If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States).
And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper.
The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper.
Imagine that you are assigned the following question: Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America.
Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery?
A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression.
One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass.Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis.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.Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education.If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe.