When it comes to writing essays, many would argue that the introduction is the key to whether your essay is a success or failure. The introduction should serve to inform, inspire and potentially educate the reader, but this is only possible if the introduction is written in such a way that it can be deemed compelling. How you achieve this will obviously depend to some extent on the subject matter but there are some key points to consider, no matter what the subject, which could help you to achieve the compelling introduction to open your essay.
Firstly, remember that your introduction doesn't need to be, and indeed shouldn't be too lengthy. Using excess words or developing topics or themes too thoroughly at this stage will leave you struggling to write original content later on in your essay, when the arguments need to be powerful and thought provoking. If you explain all your theories and ideas in the first paragraph the reader will have no reason to read on. Furthermore, succinct writing, especially in the introduction allows for a clear background to your essay to be established.
Background information is essential for any sound essay, and the introduction is the point at which this information should be entered. Providing a background to your question, hypothesis and research will allow your essay to be set in context, making it a far more compelling read.
Once you have laid out the background, you should then briefly mention the key points of your essay, consider what you are trying to prove or disprove. If your argument is countered or supported by other research, state how your work will differ or show similarities to these schools of thought.
Having informed the reader about the background, and stated your key arguments you can then go on to explain exactly how your essay will be developed in terms of research techniques, literature reviews, experiments, and analysis. Again, be sure not to reveal all of the secrets of your essay in your introduction, just enough to inform, enlighten and encourage the reader to want to find out more.
Remember that if you're trying to get someone to want to read your work, it helps if you actually want to write it in the first place; therefore before you start any writing, make sure your essay is dealing with a topic that interests you. This will then come across in your writing and will help to make not only a compelling introduction but a compelling essay in its entirety.