Introductions Purpose

A brown cowThe introduction has work to do, besides grabbing the reader’s attention. Below are some things to consider about the purposes or the tasks for your introduction and some examples of how you might approach those tasks.

The introduction needs to alert the reader to what the central issue of the paper is.

Example:
Few people realize how much the overuse of antibiotics for livestock is responsible for the growth of antimicrobial—resistant bacteria, which are now found in great abundance in our waterways.

The introduction is where you provide any important background information the reader should have before getting to the thesis.

Example:
One hundred years ago there were only 8000 cars in the United States and only 144 miles of paved roads. In 2005, the Department of Transportation recorded 247,421,120 registered passenger vehicles in the United States, and over 5.7 million miles of paved highway. The automobile has changed our way of life dramatically in the last century.

The introduction tells why you have written the paper and what the reader should understand about your topic and your perspective.

Example:
Although history books have not presented it accurately, in fact, the Underground Railroad was a bi-racial movement whereby black and white abolitionists coordinated secret escape routes for those who were enslaved.

The introduction tells the reader what to expect and what to look for in your essay.

Example:
In 246 BCE, Ctesibius of Alexandria invented a musical instrument that would develop into what we know as the organ. Called a hydraulis, it functioned via wind pressure regulated by means of water pressure. The hydraulis became the instrument played at circuses, banquets, and games throughout Mediterranean countries.

The thesis statement (typically at the end of the introduction) should clearly state the claim, question, or point of view the writer is putting forth in the paper.

Example:
While IQ tests have been used for decades to measure various aspects of intelligence, these tests are not a predictor for success, as many highly intelligent people have a low emotional intelligence, the important human mental ability to reason about emotions and to use emotions to enhance thought.

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