Starting Your Research Paper: Writing an Introductory Paragraph
- Choosing Your Topic
- Define Keywords
- Planning Your Paper
- Writing an Introductory Paragraph
The Dreaded Introductory Paragraph
Writing the introductory paragraph can be a frustrating and slow process -- but it doesn't have to be. If you planned your paper out, then most of the introductory paragraph is already written. Now you just need a beginning and an end.
Here's an introductory paragraph for a paper I wrote. I started the paper with a factoid, then presented each main point of my paper and then ended with my thesis statement.
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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.
The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your topic and get the reader interested
- Provide background or summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.
Table of contents
Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.
The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.
The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.
For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:
A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:
Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.
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This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.
In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.
Argumentative paper: Background information
After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.
Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .
Empirical paper: Describing previous research
For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.
This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.
Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.
The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.
Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance
In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.
Empirical paper: Relate to the literature
In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:
- What research gap is your work intended to fill?
- What limitations in previous work does it address?
- What contribution to knowledge does it make?
You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.
Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.
The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).
Argumentative paper: Thesis statement
The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.
Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis
The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.
Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.
A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.
- This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
- We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.
If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.
For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:
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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.
In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.
If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.
- This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
- This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …
Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.
The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
and your problem statement
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an overview of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
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Introduction Paragraph Examples and Writing Tips
Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Research question | Materials & Methods | Results | Discussion | Conclusion
In this blog, we look at how to write the introduction paragraph of a research paper. We will go through a few introduction paragraph examples and understand how to construct a great introduction paragraph for your research paper.
1. What is the purpose of the introduction paragraph?
The opening paragraph is the first paragraph of your research paper. The opening paragraph is where you want to attract your readers and draw them into your paper. This typically occupies one or two paragraphs. The introduction section must provide necessary background knowledge, so that the readers can understand the motivation behind your experiments and appreciate your findings. After reading your introductory paragraph, the reader should be familiar with the main idea of your paper and understand why your topic is important.
2. What are the 5 parts of an introduction paragraph?
The introduction paragraph of a research paper should typically contain the following components.
Hook You can start with a hook . A hook is nothing but an attractive opening statement.
A broad introduction to the field Here, you can define the general topic of your research.
The specific topic of study Then, the next step is to narrow down your topic and reveal the specific focus of your paper.
Problem definition Then you have to define your problem. You must explain clearly what problem your paper is trying to address or solve.
Importance of your work Then you need to establish why the topic is timely or important?
Benefits of conducting research Here, you can explain the benefits your work and how it will advance the current understanding of the topic.
3.1. What is a Hook?
The opening paragraph typically should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers. This is called a hook. The idea is to hook your reader and reel them in. Just like using hooks with bait to capture a fish in a pond. These are statements designed to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more of your paper.
3.2. How to Write a Hook?
One thing to bear in your mind is that most people reading your paper will have some background knowledge about the topic. So you have to find a way to say things that people already know in a slightly different and interesting manner. The trick is to use statistics, facts, quotations, and questions to make things interesting to the readers. These are called hooks.
3.3. Hook Examples
Now, let’s look at some examples of hooks.
3.3.1. Hook Example #1
Here is an opening statement. Here we are trying to establish that breast cancer is a pretty bad disease. This statement is not very punchy. It is pretty bland and doesn’t convey the seriousness of the situation.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States.
Now, Let’s use some statistics and rewrite the statement. Look at this statement now, the readers will instantly understand how deadly breast cancer is, because you are using numbers to put things into perspective. This will get the reader’s attention straight away, and they will be keen to read more of your paper to find out if you are proposing something to fix this terrible situation.
In 2020, 43,700 females died from breast cancer in the US. It is the most common cancer in women accounting for 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers.
3.3.2. Hook Example #2
Here is another example. Here is an opening statement about global warming. There is nothing new here. Most people know that global warming is bad.
Global warming is causing damage to the environment due to increase in Co2 emissions.
Now, let’s frame this as a question with some facts and numbers. How about this? This sounds way much better because it conveys the urgency of the situation.
Did you know that the Last Decade Was the Hottest in 125,000 Years and there is more Co2 in our atmosphere than at any time in human history?
4. Introduction Paragraph Examples
Let’s look at some examples of introduction paragraphs. The examples we have chosen are quite short, so that it is easy for you to understand. We have chosen examples from different fields and of different formats.
4.1 Example #1 (Social sciences paper)
Here is an introduction paragraph example from a social sciences research paper, and it is about AI, which stands for artificial intelligence. We are providing a broad overview of the topic in the first couple of lines. We are talking about the popularity of the AI, and the recent advancements that has happened in the field.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has received considerable attention in recent years due to its application in various fields such as manufacturing, healthcare, security, etc. In recent years, methods have been proposed to produce sufficiently intelligent software capable of reprogramming. Such production presents a number of challenges as AI may threaten human employment in the future. The development of new programmes will facilitate a better understanding of just how far AI can go. _ Broad overview _ Narrowdown topic _ Problem definition _ Importance of topic
Then, we move on to the problem definition. The problem is about AI threatening the human employment in the future by taking up all the jobs. Then, in the next statement we are talking about the importance of exploring the issue, so that we can understand how far AI will impact our lives in the future.
You can see that this passage ticks all the boxes, there is relevant background information, a clear definition of the problem, and information about the importance of conducting research on this topic.
4.2 Example #2 (Business & Marketing paper)
This introduction passage example is from a marketing and business paper. In this example, we are using a lot of numbers to establish why it is important and timely to conduct research in this domain. We are telling the readers that there are millions of Asians living in UK and their numbers are increasing every year. They have this huge spending power and not many researchers have looked into how and where they spend their money. So, the time has come to explore this market. A lot of interesting data and facts are provided to the readers. And, that is the reason why this is such a good introduction.
Approximately 60.5 million Asians lived in the United Kingdom in 2022, and this will grow at a rate of approximately 13.19% over the next five years. The purchasing power of this demographic is expected to reach over $2.26 trillion by 2025. This market is a growing and relatively unexplored segment in the marketing literature. Researchers and practitioners should therefore be interested in the increasing importance of this market and the potential it holds for businesses. _ Hook _ Problem definition _ Importance/timeliness of topic
4.3 Example #3 (Medicine paper)
Here is an introduction paragraph example from a medicine paper. We are starting the passage with a hook by providing an interesting statistic about obesity. After starting with a broad statement, we are narrowing down the topic. We are dropping a hint that our paper is to do with vitamin d and obesity. With the next statement, we are establishing the importance of the topic. We are saying that a lot of people are dying due to obesity, and vitamin D is causing a lot of health issues, so we must do something about it.
