By The Walden University Writing Center Staff. Importance of Opening and Closing Paragraphs. Opening & Closing: Why Do They Matter?. It’s the research that counts, right?.
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The Walden University
Writing Center Staff
It’s the research that counts, right?
“They are significant and form a general impression upon your essay, they can even show your reader what kind of person you are…it [the introduction] is said to be to most read section of any paper or a document….it determines your reader’s attitude towards the whole work... a conclusion should be the best part of your essay because this what your reader reads and remembers last” (“The Importance of the Introduction and Conclusion,” 2007, para. 1-4).
Your introduction and conclusion form the frame around the body of your paper – all the hard work you have done reading and conducting research – and are your chance to establish how the reader views your work.
Establishes your voice
Establishes your credibility as a researcher
Establishes your expertise
Engages the reader in your writing
Draws the reader in and makes the reader care about your topic
Summarizes your point of view
Reminds the reader you are a credible researcher
Reminds the reader you are an expert
Reengages the reader with the importance of your topic
Reminds the reader to care about your topic
It seems simple enough, but all to often we see something like this:
Here within the pages of the study the researcher endeavors to elucidate the quandary between what has been perceived by the esteemed researchers within this outstanding field to be not an increase, but a decrease, in the interest of a younger generation of aspiring professionals in the field nursing.
According to APA (2001, 2010), “the author who is frugal with words not only writes a more readable manuscript but also increases the chances that the manuscript will be accepted for publication…You can tighten long papers by eliminating redundancy, wordiness, jargon, evasiveness, overuse of the passive voice, circumlocution, and clumsy prose.”How to Start Off Right
In other words, write in clear, concise statements and aim for logical communication. The simpler the better.
Smoothness of Expression
According to APA(2001, 2010), “Devices that are often found in creative writing – for example: setting up ambiguity, inserting the unexpected, omitting the expected, and suddenly shifting the topic, tense, or person – can confuse or disturb readers of scientific prose…”
In other words, do not dress up your writing. Be straightforward and stick to the point; organize your content in a logical manner; and make sure the reader can follow your train of thought.
Use this: Not this:
Because Based on the fact that
Now At the present time
For For the purposes of
This study The present study
Use this: Not this:
They were alike They were both alike
The same one and the same
68 participants a total of 68 participants
In proximity in close proximity
Four groups four different groups
Has been found has been previously found
Although you do not want to have to repeat words or phrases over and over, you also do not want so many pronouns that your reader is not able follow to whom or to what you are referring.
The reader should not have to search previous sentences or paragraphs to figure out what you are talking about
Connect your ideas:
“Readers will better understand you if you aim for continuity in words, concepts, and thematic development from the opening statement to the conclusion” (APA, 2010, p. 65).
This applies to each sentence, paragraph, section, and the overall paper.
then, next, after, while, since
therefore, consequently, as a result
in addition, moreover, furthermore, similarly
but, conversely, nevertheless, however, although
I completed a meta-analysis of infectious disease trends in Thailand. I found…
The researchers discussed the outcomes of their study
Do NOT combine
The researchers discussed the outcomes of the study. We concluded that…
APA says: “To avoid ambiguity, use a personal pronoun rather than the third person when describing steps taken in your experiment” (APA, 2010, p. 69).
Syntax: the rules that govern sentence structure in any given language; the way words are put together to form a sentence
Mix it up!Make Your Writing Interesting
The subjects had 15 minutes to take the test. The subjects then had to seal the test in an envelope. The subjects did this to protect their anonymity. The subjects then handed the envelope to the moderator.
No question about what the subjects did
Not simple; simplistic.
The subjects had 15 minutes to take the test. Once completed, the subjects sealed their test in an envelope to protect their anonymity and then handed the envelope to the moderator.
It’s all about the variation:
Avoid several consecutive sentences that are about the same length and structured in the same way.
This is your verb:
This is your verb on drugs:
This is your verb on drugs on Halloween:
A verb is active, vibrant, and full of meaning
Do not give your verb anything it does not need. Do not make it a noun. Do not hedge.
This: Does not have to be this:
The authors investigated The authors conducted an investigation
It appears It would appear
Do not dress up your verb.
This: Does not have to be this:
The model includes The model does a well rounded job of including
The authors studied The authors thoroughly studied
Active Voice given language; the way words are put together to form a sentence
According to APA (2010), “use the active rather than the passive voice” (p. 77).
The passive voice is when you emphasize the object, rather than the subject, of your sentence. Putting the emphasis on the object is beneficial at times (like in your Methods section) but too much use of the passive voice can weaken your scholarly voice.Love Your Verbs
Use lively, active sentences where the subject initiates an action that affects the direct object. In other words, put the subject of the sentence at the beginning, immediately followed by an action verb.Use the Active Voice
Flip your sentences around.
Avoid linking verbs (“to be” verbs)
William Tell despised the apple.
The researchers conducted the survey after school.
The apple was despised by William Tell.
The survey was conducted after school.
Circumlocution is basically a roundabout way of saying what you want to say; using several words to say something simple.
Instead of saying it like this:
“The participants in the study were 6 young people who have completed three years of elementary education and are not living in an urban area.”
Say it like this:
“The study will include 6 fourth grade students from a rural elementary school.”Keep it Simple
“Because the introduction is clearly identified by its position in the manuscript, it does not carry a heading labeling it the introduction” (APA, 2010, p. 27).
How the heck are we supposed to write anything worth reading?!
“Although scientific writing differs in form from literary writing, it need not lack style or be dull” (APA, 2010, p. 66).
Aim for interesting and compelling style
Aim for a tone that reflects your connection to the social problem
How do you satisfy all the picky demands of a scientific reader?
Know Your Audience!
Be it your chair, your Form and Style Editor, your peers, your grandmother, your pet cat Smoky…
Follow the same guidelines we established for writing a strong introduction.
Remember your frame.
Here within the pages of the study the researcher endeavored to elucidate the quandary between what has been perceived by the esteemed researchers within this outstanding field to be not an increase, but a decrease, in the interest of a younger generation of aspiring professionals in the field nursing.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). Washington, DC: Author.
Purdue University. (2009). Introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions for argument papers. Retrieved November 10, 2009, from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/01/
The importance of the introduction and conclusion. (2007). Retrieved November 10, 2009, from http://www.articlesbase.com/coaching-articles/the-importance-of-the-introduction-and-the-conclusion-130921.html
The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2007). Conclusions. Retrieved November 10, 2009, from http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/conclusions.html