Elements of an Effective Introduction (2024)

Elements of an EffectiveIntroduction

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Elements of an Effective Introduction

After the executive summary (which we will study in another lesson), the introduction is probably the most important part of the report. Busy readers may only read this section. The introduction must do five things: (1) it provides background to the situation; (2) it identifies the problem; (3) it argues that the problem needs to be solved; (4) it summarizes the solution; (5) it establishes the writer’s credibility. It must demonstrate that the writer has good will, knowledge of the scope and complexity of the issue, and a thoughtful solution to it.

You might consider using all or some of the following eight elements. (From Joseph Williams, personal communication, spring 1992):

•Definition of the topic – Let the reader know the paper is about and define key terms.
•Historical understanding of the topic – Let the reader know the background and what people have wrongly believed about the topic in the past.
•Current understanding of the topic – Let the reader know what people wrongly believe now about the topic.
•Refutation of any of the above – Hint at the reasons these understandings are wrong.
•A statement of the problem – State the problem in a clear thesis.
•Negative consequence(s) if is not solved – What bad things will happen if the problem isn’t solved?
•Positive consequence(s) if it is solved – What good things will happen if the problem is solved?
•A hint at the solution(s) – Very briefly tell the reader how the problem can be solved.

Which of the eight elements is in the following introduction? If some are missing, where might they be added? Would they be necessary? Why or why not?

Nitrates are salts of nitric acid that can cause a disease called methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome) in infants. Excessive consumption of nitrates can cause hemoglobin problems in adults.
Nitrates are filtering through the ground and contaminating local wells and drinking water systems. Sources of nitrates include nitrogen fertilizers (commercial and residential), breakdown of manure, and human wastes in septic effluent.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a mandatory standard level of 10 parts per million (ppm) under the Safe Water Drinking Act passed by Congress. Presently, several are wells have been shut down or are very near to exceeding EPA limits. Consequently, the surrounding communities of Whiting and Plover are left with the problem of finding a new adequate water supply.
After examining three alternative solutions, we feel that the most economical solution to this serious health problem, the solution that would benefit both the city of Stevens Point and the villages of Whiting and Plover, would be for the city to annex the villages.

Elements of an Effective Introduction (2024)


Elements of an Effective Introduction? ›

The key elements of an effective introduction to an article include providing relevant background knowledge, stating the problem, existing solutions, main limitations or gaps of knowledge, the authors' hypothesis, and the methodological approach used.

What are the main components of an effective introduction? ›

We've isolated seven different introductory elements that can be exemplified with the following essay question:
  • The Opening Sentence. One of the most important elements of an introduction is its very first sentence. ...
  • Background Information. ...
  • Defining Key Terms. ...
  • Topic Importance. ...
  • Thesis Statements. ...
  • Stance. ...
  • Outline.

What makes an effective introduction? ›

An effective introduction simultaneously offers information about the subject and hooks the reader's attention. The opening paragraph provides the opportunity to make a good first impression, and to introduce the audience to your main point/argument, along with your quality and style of writing.

What are the 5 elements of an effective introduction? ›

Jean Costanza Miller shares advice on the five elements of your speech introduction to have a solid start and maximum impact for your presentation or talk.
  • Gain attention. ...
  • Relate to your audience. ...
  • Establish your credibility. ...
  • State your central idea. ...
  • Preview your main points.
Jul 20, 2022

What are the elements of a good introduction? ›

Writing Successful Introductory Paragraphs
  • It clearly and specifically states the topic or question that you will address in your essay.
  • It motivates the topic or question that the essay will examine.
  • It states, clearly and directly, your position on this topic or question (i.e., your thesis).

What are 4 parts of a strong introduction? ›

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Introduce the organisation – museum/company.
  • Learn about & connect the participants.
  • Introduce the programme & its goal.
Mar 16, 2022

What are the 4 things in the introduction? ›

The Four Tasks of the Speech Introduction
  • Capture the audience's attention.
  • Establish your credibility/ethos.
  • Reveal the topic of the speech and relate it to the audience.
  • Preview the body of the speech.

What are the three things an effective introduction do? ›

Introductions help writers…

– Reveal their essay's central idea or thesis – Guide readers to important ideas in the body of the essay – Provide relevant background information to help readers understand the essay's purpose and thesis.

What are the three steps of an effective introduction? ›

An introduction paragraph has three parts, in this order:
  • Hook: Get the reader's attention with a comment, question, quotation, or humorous remark related to the topic.
  • Background: Give contextual details that narrow the focus of the essay.
  • Thesis: State the purpose of the essay, such as the claim of a persuasive essay.

What are the three things essential to an introduction? ›

In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement. Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay.

What are the 6 elements of proper introduction? ›

These are:
  • An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. ...
  • Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other conclusions on your topic. ...
  • A rationale for your paper. ...
  • Describe the methodology you used. ...
  • A thesis statement. ...
  • An outline.
Aug 10, 2021

What are the six components of an effective introduction? ›

The key components of an effective introduction include the general background and motivation, academic background and literature gap, research problem statement, methodology, and social impact.


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