Grabbing the attention of a reader is the purpose of the opening sentence of a paper. Think of it as the hook of a fisherman who tries to catch some fish. The first sentence of any written work sets the tone for the whole paper. Writers often make the mistake of overlooking this, but the first sentence has to be thought through very carefully. This is a skill which has to be learned and practiced.
The question is, what makes the first sentence captivating? It has to be interesting and engaging, sure, but how do you achieve that? Some ideas have been provided by our employees who know how to work with the written word.
Advice number one: avoid stating the purpose of the paper in the first sentence. Instead, think of an attention grabber which is relevant for your topic. Use a known fact or a statement that you intend to challenge; alternatively, an anecdote related to the topic might work.
Secondly, if you cannot think of such an attention grabber, leave it for later. Often, it is better to write the first sentence and the introduction right after you finish the whole paper.
Thirdly, make sure that the opening leads the reader gradually to your thesis. Keep the introduction short and express your opinion clearly, in a logical manner. Simply take it slow and don’t panic if you experience a writer’s block!