Introductions in Academic Writing

A good introduction in academic work can make a big difference to the perceived quality of the whole article. Introductions act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the world of your thoughts and analyses and the best introductions. like all writing, need crafting and refining. Luckily some rules and guidelines can help. 

A good way to structure your introduction is by using a funnel technique. This means that you start broadly, trying to hook the reader in and gain the reader’s attention. Then the introduction covers a range of issues and with a bit more depth than the first sentences but still, only in passing. The final part (a sentence or two at maximum, finally narrows the focus, identifying what this piece of writing is focussing on. 

Part 1: General/Broad Statements

The introduction begins with a general overview of the topic, providing context and background information. This phase aims to capture the reader's interest and establish the broader significance of the subject matter. For instance, it may include general statistics, historical background, or a brief overview of the current state of knowledge in the field.

Phase 2: Exploring/Narrowing

As the introduction progresses, it should gradually narrow down the focus to the specific area of interest. This phase involves introducing key concepts, defining terms, and highlighting the scope of the study. It serves to transition from the general context to a more specific and targeted discussion.

Phase 3: Specific

In the final phase, the introduction culminates in a clear and focused statement of the purpose, objectives, and/or research questions. This section sets the stage for the rest of the paper by clearly outlining what the reader can expect to encounter in the subsequent sections.

By adhering to this three-phase upturned triangle structure, an introduction in academic writing can effectively engage the reader while providing a comprehensive overview of the topic at hand.


Example Introduction LYON

Examples of potential text

Sample text for Part 1 of the Introduction: Broad

Sample text for Part 2 of the Introduction: Narrowing


Sample text for Part 3 of the Introduction: Outline the scope of this work

What to avoid in an Introduction


Should I have citations/references in the Introduction?

Further Guidance and Resources