Every essay or assignment you write must begin with an introduction. It might be helpful to think of the introduction as an inverted pyramid. In such a pyramid, you begin by presenting a broad introduction to the topic and end by making a more focused point about that topic in your thesis statement. The introduction has three essential parts, each of which serves a particular purpose.
- The first part is the “attention-grabber.” You need to interest your reader in your topic so that they will want to continue reading. You also want to do that in a way that is fresh and original. For example, although it may be tempting to begin your essay with a dictionary definition, this technique is stale because it has been widely overused. Instead, you might try one of the following techniques:
- Offer a surprising statistic that conveys something about the problem to be addressed in the paper.
- Perhaps you can find an interesting quote that nicely sums up your argument.
- Use rhetorical questions that place your readers in a different situation in order to get them thinking about your topic in a new way.
- If you have a personal connection to the topic, you might use an anecdote or story to get your readers emotionally involved.
- For example, if you were writing a paper about drunk drivers, you might begin with a compelling story about someone whose life was forever altered by a drunk driver: “At eighteen, Michelle had a lifetime of promise in front of her. Attending college on a track scholarship, she was earning good grades and making lots of friends. Then one night her life was forever altered…”
- From this attention grabbing opener, you would need to move to the next part of the introduction, in which you offer some relevant background on the specific purpose of the essay. This section helps the reader see why you are focusing on this topic and makes the transition to the main point of your paper. For this reason, this is sometimes called the “transitional” part of the introduction.
- In the example above, the anecdote about Michelle might capture the reader’s attention, but the essay is not really about Michelle. The attention grabber might get the reader thinking about how drunk driving can destroy people’s lives, but it doesn’t introduce the topic of the need for stricter drunk driving penalties (or whatever the real focus of the paper might be).
- Therefore, you need to bridge the gap between your attention-grabber and your thesis with some transitional discussion. In this part of your introduction, you narrow your focus of the topic and explain why the attention-grabber is relevant to the specific area you will be discussing. You should introduce your specific topic and provide any necessary background information that the reader would need in order to understand the problem that you are presenting in the paper. You can also define any key terms the reader might not know.
- Continuing with the example above, we might move from the narrative about Michelle to a short discussion of the scope of the problem of drunk drivers. We might say, for example: “Michelle’s story is not isolated. Each year XX (number) of lives are lost due to drunk-driving accidents.” You could follow this with a short discussion of how serious the problem is and why the reader should care about this problem. This effectively moves the reader from the story about Michelle to your real topic, which might be the need for stricter penalties for drinking and driving.
- Finally, the introduction must conclude with a clear statement of the overall point you want to make in the paper. This is called your “thesis statement.” It is the narrowest part of your inverted pyramid, and it states exactly what your essay will be arguing.
- In this scenario, your thesis would be the point you are trying to make about drunk driving. You might be arguing for better enforcement of existing laws, enactment of stricter penalties, or funding for education about drinking and driving. Whatever the case, your thesis would clearly state the main point your paper is trying to make. Here’s an example: “Drunk driving laws need to include stricter penalties for those convicted of drinking under the influence of alcohol.” Your essay would then go on to support this thesis with the reasons why stricter penalties are needed.
- In addition to your thesis, your introduction can often include a “road map” that explains how you will defend your thesis. This gives the reader a general sense of how you will organize the different points that follow throughout the essay. Sometimes the “map” is incorporated right into the thesis statement, and sometimes it is a separate sentence. Below is an example of a thesis with a “map.”
- “Because drunk driving can result in unnecessary and premature deaths, permanent injury for survivors, and billions of dollars spent on medical expenses, drunk drivers should face stricter penalties for driving under the influence.” The underlined words here are the “map” that show your reader the main points of support you will present in the essay. They also serve to set up the paper’s arrangement because they tell the order in which you will present these topics.
- A final note: In constructing an introduction, make sure the introduction clearly reflects the goal or purpose of the assignment and that the thesis presents not only the topic to be discussed but also states a clear position about that topic that you will support and develop throughout the paper. In shorter papers, the introduction is usually only one or two paragraphs, but it can be several paragraphs in a longer paper.
For Longer Papers
Although for short essays the introduction is usually just one paragraph, longer argument or research papers may require a more substantial introduction. The first paragraph might consist of just the attention grabber and some narrative about the problem. Then you might have one or more paragraphs that provide background on the main topics of the paper and present the overall argument, concluding with your thesis statement.
Below is a sample of an introduction that is less effective because it doesn’t apply the principles discussed above.
