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- How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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“A relevant and coherent beginning is perhaps your best single guarantee that the essay as a whole will achieve its object.” Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide
Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here. You need to show the reader what your position is and how you are going to argue the case to get there so that the essay becomes your answer to the question rather than just an answer.
What an introduction should include:
- A little basic background about the key subject area (just enough to put your essay into context, no more or you'll bore the reader).
- Explanation of how you are defining any key terms . Confusion on this could be your undoing.
- A road-map of how your essay will answer the question. What is your overall argument and how will you develop it?
- A confirmation of your position .
It is good to start with a statement that fixes your essay topic and focus in a wider context so that the reader is sure of where they are within the field. This is a very small part of the introduction though - do not fall into the trap of writing a whole paragraph that is nothing but background information.
Beware though, this only has to be a little bit wider, not completely universal. That is, do not start with something like "In the whole field of nursing...." or "Since man could write, he has always...". Instead, simply situate the area that you are writing about within a slightly bigger area. For example, you could start with a general statement about a topic, outlining some key issues but explain that your essay will focus on only one. Here is an example:
The ability to communicate effectively and compassionately is a key skill within nursing. Communication is about more than being able to speak confidently and clearly, it is about effective listening (Singh, 2019), the use of gesture, body language and tone (Adebe et al., 2016) and the ability to tailor language and messaging to particular situations (Smith & Jones, 2015). This essay will explore the importance of non-verbal communication ...
The example introduction at the bottom of this page also starts with similar, short background information.
Defining key terms
This does not mean quoting dictionary definitions - we all have access to dictionary.com with a click or two. There are many words we use in academic work that can have multiple or nuanced definitions. You have to write about how you are defining any potentially ambiguous terms in relation to your essay topic. This is really important for your reader, as it will inform them how you are using such words in the context of your essay and prevent confusion or misunderstanding.
Stating your case (road mapping)
The main thing an introduction will do is...introduce your essay! That means you need to tell the reader what your conclusion is and how you will get there.
There is no need to worry about *SPOILER ALERTS* - this is not a detective novel you can give away the ending! Sorry, but building up suspense is just going to irritate the reader rather than eventually satisfy. Simply outline how your main arguments (give them in order) lead to your conclusion. In American essay guides you will see something described as the ‘thesis statement’ - although we don't use this terminology in the UK, it is still necessary to state in your introduction what the over-arching argument of your essay will be. Think of it as the mega-argument , to distinguish it from the mini-arguments you make in each paragraph. Look at the example introduction at the bottom of this page which includes both of these elements.
Confirming your position
To some extent, this is covered in your roadmap (above), but it is so important, it deserves some additional attention here. Setting out your position is an essential component of all essays. Brick et al. (2016:143) even suggest
"The purpose of an essay is to present a clear position and defend it"
It is, however, very difficult to defend a position if you have not made it clear in the first place. This is where your introduction comes in. In stating your position, you are ultimately outlining the answer to the question. You can then make the rest of your essay about providing the evidence that supports your answer. As such, if you make your position clear, you will find all subsequent paragraphs in your essay easier to write and join together. As you have already told your reader where the essay is going, you can be explicit in how each paragraph contributes to your mega-argument.
In establishing your position and defending it, you are ultimately engaging in scholarly debate. This is because your positions are supported by academic evidence and analysis. It is in your analysis of the academic evidence that should lead your reader to understand your position. Once again - this is only possible if your introduction has explained your position in the first place.
An example introduction
(Essay title = Evaluate the role of stories as pedagogical tools in higher education)
Stories have been an essential communication technique for thousands of years and although teachers and parents still think they are important for educating younger children, they have been restricted to the role of entertainment for most of us since our teenage years. This essay will claim that stories make ideal pedagogical tools, whatever the age of the student, due to their unique position in cultural and cognitive development. To argue this, it will consider three main areas: firstly, the prevalence of stories across time and cultures and how the similarity of story structure suggests an inherent understanding of their form which could be of use to academics teaching multicultural cohorts when organising lecture material; secondly, the power of stories to enable listeners to personally relate to the content and how this increases the likelihood of changing thoughts, behaviours and decisions - a concept that has not gone unnoticed in some fields, both professional and academic; and finally, the way that different areas of the brain are activated when reading, listening to or watching a story unfold, which suggests that both understanding and ease of recall, two key components of learning, are both likely to be increased . Each of these alone could make a reasoned argument for including more stories within higher education teaching – taken together, this argument is even more compelling.
Key: Background information (scene setting) Stating the case (r oad map) Confirming a position (in two places). Note in this introduction there was no need to define key terms.
Brick, J., Herke, M., and Wong, D., (2016) Academic Culture, A students guide to studying at university, 3rd edition. Victoria, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.
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An in troduction generally does three things. The first part is usually a general comment that shows the reader why the topic is important, gets their interest, and leads them into the topic. It isn’t actually part of your argument. The next part of the introduction is the thesis statement . This is your response to the question; your final answer. It is probably the most important part of the introduction. Finally, the introduction tells the reader what they can expect in the essay body. This is where you briefly outline your arguments .
Here is an example of the introduction to the question - Discuss how media can influence children. Use specific examples to support your view.
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Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!
Academic writing is an important aspect of higher education, as it helps to develop critical thinking, research skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. However, for many people, writing an academic essay can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will take you through the process of writing an academic essay, step by step, so that you can approach your next writing assignment with confidence.
From understanding the assignment and researching the topic to developing an outline and revising your work, we will cover all of the key elements of the academic essay-writing process. We will also provide tips and tricks for overcoming common challenges and improving your writing skills. Whether you’re just starting out in your academic career, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to refine your writing skills, this blog has something to offer.
