An introduction usually creates the overall impact of the paper: therefore, it can either make a wow-effect or entirely destroy the further willingness to read your essay. Sounds not that funny, right? Don’t worry, I have prepared a complete guide on writing an introduction for you.
The Structure of the Introduction
Like each part of the paper, your introduction should have a clear structure. First of all, it ensures the logical order of information presented in the introduction. Secondly, it is also responsible for the flow of the beginning of your paper. Of course, the structure of the introduction depends on the paper type, its length, and aim, so the structure may vary significantly. At the same time, there are essential components that should be apparent in each introduction; here they are:
- Attention grabber
- Background information
- Importance of the problem (optional)
- Transition to the thesis statement.
- Thesis statement
Now let’s see how each part can contribute to the strength of your introduction paragraph.
Think about the articles you usually read in the news or magazines: as a rule, they surprise you with shocking information and, in such a way, keep your attention. This is what makes you read further. What are the regular tools of attention-grabbing? You can start with a personal story, an intriguing quote, a question, or a fact; however, regardless of the option you choose, make sure it’s interesting enough to read further. Just ask yourself, “Does it make me read further?” If the answer is “no,” spend more time and look for a better attention grabber.
Now, as you have raised interest in your audience, you should explain the context of the issue you are writing about. You can provide basic statistics or mention the scale of the problem. Alternatively, you may define the central concepts, especially if they may not be familiar enough for the reader. Even though this part of the introduction should not be unusual or shocking, it should still maintain the interest of the readers. Therefore, make sure it is easy to read and not long enough.
Importance of the problem
In the majority of cases, you will also be asked to prove why your chosen topic is important enough to read or write about it. This is an optional issue if you are writing a short essay; however, if you are working on the research paper, an expanded essay, an argumentative essay, or a thesis, this is an absolute must. Again, you can use statistics or other facts to prove that your issue is important; it is also a good idea to explain how the problem relates to the audience of your paper.
Transition to the Thesis Statement
Remember that all this time you should keep the interest of your audience. For this reason, you should ensure the smooth transition between all the parts of the introduction. Still, if it is rather easy to connect attention grabber and background information, your thesis statement may be out of the general flow. This is why many professors recommend adding transitional sentence — a statement which logically and stylistically connects the facts in your introduction and your thesis statement so that it would not appear from nowhere.
This is a central element of your introduction, and some may even say that it’s the major element of the whole essay. Your thesis statement should clearly declare the main argument of your paper (or the aim of your research), being both informative and concise. I have already written a guide on writing a strong thesis statement, you can check it here if you are not feeling confident enough while writing it.
Tips for Writing an Amazing Introduction
A proper structure is essential for writing an introduction. However, you can also refer to the tips below to make sure that your introduction follows all the requirements and includes all the necessary information.
1. Avoid irrelevant details
If you are writing about Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there is no need to explain when he was born or what he wrote as it has nothing to do with your analysis.
2. Avoid obvious information
Returning to the example with Shakespeare, there is no need to write that he is the most famous writer or the person who shaped classic English literature. Everybody knows that! Don’t waste your time on writing obvious things and the time of your readers as they already know that.
3. Avoid cliches
Similar to the previous point, yet important to remember. There are types of statements we are used to as readers — and we don’t like them. So avoid generalized statements and providing definitions unless the latter is vital.
4. Put yourself on the place of the reader
Always think about your introduction from the position of the reader. Would YOU read further? Would YOU consider this issue essential after reading the provided information? Would YOU understand the whole idea of the paper from the thesis statement?
5. Move further if you’re stuck
You’re not writing a final version of the paper, so you can go on and write body paragraphs and return to your introduction in the end. At the same time, you will also be able to revise this paragraph and make sure that it corresponds with the rest of your text.