Compose Essay Introduction
The first impression of your essay is established by its introductory paragraph. Introductory paragraph is what introduces reader to the essay. By reading introduction, reader gets idea of what is going to be discussed in the following paragraphs. That is why; introduction should be interesting enough to catch reader's attention. It is not a simple task unless you follow a few simple suggestions. In order to make your introduction interesting to the reader, you can follow following tips:
Thesis statement is the whole point of introduction. Thesis statement is a concise statement which presents your opinion to the reader. It should not contain any ambiguity. A plain and direct thesis statement provokes interest of the reader as he will distinctly know the whole point of discussion. This is the reason that thesis statement should always be written in precise and explicit manner.
Try to put interesting facts into introduction. The points should be such that they invoke an urge in reader to read about the topic. The interest of reader should be maintained by continuity and connectivity in the whole essay. But as introduction is always mirror image of essay, it is given more emphasis and attention.
The ideas you have about your topic should be presented in unique form. You can introduce your point of view through a relevant quotation. You can begin with some interesting fact. It can be a provocative question, an anecdote, a narrative (short), any intriguing paradox, surprising information etc. Such interesting touch to your essay will make it reader friendly and will enhance attraction of your essay.
You should not beat about the bush. Be specific while writing introduction. If you make your statements too broad and ambiguous, it will lose attraction and interest of the reader. Reader always wants to know the main point of essay or discussion. So you must give a transparent picture of your essay to reader. It will enhance persuasiveness of essay.
You can also put your own unique ideas about introduction to work. You can plan your introduction of essay. It is also advised to read introductions of well-written essays to have a clear picture of an effective introduction. These small steps will help you catch reader's attention by making your introduction interesting and different.
The introduction to an essay has three primary objectives:
- Explain the context of the essay
- Give the answer: the response to the question or the overall focus of the essay (the thesis statement)
- Describe the structure and organisation of the essay
These aims can be given more or less emphasis depending on the length and type of essay. In a very short essay (less than 1000 words), for example, there is not much room to give a full and detailed context or structure. A longer essay has room for greater detail.
Essays are usually written for an intelligent but uninformed audience, so begin with some context: the background of the topic, the topic scope, and any essential definitions.
- Introductions often begin with a broad opening statement that establishes the subject matter and background. Don't make it too broad (“Since time began…”), but identify the relevant topic and sub-topic (e.g. human resource management, early childhood development, animal behaviour…).
- To establish the scope, answer basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Is the essay limited to a particular time period, a particular group of people, a particular country?
- Definitions are often established after the introduction, so only include them here if they are absolutely essential.
Answer / focus
The most important part of the introduction is the response to the question: the thesis statement. Thesis statements are discussed in detail here: thesis statements.
An introduction often ends on the thesis statement. It begins with a broad statement and gradually narrows down until it directly addresses the question:
This order of introduction elements is not set in stone, however. Sometimes the thesis statement is followed by a breakdown of the essay's structure and organisation. Ultimately, you must adapt the order to suit the needs of each particular essay.
Strong introductions tell the reader how the upcoming body paragraphs will be organised.
This can be as easy as outlining the major points that your essay will make on the way to the conclusion. You don't need to go into much detail in the introduction: just signal the major ‘landmarks.’
It can help to identify how all of the paragraphs are organised:
- Do the paragraphs deal with the issue from earliest to most recent (chronological)?
- Are the paragraphs grouped by broader themes (thematic)?
- Does the essay answer several related questions one after the other (sequential)?
- Do the paragraphs describe two elements and them compare them (contrasting)?
The essay will be much more readable once the reader knows what to expect from the body paragraphs.
See sample essay 1 and sample essay 2 for model introductions.
Page authorised by Director, CTL
Last updated on 25 October, 2012