Obesity is a worldwide disease. In 2020, more than 2 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. There is a general consensus in the research community that there is a strong association between obesity and Vitamin D. This represents an important and timely topic because obesity is currently fifth greater risk of mortality, and Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with variety of diseases. Better understanding of this link will greatly aid medicalpractitioners in effective treatment of obese patients. _ Hook _ Problem definition _ Importance/timeliness of topic _ Benefits of conducting research
Then, in the final statement of the intro paragraph, we explain how conducting research in this field will benefit the community. In our case, doctors will be able to prescribe better treatment options for obese patients. This is a well written introduction paragraph that nicely introduces the main idea of your paper and tells the readers why your topic is important.
4.4 Example #4 (Engineering paper)
Here is another introduction paragraph example from an engineering paper. Here, we are starting the passage with the problem definition itself. We are saying that it is challenging to perform measurements on a complex system, because there are so many different things you have to consider. Then, we emphasis the popularity of the topic by saying that there is an active research community investigating this issue at the moment. Then, we finish off the passage by explaining the benefits we will enjoy if we manage to solve this problem. And, we have listed all the applications that will benefit from this research.
Obtaining an accurate measurement of a complex system is a challenging task, as it can make it difficult to account for all of the variables that may affect the measurement. Research in this area is of great interest and with a very active research community. Obtaining an accurate measurement is useful for a number of applications, including modelling and forecasting, quality control, and data analysis. _ Problem definition _ Importance/popularity of the topic _ Benefits of conducting research
5. Frequently Asked Questions
The opening paragraph of the introduction should be one or two paragraphs long. The entire introduction section comprising the opening paragraph, literature review, and research questions should be around 10% to 15% of the total length of the research paper.
Please do not cram your introduction with large amounts of text. Don’t treat your readers as if they don’t know anything. Most people who are reading your paper will have some knowledge about the field. Be selective and decide what is important for your readers.
If you have a super long introduction, then it means that you don’t have a lot to say about the actual research you have done. Most reviewers won’t like this, and your paper is likely to be rejected. So, keep it short and sweet.
(1) Make sure you use scientific jargon that is relevant to your field in your text. Scientific jargon are technical terms specific to your discipline. Using scientific jargon has two advantages, number one, you are using the language used by your peers in your field, and number two, it makes your text significantly shorter.
(2) Don’t delve on the broad topic for too long in your introduction. Try to narrow down to the specific topic as soon as possible. The readers are less interested in the general area of research. They want to quickly learn what is the specific topic of your research.
(3) Introduction paragraph is the best place to introduce notations and technical definitions. This can include symbols, characters, terminologies, abbreviations, acronyms etc. Notations and definitions can help you to express very large names and numbers in a form that is easy to understand to your readers.
Discussion Section Examples and Writing Tips
In this blog, we will go through many discussion examples and understand how to write a great discussion for your research paper.
Formulating Strong Research Questions: Examples and Writing Tips
In this blog, we will go through many research question examples and understand how to construct a strong research question for your paper.
Results Section Examples and Writing Tips
In this blog, we will go through many results section examples and understand how to write a great results section for your paper.
Abstract Section Examples and Writing Tips
In this blog, we will go through many abstract examples and understand how to construct a good abstract for your research paper.
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In this blog, we explain various topics and sub-topics to be included under each section of a research paper via word cloud diagrams.
Writing a Questionnaire Survey Research Paper – Example & Format
In this blog, we will explain how to write a survey questionnaire paper and discuss all the important points to consider while writing the research paper.
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction Paragraph
04 Feb 2022
❓What Is an Introduction Paragraph for Research Paper?
✒️How to Write a Research Paper Introduction?
- State Your Research Theme
- Be Original
- Explain Key Terms
- Size Is Important
- Refer to the Keywords
- Follow the Rules of Logic
🚨Common Mistakes and How Not to Slip Up
📑Research Paper Introduction Examples
Just like the alphabet begins with the letter “A,” any essay begins with an introduction. When you’re ready to write a research paper, you should start with an opening section. These are not common sentences but ones that form the entire thesis you will explore in the body paragraphs of a research project. You should guide the reader through the topic and present the importance of your university research and its results.
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What Is an Introduction Paragraph for Research Paper?
Writing a research paper is a mandatory task in almost any educational specialty. You will definitely have to face this kind of task at some point. We know how difficult it can be to collect your thoughts and start doing work by arranging an introduction. That is why we are ready to come to your aid and tell you in detail the rules and share some useful tips on writing the opening passage.
The research paper introductions are pieces of information placed at the beginning of the paper. The size of this section depends on the general requirements for the work and usually is about 350-450 words. Moreover, everything you write in the introduction should attract the reader’s curiosity. This part of your work is designed to help the reader identify whether he or she wants to read the paper.
Check out the example of an abstract for a research paper . That is why it is incredibly important to approach this section's writing responsibly and ensure that you clearly and interestingly position your research topic. A well-written research paper introduction will make you more likely to get a high score.
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction?
After writing your research paper, you will have a broad picture of your entire research and analysis. Being an expert in the research niche of your scientific paper , you will be able to come to valid conclusions and highlight your work's main points. This will help you to create an outline, identify the key notions, and include them in the introduction. You should also define a hook that can catch the reader to increase interest in reading your project.
However, the problem with writing the first section is the difficulty in determining the importance of information. While investigating, you will probably feel that all the data you provide is essential. But to write a good introduction, you need to be concise. Your general erudition of background information, combined with specific knowledge of the general subject area, will help you write a great introduction. There are a few simple guides that can help to make your research paper introduction shine:
1. State Your Research Theme
The first sentences should be common about the general topic, and then you should add some details about your topic. This is called the "inverted triangle" when you start a research paper with a broad theme and then narrow it down. Be concise in your presentation of the research problem to avoid any kind of ambiguity. Your study should be presented as a direct continuation of the introduction. It is crucial to keep the narrative logical.
2. Be Original
If you write a dissertation paper in humanities, you can start the introduction with a quotation or even an anecdote. If your academic area is science or medicine, you can write extremely interesting data or even shocking statistics. Such an approach will help you develop an attractive research paper introduction. However, be careful with fact-checking and sources. All the statistics you provide must correspond to reality. According to the methodology, shocking research should be done by you or reputable institutions.
3. Explain Key Terms
You should provide a list of the notions you used and the definitions that you based on to avoid reader confusion. In science, there is a phenomenon when one term can have different interpretations due to the background. Whenever you find yourself in trouble, ask us to write my research paper , and we’ll come to help. Moreover, the glossary will show your knowledge level in the scientific context and help expand the audience that your article may be useful to.
