In a previous post, I spoke about how to write a good law essay. This piece will specifically focus on introductions and conclusions, to enhance your already-awesome essay and get you the best marks you can. Here we go:
NOTE: the examples below are from my own assignments used to show average essays next to good essays for your guidance only. These are my own words so please do not copy them as this could be considered plagiarism!
What is an introduction and how do I write one?
An introduction – obviously – is to introduce the topic being answered. But a common mistake people make is simply describing the topic at hand on a general and superficial level and leaving it at that.
An introduction to an essay doesn’t just introduce the topic, but it also introduces the essay itself. That is, it talks about what will be discussed, what arguments are going to be presented, and the stance the author is taking on the topic as a whole. Remember, an essay question or statement requires a response from you that you either agree, disagree or are neutral (and the reasons why).
Therefore, a good introduction will spend a few sentences briefly discussing what the topic in question is referring to, but then will note the arguments that will be raised and any counter points).
A reader (or marker) wants to get a snapshot of what you’re going to be talking about in the body of the essay.
For example, an average introduction might say:
Notice how it just describes the elements of crimes and tests of causation but doesn’t actually give a point to the essay? Nor does it explain any arguments or contentions that will be discussed later on?
Contrast this with a good introduction, which might say:
See how it leads with a strong contention, and then spends a few sentences briefly outlining the topic at hand, and then goes in to discuss specifically what the essay is going to be talking about? This is how you want an essay introduction to sound like. Clear, concise and to the point.
What is a conclusion and how do I write one?
A conclusion should close the topic off, leaving the reader with either new knowledge about the area, or an idea of a direction to take in the future. A good conclusion will briefly restate the arguments and then declare the stance the author is taking on the topic (i.e. whether they agree, disagree, or are neutral). And you have room, and it fits with the topic you’ve discussed, invite the reader to consider further research into the specific area you think will benefit.
A conclusion which is average (okay, bad), might say:
In this one, there is little to no discussion of what the essay even talked about and is essentially just a rehashing of the above introduction. Don’t do this, it doesn’t add anything to your essay!
Whereas a good conclusion might say:
Notice how it restates briefly what the essay talked about and the main argument that was put forward? This is what you want your conclusion to say. If I could rewrite that, I would invite the reader to consider doing further studies into the effectiveness of the solutions proposed.
Good luck on your next essay – hope you take what I said into consideration and absolutely nail it!!
The [Pre]Lawyer in Black