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Looking for a Good Way to Start a Paper: Strategies for Hooking a Reader's Attention

The introduction and thesis statement for any essay is the first thing your reader will see. That is why it is important that you hook your reader’s attention right from the start. If you can interest them with the first few lines of your essay then sthey will stick around long enough to hear your entire argument through until the end. But if they are not interested or your thesis fails to tell them the information they need then they won’t.

If you want to hook the reader’s attention you need a thesis statement that is exciting and interesting. Your thesis needs to shape the topic of your paper. It needs to get right into the bulk or meat of your writing. Your thesis should be specific in that it tells the reader exactly what they will learn rather than just skimming the surface of what they might learn. You want a thesis that is focused.

Consider these examples:

  1. Today people hold many objections to horror films.
  2. This is a thesis that is too general. It will not hook the attention of the reader because it has nothing of interest to offer. Compare it to these three alternatives:

  3. Due to the fact that improved cinematic techniques have given filmmakers the tools to produce visceral and graphic films horror flicks have desensitized viewers to violence.
  4. Both women and men are degraded by the pornographic violence in slasher films.
  5. Slasher films today fail to offer viewers the emotional catharsis that 1930’s films did.

The latter three thesis statements are much more precise. They give the reader more detail and hook them.

You want the thesis to remain this clear. You need to make sure that your reader knows exactly what you mean and what your paper is about.

So when writing your thesis avoid using technical language unless the report is a technical one. Unless you are confident that all readers will be familiar with jargon related to your field you should steer clear. Alleviate words that are vague including:

  1. Unusual
  2. Interesting
  3. Negative
  4. Exciting
  5. Difficult

Alleviate words that are too abstract as well such as:

  1. Culture
  2. Values
  3. Society

Vague or abstract words will do nothing for your reader. They will not understand your topic better and they will not be “hooked”.

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