4. Size Is Important
It would help if you chose your ideal length for the introduction. It should be short enough to be readable and gain the reader's attention and long enough to explain all the main features of your essay. And, of course, remember that the size of the introduction should be directly proportional to the size of your study. You need to briefly describe the main sections that your subject includes to guide your reader.
5. Refer to the Keywords
The keywords should be used in the introduction to give a general overview of the research questions. These could be separate words or word combinations which describe your topic. This trick aims to write a research paper that is easier to find. In addition, they help the reader quickly understand the direction of your research, showing the problem and the subject of investigation.
6. Follow the Rules of Logic
You should be consistent in the writing process. As we mentioned in one of the other sections, your work must be holistic. Each new thought should be a continuation of the previous one. A well-elaborated outline may help in solving this research problem. The first passage should logically introduce the reader to the subject and also give a preview of what will be described next. Logical links between sentences will make your text coherent.
An introduction paragraph of a research paper is essential for readers to get an overall idea of the paper. It helps grab their interest and gives them an understanding of the content’s purpose. Writing an informative and catchy introduction can be difficult, but hiring professional nursing essay writers can help remove the burden. They can provide an excellent introduction that introduces the topic in a detailed and easy-to-understand manner.
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Common Mistakes and How Not to Slip Up
As you can already understand, writing a decent introduction is quite difficult. You should keep in mind the purpose of your university research to stay on the topic. We are going to see the most common research problem to be aware of when writing.
- An extended introduction
When you conduct scientific research, each word you write carries a large amount of necessary information. However, working out a quality introduction, you find that the size is very limited, and you need to spend time filtering unnecessary information.
- Lack of a hook
Good introductions are not limited to just a list of data you have received. It is this paragraph that presents the first impression. Try to make it informative and catchy. If you face some problems elaborating witty hooks for a paper, consult a writing service that can provide you with professional advice.
- Inconsistent Data
The problem of inconsistency in the presentation of information appears when you first write the introduction and then the main body of the study. To avoid the error of lack of previous research, follow our advice. Study the background of the hypothesis you have chosen and then describe the results of your research.
Research Paper Introduction Examples
The theory is good, but the practice is quite different. Read our examples to get good ideas from other researchers about how to write an excellent structure and introduction.
Contemporary literary marketing has become digital because of the demands of the online era. Popular best-selling authors such as J. K. Rowling or Dan Brown profit from the internet and use it as a source for advertising to show the audience their creations. On the other hand, many writers find digital literature harmful and destructive for their livelihood because many users can get their books without paying for them. However, more studies reveal that the business side of the book industry is not far from the negative. This research paper will define whether the culture of digital book consumption has to be changed due to the creations of writers becoming worthless due to online piracy and because people have stopped valuing non-digitized books.
The second sample of the introduction paragraph is on the topic: “Behavioral Study of the Phenomenon of Obedience.”
Modern theories tend to associate misbehavior and intentional actions that harm others with personal characteristics. The psychologists and doctors in a survey predicted that only a small portion of people (about 1-3%) would intentionally harm someone after being told to do so. A good example of this phenomenon is a recent war trial with Adolph Eichmann, who claimed he was only following orders to carry out Nazi war crimes. Therefore, is it possible that people can harm others by only “following orders?” Are people capable of betraying their moral convictions if ordered to do so? During the experiment, we will see whether someone can continue administering painful electric shocks that harm another person simply because he or she is told to do so. It is expected that very few will continue and that most of the participants will not obey the order.
Writing an engaging introduction is equally important as conducting research papers or providing a high-quality context for your issue. In fact, a great intro is even more important for your success! An opening paragraph that attracts attention and keeps the reader engaged is the key to success with this academic work.
The intro is the first thing that a reader sees. It is exactly what helps them get the first impression of your work, which carries their opinion about the merits of your paper while they finish reading it. That’s why it’s so important to get it done right.
How do you create flawless intros for your research papers? These tips and examples in this article should help you deal with this assignment effortlessly while avoiding common mistakes. However, it also requires practice. We encourage students to practice writing as much as they can master these skills and never face difficulties with writing academic papers again!
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction
As the saying goes, You only get one chance at a first impression, and research papers are no exception. It’s the first thing people read, so a solid research paper introduction should lay the groundwork for the rest of the paper, answer the early questions a reader has, and make a personal impact—all while being as succinct as possible.
It’s not always easy knowing how to write introductions for research papers, and sometimes they can be the hardest part of the whole paper. So in this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know, discussing what to include in introductions to research papers and sharing some expert tips so you can do it well.
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What is a research paper introduction?
A research paper introduction is an essential part of academic writing that explains the paper’s main topic and prepares the reader for the rest of the paper. After reading the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, what point it’s trying to make, and why it matters.
For scientific and data-heavy research papers, the introduction has a few more formal requirements, such as briefly describing how the research was conducted. We’ll explain more on those in the next section.
The role of the research paper introduction is to make sure the reader understands all the necessary preliminary information before they encounter the discoveries presented in the body of the research paper. Learning how to write an introduction is an important part of knowing how to write a research paper .
How long should a research paper introduction be?
There are no firm rules on how long a research paper introduction should be. The only guideline is that the length of the introduction should be commensurate with the length of the entire paper. Very long papers may have an introduction that spans more than one page, while short papers can have an introduction of only a paragraph.
What to include in introductions to research papers
Generally speaking, a good research paper introduction includes these parts:
1 Thesis statement
2 Background context
3 Niche (research gap)
4 Relevance (how the paper fills that gap)
5 Rationale and motivation
First, a thesis statement is a single sentence that summarizes the main topic of your paper. The thesis statement establishes the scope of the paper, defining what will and won’t be discussed.
You also want to provide some background , summarizing what the reader needs to know before you present new information. This includes a brief history of the topic and any previous research or writings that your own ideas are built on.
In academic writing, it’s good to explain the paper’s niche, the area of research that your paper contributes to. In formal research papers, you should describe the research gap, a particular area of a topic that either has not been researched or has inadequate research. Informal research papers without original research don’t need to worry much about this.
After establishing the niche, next you explain how your research paper fills that niche—in other words, your paper’s relevance. Why is this paper important? What does it teach us? In a formal research paper introduction, you explain how your paper and research attempt to close the research gap and add the missing data.
Last, mention the rationale and motivation for why you chose this topic for your research. This can be either a personal choice or a practical one, such as researching a topic that urgently needs new information. You can also mention what you hope your research accomplishes—your goals—to round out your motivations.
