When writing a report, you will undoubtedly find yourself facing the daunting task of creating an introduction. An introduction can be difficult to write, especially if you’re dealing with one of many unfamiliar report types. Generally speaking, you should give yourself answers to two key questions before writing: ‘What is the purpose of your report?’ and ‘Who will your reader be?’
To address the purpose of your report, you might think about the context. Are you planning to collect some data and then present the findings in a formal setting? Are you going to review some literature? Perhaps you are writing a personal, reflective, or narrative-style essay. You may also be reviewing a research conducted by yourself or by others. Once you have determined the type of essay you plan to write, you can formulate an effective introduction. The most common types of introduction to report writing are listed below, along with the benefits associated with each type.
1. Personalized Introduction
If you plan to write a personal essay, perhaps a report detailing an experience you have had or your opinion on a specific topic, you will likely include a personalized introduction. This sort of introduction may begin with a question, a quotation from a respected source, or a thoughtful reflection. This type of introduction, which will likely include personal interjections and phrases such as “I believe,” should not be used in other types of report introductions. These help hook the reader because they draw them into the writer’s personal life, allowing them to see the relevance of the topic in a real-world setting.
2. Technical Introduction
If you are writing a technical report, this is the best introduction to use. A technical introduction will include background information on the topic, along with relevant facts, figures, and statistics. Quotations, personal interjections, and questions generally aren’t used. These introductions are fact-based and are designed to create the context for the reader before jumping into a technical report such as a laboratory report, a business report, or a diagnostic report. Technical introductions are useful for highly structured pieces because they get right down to the nitty-gritty of why we are reading the report. These are often used in business settings where efficiency and speed of use are of utmost importance, so flowery language and excessive background information are not necessary.
3. Scientific Research Introduction
Scientific introductions are similar to technical ones as they tend to be fact-based and develop the important context for the reader. However, if you are writing a scientific report intended for submission to a scholarly or academic research journal, you will need to follow a specific template and be sure to provide information such as scientific methods and research questions. Like with technical introductions, these types of introductions serve a distinct purpose–to help lead into a scientific research report which ultimate goal is to convince the reader of the overall outcomes of a scientific experiment.
4. Literary Analysis Introductions
These are common types of introductions used for collegiate literary essays. Typically, these introductions also refrain from the use of personal interjections or questions; they discuss an overall thesis. The thesis should state a key literary element and thematic issue that are going to be discussed in a literary work. These hooks are ideal for any analysis of an important literary work.
5. Expository Introduction
For any other type of report, such as a general independent research report or expository essay, you will likely follow this format. An expository introduction does just what its name implies–it sets up background information (or “exposes” that information) for the reader and lets readers see where you will be taking them throughout your essay. Again, refrain from any personal interjections, and you also will not need to include weighty facts, figures, or statistics. You might start with an intriguing hook to get them going.
Regardless of the report type you choose to write, your introduction will prove to be just as important as your final report outcome. If you are unable to hook your reader within the first paragraph, they likely won’t stick around for the rest of it. Make sure you choose the right introduction type for your report, so as to avoid sounding over- or under-personalized. And don’t forget to wrap up the essay with a nice, encompassing conclusion, too!