writing workshop
Developing a Great Introduction with
Your Thesis Statement

In this thread we focus on the introduction paragraph--the first and therefore one of the most important elements of your paper.

Key Points for This Thread

In academic papers, introductions usually have three functions. To:

Generate reader interest
Narrow the paper's focus
Present your thesis statement

7 Strategies for Your Introduction
The video below introduces you to seven strategies for writing an effective introduction paragraph, one which captures your reader's interest and introduces the thesis statement. The seven strategies are:
  1. Provide a brief history or factual background of your topic
  2. State the major divisions or main ideas of your paper
  3. Offer an interesting anecdote
  4. Contrast two opposing aspects of a topic and end with the aspect to be discussed in the body
  5. Ask a question to be answered in the body of your paper
  6. Quote an expert
  7. Offer a surprising fact or statistic

If you experience problems viewing the video, copy and paste the following URL into a new web browser window: http://polaris.umuc.edu/ewc/tutorials/introductions

Simple as That: Designing an Effective Thesis Statement

Key Concepts

   thesis is a simple sentence that combines your topic and your position on the topic.

  A thesis provides a roadmapm0iM4A7Hs2s2HTYnrnJ0qqPEtW0/T3nDI4Xeq5m+ to what follows in the paper.

  A thesis is like a wheel's hub--everything revolves around it and is attached to it.

After your prewriting activities--such as assignment analysis and outlining--you should be ready to take the next step: writing a thesis statement. Although some of your assignments will provide a focus for you, it is still important for your college career and especially for your professional career to be able to state a satisfactory controlling idea or thesis that unifies your thoughts and materials for the reader.

Characteristics of an Effective Thesis
A thesis consists of two main parts: your overall topic and your position on that topic. Here are some example thesis statements that combine topic and position:

Sample Thesis Statements
Topic    Thesis Statement = Topic + Your Position on it
Drunk driving Anyone found guilty of drunk driving should have their licenses revoked for five years.
College internships The college internship program provides important  benefits for participants.
City mass transit   In the next ten years, Americans will be forced to embrace mass transit in their cities.

When writing your thesis, be sure to use direct language and avoid the "announcement" thesis that uses phrases like "In this paper, I will . . . " or "This paper will focus on . . . ." To learn more, check out this link: Avoid Announcement Statements.

Choose one of the seven strategies for the introduction paragraph and use it to write an effective introduction for the project you are currently working on.

Be sure to add your paper's thesis as the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.

Post your completed introduction to this thread by copying and pasting it into your reply. To facilitate feedback, please avoid posting your intro paragraph as an attachment.