Introduction, Body, and Conclusion

Cartoon pencil writing on paper

Introductions

As their name indicates, introductions should “introduce,” outline, or give an overview of what your paper is going to talk about. This means introducing the topic, outlining the major points that will be discussed, giving relevant background, and presenting a clear thesis (main idea). Introductions are difficult to write if you have not properly outlined your ideas and if you are not aware of the structure needed for your assignment. An introduction should NOT talk vaguely about the topic or give an overly broad background. They should give specific details and bits of information that outline the parts of the paper. As seen in the example below, students should begin their introduction with a clear topic sentence and end with a detailed thesis. Avoid vague language, over-generalizations, or going off-topic.

Sample Introduction

Should all hospitals use electronic health records?

All hospitals should use electronic health records (EHRs). As new legislation and advances in technology have led many hospitals and clinics away from paper records, the debate between the two still lingers. Some doctors cling to paper records out of habit or personal preference, and there are often concerns about the security of information and protecting patient privacy. But, as Americans become more transient and medical professionals more interconnected, the fact that electronic records can be shared easily between hospitals is becoming more and more important. EHRs also have a physical lasting power that is unmatched by paper records. There are legitimate concerns about the security of electronic records, but the benefits outweigh the risks. Thus, even though EHRs pose some security risks, every hospital should use them because they are permanent and they can be shared easily between hospitals.

  • Topic Sentence
  • Background
  • Main ideas
  • Counterpoint
  • Thesis

The Body

As the “meat” of the paper, the body is where the main ideas are developed, sources are brought in to support them, and the overall argument is made. Each paragraph within the body should revolve around one major idea and follow the basic guidelines of a paragraph, i.e., topic sentence, idea, support, wrap-up. Outlining is key to writing the paper’s body. With a proper outline, you’ll know how many paragraphs (or ideas) you want to present, what order you want to present them, and what you want to say in them.

Using the sample outline we created earlier, you can easily see how this paper’s three body paragraphs would be structured, what ideas they will each talk about, and what support will be needed. Notice that each idea/paragraph within the body is supported by evidence. Much of your writing in HCI will demand that you support it with source evidence, so the body is where you would quote, paraphrase, summarize, or present data/information from credible texts.

 Sample Body Outline

Body Paragraph 1: EHRs are permanent

  • Idea: Electronic health records should be used because they are permanent.
  • Support: Use example from Smith to support this

Body Paragraph 2: EHRs can be shared between hospitals

  • Idea: Electronic health records should be used because they can be shared between hospitals/organizations easily.
  • Support: Use example from lecture notes in module X to support this

Body Paragraph 3: EHRs pose security risks

  • Idea: Electronic health records can be hacked and have cyber security issues.
  • Support: Use example from article X to show this

Conclusions

            Conclusions wrap-up or tie together everything that’s been said and give you a final chance to lay out your main ideas before the reader. Your conclusion should restate your main ideas/thesis, address any opposing views, and point to future directions for research or for your topic. You can think of the conclusion paragraph as a mirror or inverse of the introduction. Just as the introduction presents the topic, main idea, and supporting points to the reader, so does the conclusion bring all of those back together to wrap things up neatly and make one final push for persuasion.

Sample Conclusion

Should all hospitals use electronic health records?

Having looked at the benefits and limited drawback of EHRs, it is abundantly clear that full adoption by hospitals would be the most effective route. Concerns about hacks, lost data, and other information security issues, though legitimate, are not supported by the reality of EHR use. While these security issues exist, their impact and rate of occurrence is not high enough for real concern and the positives of EHR use overshadow them. On the other hand, the advantages of being able to easily transfer information between hospitals or providers, and the fact that this information has a permanent place of storage, make EHRs absolutely necessary. The future of healthcare will rest upon the ability of providers and patients to adapt and adjust to the advantages of technology, so in order to better fulfill the needs of patients, hospitals need to get on board and fully adopt electronic records.

  • Topic Sentence
  • Wrap-up
  • Restate Main ideas
  • Point to the future

Last Updated August 8, 2017