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University Writing Center

COM 8: Writing Introductions

Dynamic PDF:  Writing Introductions

The introduction is the reader’s first impression of your writing, and it needs to be both intriguing and informative. Effective opening paragraphs provide necessary background information, contextualize the substance of your paper, and often present the thesis statement of the text. For shorter essays, introductions may be a single paragraph; however, for longer works, introductions may consist of several paragraphs.

Common Approaches to Developing an Introduction

  • Provide a short historical context for your topic (and cite any sources referenced).
  • Explain how your ideas fit into existing conversations about your topic.
  • Begin with introducing your general topic then move to the more specific subject of your paper.

Developing an Introduction for Your Project

There are many approaches to writing an introduction. Answer the following questions to help ensure that your introduction will be effective and appropriate for your project:

  • What is the purpose of my project?
  • What is the tone of my project? How might I convey this tone?
  • What do my readers need to know about my topic in order to understand my argument?
  • How likely is my audience to agree with my point of view before reading? How should I approach them?

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