Writing Introductions

An academic paper should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. For this tip I will focus on introductions.

The Basics:

The purpose of an introduction is to, for lack of a better word, introduce the topic of your essay. Think of it like a trailer for a movie.  It provides enough detail to explain to viewers what the movie is about and it’s designed to spark people’s interest in seeing the film. An intro does the exact same thing for an essay. An introduction sets the stage for your whole paper. First impressions are important, so forming an effective introduction is vital. This is your chance to catch your reader’s interest. If the introduction is lacking then most people won’t even read on and teachers will expect the worst as they continue through the essay.  

What to Include in an Introductory Paragraph:

  1. Hook: An attention grabber that can come in a variety of forms, such as a narrative, a description, a quotation, a statistic, or a dialogue. The hook should be specific as well as engaging.
  2. Transition: A sentence or sentences that connect the hook to the thesis.
  3. Thesis: A sentence or sentences that summarize the main point of the paper. The thesis includes both the main claim and the supporting evidence.

What to Avoid When Writing an Introduction:

  • Do not use clichés like “Since the beginning of time…” They are extremely overused and indicate a lack of creativity to your audience.
  • Do not start your thesis statement by stating, “The purpose of this essay is…” or “In this essay I will prove…” etc. These statements are often filler words that are not necessary. Your thesis should be self-evident.
  • Do not develop an unclear or unfocused thesis statement. The thesis is the entire point of your paper. It’s the road-map for the rest of the essay. It needs to be well written and easy to follow.
  • Do not say things like “I am not an expert,” “This may be the case,” or “This is only my opinion.” These statements reduce your credibility and take away the persuasive power of your words. 

That’s all for now.

This is Christina, signing off until next time! 

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