How to Compose a Well-Developed Introduction

Writing Tutorial

How to Compose a Well-Developed Introduction

Intro

Have you ever read the first paragraph of an essay or story and still had no idea what the paper or plot was about? Perhaps so much was said that you felt overwhelmed with what you might be in for. Well, you don’t want that to be your mistake! A well-developed introduction will entice your audience, let them know your thoughts on your topic, and tell them what is to come in the rest of your paper or story.

Sample Problem

Under-developed introduction- This is a paragraph in which not enough or not the appropriate information was given. This can cause your audience to become disinterested before you’ve had a chance to really share. An introduction like this could also cause confusion in your audience. If you mention something in your introduction and then you never mention it again, your audience may be wondering what happened. On the contrary, if you talk about something in the body of your paper that was never mentioned in your introduction, the audience may wonder when the train jumped the tracks!
Over-developed introduction- This sort of intro can cause many of the same problems as an under-developed one. If you overwhelm your audience with facts, stories, and questions, they may feel bombarded and turn away. This usually happens when the writer hasn’t given adequate time to brainstorming and a good outline.
Picture-perfect introduction- A well-developed introduction will do at least three things: 1) grab the attention of the audience; 2) let the audience know your topic and position (thesis); and, 3) give the audience the direction your paper will go (this is how you will support your thesis, etc).

Solution

So many elements of writing can be expressed in mathematical equations. An introduction is no exception. Here is the mathematical equation for a basic introduction that you can easily remember:

HOOK + THESIS STATEMENT + DIRECTION = INTRODUCTION

The Hook- This is the part of your paper that really grabs your audience’s attention. It is usually put at or near the beginning of your introduction. You may not realize this, but your introduction begins before your first paragraph- in your title! You should always have a title that gives your audience their first clue as to what your paper will be about. If it is a particularly catchy title (e.g. “Teacher + Student = Winning Combination!”), it can also be used as a hook. Hooks that are after the title can be in the form of interesting examples, statistics, or even stories! Let’s say our topic is about small-town professors and how they should be able to relate to a variety of students from all over the U.S. As a hook, you could give an example of how a professor from a rural Texas university was able to make a New York student feel at home by reminiscing about her own stay in New York as a young child.
The Thesis Statement- The thesis statement tells your audience what your paper’s topic is and what your position on that topic is, as well. Follow my tutorial on How to Compose a Good Thesis Statement if you need help here. For our example, here, our topic is about small-town professors and their relationship with the variety of students from all over the U.S., and our position says they should be able to relate to the differences they will surely encounter. So, we have made our thesis to state: Professors at small-town universities need to be able to relate to the attitudes and life experiences of their students.
The Direction- Even a high-tech GPS won’t get you to your destination if you don’t first give the GPS some input. Likewise, your audience will be totally lost if you don’t let them know what you plan to do with your topic and position. The direction for a paper can be accomplished in a few ways, and I will show you two. First, you could give an abbreviated list of the topics to appear in your body paragraphs (the support for your thesis). For example, if your thesis is: “Professors at small-town universities need to be able to relate to the attitudes and life experiences of their students,” then your direction might say: “They should recognize that students of all ages come from a variety of cities and towns, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and most likely varied religious upbringings, too. Now your audience knows the four main topics (age, hometowns, SE background, and religious upbringing) you will cover in your paper, as you demonstrate how college professors should be able to relate to them. Alternatively, you could give a general direction. Using the same thesis statement as your guide, you might give as your direction: “After all, no student is identical to another in every way.” Although not as specific as the first example, this gives your audience the indication that you will be talking about some ways that students are different from one another and and how the professors should be able to relate to those differences. You should choose the way that fits your paper best.

Now you know the three parts that are vital to a basic introduction. Happy writing!



About The Author

All Areas Of Education, Especially English And Spa
Greetings! I am a mother of 5 children and have been an adjunct instructor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor for four years. At UMHB I teach a variety of English courses (reading, writing, literature) for the department of English and writing courses for ESOL department. In 2011, I acquired a...
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