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Writing the Introduction. Welcoming readers to your paper. Purpose of the First Paragraph of Any Paper. To attract the reader’s attention—get him/her interested in reading the paper.

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writing the introduction

Writing the Introduction

Welcoming readers to your paper

purpose of the first paragraph of any paper
Purpose of the First Paragraph of Any Paper
  • To attract the reader’s attention—get him/her interested in reading the paper.
  • To provide necessary or helpful background information about the topic—to create a context or “set the stage” for the essay so a reader can understand or appreciate your main point.
  • To give the reader a sense of why you’re writing about this particular subject.
  • To state the core idea (thesis) of the essay.
some ways to lead into a paper
Some Ways to Lead into a Paper
  • Begin with a short narrative (about 125 words), either personal or objective, one that leads smoothly and logically to the thesis.
  • Define a key term. If you do this, you may want to start with an “official” definition (from a dictionary or other authoritative source), which you should identify for the reader. You may also want to supplement it with your personal definition of the term.
  • Make a “shocking statement” or start with a series of “shocking” statistics relevant to the topic.
ways to lead into a paper
Ways to Lead into a Paper
  • Use a short, appropriate quotation—taken from any published source, whether fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry. Identify the person or source you are quoting from.
  • Ask a “leading” question, one that will start the reader thinking.
  • Provide a detailed list or description of things relevant to the topic to create a picture of objects or scenes that will make good background for the idea you wish to focus on.
  • Remember that there is no single all-purpose formula for successful introductions.
questions to ask yourself when trying to write an introduction
Questions to Ask Yourself When Trying to Write an Introduction
  • Why am I writing about this subject?
  • What am I writing in response to? (What have I experienced or read that leads me to want to address this subject?)
  • How does my main point relate to anything going on in the world?
  • Do I need to explain why I think this subject is significant?
  • Do I need to supply any background information (including information about myself)?
  • Can I appeal to the reader’s self interest?
types of introductions to avoid
Types of Introductions to Avoid:
  • The Generic(an introduction that could be stuck onto any essay about any subject)
    • “In this modern, complex world, we all face many daily problems....”
  • The Mechanical
    • “In this essay, I am going to explain...”
how long should it be
How long should it be?
  • Although an introduction may be more than one paragraph long, it generally won’t start to develop or give support to the paper’s main point because that’s what the body of the paper is for. An introduction leads up to the main point whereas the body of the paperdevelops andsupports the main point.
  • Papers less than ten pages generally have a one paragraph introduction.
sample introductions leading question
Sample introductions: Leading question
  • What is dreaming? Is it a shadow-play, meaningless and fragmentary? Or like a peek inside a fortuneteller’s crystal ball? Or a delicate diagnostic tool for psychiatrists? Through the centuries, dreaming has been looked upon in all three of these ways. Our own generation has added a fourth, a strictly scientific and physiological approach. And beyond all these, stranger than any of them, lies a fifth possibility that is certain to make our current view of dreams fall into the realm of absurdist fantasy.
sample introduction shocking statistics
Sample Introduction: Shocking statistics
  • Many people wonder why there are so many teenage pregnancies, especially now when sex education starts early in grammar school and Planned Parenthood agencies are available for birth control information. Each year one million teenagers become pregnant; nine out of ten teenage mothers keep their babies; girls aged 14-17 form the only group of women in which birth rates have not declined; two-thirds of teenage pregnancies are unintended. Even though our schools offer sex education programs, and public agencies dispense birth control education, there are many deeper reasons why these children are becoming pregnant.
sample introduction interesting quote
Sample introduction: Interesting quote:
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton once said, “There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard.” In 2006, when Nancy Pelosi became the nation’s first female Speaker of the House, a woman’s voice finally rang out clearly in American politics. With this development, it appeared that democracy had grown to its truest level ever in terms of women’s equality, but appearances are deceptive. Politics in America is still a man’s game.
sample introduction definition
Sample Introduction: Definition
  • Miracle: an occurrence that is unbelievable; something that has no logical explanation. In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events at the port of Dunkirk in northern France “a miracle of deliverance” (Knowles). The Miracle of Dunkirk was the rescue of 338,226 British, French, and Belgian troops with the help of ordinary British citizens. The power of prayer, and not luck, led to the incredible rescue of over 300,000 Allied troops would be saved to fight again later in World War II.
in conclusion
In conclusion….
  • The entire introduction should logically end at the research question and/or thesis statement. The reader, by the end of the introduction, should know exactly what you are trying to achieve with the paper. In addition, your conclusion will refer back to the introduction.
  • As you write the paper, you may find that it goes in a slightly different direction than planned. In this case, go with the flow, but make sure that you adjust the introduction accordingly.