What to include in introductions to scientific research papers
Scientific research papers, especially if they present original research and new data, have some additional requirements for their introduction:
- Research question or hypothesis
- Literature review (previous research and current literature)
The methodology describes how you conducted your research, including which tools you used or the procedure for your tests. This is to validate your findings, so readers know your data comes from a reliable source.
A research question or hypothesis acts similarly to the thesis statement. A research question is simply the question your research aims to answer, while a hypothesis is your prediction, made before the experiments begin, of what the research will yield. By the end of the paper, your hypothesis will be proven right or wrong.
Given the nature of scientific papers, the background context is more detailed than in other research papers. A literature review explains all the research on your particular topic that’s relevant to your paper. You outline the major writings and other research papers your own research is based on, and discuss any problems or biases those writings have that may undermine their findings.
The literature review is the perfect place for establishing the research gap. Here you can explain in your own words why the current research on your topic is insufficient, and why your own research serves to fill this gap.
If you’re writing a casual paper that relies only on existing research, you don’t need to worry about these.
How to write introductions for research papers
1 use the cars model.
The English scientist John Swales devised a method known as the CARS model to “Create A Research Space” in introductions. Although it’s aimed at scientific papers, this simple, three-step structure can be used to outline any research paper introduction.
- Establishing a territory : Explain the background context of your topic, including previous research.
- Establishing a niche : Explain that one area of your topic is missing information or that the current research is inadequate.
- Occupying a niche : Explain how your research “fills in” that missing information from your topic.
Swales then suggests stating the outcome of the research and previewing the structure of the rest of the paper, although these don’t apply to all research papers, particularly informal ones.
2 Start broad and narrow down
One common mistake in writing research paper introductions is to try fitting in everything all at once. Instead, pace yourself and present the information piece by piece in the most logical order for the reader to understand. Generally that means starting broad with the big picture, and then gradually getting more specific with the details.
For research paper introductions, you want to present an overview of the topic first, and then zero in on your particular paper. This “funnel” structure naturally includes all the necessary parts of what to include in research paper introductions, from background context to the niche or research gap and finally the relevance.
3 Be concise
Introductions aren’t supposed to be long or detailed; they’re more like warm-up acts. Introductions are better when they cut straight to the point—save the details for the body of the paper, where they belong.
The most important point about introductions is that they’re clear and comprehensible. Wordy writing can be distracting and even make your point more confusing, so remove unnecessary words and try to phrase things in simple terms that anyone can understand.
4 Consider narrative style
Although not always suitable for formal papers, using a narrative style in your research paper introduction can help immensely in engaging your reader and “ hooking ” them emotionally. In fact, a 2016 study showed that, in certain papers, using narrative strategies actually improves how often they’re cited in other papers.
A narrative style involves making the paper more personal in order to appeal to the reader’s emotions. Strategies include:
- Using first-person pronouns ( I, we, my, our ) to establish yourself as the narrator
- Describing emotions and feelings in the text
- Setting the scene; describing the time and place of key events to help the reader imagine them
- Appealing to the reader’s morality, sympathy, or urgency as a persuasion tactic
Again, this style won’t work for all research paper introductions, especially those for scientific research. However, for more casual research papers—and especially essays—this style can make your writing more entertaining or at the very least interesting, perfect for raising your reader’s enthusiasm right at the start of your paper.
5 Write your research paper introduction last
Your introduction may come first in a research paper, but a common tip is to wait on writing it until everything else is already written. This makes it easier to summarize your paper, because at that point you know everything you’re going to say. It also removes the urge to include everything in the introduction because you don’t want to forget anything.
Furthermore, it’s especially helpful to write your introduction after your research paper conclusion . A research paper’s introduction and conclusion share similar themes, and often mirror each other’s structure. Writing the conclusion is usually easier, too, thanks to the momentum from writing the rest of the paper, and that conclusion can help guide you in writing your introduction.
Research paper introduction FAQs
For academic writing like research papers, an introduction has to explain the topic, establish the necessary background context, and prepare the reader for the rest of the paper. In scientific research papers, the introduction also addresses the methodology and describes the current research for that topic.
What do you include in an introduction to a research paper?
A good research paper introduction includes:
- Thesis statement
- Background context
- Niche (research gap)
- Relevance (how it fills that gap)
- Rationale and motivation
Scientific research papers with original data should also include the methodology, a literature review, and possibly a research question or hypothesis.
How do you write an introduction for a research paper?
There are a few important guidelines to remember when writing a research paper. Start with a broad overview of the topic and gradually get more specific with the details and how your paper relates. Be sure to keep your introduction as succinct as possible, as you don’t want it to be too long. Some people find it’s easier to write the introduction last, after the rest of the paper is finished.
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10 tips for writing an effective introduction to original research papers
After the title and abstract, the introduction is the next thing your audience will read, so it's vital to begin strongly. The introduction is your opportunity to show readers and reviewers why your research topic is worth reading about and why your paper warrants their attention.
The introduction serves multiple purposes. It presents the background to your study, introduces your topic and aims, and gives an overview of the paper. A good introduction will provide a solid foundation and encourage readers to continue on to the main parts of your paper—the methods, results, and discussion.
In this article, we present 10 tips for writing an effective introduction. These tips apply primarily to full papers and letters reporting original research results. Although some tips will be more suited to papers in certain fields, the points are broadly applicable.
1. Start broadly and then narrow down
In the first paragraph, briefly describe the broad research area and then narrow down to your particular focus. This will help position your research topic within the broader field, making the work accessible to a broader audience, not just to specialists in your field.
2. State the aims and importance
Papers rejected for "not showing the importance of the topic" or "lacking clear motivation" usually neglect this point. Say what you want to achieve and why your reader should be interested in finding out whether you achieve it. The basic structure can be as simple as "We aim to do X, which is important because it will lead to Y."
3. Cite thoroughly but not excessively
Instead of simply saying that the topic is important, show why the topic is important .
Once you've narrowed your focus to the specific topic of your study, you should thoroughly cover the most recent and most relevant literature pertaining to your study. Your review of the literature should be complete, but not overly long— remember, you're not writing a review article . If you find that your introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, one possible solution is to cite review articles, rather than all the individual articles that have already been summarized in the review.
4. Avoid giving too many citations for one point
Consider the following sentence: "Many studies have found a significant association between X and Y [4-15]." This sentence cites too many studies at once. Although references [4-15] might provide a good overview of the topic, this sentence doesn't provide enough context or explanation for these past studies. If all of these references are worth citing, they should be discussed in greater specificity. For example, "A significant association has been found between X and Y in men [4-7], women [8-11], and children [12-15]."
