The 4-step approach to writing the Introduction section. Provide background information and set the context. This initial part of the Introduction prepares the readers for more detailed and specific information that is given later. The first couple of sentences are typically broad. Below are some examples:. At the same time, the introductory statement should not be too broad: note that in the examples above, the Introduction did not begin by talking about agriculture, cancer, or batteries in general, but by mentioning organic matter in soil, the role of bacteria, and lithium ion batteries.
Once the first sentence has introduced the broad field, the next sentence can point to the specific area within that broad field. As you may have noticed, the papers in the examples mentioned above introduced the subfield by mentioning 1 remission of some types cancer following accidental infection by Streptococcus pyogenes , 2 organic matter in soil as a source of nutrients for plants and of energy for microorganisms, and 3 imaging techniques to visualize the 3-dimensional structure of the materials and components of batteries on nanoscale.
Does your publication goal seem near yet too far? Introduce the specific topic of your research and explain why it is important. As you can see from the above examples, the authors are moving toward presenting the specific topic of their research. So now in the following part, you can bring in some statistics to show the importance of the topic or the seriousness of the problem.
Here are some examples:. Another way to emphasize the importance of the research topic is to highlight the possible benefits from solving the problem or from finding an answer to the question: possible savings, greater production, longer-lasting devices, and so on.
This approach emphasizes the positive. For example, instead of saying that X dollars are lost because of malaria every year, say that X dollars can be saved annually if malaria is prevented, or X millions litres of water can be saved by dispensing with irrigation, or X person-hours can be saved in the form of avoided illnesses because of improved air quality or reduced pollution.
Mention past attempts to solve the research problem or to answer the research question. As mentioned earlier, a formal review of literature is out of place in the Introduction section of a research paper; however, it is appropriate to indicate any earlier relevant research and clarify how your research differs from those attempts. The differences can be simple: you may have repeated the same set of experiments but with a different organism, or elaborated involving perhaps more sophisticated or advanced analytical instruments the study with a much larger and diverse sample, or a widely different geographical setting.
Here are two examples:. Conclude the Introduction by mentioning the specific objectives of your research. The earlier paragraphs should lead logically to specific objectives of your study. Note that this part of the Introduction gives specific details: for instance, the earlier part of the Introduction may mention the importance of controlling malaria whereas the concluding part will specify what methods of control were used and how they were evaluated.
At the same time, avoid too much detail because those belong to the Materials and Methods section of the paper. If, for example, your research was about finding the right proportions of two metals in an alloy and you tested ten different proportions, you do not have to list all the ten proportions: it is enough to say that the proportions varied from to Here are two more examples:. There are different ways of constructing the objectives. Using questions 2 , hypotheses, and infinitives are the more common constructions both examples in the previous paragraph use infinitives , each of which is illustrated below with some fictitious text:.
H1: Career stages influence work values. H2: Career stages influence the level of job satisfaction. H3: Career stages do not influence organizational commitment. Using infinitives. Compared to two other sections of a typical research paper, namely Methods and Results, Introduction and Discussion are more difficult to write.
However, the 4-step approach described in this article should ease the task. You can write it, or at least revise it, after you have written the rest of the paper: this will make the Introduction not only easier to write but also more compelling.
To learn in more detail the guidelines to write a great Introduction section, check out this course: How to write a strong introduction for your research paper. Detailing the writing of scientific manuscripts: paragraphs. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia 2 : e21—e Boxman R and Boxman E. Communicating Science: a practical guide for engineers and physical scientists , pp. Singapore: World Scientific. Related reading:. Create a free account and access this bonus resource. Get Instant Access.
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Subscribe and get curated reads that will help you write an excellent manuscript. 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. Try to avoid an overly long introduction. A good target is to words, although checking the journal's guidelines and past issues will provide the clearest guidance. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Our monthly newsletter offers valuable tips on writing and presenting your research most effectively, as well as advice on avoiding or resolving common problems that authors face.
Clearly state either your hypothesis or research question. Consider giving an overview of the paper. Example structure of an introduction Introductory paragraph: 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.
Keep it short. Show, don't tell.
Examples of delimitating choices would be:. Review each of these decisions. Not only do you clearly establish what you intend to accomplish in your research, but you should also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. 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.
They are an accepted element of academic writing intended to keep the reader focused on the research problem by explicitly defining the conceptual boundaries and scope of your study. It addresses any critical questions in the reader's mind of, "Why the hell didn't the author examine this?
The Narrative Flow. Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :. Engaging the Reader. A research problem in the social sciences can come across as dry and uninteresting to anyone unfamiliar with the topic. Therefore, one of the goals of your introduction is to make readers want to read your paper.
