What Should The Essay Introduction Contain?

The whole ‘story’ (essay) is précised, in the Introduction. The reader will decide whether or not to read the rest of the essay, report, journal or any piece of academic writing on the basis of reading the Introduction.

A tutor or examiner will use the Introduction as a bench mark to your work, it will influence their expectations of your essay.

An introduction should contain:

  1. Background information that is applicable to the essay’s content.
  2. It should include:

    • How the essay fits into the topic, its importance, and the bigger picture.
    • Guide the reader into the direction to following,
    • How you gathered your information and your conclusion based in this information.
    • Be brief, be relevant.
    • If the essay is 1500 - 2000 words then two sentences are sufficient. (essentially, (and this is where you really need to be mathematically inclined) the introduction should be no less than 1/12 and no longer than 1/10 of the essay. An essay of 2000 words should have an introduction of 160 - 200 words)
  3. An Essay Map.
    • Essentially the introduction is a map it should illustrate:
    • The areas covered by the essay.
    • The range of the issues or topics.
    • Essentially, the map needs to cover the specifics.
  4. A thesis statement
    • This can account for one of the sentences. It puts the spotlight on the issues and your stance on the issues. Generally, this statement is at the end of the introduction, but sometimes is at the beginning BUT never in the middle.
  5. Your point of view.
    • briefly state how your view point fits into the essay or how you came to your conclusions.

Added extra interest in your Introduction:

  • Give an example to illustrate a point.
  • Begin with a relevant quotation or begin with a question that is answered in the essay.
  • Check grammar and punctuation.
  • Do not give any surprises in your Introduction, those are for fiction not academic work.

So this is a little confusing as this makes an Introduction sound much like an Abstract as this is also the first thing that a reader sees.


  • Both are found at the beginning of a piece of written work.
  • Both prepare the reader for the work that follows.


  • An abstract states the purpose of the paper and also is at the beginning of academic work. Its purpose is to save the reader time when searching through several research documents that are about 20 pages each to find a specific paper. the Abstract is then followed by the Introduction.
  • An introduction should draw in the readers interest.

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