How to Write an Introduction Paragraph for an Essay or Research Paper

May 11, 2023

Introduction Paragraph

Think about your favorite novel. What was your first impression of its introduction paragraph? Perhaps, it had humor, suspense, mystery– all the mind-boggling elements that got you interested to read. Similarly, writing the best introduction is knowing how to capture your audience's attention and interest at first glance.

Whether you are writing a term paper, an essay, or a Research paper, you have to introduce the reader to your content in a calculated manner. In this article, we share practical tips that you can use in developing the best intro. Additionally, we’ll briefly discuss the common styles of how to write an introductory paragraph for different assignments and how to develop them.

But first…

What are introductory Paragraphs?

Introductions are simply the first bits of your content that inform the reader about your subject of discussion. The primary objective of this writing element is to prepare the audience for what you’re about to talk about in your paper. For example, notice how the first and second paragraphs of this article introduced the ideas that you’ll find throughout this journal.

Now that you understand what introductions are, why should you bother writing the best introduction? Below are the reasons why and the benefits:

  • You only have one chance to create a good first impression. Most readers are impatient so unless you get them interested in your brilliant opening remarks, they might not stick long enough to read the rest of your content.
  • Introductions are the maps showing the direction of your writing. Your readers use the paragraph to judge whether your content includes their points of interest. So, the question to ask yourself is, are your opening remarks aligning with what the rest of the paper is all about?
  • Other researchers use your introduction to understand your thesis. In other words, it offers a place for you to declare your position in an argument. In it, you get the chance to notify the reader about your organization of the ideas that you plan to pass across.
  • In cases of problem-addressing journals, an introduction allows you to outline a problem that your paper is solving. It invites your audience to see why your content matters and, therefore, convince them to engage your solution to the mutual problem.

Tips on writing a good Introduction Paragraph

Capture the reader’s attention

Ask yourself about the purpose of your content to potential readers. What is your audience looking for when going through your work? Now capture their attention by addressing that point of interest early.

Although your intro might have the point of interest, how you present it is what sells it. So, what are your options?

First, shun long and dense opening sentences and instead go for catchy and clear ones. The idea here is to convince the reader that your content has what they’re searching as quickly as possible. Secondly, make sure you remain relevant to the subject of discussion irrespective of your introductory style. Some great ways to introduce the paper include:

  • A report of an exemplary incident (anecdote)
  • A shocking statistic or fact
  • A rhetorical question
  • A quote from a scholar that both you and the reader can relate with

Lastly, avoid using clichés and generalizations since readers are likely to interpret your paper as superficial. Be creative enough to evoke emotions of interest.

Example: The invention of ships marked a significant revolutionary point in human exploration.

The sentence introduces the topic of “invention and revolution” without over-generalizing or giving too much information. It’s giving the essay a purpose and the direction that the writer will take in the following parts.

Provide a context

In what setting is your content applicable or relevant? Provide the background information on the topic of discussion so that the reader understands your argument. Examples of effective ways of contextualizing your topic include:

  • Discussing the social, historical, or geographical setting of the topic
  • Defining jargons and terms used in the paper
  • Summarizing relevant scholarly research, debates, or theories

Be broad in introducing your subject of discussion whilst remaining focused on your argument. Try to mention the notions/points that you will use later in the main body of your work. Don’t bother with providing the evidence of your notion since that’s what you save for the later sections.

A common problem that you’ll probably also face when trying to write the best introductions is figuring out the length. How much content should you use in the context? Well, that depends on the scope of your topic and the amount of info necessary to fill in the reader about the issue of discussion.

Some topics are too broad to summarize in a single paragraph. Therefore, they may need more explanation to help the reader read from the same page as the author during the introduction.

Establish your position

In most papers that you’ll handle, you will need to give your thesis statement. Usually, this is a summary of your area of focus or the role your content plays in addressing the topic. It outlines the limits of your content in that the aspects of the topic you’re discussing come out clearly.

Stating your position in the introduction helps the reader understand your viewpoint. You’re able to give a concise direction that your thoughts and opinions will take in the main body.

From our earlier example, here is its extension to drive this point home:

The idea of using traveling on the water was not foreign. Ships adapted and improved existing water vessels that used wind and paddles to propel forward or backward. Nonetheless, its success was because people accepted it as a safer means of travel. In particular, traders who needed to deliver goods overseas praised its reliability over long distances.

The above thesis statement shows the direction the writer is taking in discussing the topic of invention and revolution, that is:

  • Viewing ships as an improved product rather than a novel one.

Furthermore, it presents other aspects that the paper will need to discuss and provide evidence, such as:

  • People’s opinions on water vessels
  • Specific debates about water traveling safety.

Notice how it’s not departing from the main idea of the ship’s role in aiding exploration and, thereafter, the water travel revolution.

Proofread and revise your introduction

Content development of any paper, whether extensive or shallow, involves research. As such, you’re likely to change your viewpoint or position as you learn more. Therefore, you have to get back to your introduction, which sums the main ideas and revises it accordingly.

Proofreading and revision help you to eliminate the statements that contradict the rest of your content. Also, you’re able to find the critical aspects that you mentioned but forgot to include in the main body.

Common Introductions Styles for Assignments

Here are summarized intro styles for assignments that our writers regularly handle:

Research Papers

  • Addressing the topic and its relevance to the readers
  • introducing the subtopics in the main body
  • Linking topic’s context to what research statistics show

Article Critique

  • Stating the viewpoints by another author that you’re critiquing
  • Outlining your organization of ideas in the critique

Argumentative Essays

  • Outline opposing viewpoints that you’ll discuss
  • Structured thesis explaining argument points

Term papers

  • Summary of your chapters and subtopics
  • Listing of abbreviations, terms, and jargons that you are using

Case Study

  • Introducing the main points of your topic research
  • Statement of the relationship between your study and real-life incidents

Parting Shot

As is evident, learning how to start or start of an introduction paragraph or how to actually write an appealing intro requires active practice to perfect. Hire the experienced writers to assist you in developing content that earns your essay a top grade. Take a look at our services and see what we can deliver.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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