Understanding the value of introductions – can you help me?

Understanding the value of introductions – can you help me?

TL;DR – any tips/pointers towards scholarly articles analysing value of, and value of specific features of, introductions (in written text, spoken text, film, games, etc.), would be much appreciated!

In a bit more detail…

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m involved in developing several strategic communications plans at the moment – something I have some, but not huge, experience of, and which I find fascinating.

I’m curious to understand better what makes for a more effective communication plan. As part of that, I’m reading around to try and better understand the value of different parts of such plans, what features make these parts more/less valuable, and ideas on how best to develop that content/material.

I’m starting at the beginning at the moment – looking into the context-setting introduction part of the plan.

There are lots of pages and documents available online offering tips on best practices for writing (mostly) academic essay/article/thesis introductions (e.g. this section of the USC Guide to organising social science research papers).

There are also lots of articles analysing introductions of research articles and theses – however they are mostly comparative, interested in understanding differences between introductions written in different fields, by different kinds of people (students, native English speakers, etc.) (e.g. this article "Innovations in structuring article introductionsThe case of Applied Linguistics" by Ling Lin).

However, something I have totally failed to find any information on – despite spending I think three or four hours looking for it – is scholarly/scientific analysis, generally, of the value of having an introduction in a written text (novel, advertising flyer, essay, etc.)/game (e.g. computer game)/spoken text (fiction, documentary)/film etc.

I had assumed that researchers would have explored the impact of having/not having an introduction on the reader/consumer in terms of e.g.:

  • pleasure of consuming the product
  • effectiveness and efficiency with which the product conveys its desired message (did the reader understand better the topic of the article, it’s conclusions, after reading it – and how quickly?)
  • chance that reader would consume the full product (e.g. finish reading the article)

… and that they would have gone on from there to explore ways the introductions could be differently structured, written, etc., that would impact these features.

However, I just can’t find anything on these topics!

I’m not sure if there’s nothing out there on this at all (or very little), or if I’m using the wrong search terms, or looking in the wrong places…

I’m keen to find this stuff as:

  • I’m interested in it
  • I hope that being able to better understand what makes for good/valuable structures of the introductions (and other features of the communication plan) I’ll be able to help develop more effective ones, more quickly

So! Any help/advice pointing me to these kinds of things, would be greatly appreciated! If you’re happy to share those kinds of ideas, please ping me on @AidanBudd on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

BTW – this is the first time I use this blog for one of the things I thought I might find it useful i.e. writing a short text that is too long for Twitter, about a topic I’m keen to share with others – curious to see if/how it works…

Note – corrected some typos in this post on 04.07.2017, original post was made 02.07.2014.

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