It would only seem logical that an introduction is a paragraph you are writing first. While for some assignments, this logic can be true, it is not so for research papers. In a research paper, introduction presents a topic in its entirety. To put it simply, this initial paragraph outlines your entire paper and — often — even mention the results you are planning to achieve in your work. With this in mind, it becomes clear why the most logical way would be to write an introduction for the research paper after your main sections, results, and conclusion are already finished.
But, even if you are writing a research paper introduction after all other essential parts are done, it is still easy to get lost in the process and make some mistakes. These mistakes in turn, could negatively affect your final grade. So, to save you from this trouble, we’ve created a full guide on how to write a research paper introduction. Simply follow our tips, and you won’t get lost in the tricky process.
The topic of your research paper is the most important part. After all, it’s why you started with the research in the first place, right? So, given that subject is essentially the fundament of your work, it is crucial to lay it down in the very beginning of your introduction.
Also, it is important to remember that the purpose of any introductory paragraph is to grab your readers’ attention. Do not think that if your professor is paid to read this work, the attention-grabbing part is irrelevant. It is very — very — relevant, and failing to intrigue your reader will lose you precious points on the grading sheet. The best tip on how to intrigue your reader would be to look at the topic from different angles and try to highlight your subject from different perspectives.
As you do, start with general concepts about your topic and narrow them down in the process. You are not supposed to go too deep — you’ll do it in the main section of your research paper. But, you are to present your view of the subject, as well as its aspects (both general and narrow ones) that interest you. As you explain your perception of the subject, make sure you do not stray off. Keep your goal in mind and be simple.
Obviously, a research paper presupposes references to already written material on the subject — otherwise, it wouldn’t be called a research paper! You will be making all of these references in the main body of your work. Still, an introduction should have at least some information about the sources you ‘plan’ to use in your paper. This part of introduction should not be too long, but it is still a vital section that should not be omitted. In practice, you can present your view of the topic (as discussed above). And then, you can simply add a couple of words about other opinions on the same subject. That will do the trick just fine.
Nobody researches for the sake of researching. Ideally, the topic you choose should be either presented from a new angle no-one has covered before; or, suggest a new solution to an already existing problem. This is what makes your research relevant, and this aspect must be highlighted in your introduction. Ask the ‘so what?’ question. After, make sure to mention the answer in your introductory part.
This is the final part of your introduction and, like any wrapping up part, it should impress your reader. In case of a research paper, a thesis is a fundament for your entire work. What are you trying to prove here? What is the ultimate goal of writing this paper? In other words, a thesis statement is the gist of your whole research. Yes, of course, it may be a bit challenging to cram a complex subject into just one sentence. Yet, this is exactly what thesis calls for.
A solid thesis should:
If yours has all three, you’re good to go! Now, there is only one part of introduction left to cover.
Even though major work on your introduction is finished by now, you are still to outline your paper structure. After all, some researches can be pages long and can feature multiple sections and subsections. If this is the case, you should definitely present a brief plan of your work. Don’t go into much detail — three or four sentences describing the main parts of your research are enough. If you are working on a relatively short research paper, this part is often optional. If you’re not sure whether you need to online your research, double-check with your professor.
Not sure you can do all of the above in just one paragraph? No worries — even the most talented and diligent students sometimes get lost when it comes to structuring their research paper introduction. Sure, googling ‘how to write research paper introduction’ is already a huge step forward. Still, if you experience writer’s block, you may lose a lot of time - time you could have used more productively.
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