Planning Your Essay Introduction

Planning Your Essay Introduction

As you begin the research and planning for the latest essay assigned to you by your high school or college professor, you have to think about all the main segments that must be included. All essays are broken down into three major sections:

  • Introduction with a thesis statement
  • Body including several paragraphs
  • Conclusion

The normal recommendation by most professional essay writers it to start with the body portion of the essay and save the introduction for last. The reason for this is your introduction is a summary of what your essay is going to be about. It’s pretty difficult to write a summary on something that you haven’t composed yet. You are going to find it a lot easier to write this paragraph after you know what you have put together for a body.

When it comes time to write your essay introduction, you want to make sure that you create one that is effective. There are specific points that must be included in the short paragraph found at the beginning of your essay. The introduction has to show your audience not only that you have done the appropriate research surrounding your topic, but also your point of view on the subject, and what they can expect to find in the remainder of the essay.

The Parts of an Introduction

Your essay introduction is an essential piece to your entire essay. The introduction is the first reading that the audience is going to do. You have a large task when it comes to gaining your reader’s attention and keeping them interested enough to keep reading the whole essay all the way to the end.

You may think that outlines are only for the essay in its full form. However, you can come up with an outline for your essay introduction as well. Even though this paragraph is just a few sentences, in most cases three to five, you can more easily put your thoughts in order by having an outline to start from. The outline for your introduction will look similar to this:

  1. Main Idea – Hook
    1. Supporting sentence
      1. example
    2. Supporting sentence
      1. example
    3. Supporting sentence
      1. example
  2. Clear Thesis Statement

As you can see, in the first sentence, you should be not only telling the reader what you have written about, but you should also include something to hook their attention. The bulk of the introduction will be a sentence that supports that idea along with examples. This is a summary of what’s to come in the essay that follows. Finally, you will end the introduction with your thesis which states your point of view on the topic.

Consider the Questions

One way to formulate your introduction is by asking yourself the questions that the reader may have for you. The main questions that you should be considering include:

  • What is this essay about?
  • What is the author’s point of view on the subject?
  • What details or evidence do they have to support their opinion?

All of these can be answered in the brief paragraph that is your introduction. Just be sure to formulate your answers to meet the expectations of your audience. With these answers jotted down, you can then begin coming up with a rough outline of your introduction.

Creating a Good Hook

You have one sentence to really grab the interest of the person doing the reading, and that’s the very first one. The first sentence of your introduction, along with the rest of the essay, should be clear, compelling, and factual. There are several ways to complete a hook, depending on the type of essay you are writing, and what kind of information you are looking to share. Take into consideration the following ideas when coming up with your hook:

  • Quotation
  • Shocking fact
  • Interesting piece of data
  • Short story
  • Dialogue
  • Question
  • Anecdote
  • In some instances, your thesis

You want your audience to be able to relate to the material that is to come. When deciding on what to use for a hook, think about who you are speaking to. Decide from there what the best option is going to be to get the reaction you are hoping for.

Clearing up the Hook

In most instances, your hook is going to speak for itself. You will not have to do anything more than jump to the next part of the introduction which is the summary of your essay. However, you may come up with a quotation, fact, or interesting piece of data that not everyone is going to understand fully. If you feel like your hook requires a definition, you will want to do that in the sentence or two immediately after it.

Supporting You Hook with Examples

Now that you have the attention of your instructor, or whoever else is doing the reading, you have to keep it. After reading a compelling hook, hopefully, they want to know more about the subject matter. At this point, you will summarize the main points of your essay and put them down in a few short sentences.

Take a look at your essay’s outline, and pull out all the big headings. These are your main ideas and what you want to describe at this point. This part is fairly simple because you have already done the research and writing, you just have to give a broad statement about the more detailed topics. Be sure to include a few examples to support what you are saying too. You can share something here that you may not have found the right place for elsewhere.