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5. Clearly state either your hypothesis or research question
For research in empirical sciences, stating a hypothesis can be an effective way of framing the research. For example, instead of stating "In this study, we show that X is related to Y by method A," you could say, "In this study, we hypothesize that X is related to Y, and we use method A to test this hypothesis." For research in formal sciences or exploratory research, you could consider stating a research question instead: "In this study, we examine the following research question: Is X related to Y?" Note that the research question doesn't always have to be stated in the interrogative form (with a question mark); instead, you can put the question into a declarative sentence: "In this study, we investigate whether X is related to Y." Hypotheses and research questions are effective because they help give shape to the paper and serve as "signpost phrases" that guide readers through your paper smoothly.
6. Consider giving an overview of the paper
Example structure of an introduction
- Give a general introduction to the topic for broad audience
- Narrow the focus to your particular topic
- State your research problem and aims
Literature review (usually several paragraphs):
- Summarize the relevant literature on your topic
- Describe the current state of the art
- Note any gaps in the literature that your study will address
Research targets (usually one paragraph):
- State your hypothesis or research question
- Briefly describe how you will accomplish your aims
- Give a preview of your main results and state the contribution of the work (optional)
Paper overview (optional; one paragraph):
- Give a section-by-section overview of the paper's contents
An organizational overview is more common in some fields than others. It is particularly common in technology, but less so in medicine. In the last paragraph of your introduction, consider giving a section-by-section overview of your paper if it is appropriate for your field. For example, "In Section II, we describe our analysis methods and the datasets we used. In Section III we present the results. In Section IV, we discuss the results and compare our findings with those in the literature. In Section V, we state our conclusions and suggest possible topics for future research."
7. Keep it short
Try to avoid an overly long introduction. A good target is 500 to 1000 words, although checking the journal's guidelines and past issues will provide the clearest guidance.
8. Show, don't tell
One goal of the introduction is explaining why your research topic is worthy of study. One of the most common pitfalls is to simply say, "Subject X is important." Instead of simply saying that the topic is important, show why the topic is important . For example, instead of writing "The development of new materials is important for the automotive industry," you could write, "The development of new materials is necessary for the automotive industry to produce stronger, lighter vehicles, which will improve safety and fuel economy ."
9. Don't bury your readers in detail
In the introduction, if your paper is in a field that commonly summarizes the study's main results before starting the methods, you should avoid stating too many detailed results because these results need the development in the other sections of your paper to be properly understood. Instead of saying "We find that our algorithm requires 55% of the memory and 45% of the computation time of the conventional algorithm," it is usually better to give a general overview of the findings in the introduction: "Here we compare the proposed algorithm with a conventional algorithm in terms of memory use and computational speed, showing that the proposed algorithm is both smaller and faster ." Some older style guides suggest holding back the main result to build suspense, but now journals in many fields— medicine being a notable exception —encourage giving a preview of your main results in the introduction.
10. Check the journal requirements
Many journals have specific requirements for the introduction in their guidelines for authors. For example, there might be a maximum word count stated or the guidelines might require specific content, such as a hypothesis statement or a summary of your main results.
I would like to close with one last piece of advice: When you begin drafting a paper, the introduction should be one of the first things you plan . The introduction serves as the roadmap for your paper; by clearly stating the study's background, aims, and hypothesis/research question, the introduction can guide you as you write the rest of the paper. It's such an important section—setting the scene for everything that follows—that many authors write the methods, results, and discussion sections in full before completing the introduction.
I hope these tips help you to write effective introductions that capture the attention of readers and reviewers. If you're interested in more writing tips, check out our 10 Tips for Writing an Effective Abstract . Also, through our EditingPLUS service , you can get writing tips and advice about your specific manuscript from a specialist editor.
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Organizing Academic Research Papers: 4. The Introduction
- Purpose of Guide
- Design Flaws to Avoid
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Academic Writing Style
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
- Paragraph Development
- Executive Summary
- Background Information
- The Research Problem/Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Tertiary Sources
- What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
- Annotated Bibliography
- Dealing with Nervousness
- Using Visual Aids
- Grading Someone Else's Paper
- How to Manage Group Projects
- Multiple Book Review Essay
- Reviewing Collected Essays
- About Informed Consent
- Writing Field Notes
- Writing a Policy Memo
- Writing a Research Proposal
The introduction serves the purpose of leading the reader from a general subject area to a particular field of research. It establishes the context of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the hypothesis, question, or research problem, briefly explaining your rationale, methodological approach, highlighting the potential outcomes your study can reveal, and describing the remaining structure of the paper.
Key Elements of the Research Proposal. Prepared under the direction of the Superintendent and by the 2010 Curriculum Design and Writing Team. Baltimore County Public Schools.
Importance of a Good Introduction
Think of the introduction as a mental road map that must answer for the reader these four questions:
- What was I studying?
- Why was this topic important to investigate?
- What did we know about this topic before I did this study?
- How will this study advance our knowledge?
A well-written introduction is important because, quite simply, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions about the logic of your argument, your writing style, the overall quality of your research, and, ultimately, the validity of your findings and conclusions. A vague, disorganized, or error-filled introduction will create a negative impression, whereas, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of your analytical skills, your writing style, and your research approach.
Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.
Structure and Writing Style
I. Structure and Approach
The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions for the reader:
- What is this?
- Why am I reading it?
- What do you want me to think about / consider doing / react to?
Think of the structure of the introduction as an inverted triangle of information. Organize the information so as to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale and, whenever possible, the potential outcomes your study can reveal.
These are general phases associated with writing an introduction:
- Highlighting the importance of the topic, and/or
- Making general statements about the topic, and/or
- Presenting an overview on current research on the subject.
- Opposing an existing assumption, and/or
- Revealing a gap in existing research, and/or
- Formulating a research question or problem, and/or
- Continuing a disciplinary tradition.
- Stating the intent of your study,
- Outlining the key characteristics of your study,
- Describing important results, and
- Giving a brief overview of the structure of the paper.
NOTE: Even though the introduction is the first main section of a research paper, it is often useful to finish the introduction very late in the writing process because the structure of the paper, the reporting and analysis of results, and the conclusion will have been completed and it ensures that your introduction matches the overall structure of your paper.
II. Delimitations of the Study
Delimitations refer to those characteristics that limit the scope and define the conceptual boundaries of your study . This is determined by the conscious exclusionary and inclusionary decisions you make about how to investigate the research problem. In other words, not only should you tell the reader what it is you are studying and why, but you must also acknowledge why you rejected alternative approaches that could have been used to examine the research problem.
Obviously, the first limiting step was the choice of research problem itself. However, implicit are other, related problems that could have been chosen but were rejected. These should be noted in the conclusion of your introduction.
