Introductions and Conclusions The Buns for the Burger
Building a Better Burger, One Paper at a time! • Now that the “meat” of your paper is ready, you want to ensure that the “bun” is just good! • The “bun” needs special attention because it represents the way in which you introduce and finalize your work.
Save the first for last • Have at least a working version of major thesis before drafting but save the introduction for later. • Then it will truly introduce what’s written instead of what writer intended. • This ties the introduction more effectively to the conclusion by writing them both at the same time.
Attention-getting openings • A startling fact or bit of information • A meaningful quotation • A universal idea related to your thesis • A rich, vivid description or image • A fresh analogy or metaphor • An interesting anecdote, story, or dramatic episode • A thought-provoking question • Beginning in the middle of the action
Openings to avoid • Dictionary definitions of words your reader should know. • “Did you know?” or “Have you ever wondered?” rhetorical questions • “This paper will be about …” “In this paper I will prove”
More opening mistakes to avoid • Beginning too far away from your actual topic (“There are many novels, all of which have characters. Some characters are heroes, and some are not.”) • A “book report” list of irrelevant facts (William Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era in England. He wrote many plays. One of these plays was Hamlet.)
Hint about openings • When previewing main topics in your introduction, make sure you list them in the order in which they appear in your paper.
What goes in the introduction • Essential background about your topic and preparation for your major thesis. This includes your text(s)and author(s) used. • Road maps for the rest of the essay, previewing major ideas and posing important questions that you will consider in your paper. • Introduction ends with your major thesis. • Make special attempts to link the TS to the sentence that precedes it by building on a key word or idea.
The conclusion • Your conclusion wraps up your argument and leaves the reader with some final things to think about. • Your conclusion should stem from what you have already written. • Effective conclusions therefore often refer back to ideas presented in a paper’s introduction.
Purpose of the conclusion • Should echo the major thesis without repeating words verbatim. • Should move beyond TS to reflect on significance of ideas just presented. • Should indicate why these ideas are important.
Effective conclusions • Answer the Question “So what?” Show your readers why this paper was important. Show them that your paper was meaningful and useful. • Synthesize, don’t summarize: Don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. They have read it. Show them how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. • Redirect your readers: Show how the topics and support work in the “real” world. If your intro went from general to specific, make your conclusion go from specific to general. Think globally. • Issue a call for action on the part of the audience (in true persuasive writings like letters to editor) This challenges the readers to apply the info to their own lives.
How to create effective conclusions • Ask questions generated by essay’s findings • Make predictions • Recommend a solution • Give a personal statement about the topic • Connect back to introduction, esp. if writer used a metaphor, anecdote, or vivid image • End with a creative yet relevant metaphor
Conclusions to avoid: • Beginning with “In conclusion …” • Restating thesis and main points without adding anything new • Bringing up a new topic • Adding irrelevant details (esp. just to make a paper longer)