So, if you’re ready to take your academic writing to the next level, read on and discover how to write an academic essay that will impress your readers and help you achieve your goals.
Table of Contents
Writing an Academic Essay
The introduction is one of the most important parts of an academic essay, as it sets the stage for what’s to come. The introduction should provide background information on the topic, establish the purpose of the essay, and clearly state your thesis. The purpose of the introduction is to engage your reader and make them want to continue reading.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong introduction:
1. Start with a hook
Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab the reader’s attention. This could be a quote, a statistic, or an interesting fact related to the topic.
2. Provide background information
After the hook, provide some background information on the topic to give context to the reader. This information should be relevant to the topic and help the reader understand why it’s important.
3. State your thesis
The thesis statement is a clear and concise statement of what you will argue in your essay. It should be placed near the end of the introduction and should reflect the focus of your essay.
4. Preview the main points
Preview the main points of your essay, so the reader knows what to expect. This will give your reader a roadmap for what is to come and will help you to stay focused as you write your essay.
5. Engage your reader
The introduction should engage your reader and make them want to continue reading. Avoid using too much technical language or jargon, and instead, focus on making your introduction accessible and interesting.
Writing a strong introduction to an academic essay is crucial for engaging your reader and setting the stage for what’s to come. By starting with a hook, providing background information, stating your thesis, previewing the main points, and engaging your reader, you will be well on your way to writing a strong academic essay.
2. Literature Review
The literature review is a critical component of an academic essay, as it provides a foundation for the rest of your research. The purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize previous research on the topic and to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. The literature review should be more than just a list of articles and books, but rather an evaluation of the relevant literature.
Here are some key steps to writing a literature review :
1. Choose the right sources
Start by identifying relevant sources for your literature review. This may include academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and theses. Make sure to choose only the most relevant and up-to-date sources.
2. Read and take notes
Once you’ve identified your sources, it’s time to read and take notes. Use a system to keep track of the information and be sure to note the author, date, and key findings of each source.
3. Summarize the literature
In your literature review, you should summarize the key findings of each source, highlighting their relevance to your research. You should also synthesize the information, looking for patterns, similarities, and differences among the sources.
4. Evaluate the literature
A strong literature review should not just summarize the sources, but also evaluate them. This means examining their strengths and weaknesses and assessing their relevance to your research question .
5. Identify gaps in the literature
As you evaluate the sources, look for gaps in the existing knowledge and areas where further research is needed. This will help you to identify the significance of your research and justify the need for your study.
6. Organize your literature review
Once you’ve completed your evaluation, you should organize your literature review clearly and logically. This could be chronologically, thematically, or based on methodology.
By choosing the right sources, reading and taking notes, summarizing and evaluating the literature, identifying gaps, and organizing your review, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported foundation for the rest of your essay.
The methodology section of an academic essay is where you describe the methods you used to conduct your research. This section is an opportunity to explain the steps you took to answer your research question and to justify why you chose these methods. The methodology should be detailed, precise, and transparent so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong methodology:
1. Define your research question
Before writing your methodology, you should have a clear understanding of your research question. This will guide the choice of methods you use and the information you collect.
2. Choose the right methods
The choice of methods should be guided by the research question. For example, if you’re conducting a survey, you would use a different method than if you were conducting a case study. Consider the strengths and limitations of each method, and choose the one that is best suited to your research question.
3. Explain your methods in detail
In your methodology, you should describe your methods in detail, so that others can understand how you conducted your research. This should include information on the sample size, how you collected the data, and any instruments or techniques you used.
4. Justify your methods
You should justify why you chose the methods you used and how they are appropriate for answering your research question. This might involve a discussion of the limitations of your methods and how they affect the results.
5. Address ethical considerations
If your research involved human subjects, you must address ethical considerations in your methodology. This might include information on informed consent, data confidentiality, and any potential risks to participants.
6. Be transparent
Your methodology should be transparent and honest so that others can understand and replicate your study if necessary. Be sure to report all of the methods you used, even if the results were not what you expected.
By defining your research question, choosing the right methods, explaining your methods in detail, justifying your methods, addressing ethical considerations, and being transparent, you will be able to provide a thorough and well-supported methodology for your essay.
The results section of an academic essay is where you present the findings of your research. This section should be clear, concise, and objective, and should present the data without any interpretation or discussion. The results should be organized logically and should include tables, figures, and other visual aids as necessary.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong results section:
1. Summarize the data
The first step in writing the results section is to summarize the data you collected. This might involve calculating means, standard deviations, and other descriptive statistics , depending on the type of data you collected.
2. Organize the results
This might involve presenting the results for each hypothesis, each research question, or each variable, depending on the nature of your study.
3. Use visual aids
Visual aids, such as tables and figures , can help to clarify and simplify the results. Make sure to label each visual aid clearly, and provide a caption that explains what the visual aid is showing.
4. Be objective
The results section should be objective, presenting the data without any interpretation or discussion. The interpretation of the results should be left to the discussion section.
5. Report results accurately
The results section should report the results accurately and precisely. This might involve rounding numbers to a specified number of decimal places, or using appropriate units of measurement.
In summary, by summarizing the data, organizing the results, using visual aids, being objective, and reporting the results accurately, you will be able to present your findings in a clear and compelling manner.
The discussion section of an academic essay is where you interpret the results of your research and relate them to your research question and the broader literature. This section is an opportunity to conclude, make recommendations, and reflect on the strengths and limitations of your study. The discussion should be well-organized and should provide a clear and concise interpretation of the results.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong discussion section:
1. Interpret the results
The first step in writing the discussion section is to interpret the results of your study. This might involve comparing your results to previous research, explaining any unexpected results, and drawing conclusions about the implications of your findings.
2. Relate the results to your research question
The discussion should relate the results of your study to your research question, demonstrating how the results answer the question and providing insights into the topic.
3. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of your study
The discussion should include an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of your study, addressing any limitations that might affect the validity of the results, and suggesting areas for future research.
4. Draw conclusions
The discussion should conclude the results of the study, make recommendations based on the findings, and discuss the implications for future research.
5. Consider the broader context
The discussion should consider the broader context of the research, relating the findings to the broader literature and making connections to other related fields.
6. Write clearly and concisely
The discussion should be well-written and easy to understand, using clear and concise language. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to define any terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader.
The conclusion of an academic essay is the final section in which you summarize the key points of your argument and provide closure to your reader. This section should be concise and to the point, reiterating the main points of your essay and providing a final perspective on your topic. The conclusion should also reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong conclusion:
1. Summarize the key points
The first step in writing the conclusion is to summarize the key points of your essay. This might involve restating your research question, summarizing your findings, and reiterating your arguments.
2. Reflect on the implications of your research
The conclusion should reflect on the implications of your research, considering the broader context of your study and its contributions to the field. This might involve discussing the potential applications of your findings, considering any ethical implications, or discussing future directions for research.
3. Provide closure
The conclusion should provide closure to your reader, bringing your argument to a logical end and tying up any loose ends. This might involve suggesting a conclusion based on your research, or providing a final perspective on your topic.
4. Avoid introducing new information
The conclusion should avoid introducing new information or arguments that were not discussed in the body of your essay. This might confuse your reader and undermine the coherence of your argument.
5. Write concisely
The conclusion should be concise, using clear and concise language to summarize the key points of your essay. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is easy for your reader to understand.
By summarizing the key points, reflecting on the implications of your research, providing closure, avoiding introducing new information, and writing concisely, you will be able to provide a compelling conclusion to your argument.
The references section of an academic essay is a crucial component that provides a list of the sources you used in your research and writing. The purpose of the references section is to give credit to the authors whose work you have used, to provide evidence for your arguments, and to support the validity of your research.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong references section:
1. Follow a specific citation style
The first step in writing the references section is to follow a specific citation style. There are several citation styles used in academic writing, including APA , MLA , and Chicago , and it is important to choose the one that is appropriate for your discipline and the type of essay you are writing.
2. Cite all sources used in your essay
The references section should include a citation for all sources that you used in your essay, including books, journal articles, websites, and other types of sources.
3. Follow the format guidelines
The references section should be formatted according to the specific citation style that you have chosen. This might involve including information such as the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and the page numbers for any direct quotes or paraphrased material.
4. Alphabetize the references
The references section should be alphabetized according to the author’s last name, or the first word of the title for sources without authors.
5. Check for accuracy
Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the references section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the sources are cited properly.
By following a specific citation style, citing all sources used in your essay, following the format guidelines, alphabetizing the references, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented references section for your essay.
The appendices section of an academic essay is an optional component that provides additional information that supports the main argument or research findings. This section might include materials such as graphs, tables, maps, images, or other types of data or supplementary information.
Here are some key steps to writing a strong appendices section:
1. Decide what to include
The first step in writing the appendices section is to decide what to include. This might involve evaluating the relevance of different types of information and determining which information is necessary to support your argument.
2. Label and organize the appendices
The appendices should be labeled and organized clearly and consistently, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. This might involve including a title or description for each appendix, and numbering the appendices in a logical order.
3. Refer to the appendices in the main body of your essay
The appendices should be referred to in the main body of your essay, helping to connect the appendices to your argument. This might involve including a reference to the appendix in your text, or including a cross-reference to the appendix in your table of contents.
4. Use clear and concise language
The appendices should be written using clear and concise language, making it easy for the reader to understand the information being presented. Avoid using technical jargon, and make sure to write in a way that is accessible to your reader.
Before submitting your essay, make sure to check the appendices section for accuracy, verifying that all of the information is correct and that all of the tables, graphs, and other materials are properly labeled and organized.
By deciding what to include, labeling and organizing the appendices, referring to the appendices in the main body of your essay, using clear and concise language, and checking for accuracy, you will be able to provide a comprehensive and well-documented appendices section for your essay.
Writing an academic essay is a complex and challenging task that requires careful planning, research, writing, and revision. From developing a strong thesis statement and researching the topic to writing the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references, each step in the essay writing process requires attention to detail and a commitment to producing a high-quality essay.
By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this blog, you will be able to write a clear and well-structured essay that effectively communicates your argument, supports your claims with evidence, and meets the expectations of your reader.
In conclusion, writing an academic essay is a multi-step process that requires time, effort, and dedication. However, by breaking the process down into manageable steps, and by focusing on the key elements of writing an effective essay, you will be able to produce a high-quality essay that meets the expectations of your reader and contributes to your academic or professional success.
The best info ever thanks keep going like this 👌 🙌 👏 👍
It’s clearly and interesting work. I will use ir for My study and work i’m education un Patagonia, Argentina. Thanks Shrutika.
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How to build an essay
- Body paragraphs
Preparing an outline
You are ready to write an essay after you have done these steps:
- Identified all the components that you must cover so that you address the essay question or prompt
- Conducted your initial research and decided on your tentative position and line of argument
- Created a preliminary outline for your essay that presents the information logically.
Most essays follow a similar structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, as shown in the diagram below.
Click on the plus icons for more information.
Writing an introduction
The purpose of the introduction is to give your reader a clear idea of what your essay will cover. It should provide some background information on the specific problem or issue you are addressing, and should clearly outline your answer. Depending on your faculty or school, ‘your answer’ may be referred to as your position, contention, thesis or main argument . Whatever term is used, this is essentially your response to the essay question, which is based on the research that you have undertaken or the readings you have analysed.
