Writing an introduction to a research paper

The introduction to any research paper is one of the most challenging parts to write for many students. Its length may vary based on the type of research you do, but this paragraph must introduce the chosen topic, provide readers with a rationale for your whole work, and state the main research questions. Writing an introduction to a research paper is important because it sets the right tone for other paragraphs, states a thesis, and catches readers’ interest.

How to Introduce the Topic of Your Research Paper

The purpose of any introduction is to announce a specific research topic, so you need to start it with giving the indication of research questions to pique readers’ interest at once.

  • The first sentences that you write act as the indication of a bigger problem that will be analyzed, and they should lead to certain research questions;
  • Your introduction provides the audience with the indication of the entire essay content to encourage them to keep reading;
  • Most research papers start with a broader material before switching to its specifics.
  • Refer to key words because they offer a fast indication of your research areas;
  • Define all key concept and terms because they all must be clarified in the introduction to let readers understand them;
  • Introduce the chosen topic through a quotation or an anecdote, but it should be relevant to your research.

Establish the Main Context of Your Research Paper

Based on its overall length, you need to include a short literature review to demonstrate readers that you have your strong understanding and knowledge.

  • Be concise in your introduction and offer a brief overview of the latest developments instead of a long discussion;
  • Focus from broader themes to others;
  • A good literature review must present significant background information about your research and its importance.

Your literature review should be comprehensive and concise to offer an efficient way to frame a research paper.

  • Focus on your work in a broader sense;
  • Make clear references to existing works to demonstrate your specific contribution to this field;
  • Determine a gap that you will fill by your research.

When your research work is framed within a broader context, elaborate the rationale of your paper, its important role, and strong sides. It should concisely and clearly indicate the value and contribution of your research.

Specify Basic Research Questions

Once you indicate the place of your research and its general rationale, state important research questions that will be addressed by your paper. A literature review and a rationale frame the entire research and introduce these questions because they are essential when writing an introduction to a research paper.

  • These questions should be closely focused and concise;
  • Include them in the end of your introduction;
  • They shouldn’t come as a surprise to readers;
  • They may recall some key words;
  • Good research questions shape a specific problem into your testable hypothesis.

The Importance of Indicating a Hypothesis

After specifying all important research questions, provide a thesis or a hypothesis with its concise and clear articulation. It indicates whether your research paper makes any contribution and has interesting results.

  • Make it clear how you develop a thesis statement;
  • Avoid any words that make your research appear less formulaic;
  • Give a clear and brief overview of results.

Outline the Structure of Your Research Paper

In a final part of your introduction, write a few lines to provide the audience with an overview of the entire structure of your research paper to let readers know how it’s organized or broken down into different sections that cover major ideas.

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