Writing your introduction

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  • 1. Writing YourIntroduction
  • 2. Introductions• An introduction in a research paper serves several purposes: – It attracts the reader – It indicates what you paper will be about – It leads up to and includes your thesis statement.
  • 3. Introductions shouldn’t…• be comical.• repeat the title.• state the purpose outright.• be personal to you.• summarize your paper(that’s the conclusion’s job).• be in past tense.
  • 4. My take on introductions:• I believe that introductions can be grouped into several categories. – Informing – Inquiring – Contrasting – Analyzing
  • 5. Informing• Tells the basics of your topic• Gives historical background• Gives information that the reader might need to understand the paper better.• Ex. If a paper is on vaccination pros and cons…the introduction might introduce what a vaccination is and how they are used.
  • 6. Here is an example:• Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, classified more than 4,400 species of animals and 7700 species of plants. (“Linnaeus”). In 1753, he named the cacao tree Theobroma Cacao. Theobroma in Greek means “food of the gods” (Burleigh *15+). From the pods of this rain forest tree come cacao beans, the raw material of chocolate. Chocolate has a long history as a highly prized food.
  • 7. Inquiring• This approach usually asks a series of questions to get the reader to think before introducing the topic in general…• The questions usually foreshadow the thesis.• Ex. If you are writing about space exploration you would ask questions of the reader concerning space. “What lays beyond our own atmosphere? What is there to discover in the vast regions of space?”
  • 8. Inquiring Example• What does the white whale represent? What are the various techniques that Mark Twain uses? All the attention focused on questions such as these tends to obscure other important elements of Moby Dick and Roughing It. These two texts are travelogues; that is, they are records of the places, animals and people found on journeys into strange and unknown frontiers. The main characters of both books receive an education from the world around them. They learn of other cultures and ways of living; but in doing so, they also receive a thorough education about the values and assumptions of their own societies.
  • 9. Contrasting• Brings up two contrasting ideas• Helps audience to compare the twoExample: You are comparing today’s cell phones tothe first ones. “ Many people can’t imaginecarrying a brief case-size phone with theneverywhere they go, but 15 years ago all cell phoneswere about that size. If people at that time wereasked if it would be possible to have a phonesmaller than a deck of cards, most would not havebelieved the possibility.
  • 10. Contrasting ExampleAt first glance, it is difficult to see any similaritiesbetween Alice’s character in Wonderland and thoseof the central character in Hermann Hesse’sSiddartha. Alice’s adventures are those of a younggirl in a world of imagination and nonsense.Siddartha tells of the quest of an Indian boy forspiritual fulfillment. However, when we look at theunderlying message, it becomes clear that what themain characters experience is very much alike.
  • 11. Quoting• Introduces a quote about the subject by an eyewitness or scholar on the subject.• The intro will then discuss the quote to bring up the subject of the paper.• Example: “To be or not to be, that is the question”, this quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one that is remembered by people across the globe…
  • 12. Quoting Example“First they came for the communists, and I didntspeak out because I wasnt a communist. Then theycame for the trade unionists, and I didnt speak outbecause I wasnt a trade unionist. Then they camefor the Jews, and I didnt speak out because I wasnta Jew. Then they came for me and there was no oneleft to speak out for me.” This quote from MartinNeimoller concerning the lack of action on the partof German citizens against Hitler’s campaign ofhate, is a very telling quote indeed…