An essay is not like a mystery novel which keeps the reader in suspense; it should not slowly reveal the argument to the reader. Instead, the contention and supporting arguments are usually stated in the introduction.
When writing an introduction, you should typically use a general to specific structure. This means that you introduce the particular problem or topic the essay will address in a general sense to provide the context before you narrow down to your particular position and line of argument.
Key elements of an introduction
Click on each of the elements to reveal more.
Provide some background information and context.
The introduction usually starts by providing some background information about your particular topic, so the reader understands the key problem being addressed and why it is an issue worth writing about. However, it is important that this is brief and that you only include information that is directly relevant to the topic.
This might also be an appropriate place to introduce the reader to key terms and provide definitions, if required.
Don’t be tempted to start your essay with a grand generalisation, for instance: ‘War has always been a problem for humanity….’, or ‘Since the beginning of time…’. Instead, make sure that your initial sentence relates directly to the problem, question or issue highlighted by the essay topic.
Limit the scope of your discussion
Setting the parameters of the essay is important. You can’t possibly cover everything on a topic - and you are not expected to - so you need to tell your reader how you have chosen to narrow the focus of your essay.
State your position / contention
State your position on the topic (also referred to as your main argument , or contention , or thesis statement ). Make sure that you are directly answering the question (and the whole essay question if there is more than one part to it).
"Stating your position" can be a single sentence answer to the essay question but will often include 2-3 sentences explaining the answer in more detail.
Outline the structure or main supporting points of your essay
This usually involves providing details of the most important points you are going to make which support your argument.
 Business leadership has been described as the ‘ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the organisations of which they are members’ (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman & Gupta, 2004, p. 63). Whether this ability is something a person is born with, or whether it is something that a person can learn, has been the subject of considerable debate. Kambil (2010) has outlined two categories of leadership attributes that help to frame the discussion: 'traits' (mostly innate) and 'skills' which can be developed through experience or training.  This essay will draw on the trait theory of leadership to argue that that leaders are first born, but then must be made.  While good business leaders share certain traits that are essential to success, including ‘curiosity, courage, perseverance, personal ethics and confidence’ (Kambil, 2010, p.43), they also need learnable skills, such as communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, that are only developed through practice. A potential leader should develop their natural traits as well as learn and practise skills which will help them to persuade, equip and inspire others to realise their vision.
Legend:  Background / Context ;  Position / Contention ;  Structure or main point of essay
Check your understanding View
Key features of an introduction.
Read the paragraph in the accordion below and see if you can identify the key features of an introduction. This is an introduction written in response to the essay question: 'Can Rome's actions towards Carthage be described as defensive imperialism?'
Writing a body paragraph
The body of the essay is where you fully develop your argument. Each body paragraph should contain one key idea or claim, which is supported by relevant examples and evidence from the body of scholarly work on your topic (i.e. academic books and journal articles).
Together, the body paragraphs form the building blocks of your argument.
How do I structure paragraphs?
The TEECL structure provides an effective way of organising a paragraph. TEECL stands for Topic sentence, Explanation, Evidence, Comment, and Link. You may find it helpful to add C for Comment before Link. A paragraph structured this way would contain the following:
- Topic sentence – the first sentence in a body paragraph that tells the reader what the main idea or claim of the paragraph will be.
- Explanation – Explain what you mean in greater detail.
- Evidence – Provide evidence to support your idea or claim. To do this, refer to your research. This may include: case studies, statistics, documentary evidence, academic books or journal articles. Remember that all evidence will require appropriate citation.
- Comment – Consider the strengths and limitations of the evidence and examples that you have presented. Explain how your evidence supports your claim (i.e. how does it ‘prove’ your topic sentence?).
- Link – Summarise the main idea of the paragraph, and make clear how this paragraph supports your overall argument.
 One of the main obstacles to reaching international consensus on climate change action is the ongoing debate over which countries should shoulder the burden.  Because the developed world has historically been responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, it has been argued that they should reduce emissions and allow developed nations to prioritise development over environmental concerns (Vinuales, 2011).  The notion of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ (CBDR) was formalised in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (UNFCCC, 1992). Article 3.1 explicitly states 'Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof' (p. 4).  However, because CBDR outlines a principle and not an actionable plan it has remained problematic. For example, it does not stipulate the extent to which, under the principle of CBDR, developing nations should be exempt from specific emissions targets. This has continued to be a point of contention in global negotiations on climate change, with developed countries such as the USA arguing that developed nations should do more to reduce emissions (Klein et. al., 2017).  Fairness and equity need to be pursued in reaching a global agreement on climate change, but transforming this into an actionable strategy is problematic.
Legend :  Topic sentence  Explanation  Evidence / Example  Comment  Link
What is missing?
The paragraph below was written in response to the essay question: '"Leaders are made rather than born." Do you agree or disagree? Provide reasons for your opinion.'
Read the paragraph then answer the question that follows.
The function of a conclusion is to draw together the main ideas discussed in the body of the essay. However, a good conclusion does more than that.
You may choose to also:
- reflect on the broader significance of the topic
- discuss why it is difficult to arrive at a definitive answer to the question posed
- raise other questions that could be considered in a subsequent essay
- make a prediction or a caution or a recommendation about what will happen to the phenomenon under investigation
When writing a conclusion, a specific to general structure is usually recommended. Yes, this is opposite to the introduction! Begin by re-stating or re-emphasising your position on the topic, then summarise your line of argument and key points. Finish off by commenting on the significance of the issue, making a prediction about the future of the issue, or a recommendation to deal with the problem at hand.
