How to introduce the essay.. Watch

rotor
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Heya
I do AS level history and my teacher often says that I introduce my essays like a "story" and I have no idea how to introduce an essay!
If possible could you give me some tips on how to introduce essays please.

Thanks!
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tigereye
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For history essays I was told to use the introduction to analyse the question and then answer the question giving the main points that the body of the essay will focus on as reasons to support/not support this
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Trotskyite
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Yup, I always like to begin with some tentative definitions and then - like tigereye - outline the main themes of the essay.
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FadeToBlackout
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Try something that will grab the reader's attention from the first word they read, like a bold statement that answers the question directly, a gobbet, quote, anecdote, or vignette to typify the period, or just something unconventional.
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The West Wing
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(Original post by FadeToBlackout)
Try something that will grab the reader's attention from the first word they read, like a bold statement that answers the question directly, a gobbet, quote, anecdote, or vignette to typify the period, or just something unconventional.
At A level you must use a very formulaic approach to jump the right hoop. Unconventionality like FadeToBlackOut suggested shows clearly that he's too old to give advice to A level students :p:

We've had drilled into us that the introduction must be:

1 sentence background
1 sentence define key terms
1 sentence outlining the main focus of each paragraph.

For an essay "To what extent was Queen Elizabeth I succesful in securing her legacy"

"Queen Elizabeth I was monarch between 1559-1603, a long reign which symbolised a period when England went through fundamental change, socially, economicaly, politically and culturally. To assess her legacy it is necessary to consider how successful people consider her in a number of fields. She can be considered to be successful in controlling her Parliaments, in fending of internal threats and in securing England's economic status. She can be considered less successful in the latter period of her reign, in her failure to secure her legacy and the exacebation of social degeneration."

- Would be an example of what is required at A level to hit the right assessment objectives.
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FadeToBlackout
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Well, you can get from A to B in a Nissan Micra, or in a Ferrari Testarossa... both will get you there, it's just the Ferrari has more style

I'm not saying that you should disregard the assessment objectives, or anything. BUT always think of the examiner who has to read your paper. If the first sentance answers the question and then the rest of the introduction is conventional then you'll have grabbed their attention from the off.

Your essay isn't just disappearing when it's collected up at the end of the exam. It is written for an audience, remember. Just a little flourish, to say, "Hey, Examiner person, this essay is just a little tiny bit different and is worth paying attention to" wouldn't necessarily go amiss.
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shellyholmes
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(Original post by FadeToBlackout)

Your essay isn't just disappearing when it's collected up at the end of the exam. It is written for an audience, remember. Just a little flourish, to say, "Hey, Examiner person, this essay is just a little tiny bit different and is worth paying attention to" wouldn't necessarily go amiss.
i agree; we're told to learn a few 'interesting' facts or a couple of quotes and put an appropriate one in to catch the examiner's eye.
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silken1987
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I would use the introduction just as a means of making clear my argument which I'd then move on to explore throughout the essay. Try not to go into too much detail in the intro otherwise it does turn into a story - which is fine for GCSE but not A level. Maybe give a small definition but don't go into great amounts of detail.

Hope this helps!
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kashmir.noir
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(Original post by The West Wing)
At A level you must use a very formulaic approach to jump the right hoop. Unconventionality like FadeToBlackOut suggested shows clearly that he's too old to give advice to A level students :p:

We've had drilled into us that the introduction must be:

1 sentence background
1 sentence define key terms
1 sentence outlining the main focus of each paragraph.

For an essay "To what extent was Queen Elizabeth I succesful in securing her legacy"

"Queen Elizabeth I was monarch between 1559-1603, a long reign which symbolised a period when England went through fundamental change, socially, economicaly, politically and culturally. To assess her legacy it is necessary to consider how successful people consider her in a number of fields. She can be considered to be successful in controlling her Parliaments, in fending of internal threats and in securing England's economic status. She can be considered less successful in the latter period of her reign, in her failure to secure her legacy and the exacebation of social degeneration."

