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Writing an essay introduction - Research & Learning Online
Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read. Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements.
The thesis should match the essay.
For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis rather than argumentative. You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach. To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
This thesis showed the reader the topic a type of sandwich and the direction the essay will take describing how the sandwich is made. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
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Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good. In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion the best type of sandwich , which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. Just as there are two different types of thesis statements informative and persuasive , there are two basic styles you can use. The first style uses a list of two or more points.
This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments. In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay. In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile.
Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into. Good vs. In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.
Place your research within the research niche by:. This is appropriate because outcomes are unknown until you've completed the study. After you complete writing the body of the paper, go back and review introductory descriptions of the structure of the paper, the method of data gathering, the reporting and analysis of results, and the conclusion. Reviewing and, if necessary, rewriting the introduction ensures that it correctly matches the overall structure of your final paper.
Delimitations of the Study. Delimitations refer to those characteristics that limit the scope and define the conceptual boundaries of your research. This is determined by the conscious exclusionary and inclusionary decisions you make about how to investigate the research problem.
Starting Your Research Paper: Writing an Introductory Paragraph
In other words, not only should you tell the reader what it is you are studying and why, but you must also acknowledge why you rejected alternative approaches that could have been used to examine the topic. Obviously, the first limiting step was the choice of research problem itself. However, implicit are other, related problems that could have been chosen but were rejected. These should be noted in the conclusion of your introduction.
For example, a delimitating statement could read, "Although many factors can be understood to impact the likelihood young people will vote, this study will focus on socioeconomic factors related to the need to work full-time while in school. Examples of delimitating choices would be:. Review each of these decisions.
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Not only do you clearly establish what you intend to accomplish in your research, but you should also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. Make this reasoning explicit! They are an accepted element of academic writing intended to keep the reader focused on the research problem by explicitly defining the conceptual boundaries and scope of your study. It addresses any critical questions in the reader's mind of, "Why the hell didn't the author examine this? The Narrative Flow. Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :.
Engaging the Reader. A research problem in the social sciences can come across as dry and uninteresting to anyone unfamiliar with the topic. Therefore, one of the goals of your introduction is to make readers want to read your paper. Here are several strategies you can use to grab the reader's attention:. This avoids giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance and does not distract from the substance of your study.
Introductions and Conclusions. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction. Department of Biology. Bates College; Introductions. University of North Carolina; Introductions. Writing Center. Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an Introduction. Department of English Writing Guide.
George Mason University. Avoid the "Dictionary" Introduction. Giving the dictionary definition of words related to the research problem may appear appropriate because it is important to define specific terminology that readers may be unfamiliar with. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source because it doesn't take into account the context of your topic and doesn't offer particularly detailed information. Also, placed in the context of a particular discipline, a term or concept may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary.
If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, use a subject specific dictionary or encyclopedia [e. A good database for obtaining definitive definitions of concepts or terms is Credo Reference. Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper. Florida International University; Introductions. University of North Carolina. When Do I Begin?
A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "Where should I begin? Therefore, it is important to lay a foundation for understanding the historical context underpinning the research problem. However, this information should be brief and succinct and begin at a point in time that illustrates the study's overall importance. For example, a study that investigates coffee cultivation and export in West Africa as a key stimulus for local economic growth needs to describe the beginning of exporting coffee in the region and establishing why economic growth is important.
You do not need to give a long historical explanation about coffee exports in Africa. If a research problem requires a substantial exploration of the historical context, do this in the literature review section. In your introduction, make note of this as part of the "roadmap" [see below] that you use to describe the organization of your paper.
Always End with a Roadmap. The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a brief description of the rest of the paper [the "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect.