On Introductions

by admin on February 13, 2014

It seems nothing is harder for my students to write than introductions. Those one or two paragraphs at the beginning that are supposed to convey what the essay is all about is where many of them get stuck. They either go “all over the place” with very broad or general statements that don’t say much; or they begin the discussion right away without giving the reader an inkling where the essay is going.

So I’ve decided to focus my attention on introductions. In the senior class I’m now teaching I’ve already told my students their intro will make up as much as 50% of the grade of the paper. Will that make them write brilliant introductions? Maybe not, but at least they would pay attention to them, ponder over every word, and think whether the structure they present at the opening reflects that of the entire paper. Furthermore, I will discuss the importance of a good introduction in class again and again, and even read their intros if I need to.

Here on the website, I’ve started to develop a set of tools to help students with intros. The first is a modest two page analysis of the introduction to one of my published articles. This may not be the best into ever written, but it definitely has all the elements students need to learn to include in their papers – especially if they want to get A-range grades. I’ve included this resource under “tutorials,” or you can see it here. More to come soon.