If you want to write a great essay, you must have an introduction.  It sounds simple enough, but students struggle with the concept of stating their conclusion in their introduction.

When my lecturer suggested I write a “formal” introduction and conclusion, I thought he was nuts. It seemed like an utter waste of time and precious word-count.

Despite my better judgment, I tried it. My arguments became stronger and my marks improved.

As it’s sometimes easier to show rather than tell how it’s done, I give you the UC Davis Law Journal article, “Digitus Impudicus: The Middle Finger and the Law“.

Professor Robbins has a structured and comprehensive approach which is worth emulating – you’ll see that he sets up his argument, and then spends the rest of his essay supporting that argument.

The article might not be as interesting to read if Prof Robbins had merely started with the history of bird flipping, gone around the houses and then concluded with an, “oh, and by the way, it is/should be illegal to arrest someone for flipping the bird, The End”.

Unfortunately, this is what most students do – and it just doesn’t leave the reader convinced the essayist knows what he’s doing or talking about.

Nobody is a natural born essay-writer. Good essay-writers learn from reading great essays – and  set out their conclusions from the start.