As examples of how creative an introduction can be, here are the opening lines from a geography paper and a paper on optics, both of which use narrative technique to arouse our interest.
Note how the first excerpt uses an "I" narrator comfortably while the second excerpt does not use "I" even though the writer is clearly reflective about the subject matter. Most papers have outright thesis statements or objectives.
Another important principle in technical writing is that the introduction should be problem-focused, giving the reader enough background so that the paper’s importance and relationship to key ideas are clear.
A rule of thumb about the introduction’s length: about 5-10% of the entire paper.
From the flat state of Indiana, here are two pages on how to write sound thesis statements: "How to Write a Thesis Statement" article from Indiana University, Bloomington "Tips and Examples for Writing a Thesis Statement" article from Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) Never simply label the middle bulk of the paper as "Body" and then lump a bunch of information into one big section.
Instead, organize the body of your paper into sections by using an overarching principle that supports your thesis, even if that simply means presenting four different methods for solving some problem one method at a time.
The first excerpt is from a paper on the generic nature of America’s highway exit ramp services; the second is from a paper on shape constancy. Our eyes often receive pictures of the world that are contrary to physical reality. Normally you will not devote a separate section of the paper to this; in fact, often the thesis or objective is conveniently located either right at the beginning or right at the end of the Introduction.
The observation struck me slowly, a growing sense of déjà vu. A pencil in a glass of water miraculously bends; railroad tracks converge in the distance. A good thesis statement fits only the paper in which it appears. ." Instead, concretely announce the most important elements of your topic and suggest your fundamental approach—even point us toward the paper’s conclusion if you can.
I was driving the endless miles of Interstate 70 crossing Kansas when I began to notice that the exits all looked the same. Thesis statements usually forecast the paper’s content, present the paper’s fundamental hypothesis, or even suggest that the paper is an argument for a particular way of thinking about a topic. Here are two carefully focused and thoughtfully worded thesis statements, both of which appeared at the ends of introductory paragraphs: This paper reviews the problem of Pennsylvania’s dwindling landfill space, evaluates the success of recycling as a solution to this problem, and challenges the assumption that Pennsylvania will run out of landfill space by the year 2020.
Avoid the purely mechanical act of writing statements like "The first topic covered in this paper is x. As this paper will show, the fundamental problem behind the Arab-Israeli conflict is the lack of a workable solution to the third stage of partition, which greatly hinders the current negotiations for peace.