- By ElinEsplain
How to write effective introductions
introduction shares many of the characteristics of a good abstract. Like
abstracts, introductions to academic manuscripts often establish a deductive
overview. Also, introductions generally establish the context for the
discussion, and they move from what the reader and writer consider given
information to new information. We can comprehend and recall information
better when authors provide an overview of the main points of the document
before launching into a detailed analysis of these issues. Likewise,
sentences that explain a text’s organization help us comprehend information
when we read.
scholars often illustrate their navet by belaboring the obvious.
Editors of scholarly journals and books, however, cannot allow scholars to take
up valuable and expensive space reviewing ideas, research trends, or research
methodologies that are printed in detail elsewhere. As a writer, you may need
to write a page introduction to figure out how your work contributes new
knowledge. Those ten pages may very will need to be summed up in a single
sentence that refers readers to buy kHfUaMkJ essay the scholars on whose shoulders you now stand.
The only way to determine what common ground you share with your readers is to
question their knowledge and interests about the subject. Sometimes you will
need to write several drafts before having a firm grasp of the information that
is unique and worthy of elaboration.
you may not want to provide the customary overview of your purpose or results
in the introduction. While you usually will want to clarify the purpose for
writing the document in the introduction, you may want to avoid this
straightforward approach when your subject matter is likely to be viewed as threatening
to your audience.
If your ideas are controversial or contentious, then you may
first want to establish your credibility by clarifying the ways in which the
readers’ assumptions are justified. After you have established yourself as a
reasonable and knowledgeable scholar, readers may be more likely to reconsider
subject matter is quite technical, you can aid comprehension by highlighting
how you have organized the document.
When revising your introduction, you may
want to provide a sentence or two that will offer the reader a sense of how the
document is organized. Then in the body of your research you can provide
transitional sentences when you move from one aspect of your study to another.
You can also
use headings and subheadings to limit the number of explicit transitional
sentences and paragraphs that are necessary. By the way, if you are not subtle
about your transitional sentences, you writing style may be judged as
sophomoric by readers.
For example, filler phrases like " the purposes
of this research study were a, b, c, " or " in the following, I
discuss the following issues: a, b, c, " are so overused, so mechanical
and inorganic, that they call attention to your writing instead of your ideas.
Thus, if you sense that the reader can follow the flow of your ideas, then
don’t worry about transitional phrases. Yet balance the need to be subtle with
the awareness that transitional sentences help readers understand and recall
Finally, as with abstracts, you should not
expect yourself to write the final draft of an introduction until the entire
manuscript has been completed.
This suggestion is often surprising to
academicians who were trained by writing teachers unfamiliar with research in
composition theory. The notion that you should be able to outline your project
and write the introduction before writing contradicts the generative nature of
language. Because we learn by writing, the way we shape our work and even what
we say often change as we punch our ideas through several drafts.
You are wise,
therefore, not to expect the impossible at the onset of a scholarly project. If
your work is significant and not a routine review of what you already know,
then you should expect great difficulty writing your introduction.
Your introduction will gain finesse as you
work ideas through different drafts. Meanwhile, you may want to consider the
following questions to help you get started:
in one sentence, what is the purpose of the document?
What surprising information is conveyed in the document? Do the
results contradict expectations?
Did the people that you interviewed say
something shocking or highly interesting? Did your survey reveal an
unexpected attitude on the part of your respondents?
What assumptions does the audience hold about the topic? How
knowledgeable are they about the issues that you raise?
Would your concluding paragraph make a better introduction than
the current introduction?
Will the readers feel as if they have been driven off a cliff
or have you identified the concluding paragraphs as a conclusion?