Thursday, 5 May 2011

How To Write An Introduction For Academic Writing

Academic writing sounds so serious doesn't it? Well, it is not. While there are some certain techniques for you to know in writing a good introduction for academic writing, there is no rule saying that we must write a dull essay for it to be academic. Here I will explain some ways in writing a good introduction for academic writing. I will start with introduction and will continue with other parts of academic writing some other time.


Introduction can be separated into two parts: General statement/Hook and Thesis Statement.

General statement/Hook.

You don't have to write much for this but don't be mistaken in thinking that it is not important.This is the technique in getting the reader's attention so it is very vital in getting the reader to continue reading your essay rather than just stopping after the first few lines. There are different types of hooks such as Anecdotes, Quotes, Statistics and Questions. While there are other types of hooks, I will just concentrate on these.

Anecdotes: You describe a character or a person which is related to your essay.
For example - ' He used to work at big companies, getting paid so much that he can afford to have the finer things in life. But that changes when he was involved with drugs. Abuse of drugs are certainly dangerous as it can damage you and people around you.'

Quotes: You quote some words from other people, usually famous people or significant people who are related to your essay.
For example - ' Nelson Mandela used to say, " After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." Being satisfied with what we have is not an option as we must strive to be successful in life.'

Statistics: Include some data that can be easily be found either from the internet or books.
For example - ' As of 2010, more than 80% of the tablet computer market is dominated by Apple's iPad. This shows that the significance of tablet computer cannot be ignored as the market is still huge and largely untapped. '

Questions: Ask a question but make sure you give an answer for that question.
For example - ' How would you feel if a murderer was let off with a light sentence? Of course, you will not be satisfied with the verdict as it seems unfair to the dead. Nevertheless, respecting the decision of the court is very important.'

These are some of the hooks that can be used in the introduction. If these seem to difficult for you, just write a general statement. I would recommend this for students of lower level as you just need to write a general statement that is related to the topic. As long it is related to the topic, it is good enough.

CAUTION: Please do not start with 'Nowadays' or 'As we all know' as they are cliches that are being used over and over again that they will not help your essay to stand out as they are as common as the greens besides the road.

After you are done with hooks/general statement, we should state our stand and give some indication on what we are about to discuss in the essay. This is the use of Thesis Statement. Thesis Statement is used to explain the points that will be discussed in the body paragraph of an essay.

For example - He used to work at big companies, getting paid so much that he can afford to have the finer things in life. But that changes when he was involved with drugs. Abuse of drugs are certainly dangerous as it can damage you and people around you. So it is agreed that abuse of drugs is dangerous because it can lead to a dysfunctional family institution and declining moral values of the society.


Have a look at the bold part. That is the thesis statement. By reading the thesis statement we can know that the first body paragraph will discuss the dysfunctional family institution while the second body paragraph will discuss the declining moral values of the society.

Having to agree or disagree shows your stand which you have to choose. It depends on the question actually. If the question asks you either to agree or disagree, you have to choose one. If the question only asks you to discuss or give your opinion, you can have both sides, positive and negative. The question for above introduction might be ' Abuse of drugs is dangerous, do you agree or disagree?' which leads to the thesis statement above.

There is another way to write thesis statement. While the example that I give here is an explicit thesis statement which lays out the point that will be discussed, an implicit thesis statement is the opposite of that. I will not explain much about implicit thesis statement as usually explicit thesis statement is the one which is preferred.

In a way, for you to have a good and clear introduction, you must know how to combine hooks and thesis statement. Hope this helps, please comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

41 comments:

Hdz said...

Hello.

My comment has nothing to do with the content of your post, but I can't help but to point this out:

"...body paragraph will discuss about the dysfunctional family institution while the second body paragraph will discuss about the..."

Doesn't the word 'Discuss' already mean 'Talk about', and hence putting together 'Discuss' and 'About' would make the word 'About' redundant?

Syafiq said...

Thanks for nitpicking hdz.will keep that in mind later.

Hdz said...

Not nitpicking, just my tuppence worth. I'm here to learn just like others, so take a chill pill.

You're welcome nonetheless.

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I think writing introduction is one of the hardest things to do when writing academic paper. It can be your preview of your paper without revealing too much of the content. Good thing there are site like thesishelpdesk.com, jstor.com and Britannica.com that can be a big references for academic writing. Anyway, this would certainly help a lot of people having trouble with introduction of their paper.

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