College of San Mateo Introductions & Conclusions Reading and Writing Workshop Many people get really stuck on Introductions. They sit in front of the blank

College of San Mateo Introductions & Conclusions Reading and Writing Workshop Many people get really stuck on Introductions. They sit in front of the blank screen trying to figure out what their first sentence is going to be. As a matter of fact, you do not have to start by writing your Introduction first. You can work on your body paragraphs and then come back to the Introduction when you know more about what you are going to write. The main thing to remember is that no matter what you put in your Introduction, the thesis should be its last sentence and should come before your first body paragraph.Also, in the Introduction, please remember to introduce any book and or article that is the basis for an essay with the author’s full name and the title of the book or article. You may then use the author’s last name only in the rest of the paper.Conclusions are a little easier because you have already written the paper. However, it is always good to leave the reader with something to think about, and you should also paraphrase the thesis somewhere in the conclusion to remind your reader of your original argument. Please refer to WWH http://accounts.smccd.edu/skyenglish/ (Links to an external site.) Ch. 8 – Introductions pp. 229-230 and Conclusions pp. 236-237 for some creative ideas for Introductions and Conclusions. Then, in the textbox below, choose at least five Introduction approaches from p. 230 and briefly discuss why they would be appropriate for an essay on Will Allen’s Discourses. WHAT IS AN INTRODUCTION?
An introduction is the opening paragraph(s) of an expository essay, which introduces the reader to
the main topic or thesis, sets the tone, and provides background and/or context about the subject
matter. Introductions are usually short (1 paragraph for shorter papers), but can be multiple
paragraphs long if they are kept in proportion with the rest of the essay.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Authors use different introductions for different kinds of essays. However, there are some common
reasons as to why introductions are important in an essay.
In general, introductions:
Allow the reader to preview the content of the essay.
Give necessary or helpful background and context on the subject matter.
Introduce the primary text(s) being analyzed.
Provide space to introduce major concepts that will be covered in the body of the essay.
Establish the tone or mood of the essay (e.g. serious, informative, humorous, formal/informal, etc).
Attract the reader’s attention and make the reader want to keep reading.
Skyline English 229
HOW DO I CREATE ONE?
1. Before you begin:
Gather your notes and create an outline and a thesis. This will give you a sense of your paper and its
audience. Decide on what material is needed in the introduction in order to make the rest of your
essay clear.
2. Know what to avoid in an introduction:
Avoid broad, general, or sweeping statements (“Since the beginning of time,” “In today’s
world,” “There are many positive and negative sides to the argument”).
O
Avoid the mechanical or making an announcement (“In this essay I’m going to discuss,” “My
essay will be about”).
Avoid overused lead-ins like dictionary definitions (“According to American Heritage,”
“Webster’s dictionary defines ‘oppression’ as…”).
Avoid being too specific. Save the specific details and examples for your body paragraphs.
3. Decide on an effective opening approach.
There are many ways to lead into an essay. Choose an approach that will fit your writing task, draw
in your reader’s interest, and create a clear context for your argument. Here are some examples of
different approaches you can use in writing an introduction but don’t feel limited to this list as there
are many creative approaches you can use:
.
Provide a brief anecdote (a short amusing or interesting real life story) or interesting example that
is relevant to the topic.
Incorporate a thought-provoking quote from the primary text or another outside source.
Use a striking fact or statistic.
Pose a relevant question that will get your reader thinking.
.
State a problem that will be analyzed or solved.
.
Connect your topic to a familiar experience the reader is likely to have had or a cultural reference
they are likely to have shared.
.
State a misconception and then correct it.
Provide background information and/or history on the topic.
Skyline English 230
WHAT IS A CONCLUSION?
The conclusion is the last paragraph in the essay that brings the writer’s argument to a close and
makes the reader reflect on the discussion in the body of the essay. Conclusions provide effective
closure for the discussion in the body paragraphs but don’t simply summarize but rather look at the
larger implications of the topic.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your
readers to your point of view and to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. The
impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after
they’ve finished the essay. Your conclusion should be the best part of your paper.
The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a
sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, and its implications. The final
paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.
HOW DO I CREATE ONE?
1. Before you begin:
Read your entire essay and think of your larger purpose. What exactly does your reader need to
think about as you close your essay? Review your thesis so that you know where the paper started.
This helps you review and sometimes re-envision your thesis leaving you with a stronger more
articulated argument.
2. What to avoid in a conclusion:
.
Avoid beginning with “in conclusion” or “finally.” Your reader should know the paragraph
concludes the essay based on the content.
Avoid directly copying your thesis to your conclusion.
Avoid summarizing the whole paper.
Avoid introducing new ideas. If you find yourself introducing a new idea, then evaluate the
significance of the idea to see if it instead deserves a body paragraph.
.
Avoid throwing the paper off balance by being excessively long or conversely ending with a
conclusion that is under-developed and too brief.
Skyline English 236
3. Decide on an effective closing approach:
Authors use different types of conclusions for different kinds of essays. Below is a list of the more
popular styles for conclusions but like with approaches for introductions, don’t feel limited to this list
as there are many creative approaches you can use:
O
Reinforce the larger significance of the discussion showing your readers why the paper was
important, meaningful and/or useful-answer the question “so what?”
Propose a course of action.
.
Make a prediction.
.
Challenge the reader to look to the future.
.
Establish a sense of closure in your essay by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by
reiterating a word, phrase, reference or idea you used at the beginning.
.
End with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies
your main point or puts it in a different perspective.
Offer opinions that your reader might not have accepted earlier.
Consider the implications or outcomes of your argument.
• Try to solve a problem you have raised.
Skyline English 237

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