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How To Make an Introduction

How To Make an Introduction

How to Write a Good Introduction

Youre finally ready to get started on that essay, but youre wondering how to make an introduction stand out. You know precisely what you want to write about, youre just not entirely sure where to begin. Youre sitting in front of your laptop or PC getting ready to write, asking how to write a good introduction for a research paper. The following tips can help you propel your essay introductions from barely readable, to excellent:

  • Introduce the essay to the reader. Essays and especially academic essays benefit a considerable amount from an introduction that tells people what the piece is about concisely. Not everyone has time to waste going over an entire essay, just to find out it wasnt what they were seeking. There are few things worse than a misleading intro. When I read your introduction, I want to be 100% certain I know what the essay following that introduction is about. If your research introductions leave me wondering what the piece is going to be about, its not doing its job.
  • Keep the focus of your introduction on the important parts. Youll have plenty of time and thousands of words to write about the details in the body of your academic essay. Your intro is not the place for that. Wordy intros suffer from diverting the readers attention, possibly confusing them. A confused reader is never a happy reader. If your essay is about the study of bioluminescent plants, tell me that in the introduction without writing down everything we know about bioluminescent plants first. Remember, if its not adding to the introduction, its taking away from it.

How To Make an Introduction

  • Avoid making your intro too long as this can be jarring to the reader. The last thing you or any of your readers for that matter want, is an intro that spans an entire page or more. Intros should only be as long as is necessary and should never turn into an information dump. When an intro becomes too long, it means that theres a lot of unnecessary information cluttering the piece, or worse, that you dont know what you want to say or in what direction you want to take the paper. Short intros benefit from being punchy, memorable, and easily explainable. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and if someone can explain your paper in one or two sentences, theyll definitely be talking about it when they have the opportunity.
  • If your intro has to be somewhat lengthy, divide it into paragraphs. As I mentioned before, youre trying to keep your intro short. In some cases, however, even just laying down the basic information in your intro can become rather lengthy. If this does happen, remember to break your intro up into paragraphs to avoid overwhelming the reader with large bodies of text. This is the first thing they will read, so it should be welcoming. A single block of lengthy text does not look good and it never reads well. So, remember to use paragraphs when dealing with lengthier intros.
  • Pay close attention to the things you have already mentioned in your intro so you can avoid repetition. Your intro should always say the necessities, yes, but it should only have to mention these things once. When your intro becomes an incoherent body of text that is repetitive, it does not bode well for the rest of the piece. This can make readers think you lack credibility and easily become a bad habit. Avoid repetition at all costs to ensure your intro looks and reads as well as it should.
  • Keep your introductions sentences short and to-the-point. This is a matter of being concise and ensuring you retain the attention of your readers. Conciseness should be practised throughout your piece, but since your intro is the first thing your readers will be seeing, its particularly important here. Short sentences feel much less robotic and can read easily. They also translate much better than longer sentences. You dont want your reader to become tired, having to stop and start in the middle of sentences just to make sense of everything.
  • Try to avoid overused clichs. Weve all heard the answer use a quote when asking how to write an introduction for a project. Weve all then started an essay with a quote from a famous person or some random statistic. Now while its not necessarily a bad thing, you do have to tread carefully around these kinds of introduction clichs. Using a quote could strengthen your introduction without a doubt, but only if its relevant to the piece. If youre writing about metamorphosis, a quote from your favorite artist about the nature of change might sound enticing and philosophical, but it doesnt necessarily add value. If you are going to use a quote, make sure it speaks directly to the topic at hand, and more importantly straight to the point you are going to make in the essay body. Quotes or statistics or other clichs in an introduction add absolutely nothing to the piece of writing if they do not play directly into the topic of discussion. If you think the reader MIGHT see the connection, discard it. They should understand the connection without any doubt.
  • Avoid using images in your introduction. Introductions do not contain images. Images should be saved for the body of your piece since it should almost always be accompanied by explanatory text. Adding an image and descriptive text to an intro significantly adds to its length, which works against the effectiveness that comes from keeping it concise. You might have an image immediately after your intro or a reference towards it, but you will never wrap an image with text in an intro. Images should be used in the body of your piece, but as stated above, should only ever be done if the image at hand is relevant to the topic. A random image does not add anything to your piece and just seems lazy, so be mindful of which images you are including where.
