Review Sample Introductions for Evaluation. Keeping in mind the primary purposes of an introduction as explained in Introductions and Conclusions, rate the four introductions in the handout from best

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  1. Review Sample Introductions for Evaluation. Keeping in mind the primary purposes of an introduction as explained in Introductions and Conclusions, rate the four introductions in the handout from best to worse and explain in about 200 words why you rated them the way you did.

Review Sample Introductions for Evaluation. Keeping in mind the primary purposes of an introduction as explained in Introductions and Conclusions, rate the four introductions in the handout from best
Sample Introductions for Evaluation Below are four sample introductions. After reading Introductions and Conclusions, analyze the effectiveness of the samples and rate them from best to worst in preparation for Week 8 Discussion: Introductions. Sample 1           In society today, many people are homeless.  The problem may not be exactly new, but it is still a major issue in our society.  Homeless people are without homes for many reasons.  Some are poor, some are drug addicts and some have been abused by their families and end up on the street due to that abuse.  The worst part is how many young people live on the streets.  These homeless youths slip through the cracks of the system and have to fend for themselves, which means they do not look forward to full and productive lives like other people their age.  Sample 2           Have you ever wondered why a letter you spent a long time composing was misunderstood by the recipient?  Or why a report you submitted after careful research didn’t have the impact you intended?  Written language is vulnerable to misinterpretation, and the trouble with readers is that they read what you write, not what you mean.  Clarity gives way to confusion if the writer fails to pay attention to the ambiguity of words, the mechanics of writing, or the organization of ideas. Sample 3           The reactions are physical all right: face turning red and sometimes white, voice switching to falsetto or to bass, stuttering, throat contracting, inhibited breath, dry mouth, stomach contractions, blinking, lowered head and eyes, shaking, fumbling, fidgeting, plucking at the clothes, hands cold and twisting together or held behind the back, smile fixed, feet frozen.  These are symptoms of embarrassment, or dis-ease.  They are brought on by entirely social or mental conditions, and they constitute proof positive that the human body reacts directly to the mind, even without reference to willpower or design. Sample 4           Imagine for a moment you are an Olympic athlete.  If you pictured a male athlete, try again.  Actually, you are a woman, engaged in rigorous year-round training.  Now, imagine that your body-fat percentage is less than half the average for a reasonably active woman your age.  As a result, your menstrual cycle has stopped; you no longer have a period.  You are a textbook case of anorexia nervosa, obsessed with weight and body shape.  Perhaps you are bulimic, and resort to compulsive binge eating, followed by violent purging—vomiting, fasting or the taking of laxatives and diuretics.  If you are a junior athlete, in your early teens, you are effectively delaying the onset of puberty and stunting normal growth. A rational observer would conclude that you are seriously ill.  A rational observer would not suspect that you had been driven to these life-threatening disorders by your coach. 
Review Sample Introductions for Evaluation. Keeping in mind the primary purposes of an introduction as explained in Introductions and Conclusions, rate the four introductions in the handout from best
Introductions and Conclusions Introductions and conclusions are often neglected by novice writers, yet the way you start and end an essay is key to its success. The length of introductory and concluding paragraphs depends on the length of the piece you are writing. For example, in longer articles by journalists, the introduction might be a few short paragraphs. In most undergraduate academic essays, including the two you will submit in this class, the introduction and conclusion each have a paragraph of their own.Thinking carefully about the purpose of these paragraphs will help you make your essay more effective. Introductions An introductory paragraph has two purposes. First, an introduction hooks the reader. There are many claims on the average person’s attention. How to you get them to pay attention to what you have to say? By drawing them in. The first sentence or two of your introduction should focus on engaging readers. A strong opening startles or intrigues a reader and gives them a sense that the writer is reaching out to them or beckoning them closer. This is called a hook. In essence, any good detail will engage the reader’s attention, but here are some kinds of hook you can use to begin an essay: START WITH A STARTLING FACT. Be as specific as possible. Vague or obvious facts don’t surprise or intrigue the reader. They’re boring. Specific facts, especially if they are actually news to the reader, work much better. Bad opening fact: There are a lot of homeless people in BC. (Duh, no kidding. I am not intrigued.) Okay opening fact: The Covid-19 epidemic raised new questions about addressing homelessness in BC. (I’m a little curious, but not sure exactly what questions were raised. One more sentence might drag me in, if it’s good.) Good opening fact: In late April, 2020, the BC Government had two weeks to find homes for the 360 people living in camps in Topaz Park and on Pandora Avenue. (Two weeks? 360 people in that little space from just those two sites? Wow. Did the government pull it off? How? I want to know more.) START WITH A CONCRETE, SPECIFIC EXAMPLE. Think of the details in the paragraphs we studied by George Orwell and Basil Johnston or the details we practiced creating ourselves way back in week 3. Those are the kind of examples that engage the reader’s mind and emotions. Don’t take more than a sentence or two to describe your example. START WITH A SPECIFIC ANECDOTE. An anecdote is a brief narrative and a specific kind of example. Because human beings are attracted to stories, this can be a good way to get a reader’s attention. Your anecdote could be from ordinary life, from history, from the news, or even hypothetical (as long as it’s believable). Keep it to two or three sentences, though–don’t let it take up most of the introduction. START WITH A QUOTATION. Choose a quotation that is connected to your topic. It could be a quotation from someone famous or from someone ordinary, but it should be interesting enough that it makes the reader want to read more. You should comment on the quotation so your reader sees its relevance. START WITH A GOOD QUESTION. Because a question speaks directly to the reader, it’s a good strategy for drawing them in. However, like facts, there are good questions and not-so-good questions. Don’t ask vague questions or questions that have obvious