A proper and well thought out introduction is a gateway to an essay. Often, the introductions and conclusions of an essay are the most difficult parts of an essay. The introduction is what presents to the reader, a synopsis of what he or she is going to encounter in the whole essay.
It influences the reader’s decision to read on or skip the essay. Hence, it is very important that essay introductions be effective at grasping the attention of the reader. This initial hooking and tagging the reader’s attention would encourage the reader to read on and complete the essay.
A good introduction MUST stand true to the following and must possess the following in the order: a good hook to bait the audience’ attention; background information and central idea around which the essay revolves. It must be purposeful and informative and cite the relevant information in an organised fashion.
Without a good attention-grabbing device, your essay will not be able to capture the attention of the readers enough to give it a good look. An attention grabbing strategy can be of various kinds; you can choose one depending upon the purpose and intention of your essay. Some strategies include: starting the essay with a brief question, or the elaboration of a fact or statistics, which is supposed to shock or jolt the reader; a personal story or experience; a memorable and relevant quote, definition of a key term; using a recent event to act as bait; presenting an opposite view to a commonly held belief.
An effective introduction needs to provide sufficient context
Once you have introduced a relevant and meaningful attention fact or sentence to provocate the reader into paying attention, you can delve into the second part of the introduction. This is the background. A good introduction needs to provide sufficient background on the topic and connect it to your starting statement. The background provides the context of the essay and is necessary for the audience to understand the reason why the essay was brought up. The background, thus, serves as a kind of connecting link between the topic and the body. The writer needs to use judgement to determine how much of background information should be provided; an overdose of information can prove counterproductive.
The central idea or the thesis is key to an effective introduction
What is central to an effective introduction is the core idea or the thesis. This is what links the whole content together. The idea has to be delineated clearly and it has to be emphasised throughout; else the essay will fail and will appear directionless. The writer has to also convince the audience about the importance of the thesis and why it is of relevance and use to them. The thesis statement should be around one to two sentences in length. There are different ways of writing the thesis statement. It can be direct and explicit in its details and leads the reader directly to the main points of the essay as well as it provides a definite shape, structure and outline to the essay. The indirect thesis statement does not directly mention the points but rather provides sufficient indicators to the reader, as to what would be the subject of the essay.
While there are many things which a writer can do to improve and enhance the introduction, some caution is required. While it is okay to add a little background, do not overdo it. Save the rest of the background for the succeeding paragraphs. Also, do not let the introduction run on and on; it is important for the introduction to be short and snappy; jazzy and effective. It can vary between a few lines to not more than half or quarter of a page. The rest of the information can be carried over into the remaining part of the body. Ensure that your introductions be as natural as possible—using your own words to convey your point, rather than saying what
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