Notes for week 10

No matter what your draft paper is about it will have an introduction of some sort. Introductions matter. If they are unimaginative and by the numbers, you convey to your reader what is ahead, i.e. this is more of a chore than an interesting read.

I have gathered a set of papers, loosely themed on your area of interest. I'm sure you can identify which is yours. You don't need to use these if you don't want to. Feel free to choose one or two of your favourite papers. It is only the introductions of each paper that is of interest.

Murphy, N. A., & Wibberley, C. (2017). Development of an academic identity through PhD supervision-an issue for debate. Nurse education in practice, 22, 63-65. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2016.12.002

So. Just read the introduction of your paper. Pay attention to the first paragraph. Look at what it does to set the scene for what follows. Would you have opened the paper that way? Is the paper trying to establish the importance, significance of the issue or problem initially? Did it grab your attention or was it ho hum?

Now look to see how whether and how the introduction covers the general argument of the paper.

What else does the introduction do?

Make some notes about the structure of the introduction you have read. Would that work for what you want to write. Remember that the introduction to your proposal will be longer than the introduction of most papers that you come across.

Here are a few more papers whose introductions do interesting work:

Nespor, J. (2012). The Afterlife of “Teachers’ Beliefs”: Qualitative Methodology and the Textline. Qualitative Inquiry, 18(5), 449-460. doi:10.1177/1077800412439530

The introduction is quite short but engaging. Jan Nespor is one of my favourite writers/thinkers.
Akrich, M. (2010). From Communities of Practice to Epistemic Communities: Health Mobilizations on the Internet. Sociological Research Online, 15(2), 10. Retrieved from

This introduction is long but it maps in some detail what the paper does.

If you come across an introduction you think is worth considering then please pop it on here.

Most well written papers will have good ideas in terms of how you might structure your introduction. Some of you have used a telling quote in your first task. Quotes, good ones, always work well in setting the scene for the reader. So too do good, short stories that point to or help illustrate the problem you want to communicate to your readers.

If you were further interested in some interesting ideas about academic writing, you might find Helen Sword's book1 worth a look.

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