Introductions and conclusions are particularly important in academic essays. An effective introduction will identify the topic, provide the context, and indicate the focus on the paper. IT should also engage the interest of the reader. An effective conclusion will offer a sense of closure while also putting your concept into a wider context. In some cases, a conclusion also paves the way for further discussion. While no two papers will be the same, there are some guidelines you can follow no matter your subject matter:
Many students feel as though they cannot write their paper until they have a good introduction. This often becomes time consuming, unnecessarily so. Some students prefer to write an introduction before they explore the topic, and others prefer exploration and a written body before the introduction is done. There is no right answer here, so just do what is most comfortable for you. If you want to leave the introduction until your paper is nearly finished, that is perfectly acceptable.
A good introduction should be one paragraph that takes up between one half to three quarters of your page. The size should relate to the overall length of your paper of course. If you have a five page paper, a single paragraph is fine. But if you have a fifty page paper, your introduction may be one or two pages at least. When you write your paper, get to the point immediately. The first few sentences of your introduction should raise the topic. Don’t make sweeping generalizations or begin in a broad fashion. You want your topic to hit the reader immediately. Your thesis statement should be at the end of your introduction.
When you conclude your paper, remember that it is not just a summary of your points or a place to re-state your thesis. You can summarize of course, but make sure you use fresh language and remind your reader of the evidence that you presented in the body and how that supports your thesis. Reflect on the significance of your paper and incorporate thoughts on the larger implications of your work into the conclusion. Broaden your focus and make sure the last sentence in your conclusion gives your reader something to reflect on, something that illustrates what you have written in a new way. For many essays, a single paragraph, fleshed out, is sufficient for a conclusion. As with your introduction, the length of the paper is directly correlated to the length of the conclusion.
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