Writers utilise a variety of methods to captivate and propel audiences into reading more. A common form of intrigue is with a slow method, beginning with very broad subject matter and getting more specific with each sentence. This is called the funnel method because the topic begins wide, like the top of a funnel, but becomes narrow at the end of the paragraph, like the bottom of a funnel. Writers most often employ this method for introductory paragraphs, as it gives perspective to a large audience concerning why the topic applies to them.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Decide on the topic and outline major points and develop an idea for the thesis. This will narrow down ideas and also develop a larger perspective concerning the topic. For instance, if your topic is the importance of early childhood education, main points could be funding, available facilities and staffing. Brainstorm about these topics and you will have information for the top of the funnel.
Read over the brainstormed ideas. Choose one broad idea, like the end result or larger problem of your topic. Consider societal implications or monetary costs to interest your audience, but also to show readers that your smaller subject plays a role in a larger picture. In the example of childhood education, start with the difficulty of older children who did benefit from that experience. Write one or two sentences describing the expansive idea.
Review your notes and develop a thesis that addresses the main points of the essay. Now look at the broad beginning and the thesis; add information to connect them. Use transitions to connect each new idea. Show readers how the opening idea is the umbrella of your focused thesis. Work your way from the big picture to specific details that transition into the thesis.
Read each sentence separately once you finish the introductory paragraph. Rearrange sentences or ideas so that it reads like a funnel; information should start as a large flow but end in a trickle. Check that each sentence incrementally becomes more detailed. Review the finished introductory project with rested eyes so you can honestly evaluate the effectiveness of the funnel.
Tips and warnings
- Tweak the introductory paragraph as the rest of the essay builds. A chiselled opening may become clear as you develop the rest of the paper.
- Do not start with too broad of a topic as you can confuse your reader when you are unable to adequately narrow it down.
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