Examples of delimitating choices would be:
- The key aims and objectives of your study,
- The research questions that you address,
- The variables of interest [i.e., the various factors and features of the phenomenon being studied],
- The method(s) of investigation, and
- Any relevant alternative theoretical frameworks that could have been adopted.
Review each of these decisions. You need to not only clearly establish what you intend to accomplish, but to also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. In the latter case, your exclusionary decisions should be based upon criteria stated as, "not interesting"; "not directly relevant"; “too problematic because..."; "not feasible," and the like. Make this reasoning explicit!
NOTE: Delimitations refer to the initial choices made about the broader, overall design of your study and should not be confused with documenting the limitations of your study discovered after the research has been completed.
III. The Narrative Flow
Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :
- Your introduction should clearly identify the subject area of interest . A simple strategy to follow is to use key words from your title in the first few sentences of the introduction. This will help focus the introduction on the topic at the appropriate level and ensures that you get to the primary subject matter quickly without losing focus, or discussing information that is too general.
- Establish context by providing a brief and balanced review of the pertinent published literature that is available on the subject. The key is to summarize for the reader what is known about the specific research problem before you did your analysis. This part of your introduction should not represent a comprehensive literature review but consists of a general review of the important, foundational research literature (with citations) that lays a foundation for understanding key elements of the research problem. See the drop-down tab for "Background Information" for types of contexts.
- Clearly state the hypothesis that you investigated . When you are first learning to write in this format it is okay, and actually preferable, to use a past statement like, "The purpose of this study was to...." or "We investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the...."
- Why did you choose this kind of research study or design? Provide a clear statement of the rationale for your approach to the problem studied. This will usually follow your statement of purpose in the last paragraph of the introduction.
IV. Engaging the Reader
The overarching goal of your introduction is to make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should grab your reader's attention. Strategies for doing this can be to:
- Open with a compelling story,
- Include a strong quotation or a vivid, perhaps unexpected anecdote,
- Pose a provocative or thought-provoking question,
- Describe a puzzling scenario or incongruity, or
- Cite a stirring example or case study that illustrates why the research problem is important.
NOTE: Only choose one strategy for engaging your readers; avoid giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance.
Freedman, Leora and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions . University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction . The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Introductions . The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Resources for Writers: Introduction Strategies . Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an Introduction . Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick; Writing Your Introduction. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University.
Avoid the "Dictionary" Introduction
Giving the dictionary definition of words related to the research problem may appear appropriate because it is important to define specific words or phrases with which readers may be unfamiliar. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source. It doesn't take into account the context of your topic and doesn't offer particularly detailed information. Also, placed in the context of a particular discipline, a term may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary. If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, try to find one that is from subject specific dictionaries or encyclopedias [e.g., if you are a sociology student, search for dictionaries of sociology].
Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper . Florida International University; Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.
Another Writing Tip
When Do I Begin?
A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "where should I begin?" An equally important question to ask yourself is, "When do I begin?" Research problems in the social sciences rarely rest in isolation from the history of the issue being investigated. It is, therefore, important to lay a foundation for understanding the historical context underpinning the research problem. However, this information should be brief and succinct and begin at a point in time that best informs the reader of study's overall importance. For example, a study about coffee cultivation and export in West Africa as a key stimulus for local economic growth needs to describe the beginning of exporting coffee in the region and establishing why economic growth is important. You do not need to give a long historical explanation about coffee exportation in Africa. If a research problem demands a substantial exploration of historical context, do this in the literature review section; note in the introduction as part of your "roadmap" [see below] that you covering this in the literature review.
Yet Another Writing Tip
Always End with a Roadmap
The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a description of the rest of the paper [a "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect.
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How to Start a Research Paper
Beginning is always the hardest part of an assignment. The introduction should not be the first thing you begin to write when starting to work on an essay. First, tons of research should be conducted — in order for your paper to be good. Only then you will be able to extract the main points of your work, and introduce them to your readers. A good introduction will also include your personal opinion of the problem, and, therefore, will make the writing easier overall. Let's dive into the details with admission essay writing services .
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper is a type of writing in which the author does an independent analysis of the topic and describes the findings from that investigation. Furthermore, one will have to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the subject and evaluate them accordingly.
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A good way to write an introduction for a research paper is to introduce your reader to the topic by telling them what you are writing about. Then, make sure you include an interesting fact, or some surprising statistical data, so that your reader will be hooked and will continue to read your research paper. Treat your essay introduction like an advertisement for a product you want to sell—if your advertisement is bad, the sales won’t be great. The same goes for a bad introduction; if it does not intrigue readers, they might lose interest in your paper.
The beginning is always the hardest part of an assignment. Regardless of if you are writing a small resume education section or a full-blown research paper - following the correct steps is very important . The introduction should not be the first thing you begin to write when starting to work on an essay.
You might also be interested in getting more info about writing AN INTRODUCTION
Introduction Paragraph Outline
Present Your Essay Topic
The base of every essay is its topic. What you are writing about should always be a reflection of your topic. Simply start off your introduction by telling your readers, in a simple and accessible language, what it is you are writing your research paper about. Although, we suggest you include a “trigger” when introducing the topic of your paper. A personal reference, or a story that relates to the essay topic, are options for a good way to link plain text to people’s emotions. So, feel free to write sincerely, as if you were talking to a friend.
The best strategy to start your introduction is by writing a broad topic presentation, then gradually narrow it down to what you would like to focus on exactly. It will put your topic into perspective for readers’ general understanding. When writing your research paper, make sure to include your opinion on the issue in your introduction. This will make your topic sound more personal and it will likely become more important to your audience as well.
Provide Background Information and Context
The topic you begin writing about is likely very familiar to you, as it is expected that you have done plenty of research. But what about your readers? For the most part, the amount of context is determined by what your audience already knows—though, let’s focus on a bigger assortment of readers, to make sure everyone’s needs are met. Imagine that you are part of your audience. Read the information you provided in the introduction. Is this sufficient? Does it leave gaps and unanswered questions in your research? Your job as a writer is to provide the perfect background to your topic, which gives readers just enough information to be able to grasp your topic and enjoy your research paper to the fullest. Another extreme you should avoid is giving too much context—consequently making the audience feel bored right from the introduction. Write your essay as something that you would enjoy reading yourself, like a story, but not an academic research paper.
Explain the Importance of Your Research
There is no doubt that after plenty of research you are an expert in your field. But what about your readers? In the introduction you need to showcase the extent of your research and write about the work you have completed. This will also help your readers understand that your ideas are supported by other scholars, and you share their views in your paper.