  • Stick to the vocabulary you need to use and do not try to overdo it. Theres nothing wrong with using the vocabulary at your disposal, as long as the messages you are trying to convey are effective. Its easy to lose your audience when you overuse extravagant words. Unless youre writing about the intensity of intricate words or about a Shakespearian piece, its probably best to stick to the vocabulary immediately at hand. Trying to turn every ordinary word into a synonym that sounds fancy is something your audience will not only see through but will get annoyed with easily. Use the words youre comfortable with and simply make sure they do their job.
  • Give me a small sample of the argument youre making. Your introduction should be able to tell me exactly what I need to know about your essays argument. If youre writing about how you believe the sun is not round, give me a taste of why that is. Was it because you witnessed something spectacular with a telescope? Was it because you unearthed an old textbook that has you convinced of your newfound knowledge?
  • Your readers need to get this information out of your introduction AS WELL AS the body of the essay. Telling me in the intro we will discuss a new cycling method is not as effective as telling me we will discuss a new cycling method BECAUSE people are more prone to injury if they use the old one. See the difference? I immediately know what its about, and what the argument is going to be. What remains in the body of the piece is an elaboration on that point. It allows the reader to make a more informed decision about whether they want to keep reading. It also prevents them from discovering ten minutes into the read that its not at all what they were looking for.
  • How To Make an Introduction
  • Try to talk about the topic in the first sentence of your introduction. If youre writing about a book having been banned due to controversiality, theres no reason you cannot start your introduction with the name of that book, the fact that it was banned, the year it was banned, and the reason it was banned. All these facts can be mentioned in one sentence. After that, you can go into why youre discussing the topic, but its important to mention the topic as soon as possible. Your heading should already be taking care of this, of course, but youd be surprised how many people pay little attention to headings. Do not bore people with long sentences and dramatic words and eventually reveal the topic. The topic has priority.
  • Consider writing your introduction after youve written the body of your work. It might sound like a strange way to go about it, but some people have a much easier time when writing in this way. If you already know what you want to write about, theres no reason you cant do the body first. The lovely thing about a good introduction is that it fits into the body of your essay like a puzzle piece. It doesnt matter which piece you discover; first, theyll still slot in perfectly.
  • Try to set the tone of your piece with your introduction. You want your readers to immediately catch on to the seriousness or lack thereof of your paper. If youre writing about a serious global crisis, you want your introduction to open the eyes of your readers. You want them to be thinking about the problem at hand before they even get to your discussions. The same goes for the opposite. You wouldnt write a paper on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the intensity of a World War 2 documentary. The tone you create with your introduction is important because this will give your readers an excellent idea of what they should expect. If theyre looking for a light-hearted read, they should know theyre getting it by merely reading your intro.
  • Find and read a few introductions. Research into other introductions is merely the last tip and something you can do to understand better what works and what doesnt. They say that writing isnt something you should do if you never read, and thats understandable. Reading other intros will make you understand the difference between a great and a terrible one. It will allow you to answer yourself or other people when the question what goes in the introduction of a research paper comes up. Once youve concluded on your own that an intro is good or bad and you can explain why you believe that youve learned a valuable lesson not only in writing introductions but in developing a writers voice.
  • Polish your introduction to make sure it contains no grammatical errors. This should be something you do with your entire paper, but in most cases, mistakes are unavoidable. If there is a place in the document you really must keep error-free, it is the introduction. Not everyone will necessarily notice a simple grammatical error, but those who do will most likely think the rest of the paper has received the same minimal-effort approach that brought about the mistake in the first place. Even if you are exhausted, and youre certain your paper is excellent, take a few extra minutes to make sure your intro is error-free. It can make or break your paper since first impressions always leave a mark.

Writing a strong intro is about pulling together all the essential bits so the people who dont read the whole essay can still understand where it was going. Its about telling your reader off the bat what theyre buying into, so they can know for sure whether they want to continue reading it or not. So, to summarize, keep it short, keep it relevant, tell me briefly where its going, and avoid clichs.

It really is that simple, and once youve started following these basic guidelines, youll be writing powerful introductions in no time.

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