Writing a good thesis introduction
This article was co-authored by Alexander Peterman. Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida. He received his MA in Education from the University of Florida in 2017. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
The introduction of your essay serves two important purposes. First, it gets your reader interested in the topic and encourages them to read what you have to say about it. A powerful introduction grabs your reader’s attention and keeps them reading. The first sentence or two of your introduction should pull the reader in. You want anyone reading your essay to be fascinated, intrigued, or even outraged.
You can’t do this if you don’t know who your likely readers are. It can be helpful to reverse-engineer your audience based on the subject matter of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about a women’s health issue for a women’s studies class, you might identify your audience as young women within the age range most affected by the issue. A startling or shocking statistic can grab your audience’s attention by immediately teaching them something they didn’t know.
Having learned something new in the first sentence, people will be interested to see where you go next. Use a fact or statistic that sets up your essay, not something you’ll be using as evidence to prove your thesis statement. Particularly with personal or political essays, use your hook to get your reader emotionally involved in the subject matter of your story. You can do this by describing a related hardship or tragedy. Offer a relevant example or anecdote. In your reading and research for your essay, you may have come across an entertaining or interesting anecdote that, while related, didn’t really fit into the body of your essay. Such an anecdote can work great as a hook.
Particularly with less formal papers or personal essays, humorous anecdotes can be particularly effective hooks. If you’re writing a persuasive essay, consider using a relevant question to draw your reader in and get them actively thinking about the subject of your essay. For example: «What would you do if you could play God for a day? If your essay prompt was a question, don’t just repeat it in your paper. Make sure to come up with your own intriguing question. Generalizations and clichés, even if presented to contrast with your point, won’t help your essay. In most cases, they’ll actually hurt by making you look like an unoriginal or writing a good thesis introduction writer.
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Relate your hook to a larger topic. The next part of your introduction explains to your reader how that hook connects to the rest of your essay. Start with a broader, more general scope to explain your hook’s relevance. For example, if you related a story about one individual, but your essay isn’t about them, you can relate the hook back to the larger topic with a sentence like «Tommy wasn’t alone, however.
There were more than 200,000 dockworkers affected by that union strike. While you’re still keeping things relatively general, let your readers know anything that will be necessary for them to understand your main argument and the points you’re making in your essay. If you are writing an argumentative paper, make sure to explain both sides of the argument in a neutral or objective manner. Define key terms for the purposes of your essay. Your topic may include broad concepts or terms of art that you will need to define for your reader. Your introduction isn’t the place to reiterate basic dictionary definitions. However, if there is a key term that may be interpreted differently depending on the context, let your readers know how you’re using that term.
Definitions also come in handy in legal or political essays, where a term may have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Move from the general to the specific. It can be helpful to think of your introduction as an upside-down pyramid. With your hook sitting on top, your introduction welcomes your readers to the broader world in which your thesis resides. For example, if you’re writing an essay about drunk driving fatalities, you might start with an anecdote about a particular victim. Then you could provide national statistics, then narrow it down further to statistics for a particular gender or age group.
After you’ve set up the context within which you’re making your argument, tell your readers the point of your essay. Use your thesis statement to directly communicate the unique point you will attempt to make through your essay. Be assertive and confident in your writing. Avoid including fluff such as «In this essay, I will attempt to show. Instead, dive right in and make your claim, bold and proud.
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