Have you ever gone on a fishing expedition? Preparation is essential when you’re going fishing. Of course, you need your hook and definitely a bait to attract the fish. Once you are ready to fish, you put your bait into the hook and thrust them into the water, hoping to attract the fish you desire. It is rather interesting to know that fishing is very similar to writing an essay, especially an essay introduction.
We put together this article to help you write an attractive essay introduction that would compel your readers to read the essay to the very end. At the end of this article, you should:
- Know what an essay introduction is.
- Understand the purpose of your introductory paragraph.
- Know the elements needed to write a good introductory paragraph.
- Know the writing process for a strong introduction.
- Frequently asked questions about ways to start an essay
- Tips on how to start your essay.
What is an Essay Introduction?
An essay introduction is the first paragraph of an academic essay that introduces your research paper and briefly outlines the main point of your essay. Your introduction is the first impression your reader has about your essay. As a result, spend some time planning on how to write an introduction that will grab and keep your audience’s attention.
With this in mind, let’s explore the purpose of starting your essay with an introduction.
Why you should Start an Essay with an Introduction.
Using a great introduction to begin your essay is important because apart from the fact that it is the first paragraph your readers get to read, it may be the only paragraph that they get to read completely.
When someone starts to read an academic essay, the first thing he does is to read the introductory paragraph to get an idea about what the paper is about. Next, he skims through the body paragraph to get an analysis of the arguments being put forward, finally; he moves to the concluding paragraph. If your introductory paragraph is clear and thorough, your reader will find it easy to understand the rest of the essay.
There are other reasons to include a strong introductory paragraph in essay writing. These are:
It’s a great way to hook your reader.
An introduction provides a great opportunity to capture your reader’s attention, as it’s the first encounter your reader has with your essay. The rest of your essay will keep his attention and ensure he reads the essay until the end.
It’s an opportunity to give useful background information.
Your readers need this information to help them understand the rest of your paper. This is especially useful when writing a paper for an audience with different backgrounds. It prepares them to understand your main point or argument better and sets the tone for the rest of your essay.
It gives a roadmap when you write an essay.
Regardless of the type of essay, you are writing: argumentative essay, expository essay, or narrative essay, you need a roadmap to help you structure your essay. Your roadmap offers your readers a sketch of your main points.
Now you know the purpose of having a strong essay introduction. Next, we will discuss how to write an essay introduction.
How to Write an Essay Introduction.
The writing process for a high school and college essay is pretty straightforward because you know your audience is your professor and maybe other members of the faculty. With this knowledge, you know your aim is to please your professor and meet all his objectives. This helps you organize your essay even before you start writing.
Your essay introduction should have the following elements:
A great way to start your essay introduction is to introduce your topic with an opening statement. Your opening statement is the first sentence in your essay. It is also your essay hook because it is supposed to get the attention of your reader. There are many ways to write your opening statement. You can start with a trivial misconception, a surprising statistic, or an intriguing question, etc. The list is endless. However, keep in mind that your opening statement should apply to your topic and it should pique your reader’s interest.
Relevant background information.
Another key element when writing an effective introductory paragraph is to include background information about your topic. For example, if you are writing an essay about the impact of social media in society, including some background context on the internet and the advent of various social media networks would be an impressive idea.
Roadmap on the objectives of the essay.
The roadmap summarizes how your essay would defend the thesis statement. It is an outline written in the same order as your essay’s body, to guide your professor through the primary objectives of your essay. Note that you should not copy your main arguments verbatim. You can use the keywords written in the body of your essay.
Your thesis statement is the most important statement in the whole essay. It is a statement usually one or two sentences long. A thesis statement is a brief statement that states the main point or argument of an essay and reflects the writer’s point of view. You state your thesis to inform your reader about what you learned while researching your topic. You write every other information in your essay to support your thesis statement.
