Put shortly, an introduction represents the preliminary part or section of a structured written assignment, such as essay, research paper, dissertation, lab report, scientific article, book, or many other types of works, not only written ones. Obviously, depending on the exact assignment type, introductions differ in their content and style but there are also some unifying similarities behind.
Below we explore how to write an introduction for an assignment by considering its purpose and features, typical content or structural elements included, by providing examples, but also by listing some useful recommendations for writing these.
The essential purpose served by introduction is to present the aim of a text as well as what content should be expected when reading it. However, presenting a text’s goal is often impossible without explaining the essence of the question addressed, which justifies the need for explanatory informational background. Hence, providing such explanatory background could be considered as another key purpose.
This informational background initialises topics, explains terminology and concepts, sets certain limits in discussion, establishes the rules or order of ideas, narrowly focuses on specific questions or subtopics. The introduction key features are:
Conciseness – for essays, introduction should contain about 10% of total amount of words. Hence, all that is included must serve a clear purpose, as described above. Writers should always be careful to avoid expanding too much on certain subtopics – this is to be left for the main body.
Topic definition – it defines the paper’s scope by narrowing a topic down to specific subtopics or questions to be explored or tasks to be achieved. This is done through theses, research goals, objectives.
Content independence. An introduction does not rely on other sections of the text. Rather, the opposite is true – other sections rely heavily on it.
If you wonder how to start an assignment, below we list a few elements usually found in introduction – these are listed in their most probable order:
Hook – although it is optional, introduction could benefit greatly from capturing a reader’s attention from the very first text lines. It could be done through: shocking statements, confessions, interesting facts, inspiring truths, words of wisdom from celebrities.
Introductory background –includes any imaginable information that would prove helpful in initializing readers with regard to a given topic: dictionary definitions or concept explanations, some basic historical background, statistical facts highlighting a problem’s urgency or extent, subject’s relevance for the author, why certain problems represent existential threats or challenges faced by society, current generations.
Thesis. Virtually any written paper or essay is expected to have thesis. It is among the last phrases in an introduction and makes claim or statement which comprehensively summarizes the entire paper. Importantly, this statement must be both arguable and general enough to cover all presented content.
Outline – is optional element used especially in voluminous assignments to announce any subtopics that will be covered and their order. Such outlines inform readers what content to expect, based on which they might decide to either proceed or not with lecturing.
If you are wondering how to write an introduction for an assignment, then you may benefit from some recommendations, as listed below:
Although an important function of introduction is narrowing down a topic to a manageable extent, you should carefully consider from what initial scale you want to start narrowing it, otherwise it risks being irrelevant or broad.
Below is an example of introduction for assignment on the topic “Pros and cons of social networks.”
Media has become pervasive in the modern world both among adults and especially youth – in the latter case, there is almost complete penetrance more than 90% for Facebook in some western countries. Many networks have emerged recently: Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, even YouTube is now considered a network, and most citizens have accounts on several such platforms. According to the Sensis report from June 2017, 79% of Australians have a social media profile, 10% more than in 2016. Most networks do come with significant benefits, such as enhancing our ability to connect across geographic, cultural, and other barriers and helping to retain links with many people encountered at various life stages, but there are also downsides, such as progressive displacement of traditional and often meaningful communication, emerging addiction, privacy issues, public shaming issues, entrapment in information bubbles and spread fake news, biased perception surrounding the lives of others which result in negative self-esteem.
Now that you’ve reviewed key information about writing an introduction but also the provided assignment introduction example, it should be much easier to create your own one. These tips will help you to create an interesting hook and appropriate thesis. Remember that practice is very important, even if it concerns writing essays. Find a spare moment and spend a couple of hours a day practicing writing intros. Be diligent and hardworking and it will definitely pay off!