You want to make a good impression on the marker from the start of your essay, but how do you know if you are getting the essay introduction right? A good introduction should be like a map; you are telling the reader what to expect and how the terrain of the essay is set out.  Here are some important essay writing dos and don’ts:

Essay introductions – the right way

  • Explain the issue that you will be addressing and why it matters to the field of study.
  • Describe how you will be tackling the problem, the research methods, software or materials that you have used to test your theory.
  • Briefly explain the relevant background material.
  • Explain your thesis and how you will set about solving the problem posed in the essay question.

Note: Essay introductions don’t have to be just one paragraph.

What to avoid in an essay introduction

  • Too much information – Some writers fill their introduction with waffle.  Top essay writing tip:- Make sure you stay on topic and don’t give so much background infromation that you appear to be taking the reader all the way from GCSE level through to university.  Remember that the reader has background knowledge and understanding of the topic.  Don’t write essays as though this is the first time your reader has read anything on the subject.
  • Disjointed words and phrases – Make the connections between the sentences obvious.  Don’t just drop the information onto the page and assume the reader can follow your argument from that.  Point the way through your argument, linking your writing with signalling and signposts.
  • No need for the rest of the essay? – Although you should know where you are going with your argument, don’t put so much in the introduction that it seems that there is no need to write the essay.

Proofreading the essay introduction with the same care that you apply to the rest of the essay is advisable.  Did this help?  Please post any comments below.  Let us know if you have found any other useful resources for introduction writing.