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How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
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See an example

process of writing introduction

As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

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2 Introduction to the Process

process of writing introduction

The College Essay

The methods for creating a successful college essay are not the same for everyone. Some writers require complete silence with no distractions, while others crave noise and interaction while they work. Many of us have little choice concerning how and when get to write. We fit it in between life and work and death and taxes.

While no guide can help you find what exact situations will work best for you, there are aspects of the process that, when followed, promote a cleaner, more stable final draft. These six general steps are: discovery & investigation , prewriting , drafting , revising , editing , and formatting .

Discovery & Investigation

The first step in writing a successful college essay requires an active engagement with your sources. Simply reading a source for basic content is not quite enough. The questions should not be simply “What does this say?” or “What happened?” but rather “Why did that happen?” “What does that say about the larger themes and ideas I am exploring?” and “How does this help advance my thinking into the deeper layers of this topic?”

Make notes of your thoughts, ideas, and reactions as you read. Research is about following the conversation into your sources and allowing your sources to “talk to one another” as you develop your own presence in the conversation.

As you become more informed on the topic, your voice will begin to emerge, and even direct the conversation. But now it will be a voice as rooted in authoritative research as it is in your own valid experience and perspective.

Once you have completed an active reading of a primary source, it will often be necessary to obtain secondary sources to back up your thesis. Peer-reviewed journals available online through the college databases will be your most commonly used secondary resources. But remember that other search engines, such as Google Scholar, can yield strong results too.

Prewriting is the step in which tools such as free writing, brainstorming, outlining, or clustering are used. In prewriting, no idea is too off-topic or too strange to pursue. It is these sometimes dissociative ideas that can lead you to a paper topic that you never would have considered.

You will have time to tailor and sculpt your prewriting ideas to fit the parameters of your given assignment later. For now, just let your mind wander. Be open, curious, and attentive to where your questions lead you.

Though the common perception is that there is nothing that hasn’t been written about before, if you allow yourself to think outside the box, you can find a way of looking at an old topic through new eyes.

Even if it has been covered by another writer, you will be able to bring your unique perspective and relevant experiences to the larger discussion through initially casting a wide research net to pull in potential new ideas and relevant associations.

It is also during prewriting that the writer needs to make a decision about audience. Asking questions like: “Who is going to read my paper?” “What is the purpose of this paper?” and “Why are they going to read my paper?” will help you set your audience.

The simple answers to these questions are “My professor” and “Because they assigned it.” But these are not the true answers. It could be that your paper needs to be geared towards elementary level students, participants in a seminar, peers at a conference, or your classmates.

The language and tone for each of these audiences would be very different. Considering this also helps you set your relationship to the topic and to the audience in ways that will make the essay more readable and accessible.

Drafting is the beginning of “writing” your paper. It is important to remember that in drafting you should already have a thesis idea to guide your writing. Without a thesis, your writing will be prone to drift, making it harder to structure after the fact. In drafting, the writer should use materials created in the prewriting stage and any notes taken in discovery and investigation to frame and build body paragraphs.

Many writers will tackle their body paragraphs first instead of beginning with an introduction (especially if you are not sure of the exact direction of your paper). Beginning with body paragraphs will allow you to work through your ideas without feeling restricted by a specific thesis, but be prepared to delete paragraphs that don’t fit.

Also be prepared to move body paragraphs around, if necessary, to better fit your pattern of development and thesis. Afterwards, create opening and concluding paragraphs (with an appropriately revised thesis) that reflect the body of your essay.

There are two different scopes of revision: global and local .

Global revision involves looking for issues like cohesion of your main idea(s) and the overall progression of your essay. If your essay has paragraphs that do not flow into each other, but rather change topics abruptly only to return to a previous thought later, your essay has poor cohesion.

If your topics change from paragraph to paragraph, it is necessary to consider altering the order of your paragraph and/or revising your writing either by adding to existing paragraphs or creating new ones that explain your change in topic. An essay with a logical flow and smooth transitions is significantly easier to read and understand.

Local revision involves looking for clarity in sentences, ensuring coherence within your body paragraphs, and addressing grammar, syntax, and formatting issues. This should be done after you are comfortable with the larger issues addressed in global revision.

The greatest trick to avoid having to fix too many local issues is to use varied sentence structure and to avoid using the same words repeatedly. Repeating the same sentence structure can make your paper feel mechanical and make an interesting topic feel boring. Also, if you can, have someone else read a draft of your essay to help catch the many small mistakes our eyes can miss when looking at the same essay for too long.

The final stage in writing a strong college essay requires a review of what you have written. In this last read of your essay, you should look for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors that have slipped through the cracks during the revising stage, or that were introduced in your revisions.