Forming a Thesis

The main purpose of your introduction is to share what your point of view is on the topic you are writing about. It doesn’t matter what kind of essay you are writing; you are going to take an angle, even if there is not necessarily a way to have an opinion on the topic. This sentence is referred to as the thesis statement. You can find out more details about what a thesis is here.

You should wait and do your thesis until after you have completed your entire essay. You want to remain open minded so that you don’t only research one side of the topic. If you do this, you could potentially miss out on some very important details.

There is more to a thesis than just writing down what you think about the subject matter. You want to make sure it is detailed and thought-provoking so that your readers have a good vision of the type of writer you are. Not only that, your thesis must be something that can be backed up with data and facts.

Placing Your Thesis in Your Essay Introduction

In most cases, it is common to put your thesis as the last sentence of the introduction. Your thesis is a good way to transition from your hook and summary into the first main idea. You should always have clear transitions starting from the very first paragraph. You want the reader to be able to easily move from one point to the next without getting confused.

There are some instances when you would put your thesis as the first sentence. The only time you can do this, however, is when it is interesting or compelling enough also to hook the reader.

Utilizing Your Conclusion

Usually, the body is written first, then the conclusion, and finally the introduction. At this point, you should have a well formulated conclusion summarizing the main parts of your essay. Use this to your advantage when writing introductions.

The introduction is just the conclusion rewritten in a more descriptive manner, and it includes your thesis statement. When coming up with the points for your introduction, read what you have written for your conclusion and include those same points in your writing.

Write the Essay Introduction Rough Draft

The chances of you getting your introduction written flawlessly on the first attempt are very slim. Like with the rest of your essay, you are going to have to make corrections and move things around until it sounds exactly right. To write a rough draft of your introduction, take your outline and all the words, notes, and phrases from it and form sentences. Start putting these sentences together in an order that is fitting.

There are two different ways to order your ideas including chronological or by order of importance. When writing in chronological order, you want to start with the time furthest past and end with the most recent. Order of importance is explained by putting the most important details first and then moving to the lesser vital ones. If you follow the structure of your essay in your introduction, this order should already be done.

What to Avoid in Your Essay Introduction

You only have a few sentences to use up in your introduction, so you want to make sure that they count. Every word that you include in this paragraph has to mean something. Don’t use general statements or fill it up with fluff words. Keep the content in line with the main topic by using informative, clear, and direct statements. Leave opinions out, other than your thesis statement, because if the reader doesn’t take your side, they are going to have trouble reading the essay without trying to argue every point you worked to make.

You want your introduction to be simple, but don’t make it too simple to where you reader feels as though you are insulting them. You never want to directly state that you are “Writing this essay about…. because….” All of that information should be found in intelligently constructed sentences. What the essay is about and why is already implied.

Most essays contain a lot of details, and you want to be able to share everything you have found. Just don’t give it all away in the introduction. This is only supposed to be a quick overview of what you are trying to say. Shorter intros are more effective than longer ones. Save the details for the body. If it’s that important of a fact, you should be able to construct a decent paragraph out of it.

Review What’s Been Written

Now that you have a clear, cohesive, descriptive intro to your academic essay, give yourself a rest. Really, it’s time to take a break. The only way you are going to get a good idea of what you have come up with is by taking some time away from the essay and coming back with a clear head. It could be as simple as going for a ten-minute walk, or you might want to leave it for the night. When you come back to it, you will have a fresh perspective. An objective look at the introduction will allow you find any errors or confusion much more easily. Polish up any mistakes that you come across. Finally, you can consider your introduction complete.

Your Next Steps

If you have followed the order of most essay writers, your introduction is the last thing written after your conclusion and body paragraphs. When you are satisfied with the introduction, you get to move on to reviewing and cleaning up your entire essay to come up with the final draft. If you have chosen to complete your essay in a different order, your next steps are going to include writing the body, conclusion, or both.

By following these helpful tips and tricks, you can be confident that you have composed an introduction that is worthy of being placed at the very front of all of your hard work. Hand in your essay with pride knowing that all the dedication you put in to it is going to show through to your instructor.