Introduction and Conclusion Guidelines

Introduction Basics

  • The Introduction is the first paragraph.
  • Begin with a statement which interests and orients the reader, often referred to as the HOOK.
  • Should introduce topic right away.
  • Should contain thesis statement/controlling idea. Many readers expect it to be explicitly stated.

Generalizations about Introductions and Conclusions

  • Need not be parts of the essay indicated by such phrases as "before we begin" or "in conclusion."
  • Introductions and conclusions are more effective if they are thought of in matched pairs.
  • Introductions and conclusions which work in one context can fail in others.
    Consider the audience when thinking about the type of introduction/conclusion you are going to use.
  • Introduction should give readers a preview of essay's subject and/or framework. An introduction is not an introduction if it leaves readers clueless about either the subject or the framework.
  • Beginning of the essay introduces the interpreter [author] as well as the interpretation. Present yourself as a person whose judgments and opinions are likely to be valuable.
  • Summarizing in a broad sense is one of the conclusion's main functions. Do not simply restate what you have already said. Rather, place your topic within a larger context.

Introduction and Conclusion Strategies

  • Funnel shaped (inverted pyramid) introduction matched with "web" conclusion. this introduction begins with broad statement related to the topic. Provide background information, each bit more specific than the first--all of which lead to and set up the thesis statement. The Conclusion presents or restates original topic in the context of larger concerns. This is the standard format taught in many writing courses.
  • Build on a scene--show your reader where the narrative will be taking place. Make it interesting. Match with the conclusion built on a parallel scene. This is a particularly good strategy for the narrative essay.
  • Stress the author's attitude in the Introduction, matching that with a conclusion that reflects a change in that attitude--can also deal with emotion, feelings, or ideas.
  • Develop a question in the Introduction matched with a Conclusion that discusses an answer.