 No single theory can adequately explain the relationship between age and crime, and the debate over their correlation is ongoing. Instead, each theory provides valuable insight into a particular dimension of age and crime.  The emergence of the criminal propensity versus criminal career debate in the 1980s demonstrated the importance of both arguments. It is now believed that the age-crime curve created by Gottfredson and Hirschi is a good basic indicator for the age-crime relationship. However, the criminal career position has stood up to stringent empirical testing, and has formed an integral part of developmental theories such as Thornberry’s interactional theory.  These theories provide important insight into the complex relationship between age and crime, but, more than this, are useful for developing strategies for delinquency and crime prevention.
Legend :  Specific contention ;  Specific summary of main points ;  Broader and general significance
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Writing an introduction & conclusion
About these study tips.
Improve your essays by following these tips on writing a good introduction and conclusion. This guide includes key information your introduction and conclusion should contain and examples of what this means in practice.
Your introduction is important as it sets the tone of your essay. It should break down what the essay is about and summarise what the main body of the essay will cover. One method that you can use to write your introduction is the What, Why and How approach.
What is the essay about? This is where you explain what the purpose and focus of the essay is. Often you will be able to find this information in your assignment brief or in the essay question.
Why is the topic of the essay being discussed? This is where you should consider why the topic is of relevance and importance within your field. This could also be classed as a rationale for your essay.
How will you approach the essay? This is where you should outline the main points that you would discuss within the essay.
When using this approach, you do not necessarily have to present it in this order. It depends on what makes the most sense for the topic that you are exploring.
Example of an introduction
Examine the impact of physical inactivity on mental health (1000 words)
What: This essay will review the relationship between physical inactivity and mental health.
Why: The UK government recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week and two days of strengthening activities (Public Health England, 2019). However, 39% of adults are failing to meet the recommendations for physical activity (British Heart Foundation, 2017). A lack of physical activity increases the risk of individuals being affected by mental health and physical health conditions, with one in six UK deaths being attributed to physical inactivity (Public Health England, 2019).
How: This essay will critically discuss the impact of physical inactivity on depression, anxiety, self-esteem and stress. The essay will then go on to provide recommendations to promote and increase physical activity.
Your conclusion gives the reader a summary of the ideas you covered in your assignment. At this point, you should not be introducing any new ideas or information.
In your conclusion, you should:
- Summarise each of your points from the main body of your essay.
- Summarise the main conclusions based upon the evidence you used.
- Link your conclusions back to the title of your essay – if you were asked a question, make sure that you have shown how you have answered it.
You might be asked to:
- Offer recommendations and/or solutions.
- Comment on broader implications for this area of study or research.
Example of a conclusion
Summary of the essay: This essay has critically examined the relationship between physical inactivity on mental health. The impact of physical inactivity on depression, stress, self-esteem and anxiety has been discussed.
Main conclusion: Through the review of literature, it has been determined that a lack of physical activity can negatively affect mental health and in some cases, worsen symptoms.
Further research and recommendations: It is suggested that health education should be advertised to individuals susceptible to physical and mental health conditions. It is also recommended that healthy living programmes are integrated into workplaces and other high stress environments.
Tips for writing your introduction and conclusion
Use it as a signposting opportunity If your introduction and conclusion are clear enough, it should direct the reader through the main body easily.
Avoid being repetitive Whilst an introduction and conclusion cover similar areas, they are not the same. They both serve different purposes; therefore, they require their own attention.
10% of your word count Unless you have been given a specific word count for your introduction or conclusion, each section should only be 10% of your word count (20% in total). The remaining 80% of the word count should be for your main body.
Avoid going into too much detail You do not want to take anything away from your main body, where you will get the majority of your marks.
Make sure that you are only mentioning relevant points If you are writing five hundred words in your introduction and your essay is 1000 words, then you may be going into too much detail and including irrelevant information.
British Heart Foundation (2017) Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour. Available via the British Heart Foundation website (Accessed: 13 December 2019).
Public Health England (2019) Everybody active, every day: An evidence-based approach to physical activity. Available via the government website (Accessed: 13 December 2019).
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Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction
'I'd like to recall the day I nearly burned myself in flames in my automobile while going 250 mph and escaping the police'. – Thankfully, we don't have a story like that to relate to, but we bet we piqued your interest.
That's what we refer to as an efficient hook. Fundamentally, it's an attention-grabbing first sentence that piques an audience's interest and encourages them to keep reading. While writing an essay, a strong hook in essay introductions is essential.
Delve into the article if you're wondering how to start an essay with a strong introduction. This is the ultimate guide for writing the parts of a introduction paragraph from our custom dissertation writing service to engage your readers.
The introduction paragraph, to put it simply, is the first section of an essay. Thus, when reading your essay, the reader will notice it right away. What is the goal of an opening paragraph? There are two things that an excellent introduction achieves. It initially informs the reader on the subject of your work; in other words, it should describe the essay's topic and provide some background information for its main point. It must also spark readers' interest and persuade them to read the remainder of your article.
To provide you with essay writing services , we only need your paper requirements to create a plagiarism-free paper on time.
How Long Should an Introduction Be
Typically, there are no strict restrictions on how long an opening paragraph should be. Professional essay writers often shape the size of it with the paper's total length in mind. For instance, if you wonder how to make introduction in essay with five paragraphs, keep your introductory sentence brief and fit it inside a single section. But, if you're writing a longer paper, let's say one that's 40 pages, your introduction could need many paragraphs or even be pages long.
Although there are no specific requirements, seasoned writers advise that your introduction paragraph should account for 8% to 9% of your essay's overall word length.
And, if you place an order on our coursework writing services , we will certainly comply with your introduction length requirements.
What Makes a Good Introduction
All of the following criteria should be fulfilled by a strong opening sentence:
- Start your introduction on an essay with a catchy sentence that draws the reader in.
- It needs to include baseline information about your subject.
- This should give readers a sense of the main argument(s) that your essay will address.
- It must include all necessary information on the setting, locations, and chronological events.
