Introductions provide the reader with an overview of what will occur in the body of the essay. To explain why they exist, it is again worth comparing essays with novels. Novels are written to entertain, and one of the main ways they do this is by creating mysteries. Essays are not written to entertain, but to demonstrate knowledge, explore complex problems and, at higher levels, create knowledge. Given this, it makes sense to avoid mystery and provide an overview of the essay at the outset. Or, in the parlance of our times, to start an essay with the ‘spoiler’.However, there is no such thing as a ‘right’ introduction. Students and academics in different disciplines achieve success using different structures, and different questions sometimes require different approaches. This chapter will provide advice about how to construct a comprehensive introduction, but because the information will be presented in a modular fashion, you will be able to adapt the advice to suit your needs.
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