Why Introductions are an Important Part of an Academic Essay

Why Introductions are an Important Part of an Academic Essay

Introductions sometimes may not seem very important to an essay, but a well-written introduction can enhance and improve almost any paper.



While the entire essay is important and many would argue that the body is the most crucial part of one's paper, a poorly-written introduction will likely ensure that no one will read further. A well-written introduction will pull in readers and keep them going. It will also give readers a sense of the writer's voice and tone and give them a good idea of where the essay is going. There are many ways to write a powerful introduction. Here are a few suggestions.
Begin an Essay With a Surprising Fact
If a student discovers a startling fact while researching, perhaps something that she originally wasn't aware of, imagine how her audience might feel when reading that information as a lead-in to her paper. Something that grabs the audience's attention is a great way to begin an essay. For example, a student writing a paper about internet addiction might begin his essay this way:
• Many people think the idea of internet addiction is a joke. However, according to an article in the Washington Post, a young couple in South Korea were found guilty of allowing their newborn daughter to die; the infant died of starvation because the couple "addictively played an online game." This problem is becoming more and more common, and people are beginning to realize that internet addiction is as real as addictions to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
Not only is this introduction strong, it lets readers know right away the point the writer is trying to make. His writing is also interesting and makes readers want to continue. Many readers who weren't familiar with internet addiction will likely want to continue reading.
Start the Essay With a Quote
Many students like to begin their essays with quotes, either a stand-alone quote that relates in general to the topic or with a quote from a source that will make readers want to continue. For example, a student is writing an essay in which she posits all truth "is relative." She might begin her essay this way:
• Galileo Galilei once said, "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." Some people might argue that everything ever uttered could possibly be truth waiting to be discovered; it's just how you look at it. In this essay, I intend to explore what we regard truth to be and how we might discover that truth is in the eye of the beholder.
The reader may not agree with the writer at this point (and may not ever), but the writer has likely caught the reader's attention. She introduced her essay with an interesting quote that eased readers into her viewpoint.
Various Ways to Begin the Essay Introduction
There are actually many ways to begin the introduction to an essay. Beginning with a surprising fact or starting with a quote are just two ways. Lots of writers prefer to begin with something funny, like a joke, or something amusing, like an anecdote. Statistics are another good way to grab a reader's attention - many readers like the organization and authority that numbers add. Questions are also a great way to get a reader thinking, often along the same lines the writer is heading with his paper.
Whatever the case, writing an introduction really is an important step that shouldn't be dismissed or ignored. If a writer can't get his readers' attention at the beginning, he likely won't keep them reading through his next few pages. Spending a little extra time on the essay introduction is worth the effort; after all, who wants to write a long paper just so no one reads it?


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