How To Write a Good Introduction for an Essay: Helpful Tips for Students

If you want to have a strong paper, you must write a good introduction for an essay. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write an introduction that will grab the reader’s attention.

You may have a strong essay, but if you want your reader to keep reading, you must have a good introduction. Even though your introduction paragraph should contain important background information, it also has to grab the reader’s attention. Writing an intro should cover the main points of your paper, but it is also one of the biggest challenges in essay writing.

Before you dive into the body paragraphs, what do you need to include in your essay introduction? Take a look at a few tips for writing a strong first paragraph below.

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The Purpose of Your Introduction

Before you put your thesis statement down at the top of your essay introduction, you need to think about the purpose of your opening paragraph. It is the start of your paper, and it needs to accomplish several tasks. They include:

  • Your first paragraph should explain the topics you will cover in your essay to the readers.
  • You should provide your readers with background information to appropriately place the essay in an appropriate context.
  • You should convince your reader that the essay is important.
  • You must grab the attention of your reader to convince them to keep reading.

As long as your introductory paragraph accomplishes these steps, it would help if you had a strong start to your paper.

The Basic Steps for Writing a Good Introduction for An Essay

You need to follow several steps to write a strong introduction for your essay. They include:

1. Determine the Thesis Statement of Your Essay

Good introduction for an essay: Determine the thesis statement of your essay
You need to decide what genre your essay falls into before you craft the rest of your introduction

First, you need to develop a thesis statement for your essay. A thesis statement is a strong closing sentence placed at the end of your introduction. It should state the main aim or point of your essay in a succinct and powerful way.

Consider the type of essay you are writing: are you writing an introduction for a research paper? Or are you writing an introduction for a persuasive essay? This will dictate the format of your thesis statement, and you need to decide what genre your essay falls into before you craft the rest of your introduction. 

2. Place the Background Information on Paper

After developing a strong thesis statement, write the background information for your essay. If the information is not going to be covered in your body paragraphs, but you think the information is still important for the essay’s context, it should be included in your introductory paragraph. You do not necessarily need to figure out how you will order the background information right now, but you need to figure out what you want to include. Once it is down on your paper, you can rearrange it later. 

3. Consider the Rest of Your Supporting Information 

You should place the rest of the supporting information and work that into your introduction. Your introduction is a way to introduce the information contained in the body of your essay, and the topic sentence helps you place the rest of the essay in context. You can figure out how the background information in your introductory paragraph will lead to your topic sentences below. You may even want to reorder your body paragraphs to make sense after your introductory paragraph.

You might also find these writing tips for students helpful.

4. Fine-Tune Your Thesis Statement

Now, with the rest of the information on the paper, it is time to go back to your thesis statement and fine-tune it. You may need to tweak the wording of your thesis statement slightly based on the rest of the information in your introductory paragraph. You probably don’t want to change your thesis statement too much, but you need to change a word here or there to make sense. 

5. Add a Hook to the Introduction

Next, you need to add a hook to your introduction. The hook is important because it will grab the reader’s attention and convince them to check out the rest of the paper. You do not always want to use a hook as your first sentence, but it does need to be somewhere in the introductory paragraph if you want the reader to keep going. There are plenty of ways you can grab the attention of your reader. You may want to use a quote, present a controversial opinion, or present an experience from your life. The idea is to target your reader’s emotions and explain that they should read the rest of your essay.

6. Edit and Proofread the Introduction

Finally, you need to edit and proofread the introduction. Just as with the rest of your essay, you want to present a professional finished product. There is never a second chance to make a first impression, so avoid grammatical, stylistic, and spelling errors. You may even want to have someone else read the introduction to ensure you do not overlook anything.

As long as you keep these key points in mind, it would help if you had a strong introductory paragraph for your essay. Even though it can be a bit of a challenge, it is something you will get better at with practice. 

Tips for Writing a Strong Introduction

Even though it can be a challenge to write a strong introduction, a few tips can make the process easier. They include:

1. Envision a Funnel

You may want to treat the introduction to your essay like a funnel. What this means is that you should start with a general idea. Then, get more specific as the introduction goes along. For example, you may want to start a research paper by covering your topic’s relevant academic landscape. Then, you can create more specific ideas that lead to your thesis statement, which should be relatively specific and close to your introductory paragraph. 

2. Use a Template or Formula

You may want to stick to a template or formula when trying to write your introduction. For example, you may want to use a hook statement as the very first sentence of your paragraph. Then, you can present three sentences of background information that fill up the majority of your introductory paragraph. Finally, you can put your thesis statement at the end. As you write different types of papers, you can craft different types of introductory paragraphs, but if you are having a hard time, consider sticking to this formula.

3. State Why the Topic Interests You

If you want your reader to keep reading, you need to show the reader that the topic is important. One of the easiest ways is to explain why the topic interests you. After all, if you are not excited about the topic, you will have difficulty convincing anyone else to be excited. Clearly state why the topic interests you. Why did you decide to write an essay on this topic? Why do you think other people need to be interested in your essay? If you can answer these questions, you will have a strong introduction.

4. Don’t Go On Too Long

Finally, try not to go on too long. One of the most common mistakes people make when writing an introduction is to include all of the most important information in the very beginning. Even though you want to show your reader that the topic is important, you don’t want to show all your cards at the top. Remember that you will have an entire essay to follow the introductory paragraph. Don’t let the introduction go on too long, as you risk boring the reader. Then, they may not read the rest of the paper.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can create a strong introduction for any paper. 

Examples of Strong Introductions

Here are a few examples of introductions:

An Essay on Heart Research

Here is an example introduction from a news article on heart research, which talks about heart attacks:

“Following a heart attack, the human body is incapable of repairing lost tissue due to the heart’s inability to generate new muscle. However, treatment with heart progenitor cells could result in the formation of functional heart cells at injured sites. This new therapeutic approach is introduced by an international team in Nature Cell Biology. The aim is to start clinical studies within the next two years.”

An Essay on Climate Change

Here is a powerful essay on climate change that starts with a quote, a tactic you can use in your own writing:

“The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning,” declared UN Secretary-General António Guterres after the recent issuance at the UN of the third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The report “is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world,” he said.

For more help writing your next essay, check out our guide on how to write a lot of words (when you don’t feel like it).


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.