Hooks for Academic Paper


The first essay in the life of our imaginary friend Jake was dedicated to environmental problems and he started it with the following phrases:

“Nowadays, everybody should care about the preservation of nature. It is very important for all of us or the planet will be in trouble”

The teacher praised him, but when he matriculated to the university he understood: this is a great example of a very poor start after which the reader will get bored in the first moment. People don’t like when they receive the obvious information as well as they hate the binding collocation “everybody should” – they need something more catchy and enticing. And this is not only one way to make them sleep. That’s why you need some attention grabber which will hold them until the end of the paper. Not only advertising but any article, review or an academic essay becomes better if it has a hook.
hook your reader
Sometimes we start to read some texts to see what comes next even without the interest to the covered topic. The other we close after 1 minute of reading. The reason is that in the first kind of essays the experienced writers skillfully set traps for us. You are able to do the same by:

1. Stating a Staggering Fact or Entertaining Statistics

Entertaining Statistics

Numbers are work good in any text as well as little-known facts do. Statistics also can make the essay more convincing especially when you reinforce them by mentioning the source. Here and later I will provide examples for better understanding. Let’s get back to the topic of my first essay – the environment. In this case, the beginning could be followed by such hooks:

“40% of all produced bottled water is actually bottled tap water according to the Ecology Global Network.”

“The factories that produce toilet paper cut down 27,000 trees each day”

2. Providing Some Quotation from the Book or the Famous Person Utterance

A great citation at the beginning sets the tone of the composition and makes the reader reflect on the problem. But be careful with quotes. It is better not to choose very popular or overused phrases. They will not arouse the person interest or even cause the irritation. Also, the utterance must be corresponding to the main idea of the essay.

“On Earth, there is no heaven but there are pieces of it” – Jules Renard

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan

3. Asking the Provocative Question

Questions are good because the people got used responding to them unconsciously and it involves them in reading. Before asking the question you should be sure if it is intriguing enough not only to your mind but to every potential reader. The series of queries also will be efficient especially if you want to promote your idea and make the person agree with you in the end. It is proved that after 3 “yes” the reader will say it the fourth time without any difficulties. Few examples:

“Isn’t it too late to save the Earth?”

“Have you ever imagined what could happen with your city if every citizen threw the trash into the bins?”

4. Telling the Story or Sharing Own Experience

Most people are prone to stories and read them eagerly. Especially it works when they see a lesson to be learned in the narrative. So, a little story expressed in the simple words can become your secret weapon to grab all the reader’s attention. It’s also great to dilute an academic paper with the easy-to-read inserts to let the reader have some rest between the heaps of scientific terms while you are writing the paper on the topic difficult to understand.

You can also open a dialogue with the audience by telling some actuality from your life. Despite it’s a great way to create a truly engaging hook, it is better not to be used if the university forbids students to apply personal and possessive pronouns like “I”, “you”, “mine” in the papers. You still can share your experience but by avoiding those words at the same time. If you were attentive, you could notice that the article contains an example to this point at start.

5. Challenging Yourself with an Improbable Statement

Time to Argue 'Semantics'
Start off with the misconception or with wrong opinion and the reader is already on your hook. People will have a stake in the continuation because they will simply wonder why you began the essay with a mistake.

Also, you can challenge yourself and provide them with the opposite point of view first. This kind of statement takes a place of your imaginary opponent with whom you are going to argue and prove the trueness of your opinion. It may seem that such a move would only weaken the essay: the reader will not believe the author and agree with someone else’s opinion. That’s why choose the opponent you could handle. Here the examples are:

“Some people admit that we shouldn’t think about the future of our planet. Who cares if we live here and now?”

“Genetically modified foods are awfully harmful to our bodies. But actually, this fact has long since been disproved by the scientists.”

Find more hooks on the following picture:

Essay Hooks Infographic
It is not necessary to use those hooks in the paper: you can discover the own way to draw the reader into your web. There are different types of essays to write so consider which one could be the most appropriate. Even if your hook is killing, don’t ruin the whole essay by giving poor arguments or providing the superficial analysis of the data. Write also an outline for the research paper and get prepared well for the tough but interesting job. Apply enough pressure and you will compose the decent essay of which you will be not ashamed even after a while.

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Author: Patricia Jenkins

Patricia Jenkins is the senior writing advisor at FastEssay blog for international students that seek quick paper assistance. In her blog, Patricia shares useful tips on productivity, writing, research, references. Sometimes Patricia goes off topic by sharing her personal experience peppered with lively humor and healthy irony.

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