Reading your essay aloud, or asking a friend to read your essay back to you, are good ways to catch errors. Often if you read your own essay, especially out loud, you can catch errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation that can be missed in a silent reading. Though this step seems minor within the process of writing, it is an easy way to prevent the loss of points over simple mistakes.

Formatting, In-text citation, and Works Cited

The formatting required for your paper will change depending on the field of study and academic discipline. Generally, the sciences and business and economics use APA or CSE formatting. English and other humanities will use MLA, and History uses Chicago. The appearance of the first page of the essay, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page will all be affected by these different formats.

Consult your syllabus or ask your professor to learn what format you should use. Guides for MLA are available later in this guide. Guides for APA, Chicago, CSE and ASA are available here .

The Writing Process Copyright © 2020 by Andrew Gurevich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Online Guide to Writing and Research

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  • Online Guide to Writing


Every writer, whether inexperienced or seasoned, knows that the process can be overwhelming. Whether you are analyzing, reporting, or composing a poem for your creative writing class, writing demands that you expose your innermost thoughts to the scrutiny of others. While you write, concentrating on the writing process, rather than what others will think, can give you the confidence to focus on the task at hand. Although every writer’s process is unique, it usually involves a combination of 1) planning and prewriting, 2) writing, and 3) rewriting/revising.

The Big Picture

process of writing introduction

The prewriting and planning phase begins with an understanding of the big picture. If you are new to academic writing, it might be helpful to think about academic writing in a simple way; there are usually three parts:

1) Your position on the topic (prior, current, and future knowledge on the topic)

2) Expert ideas (formal research)

3) A union of those two 

Why this balance?

Neither excessive emphasis on your own ideas nor too much information from outside research will lead to well-balanced writing. While expectations are different in every discipline and class, and you should always ask your professor what is preferred, your writing should include mostly your ideas, in a formal tone, with scholarly research that supports and supplements your argument. In other words, your voice carries the argument and flow of any written piece.  

Keeping the big picture in mind as you dive into the phases ahead will result in a smoother writing process, while hopefully reaching the main goals of any writing assignment: engaging meaningfully with your topic, demonstrating your knowledge, and educating your audience.

Planning and Prewriting

The purpose of the planning and prewriting phase is to explore your topic from different angles, connect to your own thoughts about the topic, come upon new ideas, and identify new relationships between concepts. When planning and prewriting, you will (click on the arrows):

Study your assignment expectations or writing prompt closely.

Brainstorm your own ideas on the chosen topic., conduct casual research to familiarize yourself with the topic., add these thoughts to a prewriting strategy., add formal research and notes to your chosen prewriting strategy., writing and rewriting.

process of writing introduction

Writing and rewriting phases allow you to implement your planning and the results of your experimentation while prewriting. You implement your strategy, working out the details and fine-tuning your thoughts. In the rewriting , or revising, phase, you review what you have written and consider how and where your writing can be improved.

It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect writing process, and you can always edit and polish your thoughts later. Being passionate about your chosen topic can also help motivate you to get started. Write. Generate ideas. Revise later. Try to have fun with it!

Key Takeaways

Planning/prewriting, writing, and revising help organize and guide your writing process.

Academic writing consists of 1) your ideas 2) expert ideas 3) connections between the two.

The writing process is unique to each individual and need not necessarily follow a strict order.

The overall goal in writing is to engage in the pursuit of knowledge so you can share it with others.

Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783 This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . © 2022 UMGC. All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.

Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

Chapter 1: College Writing

How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?

What Is College Writing?

Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?

Chapter 2: The Writing Process

Doing Exploratory Research

Getting from Notes to Your Draft

Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition

Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience

Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started

Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment

Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic

Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy

Rewriting: Getting Feedback

Rewriting: The Final Draft

Techniques to Get Started - Outlining

Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques

Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas

Writing: Outlining What You Will Write

Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction

Critical Strategies and Writing

Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis

Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation

Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion

Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Kinds of Assignments You Will Write

Patterns for Presenting Information

Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques

Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data

Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts

Supporting with Research and Examples

Writing Essay Examinations

Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete

Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing

Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources

Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources

Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure

Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure

The Nature of Research

The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?

The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?

The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws

Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides

Integrating Sources

Practicing Academic Integrity

Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources

Types of Documentation

Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists

Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style

Types of Documentation: Note Citations

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Finding Library Resources

Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing

How Is Writing Graded?

