- Diagnose: Underline introductory words (excluding, say, "At first") in each sentence.
- Diagnose: Are those sentence beginnings logically and clearly related in that sequence?
- Revise: Be able to tell who/what your main characters are. Make them subjects (nouns!).
- Revise: Change nominalizations into verbs.
- Diagnose: Underline final words in each sentence.
- Diagnose: Where in the sentences are new/complex information?
- Revise: Place those words at the ends of sentences.
- Common ground. Begin with a generality, anecdote, or interesting quotation. That part is optional. However, you should always have the second part, context (what your readers already know about the topic).
- Disruption. The context is comfortable. Your idea, at least at first, should not be. Then state the problem: conditions (a state of affairs) + costs/benefits (what will happen if the problem is/is not solved?).
- Resolution. Your solution goes here. Sometimes you only hint at it in the introduction (in which case it has to go in the conclusion); in most cases, it should be stated simply and explicitly here.
- If this material is too complex for your taste, the authors recommend using chapters 3 and 4, at least for now.
- Introductions can be as much as 15-20% of a paper (1.5-2 pages out of 10).
- After the first part of the problem (conditions), you should be able to insert "So what?" and have the costs/benefits be a reasonable answer.
- Rule of thumb for common ground: "Imagine you are writing to another person who once took the same course but does not know what happened [e.g. a discussion] in your particular class."
- A familiar example of context-problem:
One sunny morning, Little Red Riding Hood was skipping happily through the forest on her way to Grandmother's house [stable context], when suddenly Hungry Wolf jumped out from behind a tree [condition of problem], frightening her very much [cost of problem].
- If you only hint at your thesis/argument/solution in your introduction, be sure to have a sentence there that roughly outlines your paper.