The placeholder introduction. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder. Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery.
Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper.
Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question.
Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused.
This technique is not as sophisticated and may distract the reader from your larger purpose for writing the essay. Instead, you might try to make the reader see why this is such an important topic to discuss.
Finally, this sample introduction is lacking a clear thesis statement. However, it is not yet working as a thesis statement because it fails to make an argument or claim about those topics. My earliest memories of earning and spending money are when I was ten years old when I would sell Dixie cups of too-sweet lemonade and bags of salty popcorn to the neighborhood kids.
From that early age, I learned the importance of money management and the math skills involved. I learned that there were four quarters in a dollar, and if I bought a non-food item—like a handful of balloons—that I was going to need to come up with six cents for every dollar I spent. I also knew that Kool-Aid packets were 25 cents each or that I could save money and get five of them for a dollar.
Today, however, money management involves knowing more than which combinations of cent, five-cent, and one-penny candies I can get for a dollar. This can be a very effective opener for your essay, but use it carefully.
Dialogue An appropriate dialogue does not have to identify the speakers, but the reader must understand the point you are trying to convey. Use only two or three exchanges between speakers to make your point. Follow dialogue with a sentence or two of elaboration. Summary Information A few sentences explaining your topic in general terms can lead the reader gently to your thesis.
It will also, in some instances, add a stimulus to further thought. Since no two essays are the same, no single formula will automatically generate an introduction and conclusion for you. But the following guidelines will help you to construct a suitable beginning and end for your essay.
Some general advice about introductions Some students cannot begin writing the body of the essay until they feel they have the perfect introduction. Be aware of the dangers of sinking too much time into the introduction. Some of that time can be more usefully channeled into planning and writing. You may be the kind of writer who writes an introduction first in order to explore your own thinking on the topic.
If so, remember that you may at a later stage need to compress your introduction. It can be fine to leave the writing of the introduction for a later stage in the essay-writing process. Some people write their introduction only after they have completed the rest of the essay.
Others write the introduction first but rewrite it significantly in light of what they end up saying in the body of their paper. Because the introduction is the first portion of your essay that the reader encounters, the stakes are fairly high for your introduction to be successful. A good introduction presents a broad overview of your topic and your thesis, and should convince the reader that it is worth their time to actually read the rest of your essay. Start your introduction broad, but not too broad.
Your introduction should provide the reader with a sense of what they should expect out of your essay, not to expound upon every piece of knowledge ever developed by man. A good test to see if information should go in a body or introductory paragraph is to ask yourself a few questions. Is this providing context or evidence? Does this introduce my argument, or try to prove it?
For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion. Pay special attention to your first sentence. However, it is not yet working as a thesis statement because it fails to make an argument or claim about those topics. A more effective attention grabber may point out a specific, and perhaps surprising, instance when adults use math in their daily lives, in order to show the reader why this is such as important topic to consider. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. Even an anecdote can end your essay in a useful way.
Use rhetorical questions that place your readers in a different situation in order to get them thinking about your topic in a new way.
Does this introduce my argument, or try to prove it? A policy briefing usually includes an introduction but may conclude with a series of recommendations. A strong conclusion will provide a sense of closure to the essay while again placing your concepts in a somewhat wider context. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. Give a startling statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of your paper.
It will also, in some instances, add a stimulus to further thought. Also, the corresponding part of a speech, lecture, etc.
Five kinds of less effective introductions 1. A twenty page paper may call for a two-page introduction, but a five-page paper will not. Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month. 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. Most of the advice in this handout pertains to argumentative or exploratory academic essays. It might be helpful to think of the introduction as an inverted pyramid.
Fair-Use Policy Introductions and conclusions play a special role in the academic essay, and they frequently demand much of your attention as a writer. Some people write their introduction only after they have completed the rest of the essay.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. Today, however, money management involves knowing more than which combinations of cent, five-cent, and one-penny candies I can get for a dollar.
If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences. Pay special attention to your first sentence. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. Anecdote anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. In a science or social science paper, mention worthwhile avenues for future research on your topic. 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.
Go on to the next step. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end.