Writing an introduction

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  • Getting the interest of the reader; summing up your points in an interesting fashion
  • Ob jective: To construct an interesting, informative introduction and conclusive ending to your research

Writing an introduction

  • Introductions are important.
  • They arouse a reader's interest, introduce the subject, and tackle the So What? factor.
  • In short, they're your paper's "first impression."
  • But you don't have to write them first.
  • many students prefer launching right into the body of the essay before writing intros and conclusions.
  • However, other students prefer writing the introduction first to help "set up" what's to follow.
  • Begin with a quotation. Just make sure you explain its relevance. Ex: We have nothing to Fear but fear itself. FDR encouraged US citizens with this at the beginning of WWII.
  • Begin with a question Ex: What would have happened if the United States had not dropped the atomic bomb in Japan?
  • Begin with an acknowledgment of an opinion opposite to the one you plan to take. Ex: Many people believe that the1950’s were the Happy Days. However, for many people…

Ways to grab reader’s attention

  • Begin with an interesting fact Ex: Over 58,000 American soldiers lost their lives in Vietnam.
  • Begin with a definition or explanation of a term relevant to your paper. Ex: The Great Depression is a period in American history…

Ways to get the attention of the reader

  • Begin with irony or paradox. Ex: It is ironic that in order to save lives, the US dropped a bomb that actually took __________lives.
  • Begin with an analogy. Make sure it's original but not too farfetched. EX: Being a woman in the 1950’s was much like being a caged bird.
  • .

Ways to grab reader’s attention

  • Begin with a very short narrative or anecdote that has a direct bearing on your paper.
  • Ex: A family of ten wakes up in a broken down tent, surrounded by hundreds of other families in Hooverville, a tent city named after Herbert Hoover, the Presidenbt often blamed for the Great Depression.

Structure of the Introduction

  • 1. Attention grabber
  • 2. background information needed (When was the Great Depression; What is an interment camp; Which women in the 1950’s are you discussing—rich, middle-class, poor, What is the cold War, when did it take place
  • 3. Thesis statement is the last sentence of the introduction.

What not to do

  • Do not use first person (I, me, my, mine)
  • Do not say “In this essay I will…
  • Do not say “ I’m going to tell you about…”
  • Do not get into detailed information—save this for the body of the paper
  • Do not use contractions
  • Do not use slang
  • Do not use lame adjectives—nice, big, little, a lot,

Writing the conclusion

  • Don't depend on your conclusion to clarify the body paragraphs.
  • Your paragraphs should flow naturally into one another and connections should be made among them.
  • Summary can be an important function of conclusions but keep this part brief; readers know what they've just read.

Restate the thesis

Example Thesis

  • Thesis: The American dream of home ownership, although once believed a right, has in today’s economy become a privilege due to the cost of homes, the rate of mortgages, and the rise in taxes.
  • Restatement of thesis: Many Americans have concluded that in today’s market the dream of home ownership is beyond their reach.

What about the rest of it?

  • Demonstrate how the pieces of the essay fit together.
  • Synthesize your main ideas.
  • Do not merely repeat it
  • Explain how they fit together. What conclusions have you drawn?


  • Refer to your attention getter
  • Anecdote: Tell the end of the story
  • Attn Getter: John and Joan Miller have saved for three years to buy a home in which they can comfortably raise their new baby. They meet with realtors, cruise the neighborhoods, and finally find a home to meet their needs. However, after lengthy meetings with banking officials, they find the home of their dreams is beyond their means.


  • Despite the difficulties that they have faced, Joan and John Miller have continued to save and hope to find a home before their baby enters the kindergarten.

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