How to Write an Introduction
If you don’t know how to write an introduction, learning will help you overcome most writing challenges. Known as the most important section, the introduction sets reader expectations. There is no single formula on how to write an introduction and though this is the case, it is supposed to accomplish the following:
- Attract the attention of the reader- Newspaper and magazine articles accomplish this by use if interesting, brief questions or anecdotes that pique the curiosity of the reader. Something that is of relevance to the reader, provocative questions or statements and apt quotations also have the same effect.
- An introduction should explicitly tell the reader what your thesis is-After reading your introduction, a reader should not doubt what the central objective of your paper is.
- Provide a preview of how to demonstrate the thesis-Often, writers summarize briefly three or so points of how they intend to back up their thesis. This helps prepare the reader and also improves the ability to retain and recognize the points.
Tips on how to write an introduction
These tips will come in handy if you want to know how to write an introduction that impresses your reader:
Begin with the attention grabber
The kind of attention grabber you decide to use is entirely up to you. However, there are ideas that come in handy such as:
- Use of startling information-Such information should not only be verifiable but true and it does not need to be new to readers. It could be a pertinent fact illustrating your point. Once you use startling information, follow it up with one or two sentences of elaboration.
- Anecdote-This is a story illustrating a point. Ensure the anecdote you use is short, to the point and relevant to your papers topic. Often, this serves as an effective opener for the essay but it should be used carefully.
- Dialogue-You do not need to identify speakers in order to have proper dialogues but it is important for the reader to understand your point. Use 2 or 3 exchanges between speakers to drive your point.
- Summary of information– A few sentences that explain your topic in general can lead the reader gently to your thesis. Each sentence is supposed to be more specific gradually till you get your thesis.
Be general before going specific
It is a must that you provide reads with little basic or background information regarding the topic you are covering. Begin with a broader subject then lead readers into the specifics of your topic. This is important especially when working on a book report. It is important to show your reader how your choice topic related to a much bigger picture.
This is clearly depicted at library.bcu.ac.uk
“As we all know, Britain is a multicultural society. In the 1960s many thousands of immigrants came to the country, mostly setting up home in the major cities. The majority of these immigrants came from the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Hong Kong. Racism has always been a problem with the various groups of these immigrants seen as stereotypes, although over the years, there has been increasing integration into British society, particularly by the children of immigrant families…”
The writer in this case draws the reader in with a hook and from there, starts divulging additional information that keeps the reader interested.
For you to know how to write an introduction that is impressive, you must:
- Pay extra attention to the first sentence– Start on the right foot with readers. This means you have to make sure your very first sentence says something that is useful. Additionally, it should do this in a manner that is polished and interesting.
- Be confident and straightforward-You should avoid adding statements like “In this paper, I will argue that Fredrick Douglas valued education. While such a sentence points the reader to your main argument, there is nothing interesting about it. Use sentences that are more declarative such as “Fredrick Douglass valued education. Always assert your main argument in a confident manner. Remember that unless the reader feels you believe what you are saying, they cannot believe it either.
Outline the central point of your essay
Once you have provided background information to your readers, you should use the introduction to outline what you intend to discuss. Lay your main arguments and points out in the order you intend to discuss them for purposes of making it easy for your reader to follow through with your thoughts.
What is the point?
Anyone who knows how to write an essay introduction knows that the most important thing they must introduce to it is the thesis statement. The thesis is the main point of the paper and it is supposed to be focused, specific and narrow. A thesis is something that you either argue against or for. Always make sure that you include your thesis in your introduction. Preferably, the thesis should be at the end of your introduction.
The length matters
No rule exists for exactly how long your introduction ought to be. Therefore, while writing one, what you need to consider is the overall length of your paper. An ideal length for a 5 paged essay for instance is half a page but for a 40 page paper, the introduction is supposed to span multiple paragraphs and pages.
In other terms, your introduction is supposed to be in sync with the length of your paper. This is the only way to create balance and ensure you do not throw your reader off.
Pitfalls to avoid while writing an introduction
- The introduction is not where you are supposed to introduce factual or background information. The most common impulse is to start with s story of when someone was born or historical background. However, unless you need brief information in order to understand significance or terms of the thesis, it is advisable to save such background information for the next paragraph.
- Do not begin the introduction with dictionary definition. Readers are not interested in knowing how Webster ’defines postmodernism. Their main focus is on what you have to say about it.
- Do not begin with grand generalizations-Be specific when asking questions or answering them. The ‘pyramid form’ introduction is a cliché that often leads to sentences that are uninteresting that start with “Since the beginning of time…” or “Throughout history…” Showing the importance of your thesis does not necessarily mean you have to demonstrate how important it is to history or tie it to universal observation.
Often, your second paragraph will connect the opening statement or anecdote to the remainder of your paper, providing transition from generalized introduction to a detailed look at your very firs point.
Examples of Introductions
Example 1: “In 1901, Pablo Picasso’s closest friend, Carlos Casagemas, committed suicide, an event which shocked the young artist and drove him into deep, guilt-laden depression. Indeed in the aftermath of this tragedy, Picasso became superstitious in his fear of anything associated with death, an obsession which was reflected not just in his subsequent “blue period” paintings but throughout his life. The Painting Picasso executed in response to Casagemas’ death, paradoxically titled La Vie (life) 1903, develops several of the distinctive motives that would become important to his later paintings, including his ambivalent view of women, a close connection between sex and death, and an intensely subjective viewpoint”
The sample above is from hmc.edu which starts with an anecdote. The anecdote captures the attention of the reads and details regarding the story wait till the next paragraph.
In the sample, the author makes the importance of the story clear. The reader is interested in the event not out of an idle curiosity regarding Picasso’s life but due to how it influenced his art.
Example 2: “In Australia there are close to one million business buyers. This is far short of approximately 18 million consumers but the total sales volume in the business market surpasses the total sales of consumer market. Although business buying behavior are similar because they both involve individuals making purchase decisions, the differences between the buying behaviors of these groups is of greater significance…”
The sample above is from unilearning.uow.edu.au and it is an ideal example of how to write an introduction. Remember that a great introduction can help you find the appropriate direction for your paper. Therefore, it is important to give it much thought while writing one.
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