answers. Bad opening question: Are people different? (Umm, yes, yes they are. Nothing left to think about.) Okay opening question: How do our differences from others affect our relationships? (I do want to know the answer to this, but it’s not a specific enough question to get me to seriously reflect on anything or really care about people being different.) Good opening question: If our social circumstances define our attitudes, why do siblings raised in the same home vote for different political parties? (This is realistic–this happens in my family! I like the way this reflects what I have seen and makes me question the nature/nurture relationship. I am hoping this essay will answer this question.) START WITH BRIEFLY DEFINING A PROBLEM OR DILEMMA. Don’t get in too deep–just a couple of sentences should suffice. Here’s an example: “The average life expectancy for Canadians is 82 years, increasing the number of people suffering from age-related health problems like heart disease and arthritis, yet people can wait for a year or more for a place in an assisted-living facility. This leaves many working adults to bear the burden of providing their parents with safe and happy homes. Alas, and predictably, they often fail to do so.” (I see the way that two facts–life expectancy and decreased funding–come together to create a problem and the writer made me care about the problem by saying “bear the burden,” which creates pathos. Also, the second sentence is a little foreboding, which creates suspense.) Second, an introduction tells the reader what the essay will be about. Once you’ve got your hook, your next step is to guide your reader from that hook to your thesis, which you will state in the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. This usually requires you to comment upon whatever you have used as a hook, then narrow the issue, then state your main argument–the claim you want us to agree with by the end of the essay, the thing you will prove. Your thesis should be specific enough so that your reader doesn’t have any questions about what position you’re taking, only questions about how you’re going to convince them. In an argument essay, like the ones you’re writing in this class, your thesis should be something arguable. That means that you can imagine a legitimate argument against what you’ve claimed in the thesis. Bad thesis: Something should be done about parking in the downtown core. (What should be done exactly? Who should do it?) Bad thesis: There is a lot of disagreement about solutions to parking problems in the downtown core. (Yep. So what? This is a fact rather than an argument, and a pretty vague fact too. What’s your solution?) Okay thesis: Of all the arguments about parking the the downtown core, those that result in reduced driving are the best. (This is better because it’s an argument–I can imagine people saying that reducing driving is not the answer. It’s still too vague to really tell me what this particular writer thinks the solution to parking problems should be.) Good thesis: The best way to address parking problems downtown is to build parking structures on the perimeters of the downtown core and provide a free shuttle service from those structures to strategic locations. (Ah, I finally see a specific argument here. I know you’re going to explain in detail how this approach would work, why it would be effective, and why it’s better than one or two other solutions.) Conclusions Just as the introduction should make a strong first impression, a conclusion should make a strong last impression. Listen to any great speech and you will see that good writers craft powerful endings. Conclusions are tragically misunderstood, however, and I’ve read a lot of essays in which the conclusion added exactly nothing to the reading experience and wasted my time. What does a conclusion do? People often say that a conclusion “sums up the argument.” This is true, but it doesn’t mean mechanically restating your thesis and your main points (either word-for-word or rephrased). That’s a dull and rather plodding way to end an essay. After all, your readers know what you said–they just finished reading it. It’s more useful to use this space to make your reader care more about the topic, to make it seem relevant, urgent, even profound. Drive home your main argument here and leave the reader thoughtful. Here are a couple of things you might try: Return to your hook. I don’t mean repeat your hook, but remind your reader of it and stress its significance. If you’ve done your job, the reader should see that opening detail differently now, and you’re delivering them back into the world changed just a little by reading your essay. For example, the person writing the essay on homelessness in Victoria might say, “If we can find housing for people in two weeks in the midst of a health crisis, surely we can do better when we’re not facing a global pandemic.” Cast your eye forward a little. You don’t want to start a new topic here because a conclusion should not introduce new arguments, but you might suggestion what should happen next, or what might happen if we don’t change our ways.  However you choose to end your essay, you should try to send the reader away with some stirring language or a sense of urgency.  Proportion Most of your argument will be made in your body paragraphs, so they will be the longest paragraphs in your essay. The introduction is typically the second-shortest paragraph in the essay, and the conclusion is typically the shortest paragraph in the essay. The Total Effect First and last impressions matter. Strong introductions and conclusions make the reader feel they are in expert hands. Handling these paragraphs well will contribute to the reader’s engagement and to your credibility. If you have a strong hook and a thoughtful conclusion, you are more likely to keep the reader’s attention and make them care about the topic. Don’t treat the techniques I have suggested as formulas. If you think combining two techniques works, then do that. If you think of a hook that doesn’t seem to fit neatly into one of the categories I listed above, try it. As long as you are beginning your essay with something that is relevant and grabs the reader’s attention and ending  your essay on a decisive and reflective note, you’re on the right track. As an example, look at the opening and closing words of Hayes’ “The New Abolitionism”: Opening: “Before the cannons fired at Fort Sumter, the Confederates announced their rebellion with lofty rhetoric about ‘violations of the Constitution of the United States’ and ‘encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States.’ But the brute, bloody fact beneath those words was money. So much goddamn money.” Closing: “As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’ What the climate justice movement is demanding is the ultimate abolition of fossil fuels. And our fates all depend on whether they succeed.” I hope you can see how much effort Hayes puts into making sure that the power positions of introduction and conclusion are well employed.

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