Thursday, 13 July 2017

Here's an Example Essay Introduction

Here's an Example Essay Introduction

In the previous blogs, you've learned about the three components of writing an essay introduction, namely the context, thesis statement and overview. Click on the links if you need to review your learning of those components.

Now that you know how to write each of the three components of an introduction, it’s time to put them all together into the final product. Your introduction needs to have all three components, but the style with which you present them can vary, and you might have conventions in your discipline that you need to adhere to. However, the basic formula works for every academic discipline; you always need context, a thesis statement and an overview in the first paragraph of your essay, and in the first section of your longer research projects.

Let’s look at some examples of what introductions could look like. Imagine that the following topic is presented to a student:

Write an essay of 6000 words in which you analyze the role of the opium wars in current Chinese responses to drug use and drug trafficking in the country.

You’ll have to go through the planning process first, which you can learn more about on the Academic Coaching website, and once you complete your planning you’ll be ready to write your introduction. For our purposes, I’ve marked each different section with a different font format. The context will be underlined, the thesis statement will be highlighted in yellow, and the overview will be presented in bold text. It could look something like this:

The Opium Wars were two disputes in the 19th century between the British and the Chinese about British trade in China. The wars led to the weakening of the Qing dynasty and were devastating for Chinese economic, social and political stability. This analytical essay will show clear links between the devastation caused by the Opium Wars and current Chinese attitudes to the drug trade. The essay will argue that the harsh attitudes towards drug use and the death penalty for drug trafficking are the results of the current government’s efforts to curb the influence of drugs from the west due to the lingering anti-drug attitudes from the Opium Wars. The illicit drug trade in China will be analyzed to show the effects of the harsh drug laws. Furthermore, census data from 2014 will be used to show the changing attitudes towards drug use in China.

Notice how the context section explained what the Opium Wars were very briefly, and provided some explanation of how the wars affected the country. Even though this section didn’t give much information, it gave the reader enough so that they will be able to understand the rest of the introduction.

In the thesis statement, the main point will be that the harsh drug laws are because of lingering attitudes in China after the devastation of the Opium Wars. The thesis statement also explains that the essay will show clear links between the two phenomena.

Finally, the overview section lists the steps which the author will take in demonstrating their main point. There is no evidence provided yet, but the author is simply listing the points which they will return to later to support their thesis statement.

After reading this introduction, you’ll probably already have the impression that the essay will be knowledgeable, well-written and have a clear intention. The introduction sets the tone for the essay, and the reader will immediately get the sense that they can trust the information contained in the essay, because it is presented professionally and in a reasoned, logical way.

Review Your Learning:
·         Every academic piece of writing will need an introduction with context, a thesis statement and an overview, even though these can look very different in different academic disciplines
·         Planning will make it easy to write an introduction. You’ll already know the points you want to make, and you can simply slot them into the formula of context, thesis statement and overview.

·         A good introduction sets an excellent tone for your essay, and the reader will trust your writing and ideas much more