The introduction of the essay
The function of the Introduction is to serve as a 'map' of the essay, outlining to your reader the main argument and points which you develop in your essay. Most introductions begin with an orientation in the form of a brief general statement that leads the reader into the topic showing how the specific topic relates to bigger issues or to the discipline field. This is followed by your thesis statement, which is your concise response to the essay question, then an outline of the argument presented in the essay. You may find it useful to think of an essay's introduction as funnel shaped moving from the general to the specific. Here is an example:
Essay Question: Italy on the eve of 1860 has often been described as an unlikely nation. Why?
|On the eve of 1860 the word Italy described not a nation, but a geographical area.The peninsula was split into eight separate states, all independent of one another. Economically, while the whole of Europe seemed to be surging ahead, Italy was lagging behind.At this time, Italy was seen as an unlikely nation because of the many obstacles that lay in the way of unification. The main obstacles were the dislike and distrust between the states and the "slowness of the great bulk of Italians to accept or even comprehend the idea of Italy" (Mack Smith,1968: 2). There was also a lack of planning and common goals amongst the minority of the population that supported and were prepared to fight for a unified country. This was exacerbated by the disagreement and dislike between the leaders of Il Risorgimento, the Italian independence movement.||background|
orientation to the topic
outline of argument
1This essay has been adapted from material developed by R. Woodward-Kron, E. Thomson & J. Meek (2000) Academic Writing: a language based guide (CD-ROM), University of Wollongong
© Copyright 2000
Comments and questions should
be directed to Unilearning@uow.edu.au
“In this story, I want to tell you about the time I almost got burned in the car riding 200 miles per hour trying to get away from cops.” Fortunately, I don’t have such a story to tell, but I bet that I grabbed your attention. You might ask: “how did I do that?” I did this with a catchy opening line that makes you want to read more. A great opening line and catchy introduction are the two things you will definitely want to use in your essay. Read on to find out how to write a “READ ME!” introduction.
Table Of Contents
The introduction of the essay is the part that comes in the beginning. It tells the reader what you are going to be writing in your paper. It should identify the topic of the essay, evoke interest and motivate the audience to read the rest of your paper.
Let's Talk About Structure
Usually, an introduction consists of 3 parts:
Part 1: The hook (attention grabber). The purpose of this part is to catch the reader’s attention To reach this goal, you should start with a shocking fact, an anecdote, or an appropriate quote.
Then provide an overview of the essay theme and a small piece of background or basic information about the topic you are going to cover. The best way is to start an essay with a broad explanation and lead your readers to something specific. At first, give general information and gradually narrow it down to your specific points.
Part 2: Connections. After you have provided some background information, use your introduction to outline what you are going to talk about. Write your main points and claims in the order in which you will discuss them. Make sure that you keep body paragraph topics concise and to the point.
Do not forget to answer these questions to make sure that you have given your audience a full explanation of the main characters and time frames: etc. Answer these questions in 2 or better 3 sentences in the middle of your intro
Part 3: The thesis statement. There is no doubt that the paper thesis is the most important thing you must include in your introduction because your entire essay revolves around this statement. It should be narrow , focused, and very specific.
What about the length?
There are no strict rules about the length of the introduction, but an academic paper writer needs to take the length of your paper into account. A relevant length for a five-paragraph essay is one paragraph, but if you are writing a 30-page paper, your introduction will take several pages and multiple paragraphs.
- The hook is written at the beginning of the introduction and is used to grab the reader's attention.
- Provide background and basic information about the topic.
- Write your main points and claims in the order that you are going to discuss them.
- Give all necessary information about the characters, time frames, and setting.
- DO NOT FORGET to write the thesis. It should present the main idea of your paper, or something you are arguing for or against. It must be written at the end of the introduction.
Although introductory paragraphs follow the same set structure, the content placed within the bones will have variation. This variety comes from the type of essay that is being written as well as its overall purpose. When talking about academic writing, there are three main kinds that most students will create. Most essays will take on either a narrative, analytical or persuasive perspective. Each one of those has their one introductory styles. The differences are listed below:
- Narrative Introduction
- Narrative essay is a type of writing in which a story is being told by the writer.
- The hook will usually be a sneak peak of a segment of the story. It will indirectly relate back to the thesis.
- Each part of the trailer will be an important moment in the story that had a significant impact on the outcome.
- The thesis in narrative writing is the theme or main lesson learned from the tale.
- In essence, it was the purpose for its creation.
- Analytical Introduction
- Writing that serves to purely inform or educate the reader on the chosen topic.
- The hook in this scenario will be information that is directly related to the thesis statement. It may be a rhetorical question or an informative statement that gives us clues about the writer's main point from the get-go.
- The trailer of the introduction will include the three critical pieces of information that help validate the analytical thesis.
- As the goal of this type of writing is to inform and or educate the audience, the thesis will usually be a researched and thought out statement that has yet to hold any weight. It will be phrased in a factual way, although technically it is still theoretical.
Read more about Analytical Essay Writing
- Persuasive Introduction
- A type of writing that aims to persuade an audience through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos.
- A hook statement in this scenario can really be anything. Starting from an interesting fact, and going all the way to humor, the actual hook has full customizability. Its purpose remains the same.
- As for any argumentative writing, it should have at least three pieces of evidence that support its claim. Each supporting argument usually has one introductory sentence to present it. So for three supporting details, we are looking at a three-sentence trailer.
- Lastly, the thesis statement is the main argument presented by the author. This should be a well-thought and confidently written sentence that briefly summarizes the point of the entire essay.
Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction
- Avoid including too much background information.
- Do not make your introduction too long, unless you are writing a 30-page paper.
- Show that you understand the subject
- Be concise:
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