You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.
Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis.
Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery?
How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery?
If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers.You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion.If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery.By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying.The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper.Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives.(See our handout on conclusions.) Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it.After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper.