Introductions & Conclusions

As writers, we have all struggled with introductions and conclusions. Hopefully a few of these tips will spark your creativity. (Once you have drafted an introduction or conclusion, drop by the Meijer Center for Writing to get some feedback to it.)


Introductions

Your introduction needs to prepare your reader for what lies ahead. Ideally, it should provide general information about your topic as well as your focused opinion (a.k.a. your thesis). The introduction should be cohesive and it should relate to the material in the rest of your paragraphs. The often-tricky part -- your introduction needs to be stimulating and challenging as well as interesting! Try some of the following ideas:

Ideas for Introductions

   

Identify the situation

Make an interesting analogy

Give pertinent background information

Tell a brief but applicable story

Move from general to specific

Be direct

Ask the reader a thought-provoking question

Emphasize the main idea

Use a fitting quotation (not a cliché)

Provide some relevant statistics. 

Sometimes, it’s best to write your introduction last. After all, we often discover what we want to say as we write a draft of a paper!

Whatever you do, avoid obvious statements like the following: “In this paper, I’m going to tell you about the advantages of living off campus: cost, fun, and responsibility.” Also avoid apologizing for your writing: “Certainly someone more knowledgeable could describe this better.”

Conclusions

Your conclusion is important; it is what will likely linger longest in your reader’s mind. It needs to tie everything together in a way that satisfies the reader without being too repetitive. As with introductions, there is no easy recipe for a conclusion, but you may want to try some of the following strategies:

Ideas for Conclusions

   

Call your reads to action

Focus 

Ask a rhetoric question

Be direct

Summarize your paper and emphasize the connection between ideas

Reread your introduction or your whole paper to gain a clearer picture of your topic

Speculate about the future of the issue

Find a purpose for your audience - convince them to care

It is important not to simply restate the introduction in your conclusion. You should also avoid introducing new ideas into your conclusion. You should, however, leave your readers with a poignant idea or a sense of why what they read was important.

To view or print our Helpful Handout, click here: Introductions and Conclusions *includes illustrated adaptation

Have other questions? Stop in and visit! Or call us at 331-2922.

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Page last modified March 6, 2019