You've finished collecting information about your topic and have organized (or planned) how you are going to present your material. It's time to start writing.

You may be someone who finds it easier to start by writing an introduction, or you may be someone who prefers to jump right into your topic and write the introduction later.  But no matter which type of writer you are, sooner or later you have to write the introductory paragraph(s).

There is no one right way to begin a research paper; rather, there are many ways to begin.  However, when you are writing research papers in other courses and disciplines, your instructor may assign a particular type of introduction.  But for your research paper in this course, you are free to choose the type of introduction.

The following list identifies various kinds--but not all possible kinds--of introduction, with examples taken from student papers. The examples cover a wide range of topics; most, however, are about Brooklyn. 

The introductions vary in length: some introductions consist of only a few sentences, and one introduction consists of several paragraphs.

I. Identify why your topic is important or interesting, whether to the general public, to a specific group, or in a particular discipline.

Dr. Mary Dixon Jones

One of the most interesting trials in Brooklyn in the nineteenth century was that of Dr. Mary Dixon Jones in 1890. Hailed by many today as a pioneer in the field of gynecology, Dr. Jones, the manager and founder of the Brooklyn Women's Hospital, was attacked from February to May of 1889 almost daily in the Brooklyn Eagle with allegations of manslaughter, murder and abortion. With all its articles attacking Dr. Jones in 1889, the Brooklyn Eagle was able to successfully convince many of the public of her guilt, causing a frenzy of accusations against her, and resulting in her being tried for manslaughter in 1890. Her 1892 lawsuit against the Eagle for its accusations was the longest-running libel case in the history of the United States to date (Morantz 3). To understand why the attack of the Brooklyn Eagle was so successful requires an understanding of the perceptions of women, women's health, politics and the rivalry between Brooklyn's two largest newspapers in the late nineteenth century.

A Pioneer of American Islam

Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb was the first American known to convert to Islam. He went from the U.S., appointed as a Consul General, to the Philippines and returned as a Muslim missionary eager to spread Islam in America. This was not an easy task as the West looked down upon Islam (Turner 63-64). Due to lack of funds Webb was never able to fully accomplish his goals. He also faced social problems due to opposition from personal enemies in his mission of spreading awareness about Islam in the Unites States. However he broke new ground in the process of presenting and bettering the image of Islam because of his Euro-American ethnicity. Even though Webb did not accomplish all of his practical aims, he was successful in leaving a significant mark that opened the gates of America to Islam.

II. Indicate the purpose of your paper, i.e., what you intend to demonstrate or prove.

Eastern European Jewish Immigration: Lower East Side to Brooklyn

As the location of one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities, New York State contains about one-third of the total number of United States Jews. Currently, New York City remains the target home for new Jewish immigrants to the United States including Israeli, Iranian, and Russian Jews. New York is currently viewed as both the cultural and organizational haven for the American Jewish community. The most renowned boroughs of New York that contain the rich history of Jewish immigration and cultural development include both the Lower East Side and Brooklyn. We can better understand the Jewish culture and history, by following their steps from their original countries, to Manhattan's Lower East Side, and finally to Brooklyn, where they maintain their title as the predominant and most culturally diverse group to enter the U.S.

Freud and the Unconscious

Before Sigmund Freud, most psychologists thought conscious experiences influenced behavior in human beings, that humans were fully aware of internal and external activities causing them to behave in certain ways. But after Freud, they started to seriously think about the unconscious mind. However, Freud believed that the unconscious mind made up most of our mental activity.    

III. If you are discussing one event, like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire or the attack on Pearl Harbor, you may start by narrating the details of the event.

The Maybee Murders

At exactly four in the afternoon on October 19, 1883, one of the most diabolic and heinous murders that ever occurred in Brookville, Queens County took the lives of two women. That dark and gloomy afternoon Mrs. Lydia Maybee and her daughter Miss Annie Maybee were both brutally killed, and Mr. Garret Maybee, father and husband, was left paralyzed, blind, and deaf, all at the hands of a crazed killer and thief.

IV. You may give the historical background of an event.

The Consolidation of Brooklyn into the Greater New York City

In 1623 Dutch traders landed on Manhattan Island, and in 1646 settled in Breuckelen, or Brooklyn. From 1646 until 1776, Brooklyn was ruled by the Dutch and later the English as part of the thirteen colonies. In 1776, the thirteen colonies declared their independence from the English. On April 8th, 1834, Brooklyn was granted a city charter by the state of New York. The idea of consolidating Brooklyn and New York City so that Brooklyn would be a borough of New York City had first begun in 1816 (http:// GNY/ timeline.htm). Attempts to consolidate Brooklyn to become a borough of New York City did not progress until 1890. The opinions of the people at the time of consolidation greatly changed over the course of the years before its passage. Consolidation was achieved in such a way that by the time it occurred, it was no longer supported by New Yorkers who were its original supporters. In addition, Brooklynites, originally against consolidation, became its ultimate supporters. Consolidation was finally achieved in 1898.

V. Identify the relationship your paper will describe, which may be a relationship between two people, two groups, or an individual and an object or goal, such as the relationship between a creator and the creation, a love relationship, a goal and its fulfillment.

