First impressions count

First impressions are important. We all know this is true when we are meeting someone, but it’s also true when we’re reading.

The introductions you write to your essays are the ‘first impressions’ your lecturer will have of your work. If they are well organised and clear it makes the right impression – i.e. that you have understood the topic. Write a good introduction and you have taken the first step towards a good grade.

Here are a few basic tips to get you started…

Start with the General and Get Gradually More Specific.

Whatever the topic, a good introduction will usually start with a statement that provides background or contextual information. This does not have to be a bland generalisation – try and make it interesting by starting with a related quote, incident or something else that will allow you to lead nicely in to the topic. You could also define key terms in this part of the introduction.

Map out your Essay.

Any good essay should provide the reader with a clear idea of what they are about to read. Orientate your reader by listing the topics you are going to cover in order. State how you are going to cover them as well.

Thesis Statement

Most good introductions contain a thesis statement. These put forward your particular take on the subject and the argument you intend to put forwards. You will expand on your thesis statement in your conclusion.

Write it Last!

As you write your essay you may well change your ideas, add or delete points or change the order. Therefore it is a good idea to write your introduction last, as you will have a much clearer idea of ‘what the essay will do’ when you have already written it.