How to Begin your Academic Essay
The purpose of academic writing is to express your idea and support it with evidences. Even the structure of your essay must serve this purpose, and the beginning of the essay is one of the most important parts. It must introduce your topic and focus your readers on key points of your paper. It must also give a hint on how you are going to explore a certain issue.
Introduce your Essay
First of all, you have to introduce your topic. But a topic is related to the entire paper, so if you want to make your readers understand the purpose of your essay, you have to get clear how you’re going to work on this topic. Here you need to point out examples of your arguments. Your readers must be able to get a general context of the essay. For example, if you write an essay about the Second Amendment, you can use certain historical sources or legal publications. You can mention some mass shooting or other incidents that raised questions about gun control. Anyway, your goal is to specify what exactly you will talk about, so this is a stage where you can narrow your topic, which is mostly important for too broad issues. Narrowing your topic is the next necessary step of your introduction. You focus your readers on particular features of your subject, giving them a certain context to work with. This simplifies your task and also grabs attention, so your readers want to consider such an issue with you and get clear, what exactly you are talking about.
Focus Your Essay
Introducing your essay, try to recall how you started working on this subject. Following the natural line of thoughts, you have to specify the key issue of your essay. Tell which question you consider the most important and why. The nice way to do it is to ask a question, so you could give a detailed answer then. Another approach is writing a thesis statement. You can also give the answer immediately after the question, giving a suggestion about the content of your essay. If you have a controversial topic, your question may be followed by different arguments that represent key points on this question.
Obviously, the beginning of your essay shouldn’t be too long. We are talking just about hints that help readers understand your paper and consider certain issue with you. The body of the essay is a better place for detailed analysis and extended answers to the questions raised at the beginning. We also suggest you to make a correct structure that could allow you to develop your idea step-by-step. Write your arguments, sorting them by priority, so that the whole idea of your essay would be clear at the conclusion section.
Orient Your Readers
You have to locate your readers in the discussion, giving them all necessary information. It’s important to orient your readers through your entire essay, but at the beginning, it’s the most important thing. You need to make sure that your readers understand all specific terms and facts. You can easily find necessary phrases just by answering basic questions about your arguments and statements, such as “why?”, “when?”, “how?” and so on. Thus you provide your readers with a quick guide to your paper. Moreover, if the source of your statement is really short (just like with the Second Amendment), you can write the entire citation. If you use a well-known quote, you can just write a key phrase from it, or the beginning of it. Anyway, we suggest you to pay special attention to orienting your readers, so it’s better to write a short summary of your claims and arguments.
The Length of the Beginning
The beginning of the essay must be proportional to the other parts. It also depends on the complexity of your topic and used terms. Thus, if you write a five-paragraph essay, we suggest you to make a classic structure with one paragraph of the introduction. Obviously, if your essay is twenty pages long, an introduction would take up to five pages.
You need to write your introduction, following a logical order. You have to focus readers at the end, to create a smooth logical transition to the main part, which is a body of the essay. Keep your topic and context related to each other, but it doesn’t mean that you must always introduce the topic first. Your structure is flexible and you can change it depending on the purpose and style of your essay.