How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool

The Draft Stage

The Draft Stage: The First Draft

The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft

The Draft Stage: Using Feedback

The Research Stage

Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing

Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure

Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument

Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion

Writing Arguments: Types of Argument

Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing


General Style Manuals

Researching on the Internet

Special Style Manuals

Writing Handbooks

Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project

Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report

Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve

Collaborative Writing: Methodology

Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation

Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan

General Introduction

Peer Reviewing

Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan

Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule

Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

Reviewing Your Plan with Others

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Introduction to the Writing Process

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  • 1 What is The Writing Process?
  • 2 Steps to Writing Process
  • 3 Publishing/Sharing Writing

What is The Writing Process? [ ]

Writing has been a part of our lives for centuries. As humans, we are able to communi cate with each other effectively through verbal speech and written text. We develop words and structured sentences, which then form paragraphs. Delivering such information to our audience, we must consider a various steps that guide us towards writing an effective document, otherwise known as  the writing process .  

Steps to Writing Process [ ]

As mentioned before, there are numerous steps we must take in order to form a well-structured document.

Steps to The Writing Process

The stages of writing process are:

  • Planning-  This is the most critical portion of the writing process and is also where majority of your time is spent on this writing assignment. In this stage. You begin to consider your purpose, your audience, your ideas about the topic, and your research . 
  • Drafting-  Once you have formed an outline around your topic, you can begin create a format using word process, a paper, or any other means of writing. You will use this a basis or template to complete structured sentences and defined paragraphs. You may also consider word choice, style of writing, sentence fluency, and organization of wriitng. 
  • Revising - At this stage, you are looking at whether or not your draft answers the bigger questions. You must jump step back into the pre-writing phase by re-analyzing your audience, your purpose, and your subject. You are continuously rereading the document, looking for different things. You can have outside sources to provide constructive criticism to your "rough" draft, also known as peer review, which allows another perspective "to help you see whether or not you have made correct assumptions about how readers will react to your ideas and whether you have chosen appropriate kinds of evidence and design elements". [1]
  • Editing - For the most part, editing interchangable with the revising because you are continuously making changes to your drafted writing. In this case, we are more focused on improving the grammer, punctuation, style, diction (word choice), mechanics, and usage. You may seek assistance from others using software functions such as spell check on your word document programs or having outside help. This is important in order for readers to clearly understand what you are saying without being distracted by grammatical and mechanical mistakes. 
  • Proofreading - Again this stage is usually in the mix with revision and editing because you are checking whether or not there are any typos in your writing (i.e. writing "two" instead of "to), misplaced words in your sentences, or missing articles (i.e. forgeting an 'a' before the phrase "key statistical factor.") in your sentences. 

Publishing/Sharing Writing [ ]

After you have completed drafting, revising & editing , you must consider the type of medium you like to share your writing to. Now this may be based on the intended audience you are writing to and/or the criteria in which you are graded for. The avenue of writing really depends on the who you want to see reading your writing. For example, if you are writing a compare/contrast paper on two types of phones, you might consider placing this on a blog because of the type of audience and genre that must be considered in the writing process. But if you are writing a short story or novel, then this form of writing would most likely be published in print format through a publishing company. 

  • ↑ Writing Technical Documents, Chapter 3 Page 51

Markel, Mike. "Chapter 3:Writing Technical Documents."  Technical Communication  (Tenth Edition). Bedord/St. Martins. Chapter 5 (2012). 41-53. Print.

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The Writing Process

The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process. 

Steps of the Writing Process

process of writing introduction

Step 1: Prewriting

Think and Decide

  • Make sure you understand your assignment. See  Research Papers  or  Essays
  • Decide on a topic to write about. See   Prewriting Strategies  and  Narrow your Topic
  • Consider who will read your work. See  Audience and Voice
  • Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See  Outlines

Step 2: Research (if needed) 

  • List places where you can find information.
  • Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
  • Evaluate your sources. See  Evaluating Sources  and  Primary vs. Secondary Sources
  • Make an outline to help organize your research. See  Outlines

Step 3: Drafting

  • Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
  • Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See  Thesis Statements
  • Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See  Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary  
  • Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
  • Read it again.
  • Write some more.
  • Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.

Step 4: Revising

Make it Better

  • Read what you have written again. See  Revising Content  and  Revising Organization
  • Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order. 
  • Take out or add parts.
  • Do more research if you think you should.
  • Replace overused or unclear words.
  • Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.

Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

Make it Correct

  • Be sure all sentences are complete. See  Editing and Proofreading
  • Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
  • APA Formatting
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Module 3: Writing Process

Introduction to writing process, why is it necessary to think of writing as a process.

As students, we’re used to thinking of “essay” as a noun. It’s often seen as an obligation, a task, a chore. 