Make sure your thesis is arguable, present your thesis clearly, and ensure that it expresses your point of view. To write a clear thesis, you need to do some research, but remember to cite your sources of information. The thesis statement is typically written to end the introduction.
Next, we will go through the writing process for your essay.
Essay Introduction Writing Process
- Step 1: Start with your opening statement. A brilliant way to approach the essay, regardless of the essay, is to hook readers with your opening statement.
- Step 2: Give a background information that relates to your essay topic. This information can be a historical or geographical data, definition of keywords to be used in the essay, current data that provide context to the essay, any other additional information within the field of study to help your reader understand the essay better.
- Step 3: A transition that explains how the background data fits into your paper’s objectives and introduces the new context you will be writing about.
- Step 4: Provide a guideline that outlines the major objectives of your essay.
- Step 5: Include the thesis statement that briefly highlights what you learned while researching on the topic.
- Step 6: Revise your essay introduction after writing the entire essay. Your essay might just take a different direction while writing the body and conclusion. With this in mind, revise your introduction to ensure that your thesis statement and every part of the introduction accurately represent what you’ve written in the entire essay.
It’s time to go through some frequently asked questions about starting an essay
Frequently Asked Questions on Ways to Start an Essay
There are four elements required in an essay introductory paragraph. These are: opening statement, background data, guideline that explain the essay’s objectives and thesis statement. Including a transition statement that shows how the background data fits into your essay’s objectives is also a helpful addition to the introductory paragraph.
The opening statement is the first sentence in your essay. Because of this, many students find it difficult to come up with ideas on how to write the opening statement. Interestingly, the opening statement is your opportunity to get creative and attract your readers. Most people call it the essay hook, as it is the first contact your readers have with your essay and it is the best sign whether your essay is worth your reader’s time.
There are many ways to write your opening statement. You can try a trivial misconception, a surprising statistic, an unusual fact, a thought-provoking quote, or an intriguing question. Avoid beginning your paper with dictionary definitions, cliches, or generalizations that have nothing to do with your research topic. Your opening statement should be memorable, clear, and concise.
A thesis statement is a one or two-sentence long statement that explains the major argument in an academic paper. It shows the idea around your paper and presents your stance regarding that idea.
When writing your thesis statement, ensure that they pass these basic rules:
Your thesis statement should be debatable. Remember that your paper topic should be contentious and so write your thesis statement showing your stand in the argument.
Write your thesis statement logically. Don’t forget that you’ve got to include every available evidence to support your statement.
Your thesis statement should be brief and should be a maximum of two sentences.
It is commonly described as the most important sentence in any research paper because it summarizes the very essence of the entire paper. Apart from this, there are other reasons the thesis statement plays a unique role in academic writing. These are:
It helps to organize your paper. A well-written thesis statement directs the writer to focus on the reason for writing the paper and guides the reader towards this reason.
It also allows the reader to understand explicitly the one idea that the writer is writing about.
The most common way to structure a piece of writing is to use the classical five-paragraph structure. This structure divides your paper into 3 parts. First part is the introductory paragraph which presents your topic and thesis statement to your reader. Next is the body of the academic paper, which contains a thorough analysis of the key argument. The body should compose of at least three paragraphs. Finally, the concluding paragraph wraps up the entire paper.
The introductory and concluding paragraphs are the end caps that connect to the body of the academic writing.
Final Tips on How to start your Academic Writing.
- Use the writing process prescribed above. This adds structure to your writing and gives your paper a logical flow, making it easy for your readers to understand.
- Use the paper objectives to guide you while writing. During academic writing, your professor would give you certain questions your paper should answer. Use these objectives as a roadmap when writing. This will also help you determine the right hook to use for your opening statement.
- Begin with generic knowledge and then transition to specifics. You can view your introductory paragraph as a funnel, in which you begin with a generic opening statement and then transition your reader to the specific data you are writing about, which is stated in your thesis statement.
Are you writing an academic paper soon? Use this data to help you ace your next paper.