An Ineffective Introduction
Everyone uses math during their entire lives. Some people use math on the job as adults, and others used math when they were kids. The topic I have chosen to write about for this paper is how I use math in my life both as a child and as an adult. I use math to balance my checkbook and to budget my monthly expenses as an adult. When I was a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand. I will be talking more about these things in my paper.
In the introduction above, the opening line does not serve to grab the reader’s attention. Instead, it is a statement of an obvious and mundane fact. The second sentence is also not very specific. A more effective attention grabber may point out a specific, and perhaps surprising, instance when adults use math in their daily lives, in order to show the reader why this is such as important topic to consider.
Next the writer “announces” her topic by stating, “The topic I have chosen to write about…” Although it is necessary to introduce your specific topic, you want to avoid making generic announcements that reference your assignment. This technique is not as sophisticated and may distract the reader from your larger purpose for writing the essay. Instead, you might try to make the reader see why this is such an important topic to discuss.
Finally, this sample introduction is lacking a clear thesis statement. The writer concludes with a vague statement: “I will be talking more about these things in my paper.” This kind of statement may be referred to as a “purpose statement,” in which the writer states the topics that will be discussed. However, it is not yet working as a thesis statement because it fails to make an argument or claim about those topics. A thesis statement for this essay would clearly tell the reader what “things” you will be discussing and what point you will make about them.
Now let’s look at how the above principles can be incorporated more effectively into an introduction.
A More Effective Introduction
“A penny saved is a penny earned,” the well-known quote by Ben Franklin, is an expression I have never quite understood, because to me it seems that any penny—whether saved or spent—is still earned no matter what is done with it. My earliest memories of earning and spending money are when I was ten years old when I would sell Dixie cups of too-sweet lemonade and bags of salty popcorn to the neighborhood kids. From that early age, I learned the importance of money management and the math skills involved. I learned that there were four quarters in a dollar, and if I bought a non-food item—like a handful of balloons—that I was going to need to come up with six cents for every dollar I spent. I also knew that Kool-Aid packets were 25 cents each or that I could save money and get five of them for a dollar. Today, however, money management involves knowing more than which combinations of 10-cent, five-cent, and one-penny candies I can get for a dollar. Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month.
- In the first line the writer uses a well-known quotation to introduce her topic.
- The writer follows this “attention-grabber” with specific examples of earning and spending money. Compare how the specific details of the second example paint a better picture for the reader about what the writer learned about money as a child, rather than this general statement: “As a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand.” In the first introduction, this statement leaves the reader to guess how the writer used math, but in the second introduction we can actually see what the child did and what she learned.
- Notice, too, how the reader makes the transition from the lessons of childhood to the real focus of her paper in this sentence: “Today, however, money management involves knowing….”
- This transition sentence effectively connects the opening narrative to the main point of the essay, her thesis: “Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month." This thesis also maps out for the reader the main points (underlined here) that will be discussed in the essay.
Research Paper on Drunk Driving
How to start a research paper on drunk driving
A research paper is a type of academic writing that requires a detailed review of the literature to present relevant data and theories that justify the argument stated in the research question. Students are required to search for information about the assigned topic to present a reasonable argument. The argument needs to be supported by evidence in an organized report. A research paper on drunk driving requires an in-depth research for facts and statistics about the root cause of drunk driving and those who are affected by this problem. Before writing the paper, students need to be familiar with research paper structure and the content requirements.
Tips on how to start
When it comes to writing about drunk driving, it is important to develop a quality piece of work. When writing a research paper on drunk driving, you need to choose what to focus on. Students should think of the intended audience before deciding on what to write. If the writer wants to address parents or teenagers, he/she will have to use persuasive language that reveals the real situation and highlights those who can be affected the most. It is important to incorporate persuasive elements in the essay to show the reader the importance of the topic.
A good research paper on drunk driving can begin with facts and quotation to attract the readers’ attention on the research content. The most important thing when writing a paper on drunk driving is to motivate the reader, and inspire them to continue reading; this means being innovative by referring to various sources. To capture readers’ attention, the writer needs to carry out an in-depth research and find out relevant information that will help in arguing out his points.
Before writing, don’t miss the crucial step which is to develop an outline; it will help you keep your thoughts in an organized way.
