An introductory part of any piece of writing aims to catch the audience’s attention. It provides the reader with the information about what the paper is about and provides reasons why they should care about it. In a few words, the opening is the biggest opportunity to make the required first impression. Below, you will find pieces of advice on how to manage this writing research.
Come Up with an Attention-Grabber
The main goal of this essay’s part is to provoke the readers’ interest and clearly present the topic and goal of your paper. It almost always ends with a thesis statement. Composing an effective thesis statement requires much training, as it is the starting point of your research. The completeness of your essay depends on the thesis, which is refined throughout your research and drafting phases.
But what you need to do first is to engage the audience right from the start through one of the tried and working ways. Here are just some approaches you might want to take:
- Asking a question
- Including an anecdote
- Using an emotional appeal
- Using a playful joke
- Defining the key term
- Presenting an interesting and little known fact
You can also combine several approaches, but be careful and make sure they are appropriate. Your goal here is to add intrigue along with the minimum information, so your readers want to find out more.
Provide Some Context
The body of your introductory paragraph must perform two functions: explain your first sentence and build up to the thesis statement.
When you start working on a piece of writing, think about your target audience and what they should know. Develop an opening that will satisfy the readers’ needs. Provide them with the context necessary for understanding the topic. Depending on your essay’s subject, this can be a historical or social context, a summary of the debate you are addressing, a summary of relevant theories about the question, key terms’ definitions, etc.
Create a Thesis and a “Road Map” if Necessary
The opening paragraph should conclude with a clear statement of the general point you are making in the essay. This is a thesis statement. It is the narrowest part of the whole paper, and it has to state exactly what you will be arguing.
Also, remember to avoid the following in your introductory paragraph:
- Detailed analysis of the text
- Moving away from the topic
- Phrases like “In this essay, I am going to write about…”
In longer papers, it is helpful to end the opening paragraph by signposting what you will cover in each part. Keep it brief and provide the audience with a clear sense of the direction your argument will take. This is like a “road map” that explains how the thesis will be defended and gives the audience a general sense of how the different points will be organized in an essay. You can incorporate this “map” right into the thesis statement or make it a separate sentence.
Should You Write the Intro First?
No, this is absolutely not necessary. You can always adjust it later. As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more. So, you can start at the beginning or dive right into the meat of the paper. It is usually even easier to come up with an introduction after you have written the first draft. Consider starting to work on the opening paragraph in the middle of an essay after the main points have been organized, compiled, and drafted.
You can write the first draft without an opening. As you continue writing, new ideas will come to your mind, and it will be easier for you to develop a clearer focus. Take notes of these thoughts and, as you are revising the paper, refine and edit the introduction. By the way, many writers start the body and conclusion and come back to the opening later. It is a time-efficient approach that will help you eliminate getting stuck in those first sentences. So just start where it is easiest to start.
A final note:
In creating an opening paragraph to an essay, ensure it clearly reflects the goal or purpose of the task and that the thesis presents the topic and clearly states your position that you will support and develop throughout the essay. In shorter essays, this part is usually one or two paragraphs, while in the longer papers, it can be several paragraphs long.