Make sure to write about all the works you have studied in order to persuade readers of your expertise. For your introduction, simply use the names you are referencing, or their most important works, so that the audience does not feel overwhelmed. It is also necessary to cite all your sources—in order to avoid academic plagiarism.
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Make Your Rationale Work
Rationale is the most important part of the beginning of your paper. Explain to readers the reasoning behind your research paper—the importance of this is a guarantee that they will keep reading and appreciate your topic. In the introduction, you need to write an explanation of how your paper fits into all the research that has already been done in that field; this shows your audience the importance of your essay and the role your research plays in the field overall.
Show the Significance of Your Research
You, and only you, understand how important your research is. The next step of your introduction is to prove to your audience how important it is. Include the basic, and the most important literature, you support your ideas with. This will show the readers your solid analytical skills, your writing capabilities, and your ability to sort out information to deliver the most important points for your paper. And the final part of the introduction is to simply explain why your research is important to the field, to society, to the whole world, and, most importantly, to the readers. When a person can relate to an idea, it is almost always a guarantee that your argument will be persuasive and have a positive outcome.
Make Sure Your Thesis Is Clear
A research paper introduction uses primary sources and data to support its thesis statement. A research paper’s thesis statement has a lot in common with a thesis for an essay, or other non-research assignment. The difference lies in the fact that in a research thesis, you gather evidence from valid sources to prove your perspective on a topic. Despite the fact that you support your thoughts by sources, the idea for your thesis in your introduction should be original and your own, as it reflects the way you think.
If you wonder how to start a thesis statement for a research paper, we have A FULL GUIDE
Here is a quick checklist for writing a thesis statement:
- Remember, the thesis is your argument. Make sure it sounds assertive.
- Write two to three versions of your thesis and choose the best one.
- Share your thesis with a neutral person—to get a different point of view.
- Discuss your thesis with others; they might have good ideas as well.
- It should appear in your introduction, and be restated in your conclusion.
Research Paper Title Page
Mla title page.
Here are some tips from our writing team on how to format your research paper MLA title page:
- The title page is double spaced and the text needs to be centred.
- Write the name of your university or college.
- Skip about one-third of the page down and type your research paper title—include a subtitle if you have one.
- Skip several lines down and type your name, your course name and number, your instructor’s name, and your paper’s due date.
APA Title Page
- Place a running head in your page’s header:
- Use the label “Running head:” then, put your shortened title (IN UPPERCASE LETTERS), and align it all to the left.
- Place the page number in this same header, but align it to the right, and begin with page number 1.
- The header should be 1 inch from the top. Some teachers say 1/2 inch is okay as well.
- Place your paper’s title in the upper half of the page, centred. Capitalize the first letter of all of the important words in your title.
- Place your University’s name below your name, double-spaced.
Read also our research proposal example APA .
Congratulations on finishing your research paper! Answer these questions to avoid careless mistakes.
- Are all of your quotations, paraphrases, and summaries accurate?
- Are all of your references accurate?
- Is your format the proper format assigned by your instructor?
- Are all the concepts defined and easily understood by an average reader?
- Is your “hook” good enough for the reader to become interested?
- Is there a structure to your introduction that is easy to navigate for the reader?
- Does your introduction give a good idea of what your paper is about?
And here are several tips for your help:
If you need, you can hire a coursework, buy research paper or other specialist at our service. All you need to do is just leave us a notice like ' write my paper for me ' or something else.
Research Paper Introduction Example
Now that you have a solid idea about the introduction of a research paper, let’s take a look at some examples from our writers. They will help you see how all of the rules we presented above work in practice.
Research Paper Introduction Example: Should Parents Be Held Accountable for the Criminal Acts of Their Children? Recently, youth gang connected attacks have been occurring in an increasing prevalence, with some even causing deaths, such as the killing of a college student at Suburbs East. Such occurrences have made a lot of people to wonder about the origin of those violent actions, with much of the extent of guilt being put on the parents of such adolescents. In any event, one has to question whether the parents should be penalized for the offenses of their kids. Some people believe that parents should be held responsible for the criminal acts of their offspring because parents are mostly accountable for the education and upbringing of their kids, and frequently impact the actions and behavior of their children until they become mature and independent. This is because they are almost always the ones that raise their kids after birth. As such, it is believed that parents start to influence the ethical range of their children from a young age, and one’s ethics are critically impacted by the way parents act and their personalities (Gratz, 169). This logic can make parents responsible for their children if they do wrong later on — because they are understood to not have raised their child in the right way. Furthermore, there is an argument that children are virtually completely controlled by their parents, as they are apt to want to make their parents happy, and they would, therefore, listen to whatever they are told to do or how they are told to behave (Michael, Andrew and Michael, 4). This, in turn, makes many people think that parents should always be the ones to be blamed for the criminal acts of their children, as they believe that they have the power to warn and control them.
Need Some Help with Your Research Paper?
A research paper is a very challenging task to complete. The introduction is a crucial piece of it: it ensures that the reader is interested and will enjoy your paper. We also recommend that you read the article on how to write a precis . If you are still struggling with any part of your paper, remember that you can always buy custom essay from our trusted writing service. We are always here to give you a helping hand to make your life easier.
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Writing successful introductory paragraphs.
This handout is available for download in DOCX format and PDF format .
In the most abstract sense, the function of an introductory paragraph is to move the reader from the world of daily life into the textual and analytical space of an essay.
In a more concrete sense, an introduction performs three essential functions:
- It clearly and specifically states the topic or question that you will address in your essay.
- It motivates the topic or question that the essay will examine.
- It states, clearly and directly, your position on this topic or question (i.e., your thesis).
While reading your introduction, your reader will begin to make assumptions about you as an author. Be sure to project yourself as a thoughtful, knowledgeable and nonbiased writer capable of dealing effectively with the complexities and nuances of your topic. Your introduction should set the tone that will remain consistent throughout your essay. In addition to emphasizing the uniqueness of your approach to your subject matter, you should seek to draw your reader into your essay with the gracefulness of your prose and the rational demeanor you project as a writer.
In addition to stating the topic and scope of your analysis, your introduction should provide your readers with any background or context necessary to understand how your argument fits into the larger discourse on the subject. The details you use to orient your reader with your topic should be woven throughout the structural components of your introduction listed below.
In addition to grabbing the reader’s attention, the opening sentence of an essay sets up the structure of the introductory paragraph. You want to create movement among your ideas, which is best done by moving either from the particular to the general or from the general to the particular. Essays that move from the particular to the general often begin with an anecdote, quotation, fact or detail from the text that can be used to introduce readers to the larger issues the essay will address. Introductions that move from the general to the particular — typically referred to as the funnel structure — often begin with a wider view of the topic that will be used to establish a context for the more localized argument that the author will present.