The Brooklyn Eagle and Brooklyn: A Love Story

Brooklyn, a place that was once known as "the city of homes and churches," possessed an identity that was one of a kind. It was not only a city of homes and churches, but also one of schools, musical institutions, libraries, and most importantly, The Brooklyn Eagle. The Brooklyn Eagle was the daily newspaper whose heart and soul was focused on Brooklyn. While the Eagle only existed between the years of 1841 and 1955, these one hundred and fourteen years of its existence were very memorable. The Eagle not only served its community as a publication that received and relayed information, but also served it as a friend. The community and the paper were reliant on each other; they reached out to one another in times of need and supported each other throughout their time together. The Eagle helped build Brooklyn and Brooklyn helped build the Eagle. In the Pictorial History of Brooklyn, Martin H Weyrauch said, "Newspapers and communities grow side by side, they are in the truest sense interdependent" (45). An understanding of the history of the Eagle proved the words of Weyrauch to be correct. The Eagle really lived through and with Brooklyn; it thrived when Brooklyn was at its height and died when Brooklyn was in a state of decline (Schroth 259). As its heart and soul was on Brooklyn, Brooklyn's heart was on the Eagle, and when it died, Brooklyn grieved.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection

The theory of evolution and natural selection was presented to the world by Charles Darwin in the year of 1859. This theory set off a bitter controversy because it contracted the Biblical explanation that God created the earth and all the creatures of the earth in seven days.

VI. Identify a general principle or universal truth and then connect your topic to it.

The Student Movement of the 1930's

Youthful movements have historically been the instruments of change. The student movement of the 1930's was not an exception. The radicalism which eventually characterized the decade began in New York City, and soon spread to colleges all over the United States. The most fascinating aspect of the student movement was not its power, its prestige, or its effects, but its existence: the fact that a normal student could comprehend and use that understanding to attempt to influence his or her world.

VII. Explain your personal attachment to or your experience of the topic.

Woman Suffrage in the Late Nineteenth Century

Three generations of women comprise my household. There are no men to lift the heavy boxes or change the light bulbs when they go out. If a door handle breaks or a cupboard needs to be nailed, I can rest assured that my grandmother will find a way to get the carpentry done. We depend on each other to do all the `manly' jobs around our apartment (and in our lives in general), which has molded us into independent, self-sufficient and very competent individuals. Our society by no means sees us as anomaly as there are numerous women doing the same in our times. So many of us go out into the workforce to support our families while ensuring that love and attention is ever present in our households. The woman of the twenty-first century is a pillar of strength for her family members, a source of love and understanding and a true hero to many. She can drive a car, become an engineer or mechanic, wear a pantsuit and still not have anything taken away from her womanhood. She can be both homemaker and career woman while ensuring that a balance is kept between the two. She has indeed come a long way.

Bedford Stuyvesant

As I walked along Fulton Street for the first time in 2003, I could not help but feel apprehensive. My friend had attempted to allay my fears by telling me that it was not as had as people made it out to be and since she was from the neighborhood I felt slightly less petrified. For her it was home, a place that she felt safe and welcomed. As we walked and I observed her stopping to chat with neighbors, I was able to get a sense of the nature of the relationships that existed in the community. However, the abandoned buildings that clotted the landscape, some of them burnt out and nearly all of them the canvases of graffiti artists told the story that I was more familiar with – that of degradation. Even though I am not from America, the name Bedford-Stuyvesant (better known as Bed-Stuy to the locals) is infamous, and even before ever setting foot there, I had heard tales of it as a place that was crime ridden, poverty stricken and generally unwholesome.

The ethnic composition of Bedford-Stuyvesant was nothing remarkable to me at first blush. Coming from the Caribbean where black people are the predominant race, I am accustomed to seeing many black people in one place and the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant are filled with them. However, when looked at from a larger perspective there was something strange about this area. Compared to the rest of Brooklyn, there is a much greater concentration of black people than anywhere else and I could not help thinking that that had something to do with the area's bad reputation. 1 would not only come to find out that my assumptions were correct but also, even more astonishingly, that the area known as Bedford-Stuyvesant was once a sought after place to live–by white people–and described by realtors as "one of the finest residential sections of the community" (Connolly 121). The question of what happened between then and now is not an easy one to answer. In fact there is no single reason that can be truly pinpointed as the cause for the region's decline; rather, it is the combined effect of several factors that is responsible for the ghetto that today we call Bedford-Stuyvesant.

VIII. Explain why you find the topic interesting or why you chose the topic.

Bill Gates: Microsoft's Achievement

Microsoft Corporation is the leading company in the computer software market. There are more than 80 million personal computers in use worldwide, and most of them use MS-DOS,1 a Microsoft program which allows people to use English-like language to communicate with the computer. Though this giant of the software industry was formed in 1975 by William H. Gates and his classmate Paul Allen, it was largely unknown until early 80's. The company is now worth over $10 billion.2 Last year alone brought record profits of $1,843.4 billion.3 Many people, including me, wonder how the management of the Microsoft has achieved such outstanding results. Intrigued by that question, I began searching for the answers. I found that there is no single answer to that question; many factors have contributed to the company's success.

    1 Microsoft, MS-DOS and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computers, Inc.
    2 Charles Moritz, 1991 Current Biography Yearbook, (New York: The H.W. Wilson Company,1991): 237.
    3 Microsoft Corportiona 1991 Annual Report, Microsoft.

IX. Discuss why someone might want to read your paper. for example, what might the reader learn?

George Washington Carver: The Shaping of a Young Chemurgist

George Washington Carver was one of the world's first and foremost chemurgists. He was a scientist who experimented with organic raw materials, mainly agricultural materials, to develop new industrial products. The organic materials which Carver experimented with ranged from sweet potatoes, soybeans, cotton stalks, and, most notably, peanuts. Peanuts were the main raw materials from which the majority of products were developed. Carver is widely known for these discoveries, but most people do not know the story of how he was disciplined at any early age.

April 15, 2008 
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