3 Writing an introduction
In this section you will learn how to write a clear introduction. You will look at the purpose and structure of a good introduction.
As you have seen when looking at the bus stop conversation earlier, an introduction helps to give your text direction and introduce its content. The purpose of the introduction is therefore to provide readers with key information that will enable them to understand:
- what the essay will be about
- the main point (or claim) it will make
- how the main body will be organised.
This is essential information that attracts the readers’ attention, enables them to follow the remaining text easily, and helps them to see that the essay effectively answers the assignment question.
In the next activity you will see how this purpose is achieved by looking at the content and structure of Fred’s introduction.
Read Fred’s introduction and then answer the questions that follow. The numbers in brackets are the sentence numbers. Make your notes in the boxes before comparing your answers with mine.
 People consider their home their own private space which they are able to control and keep separate from any public spaces in which they live or work.  However, should their circumstances change, and they find themselves in need of care, this private area may be encroached or they may have to spend time in a public space.  This can be an uncomfortable experience whether care is delivered in public places such as hospitals or in residential and domestic environments.  The ability to determine the differences between public and private spaces is therefore essential for those who wish to be skilled and effective carers as it affects the quality of their work in all care contexts.  This essay will consider the differences between public and private spaces and how these can affect the behaviour of both carers and those receiving care in hospitals, residential and private homes.
1 Which sentence explains how the essay will be organised?
2 Which sentences say what the essay will be about?
Sentences 1, 2 and 3
3 Which sentence states the main claim of the essay?
Sentences 1–3 introduce the themes of the essay: the essay is about private and public spaces and the places where care is provided.
Sentence 4 is about the main point the writer will make. This sentence contains a rephrased version of the assignment question as well as Fred’s answer: carers’ understanding of the difference between private and public spaces will have an effect on the quality of the care they provide in each of the three care contexts. It is normal for this answer to be quite general at this stage as its content will be fully explained in the following paragraphs. Therefore a general statement, such as this, is sufficient.
Also note that the last sentence starts with the formal and impersonal expression, ‘This essay will’. This expression is normally used in academic essays and it is generally preferred to ‘I will’ or ‘We will’.