An essay is a short piece of writing that focuses on one particular subject. It is generally made up of a one-paragraph introduction, the body, which is about two or three paragraphs, and a short one-paragraph conclusion. The introduction sets the tone for the entire essay and should include very specific information.
The Thesis Statement
The most important part of an essay's introduction is the thesis statement. A good essay will take a subject and provide a specific argument or interpretation, not just regurgitate the facts. The thesis will state the writer's argument, leaving the body with the task of proving this point. It will include how you will prove your point, thus telling the reader what to expect throughout the paper. The thesis statement is only one or two sentences and can be placed anywhere in the introduction.
Other Parts of the Introduction
In addition to the thesis, a strong introduction will provide any necessary background information on the subject. It will also create interest to encourage the audience to continue reading the essay. Do this with an interesting fact or brief story, or state the big picture meaning behind your argument. It should also restate the topic question, though not necessarily word for word, in order to reassure the reader that you are correctly addressing the topic.