Hello, in this talk we’re going to be thinking about introductions and conclusions, how do we go about writing these things? What are they for? Let’s start with introductions,. the purpose of an introduction is to set your reader at ease and to let them know the direction that your argument’s going to be headed in, basically. By the end of the introduction they should know a little bit about the topic with a background just to. they can get their bearings, they should know the direction of your argument and be clear on how you’re interpreting the question, in other words they should be at ease with the topic and fully aware of where you’re going with your overall argument.. let’s break that down. Typically an introduction will open with a few lines of background, it’s always worth assuming when you write an essay that you’re writing it for a non specialist,. you should imagine a bright person with a good general knowledge but perhaps lacking subject knowledge in your particular area.
Then what you might do is you might start to define the parameters of the question and to explain or define any key terminology in the question,. let’s say for example a question’s being set and the question is "Civil wars are always more violent than revolutions. Discuss." In a sense the question is broadly comprehensible, you can see where it’s going and yet it should be fairly clear right from the off that there are problems with the question, too. One of the problems is, well, what’s the difference between a civil war and a revolution? And so, in order to answer the question, you’re going to need to have some very clear definitions for what these terms mean, what do you think is the difference? Is there a difference? And. start that question off – to make the question workable you’re going to have to be able to explain in the introduction, "Well, a civil war is this and a revolution is actually different, it’s this", if you perceive a difference.. that’s that’s a very important first step, otherwise the question is just not going to make any sense, or your answer to it is not going to make any sense.
Another thing you might need to do is to define the parameters of the question: let’s say this is a two-thousand-word essay, you can’t cover every civil war and every revolution taking place anywhere in the world any time ever.. it would be a good idea to flag up to your reader, "Okay I’m going to answer this question, with reference to the revolutions taking place in Western Europe between, let’s say, the 18th and 19th century", and that way your setting parameters for the question, making it clear where your zone of study is, you can’t be expected to do everything and. you’re showing the sort of timezone and geographical area in which you’re going to be handling the question, and that way the reader knows where you’re going, they can see the direction you’re headed in, it’s not going to come as a surprise when you set off on that route. Another crucial point to the introduction is to signpost the direction of your answer,. you might typically say, "To answer this question the following themes or following ideas will be considered." You don’t have to give your answer at this stage where your overall conclusion will be, but, it is worth signposting the key debates, the key themes that you’ll be touching on as you go through your debate and that way your reader can see when these things pop up in the main paragraphs, "oh yes I knew that was coming because I saw it in the introduction" and. by the end of the introduction they should be able to say, "yes I can see where this essay is headed, yes I can see how they’re answering the question, yes I feel comfortable with the background to this particular question, and yes I can see the main factors that are going to be addressed." I hope this helps, thank you very much.