Consultant’s Corner, Vol. 33 Issue 8


Writing Support Studio

Dear Writing Support Studio,

Once I have written the entirety of my essay, I find that the introduction and conclusion are relatively barren in comparison to the rest of it. When writing the introduction, I know the purpose of my paper and I have a thesis, but I never have more than a couple of sentences by the time I am finished. My completed conclusion never feels polished either.
Thank you,
A Contemplative Student

Dear Contemplative Student,

The perceived underdevelopment of one’s introduction and conclusion paragraphs is a predicament that a vast number of college writers will face. In order to fill these points in the essay with contributive information, writers must approach the paragraphs with an understanding of how to do so that has been built not only based on the essay’s prompt, but also on the axes of each paragraph’s respective purpose.
With that being said, the purpose of the introduction is to set up the relevance of the essay’s topic by providing content, which is background information that is related to the paper’s purpose and reaffirms its importance. It is the place where the importance of the paper’s thesis, or its main point, is led into through an account of the topic’s history (or its emergence) as being important. Readers will want to understand why the writer is arguing what they are arguing by the end of the first paragraph. A great starting place if you have no idea where to begin is to ask reporter’s questions. The following are examples: “What is my topic?” “Who is involved with my topic?” “Why should others care about my topic?” “When did the events that I will discuss take place?” “Where is the topic a matter of importance?” If you do include the answers to these questions as sentences in your paper, then also determine if they relate to your main point. The conclusion is a broad statement of importance, whereas the body paragraphs are the individual pieces of the pie. The goal is to restate the thesis (the final sentence of the introduction paragraph), but to do so in light of the information that has already been shared. The conclusion does not need to introduce new information, but it acts an illustration of how that information is affective in some way. It is the portion of the paper that details the summative effect of the topic on a region, a country, or even humanity as a whole. If it is scientific, then it observes the discoveries that have been made and reflects what those discoveries potentially mean. Questions that can be used to further expand the conclusion include: “Do all my points work together to produce some greater effect?” “How so?” “Did I paraphrase my essential points and briefly summarize why they are important in proving my main point?” Did I cite the importance of the issue both now and going forward?” “Does my last sentence act as a cliffhanger?” “If so, then how can I make it a clincher?”
The Writing Support Studio