Introductions Strategies

anecdoteAlthough there is no one “right” way to write your introduction, there are some common introductory strategies that work well. The strategies below are ones you should consider, especially when you are feeling stuck and having a hard time getting started.

Consider opening with an anecdote, a pithy quotation, an image, question, or startling fact to provoke your reader’s interest. Just make sure that the opening helps put your topic in some useful context for the reader.

One day, while riding in the car, my five-year old son asked me why my name was different from his daddy’s. I welcomed the opportunity to explain some of my feminist ideas, especially my strong belief that women did not need to take their husband’s name upon marriage. I carefully explained my reasons for keeping my own surname. My son listened intently and was silent for a moment after I finished.

Then he nodded and said, “I think it’s good you kept your own name Mom!”

“You do?” I asked, pleased that he understood my reasons.

“Yep, because you don’t look like a Bob.”

The study of anthropology and history reveal that cultures vary in their ideas of moral behavior. Are there any absolutes when it comes to right and wrong?

Overall, your focus in an introduction should be on orienting your reader. Keep in mind journalism’s five Ws: who, what, when, where, why, and add in how. If you answer these questions about your topic in the introduction, then your reader is going to be with you.

Of course, these are just some examples of how you might get your introduction started, but there should be more to your introduction. Once you have your readers’ attention, you want to provide context for your topic and begin to transition to your thesis, and don’t forget to include that thesis (usually at or near the end of your introduction).

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