Example of an outline
- Thesis: Stating why people should not drive under the influence of alcohol
- Body paragraphs
a) Statistics on car accidents related to drunk driving.
b) Perception of why drunk driving among young people is a common occurrence.
c) Example of those who were affected by drunk driving, celebrities.
d) How drunk driving causes fatal accidents.
e) Justify why drunk driving has a negative impact on many people.
f) Why we should not drink and drive.
g) Educating others.
a) Reviewing why we should not drink and drive
b) The importance of educating people on dangers of drinking and driving
Example of a thesis
It is a good idea to use statistics to prove why many car accidents are so common as a result of drunk driving. A good thesis statement needs to highlight the problem and briefly to inform the reader what the research intends to achieve.
Here is a possible example. “Most of the time, when people are under the influence of alcohol, they tend to think they are indomitable. Such notions can result in fatal consequences, hence should be avoided.”
Example of an introduction
A good research paper introduction needs to announce the main issue of discussion; an introduction needs to provide context and rationale for a research including research questions and research hypothesis. A well-written introduction needs to set the tone for a research paper using a thesis statement.
“Drunk driving causes one of the serious problem affecting many people today, death from car accidents under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving does not only affect the victim, but it also affects the family of the victim and the nation at large, making it one of the serious issues that need to be reviewed to prevent more deaths.”
How to write body paragraphs for a research paper on drunk driving: Tips on body writing
Body paragraphs of a research paper need to expand the thesis by providing supportive evidence to prove the hypothesis. The body paragraphs need to integrate statistics, examples, and figures to prove the research hypothesis. The first body paragraph should elaborate the main idea supporting the claim and expanding the discussion. The second body paragraph continues to justify the hypothesis.The body also needs to present logic explanations to convince the reader. Each body paragraph has to contain separate points, use each paragraph for each point followed by evidence to support the hypothesis.
Example of the first body paragraph
Drunk driving has become a common occurrence among the young people; drunk driving mostly occurs after attending parties with friends or when drinking on special occasions. Most of the teenage accidents are related to alcohol; alcohol causes more than 60% of all teenage car accidents. Teenagers who drink while driving put their lives at risk while driving under the influence of alcohol. They also put others at risks affecting many families. The national highway traffic safety administration report indicates that 10,839 people are affected annually by car accidents that are alcohol-related.
Example of the second body paragraph
Drunk driving results to negative and devastating effects such as deaths of being physically impaired for the rest of their lives. Many car accidents affect the drive, passengers in the car and also pedestrians walking along the road. The death toll of car accidents has risen to 50%. Those who drive under the influence of alcohol do not only risk their lives but also risk their future. When one is paralyzed or kill someone while drinking, all his dreams and hopes could be taken away, especially when convicted of killing an innocent person. Thus, drunk driving causes devastating effects.
Example of the third body paragraph
It is important to review some of the best strategies to minimize some of the negative effects of drunk driving. We need to educate people about these effects and severe consequences of drinking while driving. Through education, many people will understand the danger involved when drinking while driving. It is unusually advisable to have a designated driver while going to parties for everyone to be safe.
How to finish a research paper on drunk driving
The conclusion should search summary of the research and review the key points highlighted in the research. The conclusion needs to not only rephrase the content presented during the introduction but also connect the findings to a broader idea.
Tips on conclusion writing
A good research conclusion should convince the reader about the research findings. The conclusion reviews the main issues discussed in the body paragraphs and provides a solution for the research problem. A research conclusion needs to present recommendations based on the final research findings and reveal whether there is a need for further research in a specific area, where limitations were noted during the research. For example, when concluding the research paper on drunk driving, you need to review what the thesis statement stated and justified whether the research proved if the hypothesis was correct.
Example of a conclusion
Drunk driving should be stopped because it puts many people at risk, including the driver, passengers, and innocent people. Based on the alarming statistics, it is evident that drunk driving needs a permanent solution which includes strict jail terms for those involved in drinking while driving. Further research needs to be conducted to review the role of family members in promoting good morals among children and its impact on early upbringing.
Tips on research paper revision
After compiling all the relevant information about drunk driving and completing the first draft, it is important to review the draft by going through the paper to ensure that it is professionally written. Editing is an important step in writing. Editing entails going through the whole paper p to check for important detail like spelling a sentence structure, logic explanations and the relevance of the examples. A good research paper includes logic paragraphs expanding the research findings that justify the hypothesis. Editing requires adequate time to rearrange sentences based on the standard guidelines.
When editing, the author should check for transitional words to ensure that the sentences make sense and connect with other paragraphs. When reviewing the research paper, you need to ensure that the paper includes important details like statistical data and any theory that supports the research needs; it has to come from credible sources and has to be cited. The research paper should be arranged chronologically to enable readers to follow the discussion. All in all, revising the paper before submitting the final draft is important because students tend to miss out small details that would make the paper look unprofessional.