How do I write a good introduction?
Most of the types of texts/assignments you write for university need to have an introduction, to show the reader clearly what the topic or purpose of the whole paper is. As a rough guide, an introduction might be between 10% and 20% of the length of the whole paper.
An introduction is usually one paragraph with 3 main stages:
- It begins with the most general information, like background and/or definitions.
- The middle is the core of the introduction, where you show the overall topic, purpose, your point of view, hypotheses and/or research questions (depending on what kind of paper it is).
- Finally, the introduction ends with the most specific information: a guide to the scope and structure of your paper. This is often a list (e.g. “The issue will be considered in terms of economics, politics and culture”), or a plural (e.g. “This issue will be discussed with reference to three important economic causes.”).
Note: If the main body of your paper follows a predictable template, like the Method, Results and Discussion stages of a report in the sciences, you often do not need to include a guide to the structure in the introduction.
It is sensible to write your introduction after you know both your overall point of view (if it is a persuasive paper) and the whole structure of your paper. Alternatively, you should revise the introduction when you have completed the main body.
For more on this topic, see the links on the right...
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