Here are several strategies you can use to grab the reader's attention:. NOTE: It is important that you choose only one of the suggested strategies for engaging your readers. This avoids giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance and does not distract from the substance of your study. Freedman, Leora and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction. Department of Biology.
Bates College; Introductions. University of North Carolina; Introductions. Writing Center. Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an 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 terminology that readers may be unfamiliar with.
However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source because 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 or concept may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary.
If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, use a subject specific dictionary or encyclopedia [e. A good database for obtaining definitive definitions of concepts or terms is Credo Reference. Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper. Florida International University; Introductions. University of North Carolina. When Do I Begin? A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "Where should I begin? Therefore, it is 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 illustrates the study's overall importance. For example, a study that investigates 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 exports in Africa.
If a research problem requires a substantial exploration of the historical context, do this in the literature review section. In your introduction, make note of this as part of the "roadmap" [see below] that you use to describe the organization of your paper.
Always End with a Roadmap. The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a brief description of the rest of the paper [the "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect. A roadmap is important because it helps the reader place the research problem within the context of their own perspectives about the topic.
In addition, concluding your introduction with an explicit roadmap tells the reader that you have a clear understanding of the structural purpose of your paper. In this way, the roadmap acts as a type of promise to yourself and to your readers that you will follow a consistent and coherent approach to addressing the topic of inquiry.
Refer to it often to help keep your writing focused and organized. Cassuto, Leonard. The Introduction. Search this Guide Search. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper Offers detailed guidance on how to develop, organize, and write a college-level research paper in the social and behavioral sciences.
The Abstract Executive Summary 4. The Introduction The C. The Discussion Limitations of the Study 9. The Conclusion Appendices Definition The introduction leads the reader from a general subject area to a particular topic of inquiry. 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 new knowledge or new ways of understanding? 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? Your introduction should also highlight potential results or explain research structure and organization. If you want to learn how to write a research paper introduction , you should answer three general questions:.
Research paper introduction can be one of the most difficult parts to complete. The size of this section depends on the work type you are asked to complete. Your introduction should define the topic, consist of a context and rationale, as well as of a hypothesis and research questions. A thoughtful introduction sets a tone for the whole paper, grabs attention of the reader and provides thesis statement and hypothesis.
The best way to get started if you lack information or ideas on writing an introduction is to learn about it online. This step may be obvious but it plays a crucial part in writing a great research paper. If you select an irrelevant, boring or too general topic, you risk losing motivation and dropping the assignment somewhere in the middle.
Make a list of the matters you are interested in, conduct a research to see whether chosen variants have much credible data online. As any book or movie, introduction aims to set the background and give your assignment a certain context, allowing the reader to see how your work complements previous researches on the similar topic. That is why first paragraphs of the introduction should explain historical background, describing the first work in the field and other researches that influenced the modern situation.
However, huge amounts of information can make it difficult to fit into several paragraphs, so be careful and provide only the most important information. Rationale is an explanation why you are using a certain film, book or method in your work. The basic elements of a rationale are:. A hook sentence is your chance to catch interest of the reader and make him want to learn more after reading the introduction in research paper.
Your hook may include:. If you want to understand how to write an introduction, you should remember about including a thesis statement to your work. Actually, without it your introduction will be meaningless and your teacher will surely ask you to rewrite the whole section. You need to write a thesis statement, when you are working on the outline. In such a way, you will be able to understand what arguments and sources to use.
These few sentences may predetermine the whole course of your future work. It is a very weak example of a thesis statement, which is not able to stir interest of the audience and prevents from continuing reading. This example is much better, because it dives deeper into the problem and explains why the issue is relevant not only to a regular person but to the nation as a whole. Importance of a good introduction is impossible to overestimate, because you will never have another chance to make a positive first impression.
First paragraphs of your research paper give the audience information on quality of chosen arguments, your personal style, as well as on validity of conclusions. If your introduction is weak and lacks structure, it may make the reader want to put your research paper aside. On contrary, a concise and properly structured introduction will surely make the readers notice your writing and analytical skills, and make them want to go on reading.
Below you will find a few most important tips on writing a powerful introduction, engaging the reader and arising interest of the audience. One of the most simple and free solutions is getting familiar with examples online. You can download samples of research paper introductions, choose the one you like and write your own paragraphs with ease! Not every student can boast writing skills, so there is absolutely nothing wrong in searching for tips online. Place an order, providing us with specific guidelines and receive a flawless research paper introduction before the indicated deadline.