Introductory texts characteristics, structure and types

Philip Kelley

The introductory texts They are the texts with which a book begins and their main function is to present the work and the author. It is the precedent to the body of the book and can be written by the author, editor or a third party who has knowledge of the subject that occupies the book.

They briefly explain the fundamental characteristics of the work and encourage the reader to enter the text. The introductory texts of novels are always characterized by leaving elements to the reader's curiosity.

These opening texts are also called preliminary documents to the theoretical construction. They briefly explain the reason why the work was written, the way it was written, the context and the implicit ideologies.

Despite having the previous descriptions, there is no rule that strictly structures them, but they do have common characteristics. You may also find it useful to know how to start an introduction: 4 effective tips.

Characteristics of the introductory texts

1- They present or introduce the work

This is the main function of the introductory texts, although as we will see below it has other functions.

2- They guide the reader about the content

They serve to locate the reader on the topic to be developed. Many times the titles of the books and the back cover do not fully clarify the central theme of the work.

3- They justify the purpose of the work

They give an account of the reasons or motives that led the writer to develop the book, as well as its purpose with the same.

4- They indicate the sources of information

Indicate which sources and authors served as support for the work. Although this is exactly detailed in the bibliography.

5- They warn about modifications

Some authors modify their works edition after edition, the introductory texts show which parts have been modified and why.

6- They thank the collaborators of the work

They also serve to highlight the work of people who, although they are not direct authors, have helped to carry it out..

7- They seek to sympathize with the reader

One of the premises of the introductory texts is to be attractive and friendly to definitely catch the reader.

Structure of the introductory texts

Almost all works or books have introductory texts, these are structured so that the reader has a basic idea of ​​the topic and motivates him to continue reading..

Although the introductory texts have a common structure and purposes, they can be concretely placed under several names, they can be: foreword, preface, preliminary study, presentation and introduction.

The central idea of ​​all of them is to present a brief summary of the main content of the work. Although the terms presented are not synonymous, they can count as introductory texts. Most introductory texts have the following structure:

  • Title: it is the external and visible part of the book. Titles refer to content and attempt to summarize it.
  • Resume: the abstract is one of the best examples of introductory text, it abbreviates and specifies the content of the work. Abstracts cannot be used to interpret, analyze or criticize the work or the writer. Editorials usually require short summaries, between one and two paragraphs are estimated for the same.
  • Abstract: the abstract is the same abstract but in English. The abstract is translated into English so that people of that language can see what the book is about and, if they are interested, resort to a translation.
  • Dedication: it is not mandatory. But if the author wishes to place it, he can go to the page following the title. The dedications usually include short lines and be justified to the right. They are aimed at people, institutions and whoever the author deems appropriate.

Types of introductory texts


It comes from the Greek "pro" which means "before" and from "Logos"Which means" speech ". It is a note that is always at the beginning of the work, the prologue can be limited to different genres, including literary or journalistic. The ideal of the prologue is to facilitate the understanding of the text

Most of the time they are narrated by the author of the work to explain what under his eyes is the fundamental of the content. Other times the prologues are written by renowned people who endorse the work, this is a symbol of recognition among writers.


It is one of the ways to show information based on data and research results. The presentation is explicitly addressed to the reader and often has the objective of dedicating and thanking third parties.

Presentations often show information on how the book was made, as well as why the book was made and what it is useful for to readers..


The introduction describes the scope of the work and gives a brief summary of it. Some introductions show background that is important.

When reading the introduction, the reader “prefigures” the theme in the words of Paul Ricoeur. Introductions appear in all research papers and books, of all forms of introductory texts these are the most recurrent.


In the preface, the author usually indicates his intentions and objectives with the content of the work. Other authors, especially of literary genres, use them to introduce the novel by narrating a segment of its content as part of the plot.

Purposes of introductory texts

As has become clear, the introductory texts are intended to shed light on the work to the reader. It is the first opportunity that the author has to capture the interest of the reader and defend the merit of the same.

Many prologues offer clues to the correct interpretation of the work. The brief profile that is made must be clear, brief, eloquent and intriguing if it is about literature.

Finally, they give an account of the trajectory and the merits of the author of the work to establish in the mind of the reader that the person who writes is a person with experience and that, by virtue of their background, reading promises.


  1. Wikipedia Contributors (2017) Preface. Recovered from:
  2. (2016) introductory texts. Recovered from:
  3. Flores, M. (2014) Texts introductory. Recovered from:
  4.  Navarro, M. (1996) Creative processes for the construction of texts: interpretation and composition. Editorial Magisterio. Colombia.

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