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Writing Center: Writing Introductions

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

FAQs About Introductions

What is the purpose of an introduction?

The purpose of an introduction is to draw the readers in, explain what points will be made in the paper, and let readers know what to expect in the paper.

What should be included in an introduction? 

An introduction should hook the audience in, provide background information about your topic, and state the main argument that you will focus on in your paper. 

Tips For Writing Introductions

  • Try to answer the following questions in your introduction? 
    • What is the topic of your paper?
    • What does your audience need to know about this topic? 
    • Why is the topic of your paper important to your audience? 
    • What are you going to prove or say about your topic? 
  • Avoid the following introductions: 
    • Webster’s Dictionary Introduction: An introduction that begins by defining a word related to the topic of the paper. 
    • “Beginning of Time” Introduction: An introduction that makes broad statements, such as “Since the beginning of time…,” and is not specific to the topic of the paper. 
    • Restated Prompt Introduction: An introduction that restates the prompt that the writer had to answer in their paper.
  • Avoid the following approaches in introductions: 
    • Beginning with a boring sentence that does not engage the audience 
    • Making various sentences appear to be the thesis statement and not allowing the thesis statement to stand out from the other sentences 
    • Including too much information about the topic that the audience does not need to know 
    • Not including enough information about the topic and confusing the audience 

Tentative Structure Of Introductions

  • Begin the introduction with a “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention and draws a focus to the topic of the paper. Hooks can include: 
    • Intriguing rhetorical question about your topic
    • Common misconception about your topic 
    • Interesting quote related to your topic
    • Captivating short story or anecdote related to your topic 
    • Interesting fact or statistic related to your topic
    • Puzzling scenario related to your topic
  • After “hooking” the readers, state the topic of your paper. Consider the following questions:
    • What will your paper be about? 
    • Why does your topic matter? 
    • What background information is relevant to your topic? 
  • Once you describe the topic of your paper, write your thesis statement. Your thesis should include: 
    • The topic you will discuss
    • Your main point or argument about the topic
    • Your supporting arguments for the topic

Checklist For Introductions

  • The opening sentence is engaging and catches the audience’s attention
  • Uses background information to set the “scene” of the paper
  • Provides sufficient background information that provides the audience with enough information to understand the thesis 
  • Explains what the topic of the paper is 
  • Defines any necessary terms and keywords
  • Describes why the chosen topic matters to the audience 
  • Contains a thesis statement 
  • The thesis statement is easily identifiable and is not confused with other sentences 
  • The thesis statement mentions the topic that will be discussed 
  • The thesis statement contains a clear argument 
  • The thesis statement sets up an “outline” for how the rest of the paper will be structured or what the rest of the paper will be focused on proving

Additional Resources For Introductions