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Introduction to Academic Reading and Writing: Introductions and Conclusions

Introductions and Conclusions

When writing an introduction:

  • Think about the inverted pyramid as a symbol for an effective introduction. 

  • Start with a "hook” to grab the reader’s attention. 

  • Transition from the broad idea introduced by your hook to the specific purpose covered in your paper. 

  • End with your thesis statement. 

Ideas for a “hook:” 

  • Question: Start with a question that gets your audience to think about your topic. 

  • Anecdote: Everyone loves a good story. Make sure it's relevant to your topic. 

  • Definition: Start with a clear definition to build a foundation for your argument (be careful - this technique can be a bit dull and overused). 

  • Quote: Open with an interesting or surprising quote.

  • Misconception: Challenge your audience's assumptions. 

  • Contradiction or paradox: Reveal the complexity of an idea. 

  • Statistic or Fact: Surprise your audience with a curious or little-known fact.

  (from Azusa Pacific University’s Writing Center) 

When writing a conclusion:

  • Think about a pyramid as a symbol for an effective conclusion. 

  • Start by restating your thesis using different words. 

  • Summarize your argument.

  • Go broad by giving practical implications or broader application of your argument.  

  • Why is your argument important? What are the potential implications of adopting/not adopting your viewpoint? 

  • What theme have your introduced that you can revisit? Did you begin with an anecdote for which you can provide an ending? Can you emphasize a completion to the issues or ideas raised in the paper? 

  • Can you propose a solution to a problem or a question needing further investigation? 

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Write your introduction and conclusion after writing the body of your paper. 

Academic Skills, University of Melbourne, 2020.