There is a good reason why I have left the
introduction till last. Although you
should always begin at the beginning and sketch out an introduction, issues wheel or bubble diagram before you embark on the main body of the text, it
is even more important to return to that sketchy introduction after you have finished the essay so as
to adjust the introduction to fit the finished product. This is because thought
has a way of changing with time: what you started out to do is not always what
you end up with.
If a topic is a conceptual space with boundaries,
then the introduction is sort of like a map of the topic. A map tells you where
you are, where you want to go and how you are proposing to get there.
Actually an introduction is a little bit more than a
map; it must also cover the reason for getting the map out in the first place.
Put in a more straightforward way: Introductions
explicitly ask and give answers to the following questions:
is the general subject or topic?
is your focus within that topic?
is the problem your are trying to address with reference to this topic?
are you interested in this problem?
does the problem break up into its constituent elements? (the issue wheel)
is your thesis?
are you going to approach the subject? or: What is your strategy for proving
does that determine the sequence of your argument.
That tells us where we are, where we are going to
go, why we are going there, what we are using to get there and it outlines the
route we are taking.