Writing An Essay Introduction – Advice From A Teacher
The introduction to any piece of written work is where your reader forms their opinion of your work. In those first few sentences the reader will decide whether they are keen to read more of your work or they know that you don't really know what you are talking about.
In the time that it takes to read the first few lines, a teacher can make an accurate prediction of the quality of the rest of the work. Any writer will tell you that you need to engage your reader very quickly otherwise they will lose interest.
Some of the most common mistakes that students make when writing an introduction include:
- - Writing in such a way that this first section of the work is unidentifiable as it does not set the scene for the reader.
- - Giving too much information too soon, as opposed to developing the flow of information at an acceptable rate.
- - Completely miss out the section and launch into the main part of the work.
- - Making this section too long and complicated.
Try these guidelines to write a 5 star Introduction.
- - Show that you understand the task. Illustrate that your understanding of what the task entails, the knowledge that you need to pass on to your reader and its significance. Do this by including a 'topic' sentence which will give the main feature or view of your work.
- - Illustrate your knowledge. Give the reader some clear indications of how you are going to answer the question or respond to the task. Use words or phrases that clearly show your plan e.g. The essay is divided into three sections. It will first consider..., it will then go on to describe and compare..., Finally...
- - Share your plan. Indicate how you will structure your work, make reference to the fields that you will be covering. Use the same or similar words to the ones used in the instructions or question that your teacher used.
- - Hint at your research. You don't have to make reference to all of your research, but you could name drop at least one of your sources at this point.
- - Stay on track. Make sure that the information that you give is relevant to the task, don't get side-tracked. Be concise. Check that you are using the correct tense throughout and that you do not use jargon. Focus on the actual question rather than get side tracked.
- - Word Count. As a rule, this section should account for 8-9% of the total word count, so if the word count is 2000 words this section should be roughly 180-190 words.
Remember that goal of your work is to get your teacher to think that:
- - You have understood the question.
- - You have done some research.
- - They want to read more of your work.