The introduction is the first impression that the reader has of the rest of the essay. A well formulated introduction will entice the reader to read on. It serves as a road map for the rest of the paper. After reading the introduction, the reader should not have trouble following the organization of the paper.
The introduction contains an abundance of information. There are four features of an introduction:
- Grab the attention of the audience.
- Show the relationship between the attention getter and the topic
- Introduce the topic.
- State the thesis of the paper.
Getting the reader’s attention is the first facet of the introduction.
- A vivid or unexpected anecdote
Think of what the world would be like if there were no more polar bears, no more ice pack, and no more Arctic Circle at all.
- A provocative quotation (possibly quoting an expert)
In a shrinking ice environment, the ability of polar bears to find food, to reproduce, and to survive will all be reduced," said Scott Schliebe, Alaskan polar bear project leader.
- A thought provoking or startling question
Is the world willing to watch a polar bear die of starvation?
- Present surprising facts and statistics
In 50 years, there will be no more polar bears in the world.
- Adapt a familiar quotation or phrase
To be concerned about global warming, or not; that is the question facing every person in the world right now.
Show the relationship between the attention getter and the topic.
The next step is to connect the attention grabber to the topic. Then, provide background information introducing the topic.
When you write an introduction, you need to clearly indicate the topic that you will be writing about. Be careful that you do not confuse your topic with your thesis.
These sentences must serve as a bridge to connect the attention getter to the topic
- Introduce the topic
- Explain the importance of the topic
- Lead into the thesis statement
- Provide brief and germane sentences that give just enough information
State the thesis statement.
The final part of the introduction is the thesis sentence(s). This should be the most planned sentence in the essay. The statement must be specific and clearly stated. It should be placed at the end of the introduction.
The type of thesis depends on the purpose of the essay:
Expository paper which explains something to the reader
- Global warming has impacted polar bears by decreasing population sizes, moving sea ice platforms farther apart, and increasing the scarcity of food.
Analytical paper which breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this analysis and assessment to the audience.
- The polar bear population reveals one challenge: global warming effect on sea ice in the Arctic can see a loss of two thirds of the entire world’s polar bear population over the next fifty years.
Argumentative paper makes a claim about the topic, justifies the claim with specific evidence. The goal is to convince the audience that the thesis is true based on the evidence provided.
- Global warming has moved the polar bear to possible extinction. Lack of food, natural habitat, and the Arctic weather will doom the polar bears’ survival.
The introduction familiarizes the reader with the subject and helps relate the purpose of the rest of the essay. The essay will benefit by an interesting well planned introduction.
Kinds of Essays
When you are writing a definition essay, you take a term or an idea and write about what it is. Often, definitions are combined with classification or other forms of organization in the essay. You need to give a careful definition of the key term before going on to discuss different types or examples.
In a classification essay, you separate things or ideas into specific categories and discuss each of them. You organize the essay by defining each classification and by giving examples of each type.
In a description essay, you write about what a person, place, or thing is like. You organize the essay by describing different parts or aspects of the main subject.
Compare and Contrast Essay
In a compare and contrast essay, you write about the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. You can organize the essay by writing about one subject first and then comparing it with the second subject. A more effective way is to organize the essay by comparing each subject by category.
In a sequence essay, you are writing to describe a series of events or a process in some sort of order. Usually, this order is based on time. You organize the essay by writing about each step of the process in the order it occurred.
In a choice essay, you need to choose which object, idea, or action that you prefer. You organize the essay by describing each option and then giving your opinion.
In an explanation essay, you explain how or why something happens or has happened. You need to explain different causes and effects. You should organize the essay by explaining each individual cause or effect.
In an evaluation essay, you make judgments about people, ideas, and possible actions. You make your evaluation based on certain criteria that you develop. Organize the essay by discussing the criteria you used to make your judgment.