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Tutoring Service: Writing an Introduction

Overview of the Avondale University Tutoring Service.




Purpose of an Introduction

It is helpful if you can think of the introduction as a brief guide to your paper. The introduction of your paper should tell the reader:

  • the context or focus of your paper—in other words, what it is about.
  • the key areas your paper will cover (and in what order).
  • the controlling argument, and what conclusion has been reached—this is generally the thesis statement.

Structure of an Introduction

The following steps outline the general structure of an introduction:

  1. Begin with some brief background or contextual information that provides a focus for your paper.
  2. Identify the key areas your paper will focus on to support your argument, and the sequence in which these areas will be discussed. Here you could use statements like:
    • This paper provides a brief summary of…
    • This paper outlines…
    • This paper compares...
  3. Articulate what the controlling argument of your paper is, and what conclusion has been reached—this is generally, the thesis statement. It is often placed at the end of your introduction paragraph; however, it can also be placed towards the beginning. Include it where it sits most comfortably to you.

Sample Introduction

Discuss the relationship between an ethical life and happiness in terms of ancient philosophy during the Hellenistic period.

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This resource page has been developed to explain how you can write an introduction. 

However, your lecturer may have specific ideas of what should and shouldn't be included in your assignment. Always consult with your lecturer if unsure.