Skip to Main Content

Getting Started with Wikipedia


Why are introductions important?

  • The two sentences of the introduction are often displayed in Google search results
  • The lead is the first thing most visitors to Wikipedia will read, and may be the only thing they read[1]

First sentence of a Wikipedia article

  • Tells the non-expert reader who or what the subject is, and when or where if applicable.
  • Bold the subject and alternative names

i.e. The University of Rochester (U of RUR, or U of Rochester) is a private research university in Rochester, New York.

Writing a strong introduction

  • Lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic.
  • Identify the topic, establish context, and explain why the topic is notable.
  • Summarize the most important points including any controversies.
  • Should contain no more than four well-composed paragraphs and be carefully sourced as appropriate
  • Requires no research on your part — all of the information you need is included in the article.

Introduction cleanup

The reason that an introduction needs editing will appear at the top of the article. One of the most common reasons is that it is "too short to adequately summarize the key points" of the article.

  1. Select an article from page linked below. Articles listed with "Start" in the Class column are typically shorter and may be a good place to start.
  2. Read the article and make a note of the important parts.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Rewrite the introduction to include the important points, keeping in mind the qualities of a strong introduction listed above.
  5. Click Show preview at the bottom of the page to view your changes & make sure it looks correct.
  6. If it looks good, remove the template at the top of the page. i.e., {{Lead too short|date=May 2022}}
  7. Enter an Edit Summary, such as "Rewrote introduction".
  8. Click Publish changes.