A properly written introduction for an argumentative paper can make a difference between a successful essay and an average one. This opening statement, if written properly, acts pretty much like a court statement — from the very first lines of this statement, you get a chance to hook your audience and persuade them in your point of view. To do so, you are to present some background info, highlight your subject’s importance, and clearly express your opinion — all in one, relatively short, paragraph. While the theory sounds simple, the practice is often the opposite of that. So, are there any tips on how to nail an introduction for an argumentative paper? Some of the following suggestions might, in fact, prove helpful.
The purpose of any introductory part is to hook your audience in. To put it simply, you will have to make your intro interesting for the reader. The best way to achieve this very effect is to start with an interesting statistics or a quote. Alternatively, you can appeal to emotion (to a certain degree — do not forget that this is an academic paper we are writing). For example, if your goal is to convince readers of the dangers of smoking, you could lead with the fact that cigarettes kill thousands of people each year — more than HIV and tuberculosis combined. An approach like this kills two birds with one stone — it shakes readers up, making them interested in your story; and, it introduces your topic, as well as your personal perspective on it.
Background information should not be too detailed, but it should give readers enough insight into your subject. While writing an argumentative essay for high school or college, it is easy to forget this part because your only reader will probably be your professor, who, in turn, knows more about the subject than you do. Still, it would be unwise to skip the background part because it will help you smoothly introduce the topic, leading up to your thesis statement. As a rule, background information includes a quick overview of the subject. In some cases, you can quickly describe what other people have already said or written about this issue. In most others, a quick historic brief will do just fine.
Now that you hooked the reader, introduced the topic and given enough background for the reader to understand what you will be discussing, it’s time to state your thesis. You can say that this is the most crucial part of your introduction because all of your main body arguments will either support or refute this statement. Simply put, a thesis is a single sentence that sums up the main point you are trying to make in your argumentative essay. Since this is an argumentative paper we are talking about, the statement should be compelling and arguable. A proven fact cannot act as a thesis. Ideally, you are to think that the reader disagrees with your position on the subject.
First of all, you are to avoid personal constructions (not only in your introduction but throughout your whole paper). Even though you are supposed to present your position on a particular subject, you should not write something like “I will prove that…” Use formal language, acceptable for academic writing. Next, an intro cannot be too long — it briefly presents the topics and leaves all supporting evidence for the body part. Finally — and most importantly — an introduction is not the place for your results. Even though your goal is to prove your thesis statement valid, you cannot rush to conclusions and state exactly how you plan to achieve this purpose.