Writing a Strong Introduction and Conclusion
Creating a strong, well-written introduction and conclusion is vital in writing an effective essay. Both give structure and meaning to the information you present in the body of your essay. In addition, they provide your reader easy access to your argument, position and purpose and keep the focus on them from the first word to the last word.
The introduction and conclusion are usually about 10 percent of your total paper length. For example, if your essay is 1000 words, both are around 100 words. This is not set in stone, but it is a good guide to help you determine the length. Aim to keep both around the same general length, and keep the information and tips below in mind as you write.
The introduction paragraph is your first chance to hook your readers. It should stay clear and concise while properly introducing your topic. A strong introduction meets the following four criteria:
- It explains the context.
- It answers the questions “what is this about?” by explaining the focus.
- It contains the thesis statement.
- It lays out the structure and organization.
The beginning is focused on context by providing background information on the topic. The first statement is somewhat broad, but be careful not to make it too broad. The goal is to establish what your essay is about by explaining the topic and subtopics you intend to share with readers.
The beginning of your introduction should be attention grabbing in some way. The following are methods with which to start your essay:
- Facts (data or statistics)
- Statement that is surprising
- General information
- Combination of any of the above
However you decide to start your essay, make sure it is interesting and makes readers want to continue reading.
Through subtopics and context that define the scope of your essay, the intro answers the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how. This means defining how your essay is limited, such as to a particular age group, time period, geographic location or something else.
Defining the scope does not involve providing lengthy explanations or definitions; save this for the body of your essay. Direct quotations should also be limited in the introduction. Facts or figures might prove helpful in identifying the background and scope, but limit these as well.
Your introduction also explains how the rest of the paper is organized. This is not detailed, but it does lay out how the information is presented. Whether the body paragraphs are organized in chronological, thematic or sequential order is identified in the introduction. Likewise, if each point is compared and contrasted, this is also explained in your first paragraph. Finally, your introduction ends with a transition to the body paragraphs.
Combined with your introduction, the conclusion puts the entire essay in context. Readers are left feeling as if the essay is unfinished when you do not write the conclusion well. Ultimately, you want the conclusion to tie things in a nice, neat bow—to show that your objectives were met. A good conclusion accomplishes three main things:
- It answers the question posed or provides solutions to the problem identified in the introduction by revisiting the thesis.
- It synthesizes/highlights the main points from the body of the essay and connects them.
- It explains the significance through relevance and implications of what the essay finds.
While the conclusion does the above things, it should also follow a similar pattern as your introduction. This means when restating the thesis, use similar language, but not the exact same wording. The conclusion is your last chance to convince readers of your argument, so take the most important points from the essay and restate them in the conclusion to sell your argument or perspective.
In addition, you can address what the implications are of a particular argument, why the argument matters or what additional questions it raises. You should not, however, introduce new information that is outside of the points addressed in the body of your essay. The following are approaches you might incorporate into your conclusion:
- Summary of main points through synthesis
- Restatement of the essay’s purpose
- Suggestions or recommendations
- Predictions about the future
- Your opinion
- Deductions based on evidence presented in the essay
How you end your essay is largely shaped on the length of your overall essay. A shorter essay does not allow much room for speculation or addressing the significance in too much detail. Instead, try ending with a broader statement on the bigger picture of a topic as it pertains to your essay. However you decide to end your essay, the final point made in the conclusion should make it clear that the essay is complete. A good conclusion answers the question of “so what?” by looking at the broader implications.
Above all else, your intro and concluding paragraphs play important roles. The introduction should make readers want to continue reading, to entice them into wanting to find out how your thesis is answered. Your conclusion takes the information from the body of your essay and revisits the introduction and thesis while addressing broader implications or the essay’s findings.
By Lois Weldon
When it comes to writing assignments, it is difficult to find a conceptualized guide with clear and simple tips that are easy to follow. That’s exactly what this guide will provide: few simple tips on how to write great assignments, right when you need them. Some of these points will probably be familiar to you, but there is no harm in being reminded of the most important things before you start writing the assignments, which are usually determining on your credits.
The most important aspects: Outline and Introduction
Preparation is the key to success, especially when it comes to academic assignments. It is recommended to always write an outline before you start writing the actual assignment. The outline should include the main points of discussion, which will keep you focused throughout the work and will make your key points clearly defined. Outlining the assignment will save you a lot of time because it will organize your thoughts and make your literature searches much easier. The outline will also help you to create different sections and divide up the word count between them, which will make the assignment more organized.
The introduction is the next important part you should focus on. This is the part that defines the quality of your assignment in the eyes of the reader. The introduction must include a brief background on the main points of discussion, the purpose of developing such work and clear indications on how the assignment is being organized. Keep this part brief, within one or two paragraphs.
This is an example of including the above mentioned points into the introduction of an assignment that elaborates the topic of obesity reaching proportions:
Background: The twenty first century is characterized by many public health challenges, among which obesity takes a major part. The increasing prevalence of obesity is creating an alarming situation in both developed and developing regions of the world.
Structure and aim: This assignment will elaborate and discuss the specific pattern of obesity epidemic development, as well as its epidemiology. Debt, trade and globalization will also be analyzed as factors that led to escalation of the problem. Moreover, the assignment will discuss the governmental interventions that make efforts to address this issue.
Practical tips on assignment writing
Here are some practical tips that will keep your work focused and effective:
–Critical thinking – Academic writing has to be characterized by critical thinking, not only to provide the work with the needed level, but also because it takes part in the final mark.
–Continuity of ideas – When you get to the middle of assignment, things can get confusing. You have to make sure that the ideas are flowing continuously within and between paragraphs, so the reader will be enabled to follow the argument easily. Dividing the work in different paragraphs is very important for this purpose.
–Usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ – According to the academic writing standards, the assignments should be written in an impersonal language, which means that the usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ should be avoided. The only acceptable way of building your arguments is by using opinions and evidence from authoritative sources.
–Referencing – this part of the assignment is extremely important and it takes a big part in the final mark. Make sure to use either Vancouver or Harvard referencing systems, and use the same system in the bibliography and while citing work of other sources within the text.
–Usage of examples – A clear understanding on your assignment’s topic should be provided by comparing different sources and identifying their strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. This is the part where you should show how the knowledge can be applied into practice.
–Numbering and bullets – Instead of using numbering and bullets, the academic writing style prefers the usage of paragraphs.
–Including figures and tables – The figures and tables are an effective way of conveying information to the reader in a clear manner, without disturbing the word count. Each figure and table should have clear headings and you should make sure to mention their sources in the bibliography.
–Word count – the word count of your assignment mustn’t be far above or far below the required word count. The outline will provide you with help in this aspect, so make sure to plan the work in order to keep it within the boundaries.
The importance of an effective conclusion
The conclusion of your assignment is your ultimate chance to provide powerful arguments that will impress the reader. The conclusion in academic writing is usually expressed through three main parts:
–Stating the context and aim of the assignment
–Summarizing the main points briefly
–Providing final comments with consideration of the future (discussing clear examples of things that can be done in order to improve the situation concerning your topic of discussion).
Lois Weldon is writer at Uk.bestdissertation.com. Lives happily at London with her husband and lovely daughter. Adores writing tips for students. Passionate about Star Wars and yoga.