This Bite focuses in on how to write an effective introduction. Many people find this a difficult part of the essay to write, and there’s often a tendency to over complicate things at this stage. This Bite will introduce one possible model for writing an introduction which simplifies the whole process whilst ensuring you start your essay in an effective and attention-catching manner.
The introduction is an important structural element of an essay, but in most cases it can be relatively short, allowing you to quickly introduce your answer before getting onto the more important main body.
One way to approach the introduction is to think of it doing the following three things (in this order):
- Set out the broad context of your essay (if you’ve analysed the question, this would relate to the ‘topic’ you identified – see Essay Bite 1);
- Focus in on the specific context (the ‘aspect’ and ‘restriction(s)’ you identified – see Essay Bite 1);
- Signpost the points you will cover in the essay, in the order that you intend to tackle them. This might relate to the main points or sub-headings in your plan (see Essay Bite 2). Do note however that in some disciplines there may be other specific requirements or preferences. For example, in some subjects you may also be required to identify the line of argument (the thesis) you plan to adopt – this would be the place to do that.
Otherwise, you should avoid beginning to answer the question in your introduction. Likewise there’s usually no need to go into a lot of background detail here – if it is necessary to include such background information, it should form part of the main body of your essay. Ideally, you want to use your introduction to give your reader just enough context to understand the arguments and structure which follow, and then move on to the most important section of the essay – the main body.