- Would be an example of what is required at A level to hit the right assessment objectives.

And what about the rest of the essay? I mean, the typical, "To what extent.." or "How far do you agree?". Is there a formula to that?

My essays are anything but formulaic, I always start with a quote, if I can. Perhaps thats why i'm only gettng an 84%!!

Would really appreciate any other advice you could give me, i'm looking to go getting marks in the 90+ range!
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Stace-is-Ace
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Are your questions similar to what mine were?

Are you given a statement and asked to what extent you agree with it?

In that case you just say...why you agree with it..and why you don't...using different themes you've studied.

For example...the question asks you to what extent you agree that A was the main cause of the second world war...in your introduction you should say either:

Yes, A was the main reason but there were other factors which played key roles such as B, C and D

Or...No, A was a contributing factor but B, C and D are also very important.

A good introduction is great because then you just use each broad theme you have mentioned there to structure your essay so basically you talk about A and why it was a factor, then do the same for B, C and D...then draw your conclusions.

It's a foolproof method! =P
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coren111
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(Original post by The West Wing)
At A level you must use a very formulaic approach to jump the right hoop. Unconventionality like FadeToBlackOut suggested shows clearly that he's too old to give advice to A level students :p:

We've had drilled into us that the introduction must be:

1 sentence background
1 sentence define key terms
1 sentence outlining the main focus of each paragraph.

For an essay "To what extent was Queen Elizabeth I succesful in securing her legacy"

"Queen Elizabeth I was monarch between 1559-1603, a long reign which symbolised a period when England went through fundamental change, socially, economicaly, politically and culturally. To assess her legacy it is necessary to consider how successful people consider her in a number of fields. She can be considered to be successful in controlling her Parliaments, in fending of internal threats and in securing England's economic status. She can be considered less successful in the latter period of her reign, in her failure to secure her legacy and the exacebation of social degeneration."

- Would be an example of what is required at A level to hit the right assessment objectives.

I've attempted to follow this formula. Did I do it properly?

Why did the political right constitute a serious threat to the Weimar Republic in the years 1919-1924?

The political right in Germany, generally represented by the DNVP, reflected the interests of the aristocratic Junker class comprising the elites, industrialists and wealthy landlords in the period 1919-1924. In order to assess the extent to which the political right posed a serious threat, it is imperative to explore the nature of the threat they posed to the embryonic Republic. It can be argued that the political right’s incessant undermining of the republic within the judiciary, coupled with high profile anti-republican coups and political assassinations succeeded in destabilizing the Weimar Republic in its early years.
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The West Wing
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(Original post by coren111)
I've attempted to follow this formula. Did I do it properly?

Why did the political right constitute a serious threat to the Weimar Republic in the years 1919-1924?

The political right in Germany, generally represented by the DNVP, reflected the interests of the aristocratic Junker class comprising the elites, industrialists and wealthy landlords in the period 1919-1924. In order to assess the extent to which the political right posed a serious threat, it is imperative to explore the nature of the threat they posed to the embryonic Republic. It can be argued that the political right’s incessant undermining of the republic within the judiciary, coupled with high profile anti-republican coups and political assassinations succeeded in destabilizing the Weimar Republic in its early years.
Yes, I think that's a very succesful introduction which ticks all the boxes.
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coren111
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(Original post by The West Wing)
Yes, I think that's a very succesful introduction which ticks all the boxes.
Thanks a lot West Wing. If you don't mind me asking what did you get in History AS?
Can I use this structure to introdce the 40 mark source paper?
And how do i introduce the 20 markers?
Thanks
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The West Wing
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(Original post by coren111)
Thanks a lot West Wing. If you don't mind me asking what did you get in History AS?
Can I use this structure to introdce the 40 mark source paper?
And how do i introduce the 20 markers?
Thanks
I got 291/300 in History AS. For the 20 marker the marks are entirely for the use of sources so it shouldn't matter how you introduce it. A simple statement should suffice. That type of introduction should be fine for the 40 mark question, although it might be worth engaging with a source in the introduction too (perhaps just a few words of a source somewhere in the introduction).
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coren111
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(Original post by The West Wing)
I got 291/300 in History AS. For the 20 marker the marks are entirely for the use of sources so it shouldn't matter how you introduce it. A simple statement should suffice. That type of introduction should be fine for the 40 mark question as well, although it might be worth engaging with a source in the introduction too (perhaps just a few words of a source somewhere in the introduction).
Ooh 291, well done!
I'm not too sure what you mean by incorporating a source into the introduction. Just for the sake of it - for what purpose? As background?
Also for the A question eg how far do these sources support X, do you use the following structure?

