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Drafting the introduction

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Read the following two draft introductions. Which seems to be the more adequate?

Introduction 1

Divorce is increasingly a problem in society and sociologists have provided a number of different explanations for it happening. The first type of explanation can be characterised as a legal one. Bilton et al., (1987) who represent this position, say that increased divorce is not necessarily due to families becoming more unstable, mainly because they suggest it is simply not possible to find this information out. Bilton et al. believe instead that increased divorce is related more to changes in family law. They do not think however, that new laws are the cause of divorce, but are a kind of solution for unhappily married couples who did not previously have a way of getting out of their marriage. It will be argued in this essay that a legalistic approach like this is not really adequate.

Introduction 2

One major change that has occurred in the Western family is an increased incidence in divorce. This change is borne out clearly in census figures. For example thirty years ago in Australia only one marriage in ten ended in divorce; nowadays the figure is more than one in three (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1996). An interesting issue is why this change has occurred - a question that has been considered by a number of sociologists. In this essay, I will seek to critically examine a number of sociological explanations for the 'divorce phenomenon' and also consider the social policy implications that each explanation carries with it. It will be argued that the best explanations are to be found within a broad socio-economic framework.

Which, in your view, is the more adequate introduction?


Introduction 2 is clearly more introductory. Unlike Introduction 1, it provides some context for the essay as well as giving the reader a sense of:

  1. how the essay will unfold (structure)
  2. what the argument will be.

Introduction 1 is less adequate because it contains very little introductory material and fails to orient the reader to the topic. Most of it is taken up with detailed information which is very difficult to follow.

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