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The introduction and conclusion are very important parts of any writing you do as they are they are the first and last impressions your reader will have of your work.  On this page, you can find a few tips along with samples to help you start and end your paper more effectively.
The introduction is one of the most important parts of your writing project as it should attract your readers' attention while giving them an expectation of of what you plan to do in your writing.  If you are having difficulty writing a good introduction, do not feel compelled to do it before you write the paper.  Many writers work on the introduction after the rest of the paper, because they have a better idea how to open their work.  However, before beginning, you should always have some kind of thesis statement to guide your writing.  Here are some tips for writing a good introduction:
  1. Think about your paper topic or, if you have a question, reread it.  Your paper will be about responding to a question or developing a specific aspect of a topic in detail.  Make sure you your focus is clear in the introduction.
  2. Grab the reader's attention in the first few lines.  What can you say to make the reader interested in your writing?  Should you situate your topic in a large context, helping your reader connect with it?  Should you use a quote from another source?  Should you relate an interesting anecdote?  Remember, the type of opening will depend on the type of project you're undertaking.
  3. Make it clear what the paper is about in the first paragraph.  Typically, the thesis statement is one of the last sentences in the paragraph and tells the reader why you are writing.
  4. Don't give too much detail in the introduction.  Inexperienced writers often include too much detail in the introduction.  Save this information for the body so you have something interesting to talk about.
Here is an introduction to an exam essay:

A good conclusion is also important as it is the lasting memory your reader will take away from your paper and will also help you ensure that your reader sees the significance of the point(s) you make.  In the conclusion, you want to bring together the ideas that you've been discussing in the paper and help the reader see why reading your paper was worthwhile.

Tips for writing a good conclusion:
  1. Review briefly what you discussed in the paper but don't overdo it.
  2. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.  You want to take your idea forward a bit, but do not introduce any new ideas or information that will overly surprise or cause problems for the reader.
  3. Here are a few different tactics you can use to write an effective conclusion: return to the themes you raised in the introduction, provide a course of action or a future-looking statement, point to the broader implications of your work.

Here is a sample conclusion:

This page was created by Todd Ruecker in July 2010.


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