Types of Introductions in Essays

by Kate Beck

All essays need an introduction, a way to inform the reader about the topic and show the writer's perspective on the subject. The way you choose to write your introduction will depend on the type of essay you are writing and the topic itself. Knowing some of the options you have for introductions will help you write an effective opening that engages your readers and makes them want to keep reading.

Set the Scene

Scene setting works well for essays that tell a story. You might also use this style if you want to draw your readers into your topic, creating a scenario that they may identify with. Giving the sights, sounds, tastes and feel of a scene makes readers want to know more.

Give an Overview

You can use the introduction to give an overview or the historical background of your topic. This grounds readers in the facts and provides the information they need to understand your subject matter. In this style, you might also compare and contrast ideas to show how your topic relates to others. Your goal is to provide readers with enough information that they can focus on the points you present in the body of your essay.

Quote an Expert

Introducing your essay with a quote from an expert in the subject matter will help establish the credibility of your research and your viewpoint. The right quote will also give readers information about the topic and establish your viewpoint, helping to create a solid foundation for your argument.

Ask a Question

You might pose one or more questions to your readers in the introduction. This style can help you bring readers closer to your topic, increasing their awareness of how they feel or react to your subject matter. When you pose a question in your introduction, you need address the answer throughout your essay. You should not ask questions that do not relate directly to the topic itself. For example, you might ask, “How would you get back on your feet if you lost your job and your home?” With this question in mind, the main part of your essay might state facts on the subject of homelessness or give ideas on how to help people faced with this situation.

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