Claims about the topic that the author posits as common knowledge or uncontroversial, which the reader will readily accept as true without extensive evidence or argument. The shared context often entails a claim or claims that are obviously true, which the "motive" and "thesis" will then complicate or even oppose.
Topic or Purpose
The introductory paragraph must leave the reader with a clear understanding of the specific subject area that your essay will investigate. Defining your essay’s scope in this way often requires distinguishing your specific focus from the larger discourse on your topic. Though this is not always essential, many essays include a purpose statement that tells the reader directly: “this paper examines…” or “the aim of this essay is to…”
The motive is a specific sentence, usually near the middle of your introduction, that clarifies for the reader why your thesis is interesting, nonobvious and/or contestable. In essence, your motive answers the question “so what?” that a reader might ask of your thesis. Because they show that the truth about a subject is not as clear as it might seem, motive statements often employ terms of reversal — “yet,” “but,” “however,” etc. — that reflect a departure from the obvious.
The thesis statement is the central claim your essay will make about your chosen topic. Since the topic area must first be described and motivated, the thesis statement is usually placed near the end of the introduction.
Though this is often unnecessary in shorter papers, essays that are long (seven-plus pages) or especially complex are often easier for the reader to understand if the author offers some preview of the essay’s structure at the beginning of the paper. In especially long essays (20-plus pages), this outline of the essay’s structure may demand a paragraph of its own (usually the second paragraph).
Example Introduction Paragraph
Here is an example of an introductory paragraph that we will analyze sentence by sentence:
Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business. This is Doran's lament, one of many such laments in Dubliners , a book whose very title seems to presage a comprehensive portrait of Ireland's capital city. Joyce makes full use of the advantages Dublin offers as a setting. Both national capital and provincial town, the city was the ideal site for cutting — and often scathing — dissections of this land. It would be unfortunate, however, to see Dubliners merely as an ethnographic study, for Joyce's commentary has a broader scope. Dublin comes to serve as a locale for a drama which is played out all over the world, a drama about home. Joyce studies the nature of home, what it is and what it means to leave it. However different his characters may be, together they form a tableau which, while it does much to indict the idea of home, also shows a deep compassion for those who are bound to it. Although this theme may be examined in many stories — the failed attempt at leaving in “Eveline” is an obvious example — a look at two less obvious works, “The Boarding House” and “Little Cloud,” may best suggest its subtlety and pervasiveness.
Example Introductory Paragraph: Structural Components
In this table, each structural component of the introduction is listed in the left column, and the corresponding sample text is on the right:
Example Introductory Paragraph: Analysis
- Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business .
This introduction proceeds from the particular to the general (it is also common to proceed from the general to the particular), beginning with a quotation before moving on to more large-scale issues. It is important to note that, while the opening quotation sets up this structure, it is reinforced by the author's movement from an initial discussion of Joyce's ethnographic rendering of Dublin itself to a broader discussion of Dublin's more universal significance as a site of home (the topic of this essay). Structuring your introduction in this way — “particular to general” or “general to particular” — ensures movement among your ideas and creates interest for the reader by suggesting a similar movement of ideas in the essay as a whole.
- This is Doran’s lament, one of many such laments in Dubliners , a book whose very title seems to presage a comprehensive portrait of Ireland’s capital city. Joyce makes full use of the advantages Dublin offers as a setting. Both national capital and provincial town, the city was the ideal site for cutting — and often scathing — dissections of this land.
The author posits these claims as foundational, expecting that they will be readily accepted by her readers. Students of Joyce will recognize them as commonplaces. Others will accept them as authoritative precisely because the author presents them as informational, without substantial evidence. Having established a baseline of common wisdom, the author will proceed to complicate it with the word “however,” signaling the motivating move of the essay.
- It would be unfortunate, however, to see Dubliners merely as an ethnographic study, for Joyce's commentary has a broader scope.
This essay is given its motive as a result of the author's claim that there is a lot more to Joyce's presentation of Dublin than is evident in an initial reading of Dubliners . Implicitly, the author is telling her readers that they should continue reading her essay in order to be shown things about the novel's rendering of Dublin that they would not otherwise have seen. The goal of the essay then becomes to fulfill this promise made to the reader. Note how the motive's placement in the introduction is related directly to the paragraph's structure: after presenting a more narrow and obvious reading of Dubliners in the opening sentences, the author inserts the motive in order to describe how her essay broadens the scope of this reading in a less obvious way that she elaborates on in the rest of the introduction.
- Dublin comes to serve as a locale for a drama which is played out all over the world, a drama about home. Joyce studies the nature of home, what it is and what it means to leave it.
The author very specifically states her topic — Joyce's Dublin as a “local for a drama ... about home” — in order to clarify the scope of the essay for her readers. The purpose of her essay will be to explore and arrive at some conclusions about this topic. Again, note that the author's placement of the novel's topic relates directly to the structure she has chosen for her introduction: immediately after the motive in which the author informs the reader that she will not pursue a more obvious ethnographic investigation of Joyce's Dublin, she tells the reader clearly and directly what topic her essay will explore. Because it is essential to clearly define an essay's topic before presenting a thesis about it, the topic statement also precedes the thesis statement.
- However different his characters may be, together they form a tableau which, while it does much to indict the idea of home, also shows a deep compassion for those who are bound to it.
The author's thesis statement is particularly strong because it pursues a tension in the novel by examining the way in which Joyce's attitude toward home pushes in two directions. It has Joyce simultaneously indicting and showing compassion for different aspects of home in Dubliners . As in most college essays, the thesis statement comes toward the end of the introduction. Again, note the way in which the placement of the thesis statement fits into the overall structure of the introduction: the author motivates and clearly defines her topic before offering her thesis about it. Giving the reader a clear understanding of the the topic to be explored in an essay (as this author does) is essential for the formulation of a thesis statement with this sort of tension and double-edged complexity.
- Although this theme may be examined in many stories — the failed attempt at leaving in “Eveline” is an obvious example — a look at two less obvious works, “The Boarding House” and “Little Cloud,” may best suggest its subtlety and pervasiveness.
While this author's roadmap falls a bit short of the brief outline of an essay's structure that is often found in the introduction of longer college essays, she does give the reader an indication of the argumentative path the body of her essay will follow. In addition, indicating that she has limited herself to an examination of two of the novel's 15 stories further clarifies the essay's scope, and the reference to these works as “less obvious” enhances her motive.
Credit: Yale Writing Center. Adapted by Doug Kirshen.
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