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A good introduction just restates your topic question, right? Wrong.

An introduction is your first and very often your best chance to make a positive impression, whether it is meeting a new person or writing an essay. Just as having a good handshake is important in a job interview, your essay’s introduction should hook attention by intriguing the reader with what lies ahead.

A new acquaintance simply telling you their name and where they’re from doesn’t make much of an impact on you without something more personal and unique. Likewise, your essay will seem boring if you don’t put some effort into the introduction. This means that your introduction should not simply restate the question. Instead, your introduction should break down the essay question into the various chunks of your argument. For example, let’s imagine you’re writing an essay about social changes after WWII.

introduction example

Your introduction can be thought of as a mini-essay within your essay with it's own introduction, body, and conclusion.

  1. First sentence alludes to the topic and grabs attention
  2. Body sentences establish the argument
  3. Concluding sentence (your thesis) drives the point home

Your thesis statement clearly states the main point of your essay: that the foundation for the women's rights movement of the 60's was laid during WWII. Your qualifying statement takes the idea further and explains concisely how your argument is valid.

Your summary of the main points and methodology goes into more detail. In our example, the orange words are used to outline the body of the essay. Concluding the paragraph with your thesis statement portrays it as a logical conclusion of these thoughts or sub arguments.

In order to achieve this kind of tightly-structured introduction, you need to have a clear idea of where your argument is going and what you hope to achieve with the essay. Some students find it helpful to write a working introduction along with their outline to start which will then be revised and rewritten based on how their essay progresses. This can help map your argument as you plan and write the drafts of your essay.

The introduction is often the most fun part of your essay because that is where you can show off your writing skills a little. The best introductions are snappy, well-written and show a definite sense of style on the part of the author: your introduction is where your personality can really shine through.

So spend some time on it, revise it at least twice and make sure to have someone else read and comment on it.