As the opening of an essay, the introduction is your opportunity to make a good first impression, indicate why your essay is interesting or important, and to clearly set out what you will argue and how you will proceed to argue it. It is also your first opportunity to control the way the essay will be received. An introduction should:
The majority of introductions situate your argument or exploration within a larger discourse and provide a rationale for the ensuing argument. As such, your introduction provides an opportunity to limit the scope of your discussion by contextualizing a specific argument within a larger discourse; in other words, it informs your reader of where your essay fits in the larger context of the field, novel, study, or philosophy you are addressing. Simultaneously, it limits your field to a workable subject.
Beyond this basic format, however, each discipline will have specific expectations of introductions.
Not all papers have a formal conclusion, but most will have a paragraph or two that reinforces the argument.
In both the sciences and the humanities, the conclusion is the last section of an essay, where the argument and supporting points are reiterated and solidified for the reader, but most importantly where the wider implications of the argument are discussed. A conclusion should extend outward; it should:
Unlike the introduction, the conclusion should begin by reiterating what is most specific: your thesis and supporting points. It should move beyond this to discuss the thesis argument in a larger context.
The elements of a conclusion should follow this order:
Indicate what can be learned from the essay
Regardless of class, Upper Canada represented a new society beyond the ordinary comprehension of the British citizen. Thus when 655,747 people left the shores of Britain between 1831 and 1841, many had no idea what awaited them in the New World. Those strongly influenced by the sensible and liberal moralities of the Victorian era were shocked at the primitive Canadian society that greeted them off the ship. While some hurried back to Britain when life in Upper Canada proved hard, many families fronted by strong women such as Catharine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie stayed to take their chances in the liberating isolation of the backwoods. "Let [women] at once cast aside all vain oppositions and selfish regrets and hopefully look to their future as to a land of promise," Parr Traill proclaimed in The Canadian Settler's Guide. Indeed, Parr Traill and Moodie represent a larger movement of strong women who challenged Victorian gender ideologies and to lead to the establishment of a new society in Upper Canada.
This example discusses of the significance of the argument in a larger context, placing the lives of the two women examined in the paper in a greater historical context of the migration of a group of British people to Canada. It ends by mentioning the future, which suggests that the event discussed was part of a larger process and led to further outcomes, and indicates a sense of completion.
In order to make sure your conclusion is effective, be sure to watch out for:
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