Man rock climbing

A mountain climber wouldn’t attempt a new technically-challenging climb without a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time. Essayists also need planning and preparation for new technical challenges.

The writing process supports the exploratory, open-ended nature of essay writing. It gives you guidance towards a final product, while still allowing you room to explore along the way.

Graphic labeled "The Writing Process." A line of brightly colored circles are connected by gray arrows wrapping around them. From left to right, they read: Topic, Prewrite, Evidence, Organize, Draft, Revise, Proofread.

We’ll spend this module exploring each stage of the writing process, showing how stages overlap and intersect to lead you towards writing success.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to

  • Identify topic selection activities
  • Identify prewriting activities
  • Identify activities to find evidence in support of a claim
  • Identify essay organizational techniques
  • Identify drafting activities
  • Identify revision activities
  • Identify proofreading activities
  • Why It Matters: Writing Process. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of Writing Process. Authored by : Kim Louie for Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Image of rock climber. Authored by : Alli Day. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/CY3jpB . License : CC BY-ND: Attribution-NoDerivatives
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MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing

Resources for Writers: The Writing Process

Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

  • Prewriting is anything you do before you write a draft of your document. It includes thinking, taking notes, talking to others, brainstorming, outlining, and gathering information (e.g., interviewing people, researching in the library, assessing data).
  • Although prewriting is the first activity you engage in, generating ideas is an activity that occurs throughout the writing process.
  • Drafting occurs when you put your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. Here you concentrate upon explaining and supporting your ideas fully. Here you also begin to connect your ideas. Regardless of how much thinking and planning you do, the process of putting your ideas in words changes them; often the very words you select evoke additional ideas or implications.
  • Don’t pay attention to such things as spelling at this stage.
  • This draft tends to be writer-centered: it is you telling yourself what you know and think about the topic.
  • Revision is the key to effective documents. Here you think more deeply about your readers’ needs and expectations. The document becomes reader-centered. How much support will each idea need to convince your readers? Which terms should be defined for these particular readers? Is your organization effective? Do readers need to know X before they can understand Y?
  • At this stage you also refine your prose, making each sentence as concise and accurate as possible. Make connections between ideas explicit and clear.
  • Check for such things as grammar, mechanics, and spelling. The last thing you should do before printing your document is to spell check it.
  • Don’t edit your writing until the other steps in the writing process are complete.


  1. 3.1. ENG 100/101 Writing Process

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  1. How Do You Write an Introduction for a Story?

    Ways to write an introduction for a story include keeping the intro short, using it to captivate the reader, promising positive things for those who stick with the story, and encapsulating all of it in language that is witty without being o...

  2. How Do You Write an Introduction for a Guest Speaker?

    When writing an introduction for a guest speaker, begin by welcoming the audience to the event or speech, note that it is an honor to be able to introduce the speaker, provide an overview of the speaker’s significance to the community or bu...

  3. How Do You Write an Introduction to a Project?

    An introduction to a project, paper or verbal presentation engages an audience and provides a concise preview that includes the background of the project, clarifies the points examined and explains the conclusions. An introduction sometimes...

  4. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order: An opening hook to catch the reader's attention. Relevant background

  5. How To Write an Introduction in 4 Easy Steps: A Complete Guide

    Tips for writing an introduction · Understand your audience. When you write your introduction, it's important to consider who your reader will

  6. Introduction to the Process

    While no guide can help you find what exact situations will work best for you, there are aspects of the process that, when followed, promote a cleaner, more

  7. Introduction

    While you write, concentrating on the writing process, rather than what others will think, can give you the confidence to focus on the task at hand. Although

  8. How to Write an Introduction, With Examples

    How to write an introduction paragraph in 6 steps · 1 Decide on the overall tone and formality of your paper · 2 Write your thesis statement · 3

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    Steps to Writing Process · Planning- This is the most critical portion of the writing process and is also where majority of your time is spent on this writing

  10. The Writing Process

    Steps of the Writing Process · Step 1: Prewriting · Step 2: Research (if needed) · Step 3: Drafting · Step 4: Revising · Step 5: Editing and Proofreading.

  11. Introduction to Writing Process

    The writing process supports the exploratory, open-ended nature of essay writing. It gives you guidance towards a final product, while still allowing you room

  12. Writing an Introduction Paragraph

    Begin the introduction paragraph with a hook that is relevant to the topic and will gain reader attention. Add a sentence or two of background that explains why

  13. 2.1.1: Introduction to Writing Processes

    Organizing, focusing, inventing, formatting, revising, editing, and publishing – these activities are essential to playing the doubting game, a

  14. Resources for Writers: The Writing Process

    Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process.