- By the end of your introduction, make a precise remark that serves as your essay's thesis.
What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph
So, what should be in a introduction paragraph? The introduction format essay has three sections: a hook, connections, and a thesis statement. Let's examine each component in more depth.
Part 1: Essay Hook
A hook is among the most effective parts of a introduction paragraph to start an essay. A strong hook will always engage the reader in only one sentence. In other words, it is a selling point.
Let's now address the query, 'how to make an essay introduction hook interesting?'. Well, to create a powerful hook, you can employ a variety of techniques:
- A shocking fact
- An anecdote
- A short summary
And here is what to avoid when using a hook:
- Dictionary definitions
- Sweeping statements that include words like 'everywhere,' 'always,' etc.
Once you've established a strong hook, you should give a general outline of your major point and some background information on the subject of your paper. If you're unsure how to write an introduction opening, the ideal approach is to describe your issue briefly before directing readers to particular areas. Simply put, you need to give some context before gradually getting more specific with your opinions.
The 5 Types of Hooks for Writing
Apart from the strategies mentioned above, there are even more types of hooks that can be used:
- A Common Misconception — a good trick, to begin with, to claim that something your readers believe in is false.
Example: 'Although many falsely believe that people working from home are less productive – employees who get such work-life benefits generally work harder.'
- Statistics — Statistical facts may provide a great hook for argumentative essays and serious subjects focusing on statistics.
Example: 'A recent study showed that people who are satisfied with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay at the same company.'
- Personal Story — sometimes, personal stories can be an appropriate hook, but only if they fit into a few brief sentences (for example, in narrative essays).
Example: 'When I had my first work-from-home experience, I suddenly realized the importance of having a good work-life balance; I saw plenty of the benefits it can provide.'
- Scenes — this type of hook requires making the readers imagine the things you are writing about. It is most suitable when used in descriptive and narrative essays.
Example: 'Imagine you could have as much free time as you wish by working or studying from home—and spend more time with your loved ones.'
- Thesis Statement — when unsure how to do an essay introduction, some writers start directly with their thesis statement. The main trick here is that there is no trick.
Example: 'I strongly believe there is a direct correlation between a healthy work-life balance and productivity in school or at work.'
Part 2: Connections
Give readers a clearer sense of what you will discuss throughout your article once you have given a hook and relevant background information about your essay topic. Briefly mentioning your main points in the same sequence in which you will address them in your body paragraphs can help your readers progressively arrive at your thesis statement.
In this section of your introduction, you should primarily address the following questions:
You may make sure that you are giving your readers all the information they need to understand the subject of your essay by responding to each of these questions in two to three lines. Be careful to make these statements brief and to the point, though.
Your main goal is gradually moving from general to specific facts about your subject or thesis statement. Visualize your introduction as an upside-down triangle to simplify the essay writing process. The attention-grabbing element is at the top of this triangle, followed by a more detailed description of the subject and concluding with a highly precise claim. Here is some quick advice on how to use the 'upside-down triangle' structure to compose an essay introduction:
- Ensure that each subsequent line in your introduction is more focused and precise. This simple method will help you progressively introduce the main material of your piece to your audience.
- Consider that you are writing a paper on the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In this situation, you may start with a query like, 'Have you ever considered how a healthy work-life balance can affect other areas of your life?' or a similar hook. Next, you could proceed by giving broad factual information. Finally, you could focus your topic on fitting your thesis statement.
Part 3: The Thesis Statement
If you're unsure of the ideal method to create an introduction, you should be particularly attentive to how you phrase your thesis statement.
The thesis of your work is, without a doubt, the most crucial section. Given that the thesis statement of your piece serves as the foundation for the entire essay, it must be presented in the introduction. A thesis statement provides readers with a brief summary of the article's key point. Your main assertion is what you'll be defending or disputing in the body of your essay. An effective thesis statement is often one sentence long, accurate, exact, unambiguous, and focused. Your thesis should often be provided at the end of your introduction.
Here is an example thesis statement for an essay about the value of a proper work-life balance to help you gain a better understanding of what a good thesis should be:
Thesis Statement Example: 'Creating flexible and pleasant work schedules for employees can help them have a better work-life balance while also increasing overall performance.'
Catchy Introductions for Different Essay Types
Although opening paragraphs typically have a fixed form, their language may vary. In terms of academic essays, students are often expected to produce four primary intro to essay examples. They include articles that are analytical, argumentative, personal, and narrative. It is assumed that different information should appear in these beginning paragraphs since the goals of each sort of essay change. A thorough overview of the various paper kinds is provided below, along with some good essay introduction samples from our argumentative essay writers:
- The writer of a narrative essay must convey a story in this style of writing. Such essays communicate a story, which distinguishes them from other essay types in a big way.
- Such a paper's hook will often be an enticing glimpse into a specific scene that only loosely links to the thesis statement. Additionally, when writing such an essay, a writer should ensure that every claim included in the introduction relates to some important moments that have significantly impacted the story's outcome.
- The thesis in narrative writing is usually the theme or main lesson learned from the story.
Narrative introduction example: 'My phone rang, and my mother told me that Dad had suffered a heart attack. I suddenly experienced a sense of being lifted out from under me by this immaculately carpeted flooring. After making it through, Dad left me with a sizable collection of lessons. Here are three principles that I know dad would have wanted me to uphold...'
Still Can't Think of a Perfect Intro?
When assigned to write an essay, students end up with a ton of questions, including 'How to structure an essay?', 'How to choose a good topic?'. Here at EssayPro, we employ only the best essay writers who are committed to students’ success.
- Analytical essay introduction format is another popular type. In contrast to a narrative paper, an analytical paper seeks to explore an idea and educate the reader about a topic.
