College of Arts and Sciences. History and American Studies. Readers will lose some—if not much—of what the paper says if the introduction does not prepare them for what is coming and tell them what to look for and how to evaluate it. History papers are not mystery novels. Readers with such a map seldom get confused or lost.
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These represent the most serious omission students regularly make. Every essay or paper designed to be persuasive needs a paragraph at the very outset introducing both the subject at hand and the thesis which is being advanced. It also needs a final paragraph summarizing what's been said and driving the author's argument home. These are not arbitrary requirements. Introductions and conclusions are crucial in persuasive writing.
Guide to Writing Introductions and Conclusions
Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery.
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