When it comes to writing a long graduate project such as a history dissertation, it’s imperative to catch the reader’s attention as early as possible. Your introduction should serve this purpose as well as provide the reader with the information he needs to know what your history dissertation will be about. In terms of catching his attention, here’s how you can go about accomplishing this:
Start with a captivating statement such as a question or a quote to immediately force your reader to actively consider what you will be discussing. After writing a strong hook you should immediately go into providing relevant background information. Think of this as though you were looking at the night sky through a telescope. The first glimpse will be something broad, pointing at an expanse of thousands of stars. Next, you narrow your focus to a smaller portion of the same sky, to a few hundred stars for instance. The last view should be focused, perhaps singling out a planet or star. Use this method to draw your reader into your specific topic.
Good writing is straightforward and direct. When you revise and edit your work you should look towards simplifying the language as best as possible. Sentence variety is an important tool for keeping your writing lively. However, if you don’t have full command of English you may commit grammar errors that will make your work difficult to read and understand. If you can be as effective using simple language and sentence structures then stick with what you know.
A common technique to writing a great introduction is waiting until after the rest of the dissertation has been written before going back to develop a beginning. Since you know the outcome of your research you shouldn’t put a statement at the start that you already know you couldn’t deliver. While this seems like a good way of grabbing the reader’s attention, you might actually detract from the overall quality of the work.
Finally, be sure to end the introduction with a clear and concise thesis statement or hypothesis describing exactly what it is you are arguing or attempting to prove. Just because this is a longer assignment doesn’t mean you have to be overly complicated with your writing. A simple sentence structure – subject-verb – is more effective than a complex sentence structure. Take the direct approach.
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