- Three important facts that support the analytical premise should be included in the middle section of the introduction.
- A well-researched and well-thought-out claim will form a wonderful thesis because the main goal of this paper is to study the topic and educate readers. It's crucial to remember that this assertion shouldn't initially have any real weight. Although it will still be theoretical, it has to be articulated practically.
Analytical introduction example: “... Hence even though presidents, CEOs, and generals still have their daily schedules full of economic crises and military conflicts, on the cosmic scale of history humankind can lift its eyes up and start looking towards new horizons. If we bring famine, plague, and war under control, what will replace them at the top of the human agenda? Like firefighters in a world without fire, so humankind in the twenty-first century needs to ask itself an unprecedented question: what are we going to do with ourselves? What will demand our attention and ingenuity in a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world? In a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world, what will demand our attention and ingenuity? This question becomes doubly urgent given the immense new powers that biotechnology and information technology are providing us with. What will we do with all that power? ...” Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari
- To persuade readers of anything is the sole goal of persuasive essay writing. This may be accomplished using persuasive strategies like ethos, pathos, and logos.
- A hook statement for this paper may be anything from a fascinating fact to even comedy. You can use whatever technique you choose. The most crucial advice is to ensure your hook is in line with your thesis and that it can bolster further justifications.
- Generally speaking, a persuasive essay must include three supporting facts. Hence, to gradually lead readers to the major topic of your paper, add a quick summary of your three arguments in your introduction.
- Last, the thesis statement should be the main claim you will be disputing in this paper. It should be a brief, carefully thought-out, and confident statement of your essay's major argument.
Persuasive introduction example: 'Recycling waste helps to protect the climate. Besides cleaning the environment, it uses waste materials to create valuable items. Recycling initiatives must be running all around the world. ...'
- The final sort of academic writing that students frequently encounter is a personal essay. In principle, this essay style is creative nonfiction and requires the author to reflect on personal experiences. The goals of such a paper may be to convey a story, discuss the lessons that certain incidents have taught you, etc. This type of writing is unique since it is the most personal.
- Whatever topic you choose can serve as the hook for such an essay. A pertinent remark, query, joke, or fact about the primary plot or anything else will be acceptable. The backdrop of your narrative should then be briefly explained after that. Lastly, a thesis statement can describe the impact of particular experiences on you and what you learned.
Personal introduction example: 'My parents always pushed me to excel in school and pursue new interests like playing the saxophone and other instruments. I felt obligated to lead my life in a way that met their standards. Success was always expected on the route they had set out for me. Yet eight years after my parents' separation, this course was diverted when my dad relocated to California...'
Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction Paragraph
You now understand how to do introduction and have specific intro example for essays to help you get going. Let's quickly examine what you should and shouldn't do during the writing process.
- Keep the assignment's purpose in mind when you write your introduction, and ensure it complies with your instructor's requirements.
- Use a compelling and relevant hook to grab the reader's attention immediately.
- Make sure your readers understand your perspective to make it apparent.
- If necessary, establish key terms related to your subject.
- Show off your expertise on the subject.
- Provide a symbolic road map to help readers understand what you discuss throughout the post.
- Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay).
- Construct a strong thesis statement.
- Create some intrigue.
- Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.
- If you're looking for a custom writer , request assistance from the EssayPro team. We know how to write a term paper along with many other types of essays.
- Provide too much background information.
- Use sentences that are off-topic or unnecessary.
- Make your opening paragraph excessively long.
- Keep some information a secret and reveal it later in conclusion.
- Employ overused phrases or generalizations.
- Using quotation marks excessively
Now that you know what is in the introduction of an essay, we recommend reading the information on how to critique an article to gain more academic insight.
If you are still struggling with that, keep in mind that you can always send us your request to get professional assistance from our law essay writing service .
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How to write an academic introduction
by AEUK | Feb 18, 2018 | Writing | 0 comments
What is an academic introduction?
An introduction is the most important section of an essay. It informs the reader of the context and what is your stance on the subject. It is usually written after the main body and should include a number of key parts. This webpage discusses the common structure and focuses on the importance of the thesis (stance).
Disclaimer: there is no one way to write an introduction BUT this structure helps lower-level students identify the key sections of an introduction & the importance of the thesis.
A short 5-minute video on how to write an academic introduction. A basic 4-part structure outline and example introduction paragraph.
Introduction lesson / worksheet download
Introductions: how to write an academic introduction, this lesson / worksheet presents the key sections to an academic introduction. it then focuses on highlighting those key sections in three model introductions with particular attention to the thesis (question / topics / stance) and finally finishes with writing an introduction using a range of titles. example level: ** *** [b1/b2/c1] teacher membership / institutional membership, academic introduction structure.
A basic 4-part structure outline and example introduction paragraph.
Academic Introduction example
Manchester university phrase bank is a great resource to help create and structure an introduction. Key phrases include:
- Establishing the importance of the topic for the world or society
- Establishing the importance of the topic for the discipline
- Establishing the importance of the topic (time frame given)
- Establishing the importance of the topic as a problem to be addressed
- Referring to previous work to establish what is already known
- Explaining the inadequacies of previous studies
- Identifying a knowledge gap in the field of study
- Stating the focus, aim, or argument of a short paper
- Outlining the structure of the paper or dissertation
- Explaining key terms used in the current work
M ore introduction phrases : click here
Introductions: ho w to write an academic introduction.
Thesis Statements: How to write a thesis statement.
