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Introductions

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Basic Components

Your introduction needs to include the following basic components.

  • Importance of the topic (be as specific as possible; the essay does not require the entire history of education). This is sometimes called Background.
  • Thesis statement/aim/purpose (e.g. This essay will describe the main… / It will be argued that the priorities for...)
  • Organisation (First,…will be discussed, followed by… )

You may also need a brief definition of your terms. However, if the definitions are complicated or contested, you will need a separate section after the introduction. See the page on definitions for an example: Definitions

You need to write or edit your introduction last (not first), to make sure it matches the paper you have written. Do not spend too much time on it at the beginning.

Example Introduction

Here is an example of the introduction from a report produced for a Masters module:

Underlying this report is the assumption that organisations, and the individuals within them, hold the intention to do their job well, and, if possible, to do their job better, within the context of their particular situation, abilities and priorities. Creating and developing coaching relationships within the organisation can be described as one form of an attempt to move in this direction. Accordingly, this report analyses the potential for an increase in coaching practice within one particular organisation. It will be suggested that coaching might usefully be incorporated into certain areas of the organisation. Coaching within organisations, for the purpose of this report, is taken to refer to a particular type of intentional conversation. This conversation may contribute to the development of the coachee while potentially enhancing the individual's work within the organisation (as discussed by Boyatzis, Smith and Blaize, 2006). The report will first consider a more nuanced definition of coaching, along with an outline of current themes in the way coaching is discussed in the literature. This is followed by an explanation and justification of taking a psychoanalytically informed approach to an analysis of coaching within organisations (Arnaud, 2003). After that, the specific organisational context of the [XYZ workplace] will be analysed, together with an assessment of the need for coaching within this organisation, and an evaluation of the existing potential to facilitate such conversations. At the same time, a brief strategy and implementation plan that details how these needs could be met will be presented. 

Source: Blackwell, J. (2013) Advancing coaching and mentoring in and across organisational contexts. Organisational Report. UCL Institute of Education: Unpublished MA Assignment.

Analysis 

Below, the elements of the example introduction are analysed in more detail:


Underlying this report is the assumption that organisations, and the individuals within them, hold the intention to do their job well, and, if possible, to do their job better, within the context of their particular situation, abilities and priorities. Creating and developing coaching relationships within the organisation can be described as one form of an attempt to move in this direction.

These two statements set out the importance of the topic. The way this is done, and the information which is needed, will vary depending on the topic. Please remember that this is only one example.


Accordingly, this report analyses the potential for an increase in coaching practice within one particular organisation. 

This sentence states the aim of the assignment, in the context of the abovementioned importance (Accordingly...). It also restates the assignment title/task.


It will be suggested that coaching might usefully be incorporated into certain areas of the organisation.

This is the thesis statement.


Coaching within organisations, for the purpose of this report, is taken to refer to a particular type of intentional conversation. This conversation may contribute to the development of the coachee while potentially enhancing the individual's work within the organisation (as discussed by Boyatzis, Smith and Blaize, 2006).

Here we have a brief definition of the key term, for the purpose of this assignment.


The report will first consider a more nuanced definition of coaching, along with an outline of current themes in the way coaching is discussed in the literature. This is followed by an explanation and justification of taking a psychoanalytically informed approach to an analysis of coaching within organisations (Arnaud, 2003). After that, the specific organisational context of the [XYZ workplace] will be analysed, together with an assessment of the need for coaching within this organisation, and an evaluation of the existing potential to facilitate such conversations. At the same time, a brief strategy and implementation plan that details how these needs could be met will be presented.

This final section provides the outline/structure/organisation, so that the reader knows what to expect.


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