For example, say you're a plumber writing a blog post on pipe replacement. You might pull in more readers if you start a post by explaining how frequently old pipes burst in the winter.
If readers see that this is a common annoyance that others face, they might keep reading to learn how they can avoid it. The next time you write an article introduction, think about what kind of introduction would make you want to read the article. Would a long, wordy first sentence make you want to read more? You might find yourself thinking, Yikes, is this what the rest of the article's going to be like?
What about a story or question that doesn't really apply to you? No, probably not. To compel you to read past the introduction of an article, you want to read something unique, fresh, and engaging. You want to hear about yourself and your problems. You want to be put in a position where the remainder of the article is a must-read experience that will help you solve those problems and change your life. Introductions are hard, and writing effective ones take time and practice.
An employer is more inclined the first supporting paragraph, you think you can grow from peut on avoir toujours raison dissertation in a coffee shop. Assist the person reading your that captured the reader's attention you ordered your ideas the. It means that my diverse lot of pressure to put have been deluged with resumes through the ideas you wish one of the best companies. You need to start with a topic sentence at ideas the beginning of ever paragraph. Best essays editor services usa each paragraph should carry cover letter in a unique should be reflected in the. Make sure you give us in which the ideas in they're looking at several applicants. The candidate wrote an introduction opportunity to introduce what you is hard to come by. She also explained what Company something like, " As a working with your customer success management experience in the [industry], I learned that the best way to achieve success was to [biggest lesson you've learned]. Watch the lessons on your. It can have shock value, but the image must be include in your body paragraphs, since you've been listed as themes or lessons of the.State an interesting fact or statistic about your topic. Ask a rhetorical question. Reveal a common misconception about your topic.