This lesson / worksheet presents the key sections to an academic introduction. It focuses on different writing structures using words like however, although, despite and then includes a writing task. Students write three thesis statements using the introduction models. Example Level: ** *** [B1/B2/C1] / Webpage link / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP
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Academic Introduction example [ the thesis statement ]
Question: fair trade negatively impacts producers and workers in developing countries. to what extent do you agree, international trade has been predominately controlled by developed countries for centuries and developing countries have struggled to access this market. fair trade is a worldwide initiative aimed at improving the livelihood of producers and empowering workers in developing countries by generating better terms and sufficient wages (fair trade international, 2017). overall, fair trade develops increased economic stability, higher salaries compared to conventional producers and educates community diversification. thus, to a large extent the claim that fair trade negatively impacts producers and workers in developing countries is invalid. this essay will focus on the main arguments connected to stability, salaries and diversification and conclude with suggestions on how fair trade could be improved., highlighted sections, international trade has been predominately controlled by developed countries for centuries and developing countries have struggled to access this market. fair trade is a worldwide initiative aimed at improving the livelihood of producers and empowering workers in developing countries by generating better terms and sufficient wages (fair trade international, 2017). overall, fair trade develops increased economic stability , higher salaries compared to conventional producers and educates community diversification. thus, to a large extent the claim that fair trade negatively impacts producers and workers in developing countries is invalid . this essay will focus on the main arguments connected to stability, salaries and diversification and conclude with suggestions on how fair trade could be improved., question: fair trade negatively impacts producers / workers / developing countries, essay topics: economic stability / salaries / diversification, stance: invalid, writing resources , academic phrases, academic style , academic style , academic style , academic style , academic word list , writing websites, error correction, hedging , hedging , nominalisation, noun phrases , noun phrases , referencing, in-text referencing, harvard ref. , harvard ref. , apa ref , apa ref , ref. generators, reference lists, reporting verbs, credible sources, evaluating sources, academic integrity, plagiarism new, 'me' in writing, writer's voice , writing skills, paraphrasing , paraphrasing , paraphrase (quotes), summary writing , summary language, critical thinking, analysis & evaluation, fact vs opinion new, argument essays, spse essays, sentence str. , sentence str. , sentence str.  new, punctuation, academic posters new, structure , essay structure, introductions, thesis statements, paragraphing, topic sentences , topic sentences , definitions, exemplification , conclusions, linking words, parallelism, marking criteria, terms & conditions of use.
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The introduction to an academic essay will generally present an analytical question or problem and then offer an answer to that question (the thesis).
Your introduction is also your opportunity to explain to your readers what your essay is about and why they should be interested in reading it. You don’t have to “hook” your readers with a dramatic promise (every other discussion of the topic you’re writing about is completely wrong!) or an exciting fact (the moon can reach 127 degrees Celsius!). Instead, you should use your introduction to explain to your readers why your essay is going to be interesting to read. To do this, you’ll need to frame the question or problem that you’re writing about and explain why this question or problem is important. If you make a convincing case for why your question or problem is worth solving, your readers will be interested in reading on.
While some of the conventions for writing an introduction vary by discipline, a strong introduction for any paper will contain some common elements. You can see these common elements in the sample introductions on this page . In general, your introductions should contain the following elements:
- Orienting Information When you’re writing an essay, it’s helpful to think about what your reader needs to know in order to follow your argument. Your introduction should include enough information so that readers can understand the context for your thesis. For example, if you are analyzing someone else’s argument, you will need to identify that argument and possibly summarize its key points. If you are joining a scholarly conversation about education reform, you will need to provide context for this conversation before explaining what your essay adds to the discussion. But you don’t necessarily have to summarize your sources in detail in your introduction; that information may fit in better later in your essay. When you’re deciding how much context or background information to provide, it can be helpful to think about that information in relation to your thesis. You don’t have to tell readers everything they will need to know to understand your entire essay right away. You just need to give them enough information to be able to understand and appreciate your thesis. For some assignments, you’ll be able to assume that your audience has also read the sources you are analyzing. But even in those cases, you should still offer enough information for readers to know which parts of a source you are talking about. When you’re writing a paper based on your own research, you will need to provide more context about the sources you’re going to discuss. If you’re not sure how much you can assume your audience knows, you should consult your instructor.
An explanation of what’s at stake in your essay, or why anyone would need to read an essay that argues this thesis You will know why your essay is worth writing if you are trying to answer a question that doesn’t have an obvious answer; to propose a solution to a problem without one obvious solution; or to point out something that others may not have noticed that changes the way we consider a phenomenon, source, or idea. In all of these cases, you will be trying to understand something that you think is valuable to understand. But it’s not enough that you know why your essay is worth reading; you also need to explain to your readers why they should care about reading an essay that argues your thesis.
- Your thesis This is what you’re arguing in your essay.
Tips for writing introductions
- If you are writing in a new discipline, you should always make sure to ask about conventions and expectations for introductions, just as you would for any other aspect of the essay. For example, while it may be acceptable to write a two-paragraph (or longer) introduction for your papers in some courses, instructors in other disciplines, such as those in some Government courses, may expect a shorter introduction that includes a preview of the argument that will follow .
- In some disciplines (Government, Economics, and others), it’s common to offer an overview in the introduction of what points you will make in your essay. In other disciplines, you will not be expected to provide this overview in your introduction.
- Avoid writing a very general opening sentence. While it may be true that “Since the dawn of time, people have been telling love stories,” it won’t help you explain what’s interesting about your topic.
- Avoid writing a “funnel” introduction in which you begin with a very broad statement about a topic and move to a narrow statement about that topic. Broad generalizations about a topic will not add to your readers’ understanding of your specific essay topic.
- Avoid beginning with a dictionary definition of a term or concept you will be writing about. If the concept is complicated or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to define it in detail later in your essay. If it’s not complicated, you can assume your readers already know the definition.
- Avoid offering too much detail in your introduction that a reader could better understand later in the paper.
- Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
- Asking Analytical Questions
- What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
- Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
- Tips for Organizing Your Essay
- Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
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