Macleay’s Academic Skills Coordinator Matt Shows Us 5 Steps To Crafting The Perfect Essay Introduction
All great essays begin in the same way; with an excellent introduction. This sets the tone for what’s to follow. Starting is usually the most difficult part of writing an essay, but the importance of a well-written introduction should not be understated. It is fundamental, in fact. I’m going to walk you through the 5 key steps in creating an Introduction that will work every single time.
1. The Plan
Before pen meets paper, you should always have a plan. A plan for your essay is essential, to ensure its coherent and cohesive – that is, it flows and makes sense. A plan is an organic template and can change half-way through, so don’t worry about it being set in stone.
2. Grab The Reader’s Attention
The first sentence, or two, of an introduction should be a general summary of the topic. In these first few sentences try to avoid specific examples; we can save those for the body of the essay. Think about the topic and what you already know about it. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in the field, but this is where reading comes in useful. Being mindful of current affairs, the news and topics in general can really aid us in writing these first sentences.
3. Use Academic And Formal Language
An essay is an academic piece of work. As such the language we use in it is different to that which we might use on social media or in an email. Be conscious of this. Informal words such as ‘mate’, ‘Aussie’ or ‘arvo’ are likely not appropriate for an essay. You could perhaps use their formal counterparts, ‘peer’, ‘Australian’ and ‘afternoon’ instead. Similarly, we should do our best to avoid using first person personal pronouns (for example “I” and “we”,). We can perhaps use phrases like ‘this essay….’ or passive constructions.
4. Make Use Of Synonyms
Try to not repeat the words in the question. Also avoid over-using the same word. A thesaurus would be very useful in this regard. This applies to the whole essay not just the introduction.
5. Remember IFO
Inform – Focus – Orientate. These are the three fundamental parts of a great introduction. Inform the reader about the topic (summarise), focus the essay by stating what direction it will take. Essentially, let the reader know what stance or opinion you’re going to be taking throughout. This is sometimes called a Thesis Statement. Finally, orientate them. Let them know what to expect in your essay. For example: This essay will explore/discuss topic one, two and three.
Follow these steps to set a solid basis for your essay. The rest will come easy.
For further academic skills support contact:
Matt Lawrence (Melbourne campus)
1300 939 888
Samantha Benscher (Sydney)