What's in an “Introduction”?
Many writers have trouble crafting an introduction and it is a source of frustration that can lead to writer's block and procrastination.
Many students try to write the introduction to their paper first. (It's the introduction and it comes first, so that would make sense, right?) Before you can easily write an introduction it is important to first do the research for your topic and to have completed your paper outline.
Personally, I often write the entire paper and then go back and write the introduction LAST.
Your introduction needs to get the reader's attention. It should be interesting enough to entice the reader to read more of your paper and it should tell the reader what the paper will focus on.
One literary trick is to open your paper with an attention grabber. Some common devices used to provide the attention grabber are:
Startling information must be fact-based and backed by scholarly evidence. Providing startling information in your introduction could be pulling a few surprising or powerful facts or statistics from your research and then tying them into why you are writing the paper and why the reader should keep reading.
An anecdote is a short and focused story about your topic. Stories make an interesting opening for a paper and serve to get the reader's attention.
A dialog can be a simple exchange between characters on your topic.
Creating an introduction that provides a general summary of your topic in an interesting manner.
Open your paper with an interesting quote that you tie to your topic.
Ask a question of the reader that is designed to peak their interest and make them want to learn more about your topic in order to answer the question for themselves.
Finish the introduction paragraph with your thesis statement. This way, you have an attention grabber to "hook" the reader and this leads naturally into your thesis statement (which is the main point of your paper).
That stuff in the middle that takes up pages 2-9 is called the "body".
The body of the paper is where you build up your paper paragraph by paragraph according to the topics and sections that you have identified in your outline.
Each paragraph needs to have a topic sentence that identifies what part of your argument the paragraph will support. In general, each paragraph should be at least three sentences. If your paragraph gets too long, re-read it and see if you can break it into two paragraphs.
It's the end! Wrap it up!
The conclusion of your paper is where you sum up your arguments and provide a final perspective on your topic. It's purpose it to bring closure on the topic for the reader from a broad perspective.
The easiest way to create a conclusion is to restate the main points of your paper in a new way within a few sentences. The conclusion is also the place for the writer to sum up their personal opinion or viewpoint on the subject.
Summary style example of an introduction (Thesis Statement highlighted in yellow)
In Cervero & Wilson’s (2006) Chapter 1: “Seeing What Matters: Education as Struggle for Knowledge and Power” there are three case studies outlining the nature of power use in the actual practice of adult program planning. Each case study highlights the changing nature of program planning and shows the reader how shifting and hard-to-identify power relationships often change the process and even the outcomes of adult program planning. Cervero & Wilson use these case studies to take learners on a journey from learning about adult program planning in theory and move them to the next level of understanding, the realm of practice.
Personal anecdote style introduction (Thesis Statement highlighted in yellow)
My personal definition of “adult” when referring to adult education starts at age 16. I settled on age 16 because it is the end of compulsory schooling in the United States. To me this means that after age 16, attending school in the United States is completely by choice. In my opinion, having a choice about obtaining or not obtaining an education means that these teens are effectively acting as an adult with regard to making educational choices for themselves. I recognize that teens are still making the transition to becoming an adult and that most of their previous educational experiences would have been pedagogical in nature so introducing the concepts from Knowles (1980) thoughts on andragogical learning would require me to first set some new expectations for the role of the student and the role of the teacher, or in this case, the life coach.
Source: Kristina Blasen
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