Source A and C support by ...
However Sources G and P don't
And conclude by saying overall these sources support but these don't
I'm a bit confused
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The West Wing
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(Original post by coren111)
Ooh 291, well done!
I'm not too sure what you mean by incorporating a source into the introduction. Just for the sake of it - for what purpose? As background?
Also for the A question eg how far do these sources support X, do you use the following structure?

Source A and C support by ...
However Sources G and P don't
And conclude by saying overall these sources support but these don't
I'm a bit confused
You have to remember the point of the 40 mark question is not to make an argument "using the sources to help you", it's to ENGAGE with the sources and the marking reflects that. Ideally an introduction should show you are doing that, even if it means using a one or two word quote. Obviously you don't have to, but we have been told to do it if possible by our teachers.

I'm not sure if you should structure it in terms of sources and their broad views. I'd tend to favour a more pragmatic approach and use individual statements.
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coren111
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(Original post by The West Wing)
You have to remember the point of the 40 mark question is not to make an argument "using the sources to help you", it's to ENGAGE with the sources and the marking reflects that. Ideally an introduction should show you are doing that, even if it means using a one or two word quote. Obviously you don't have to, but we have been told to do it if possible by our teachers.

I'm not sure if you should structure it in terms of sources and their broad views. I'd tend to favour a more pragmatic approach and use individual statements.
sorry again but what do you mean by ENGAGE with the sources? is there an example that would show me and others who are confused?

Do you agree that violence was the main factor in the ascendancy of the Nazis? (40 marks)

Would it be yes violence was important because ... supported by evidence from sources
OR
do you find a concept in the sources and latch on to that eg. violence was appealing to young people who had nothing else to do?

YOU ARE A STAR
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The West Wing
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(Original post by coren111)
sorry again but what do you mean by ENGAGE with the sources? is there an example that would show me and others who are confused?

Do you agree that violence was the main factor in the ascendancy of the Nazis? (40 marks)

Would it be yes violence was important because ... supported by evidence from sources
OR
do you find a concept in the sources and latch on to that eg. violence was appealing to young people who had nothing else to do?

YOU ARE A STAR
Wrong approach:
"Violence was important because of X. Source 1 says ___ and source 2 agrees ____ and this shows violence was important"

Correct approach:

"Violence can be shown to important in "quote" as can be seen in source 1, and this view is supported by "quote" in source 2, hence violence was important"

The former approach just states the sources, while the latter approach engages with them.
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02mik_e
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(Original post by The West Wing)
Wrong approach:
"Violence was important because of X. Source 1 says ___ and source 2 agrees ____ and this shows violence was important"

Correct approach:

"Violence can be shown to important in "quote" as can be seen in source 1, and this view is supported by "quote" in source 2, hence violence was important"

The former approach just states the sources, while the latter approach engages with them.
Is this for OCR or Edexcel?
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The West Wing
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(Original post by 02mik_e)
Is this for OCR or Edexcel?
Edexcel.

I apologise if I'm confusing people. This all makes sense in my head but I haven't succeed in articulating it properly.
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