Moving from Prewriting to Essay Writing the Introduction: Introductions are often the most frustrating part of a paper for students because many students are unsure of how to begin, what to say first. The following format allows students a useful template that often aids greatly with this problem. Three-Part Introduction: Hook The first part of our three-part introduction consists of what is called a hook. A hook is something that gets the reader’s attention and draws them into the essay. A hooks can take the form of a startling fact or provocative question, but can also take the form of an interesting story or description. Note that the Hook cannot be something that’s just random. It needs to relate to the topic at hand. Three-Part Introduction: Background The second part of the three part introduction is called background. This section of the introduction provides the reader with information about the issue at hand. When an essay is written in response to an article, as our assignment is, students should Paraphrase the author’s idea in at least two sentences of THEIR OWN WORDS. Be sure to include signal phrases to credit the ideas taken from the author. Three-Part Introduction: Thesis Write your thesis as a single declarative sentence that makes your claim (what you’re trying to persuade the reader of) clear. Example Introduction: The following is an example student introduction from a paper on speech codes on college campuses: Imagine a world where you are limited by law on everything you had to say because the government didn’t want anyone to be offended. It sounds like it could make for an interesting novel; however, this type of censorship is occurring on campuses all across America in the form of speech codes. In their article “Speech Codes: Alive and well at Colleges,” Harvey Silverglate and Greg Lukianoff argue against the imposition of speech codes on college campuses. Although these speech codes were intended to combat harassment and racism on college campuses, Silverglate and Lukianoff argue that these speech codes infringe on students’ First Amendment Rights and cause more harm than good. Speech codes on public college campuses should be eliminated. Hook=Green Background=Blue Thesis=Red Body Paragraphs: Most body paragraphs for our essay will follow the following format: Topic sentence Evidence Commentary Essentially, the topic sentence will contain one of the reasons that we’ve come up with to support our thesis. The evidence will consist of facts, examples, quotations, paraphrases, or summaries that support the topic sentence. The commentary will explain in your own words how the evidence you’ve presented supports your topic sentence and ultimately your thesis. Example Body Paragraph: This is the body paragraph from a student essay on gender roles. One Reason that today’s women should adopt more of the qualities traditionally associated with men is that too many women today are being sexually harassed and are not taking a firm enough stand against the men harassing them. Ehrenreich, for example, was sexually harassed by a professor at a conference: “Only minutes into the conversation—held in all too adjacent chairs—it emerged that he was interested in something more substantial than a meeting of the minds” (12). It was clear that the professor was sexually interested in Ehrenreich and that Ehrenreich was not interested in the professor. Still, Ehrenreich states that she had to put up with his unwanted advances for twenty minutes before finally leaving (13). By adopting a more assertive attitude that is more traditionally associated with men, torturous incidents like this could be prevented from dragging on and may be prevented from happening again with a simple call to the police or hotel security. Topic sentence=Green Evidence=Blue Commentary=Orange Using the Words and Ideas of Others as Evidence: As the body paragraph shows, writers often use ideas and quotations taken from others as a form of evidence. However, when writers do this they need to make sure that they avoid plagiarism by correctly crediting the sources they use. There are two main ways to correctly introduce sources into your paper: Direct quotations Paraphrase Using Quotations: Quotations are the author’s words exactly. Therefore, if you use a direct quotation, you must make sure that you copy the words of the author exactly as they appear in the source and put quotation marks around them. You must also introduce them with a signal phrase. You should always introduce the author fully the first time, then refer to him or her only by last name after that. Paraphrasing: When you paraphrase, you must put the author’s ideas in your own words. Paraphrases are usually shorter than the original source and take a slightly broader stance. Do not include your own opinion in the actual paraphrase. Remember, you are incorporating the author’s words to support your opinion. Paraphrases are cited and introduced just like quotes. According to bell hooks, loving parents are essential to our culture, but they must reconsider aligning discipline with punishment. Conclusions: Here are some good techniques for writing conclusions: Summarize main ideas Highlight the most important issue Ask a rhetorical question that will get readers thinking Predict the future Offer a solution to a problem Call readers to action Conclusions: Never introduce a new supporting idea. The main supporting ideas of your essay should be in the body paragraphs. The conclusion is where you finish the essay and leave your readers with a sense of fulfillment and closure.