If possible, write your entire paper before tackling the introduction or the conclusion; write a bad introduction if you need one to start, and then let go of it and write a new one. When you begin that final version, include the following items—the order you put them in doesn’t matter:
- full name of the author or authors you’re discussing
- title of the article or book
- year in parentheses
- a background statement
- your thesis or focus
- the social significance or academic significance of what you’re writing about
Social significance means who is suffering or who is benefiting from whatever it is you are writing about. Academic significance refers to how your subject is being studied or being defined. You can take two paragraphs to create an introduction in college-level writing.
An introduction is so important—your professor will take the strength of the introduction as a mark of how strong the rest of the paper is.
When you write a conclusion, instead of repeating what you wrote in the rest of the paper, here are several other things you could discuss:
- what future studies need to be done on this subject
- why your subject is important
- praise for something someone has done well