Introductions and Conclusions

Find information on:

  • 3 parts of an introduction: What? Why? How?
  • Introduction phrases
  • 3 parts of a conclusion: What? So what? Now what?
  • Conclusion phrases

What is an introduction?

An introduction sets the scene for the writing ahead. It does this by outlining the writing’s focus, explaining its importance and providing a map of the main points that will follow. In terms of length, introductions normally take up to 10% of your word count.

Lightbulb iconTip: Try writing it last as you will be clearer about your writing.


3 main elements within introductions

* Note: this is not a suggestion for structure

1. Outline your topic, aims & define key terms

  • What are the aims of this research?
  • What is the context (social, political, economic, theoretical) to the topic?
  • What are the key terms to be defined?


2. Explain the importance

  • Why is this area of research significant?
  • Why is it important to your practice?


3. Provide a map of the writing

  • How will this topic be covered?
  • Which key practitioners or theories are used?
  • Which aspects will be discussed?
  • Have you limited your focus to an aspect of a topic?
  • What might you seek to argue overall?


 Phrases for introductions 

This essay aims to …

According to … (year, p. ), X can be defined as “ …”

X is a major area of interest within  …  as …

There is an ongoing debate surrounding …

My interest in this area developed while I was …

One key theory utilised is …

The research centres around examples from …

The main areas to be addressed in this report are a), b) and c) …

Chapter … discusses …


What is a conclusion?

Conclusions also take up around 10 % of your word count. They restate your aims, summarise your findings and make a final conclusion in answer to your title. Avoid featuring any new information such as extra evidence, which could be placed in the paragraphs before. Additionally, you can sometimes consider the future of the topic in terms of research, actions or practice.

Lightbulb iconTip: Look back at your paragraphs, and make a quick list of the main findings.


3 main elements within conclusions

* Note: this is not a suggestion for structure.

1. Restate your aims and summarise the findings

  • What did the assignment aim to cover?
  • What were the key findings?


2. Make a final conclusion

  • So what is your overall stance to the title set?
  • So what can be learnt from this?


3. Point forward to the future (optional)

  • What further research or actions could be carried out next?
  • How could this research influence my practice?


Phrases for conclusions

This essay discussed the reasons for …

This report aimed to …

The research shows that …

The most significant finding to emerge is that…

A question for future research is …



Study Skills Toolkit
See further introduction and conclusion phrases from Manchester University’s Academic Phrase Bank (2019). Look at our Introductions and Conclusions study guide for a reminder of the key elements and checklists.


Sources consulted for this page include:

  • Godfrey, J. (2013) The student phrase book. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Godwin, J. (2014) Planning your essay. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Manchester University (2016) Academic phrase bank. Available at: (Accessed: 25 January 2019).
  • Mann, S. (2011) Study skills for art design and media students. Harlow: Pearson.
  • Mcmillan, K. and Weyers, J. (2011) How to write essays and assignments. 2nd edn. Harlow: Pearson.
  • University of Plymouth (2006) Model to generate critical thinking. Available at: (Accessed: 18 February 2019).