How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)
The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.
The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.
The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your research topic
- Capture reader interest
- Summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Define your specific research problem and problem statement
- Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.
Table of Contents
What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, what are the parts of introduction in the research, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.
The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader
- Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
- Context: Background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted
The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:
- It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
- It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
- It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
- It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.
A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2
- What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
- What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
- What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.
How to write a research paper introduction?
The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.
The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:
- Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
- Describe the background of the topic
- Present an overview of current research on the topic
Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.
- Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
- Formulate the research question
Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.
- State the purpose of your study
- Highlight the key characteristics of your study
- Describe important results
- Highlight the novelty of the study.
- Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.
Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.
The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.
The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.
When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper
Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.
The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.
Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4
- Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
- Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
- Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
- Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.
To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further.
1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.
2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.
3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.
4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.
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- Starting the research process
A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process
When you have to write a thesis or dissertation , it can be hard to know where to begin, but there are some clear steps you can follow.
The research process often begins with a very broad idea for a topic you’d like to know more about. You do some preliminary research to identify a problem . After refining your research questions , you can lay out the foundations of your research design , leading to a proposal that outlines your ideas and plans.
This article takes you through the first steps of the research process, helping you narrow down your ideas and build up a strong foundation for your research project.
Table of contents
Step 1: choose your topic, step 2: identify a problem, step 3: formulate research questions, step 4: create a research design, step 5: write a research proposal, other interesting articles.
First you have to come up with some ideas. Your thesis or dissertation topic can start out very broad. Think about the general area or field you’re interested in—maybe you already have specific research interests based on classes you’ve taken, or maybe you had to consider your topic when applying to graduate school and writing a statement of purpose .
Even if you already have a good sense of your topic, you’ll need to read widely to build background knowledge and begin narrowing down your ideas. Conduct an initial literature review to begin gathering relevant sources. As you read, take notes and try to identify problems, questions, debates, contradictions and gaps. Your aim is to narrow down from a broad area of interest to a specific niche.
Make sure to consider the practicalities: the requirements of your programme, the amount of time you have to complete the research, and how difficult it will be to access sources and data on the topic. Before moving onto the next stage, it’s a good idea to discuss the topic with your thesis supervisor.
>>Read more about narrowing down a research topic
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So you’ve settled on a topic and found a niche—but what exactly will your research investigate, and why does it matter? To give your project focus and purpose, you have to define a research problem .
The problem might be a practical issue—for example, a process or practice that isn’t working well, an area of concern in an organization’s performance, or a difficulty faced by a specific group of people in society.
Alternatively, you might choose to investigate a theoretical problem—for example, an underexplored phenomenon or relationship, a contradiction between different models or theories, or an unresolved debate among scholars.
To put the problem in context and set your objectives, you can write a problem statement . This describes who the problem affects, why research is needed, and how your research project will contribute to solving it.
>>Read more about defining a research problem
Next, based on the problem statement, you need to write one or more research questions . These target exactly what you want to find out. They might focus on describing, comparing, evaluating, or explaining the research problem.
A strong research question should be specific enough that you can answer it thoroughly using appropriate qualitative or quantitative research methods. It should also be complex enough to require in-depth investigation, analysis, and argument. Questions that can be answered with “yes/no” or with easily available facts are not complex enough for a thesis or dissertation.
In some types of research, at this stage you might also have to develop a conceptual framework and testable hypotheses .
>>See research question examples
The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you’ll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research.
There are often many possible paths you can take to answering your questions. The decisions you make will partly be based on your priorities. For example, do you want to determine causes and effects, draw generalizable conclusions, or understand the details of a specific context?
You need to decide whether you will use primary or secondary data and qualitative or quantitative methods . You also need to determine the specific tools, procedures, and materials you’ll use to collect and analyze your data, as well as your criteria for selecting participants or sources.
>>Read more about creating a research design
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Finally, after completing these steps, you are ready to complete a research proposal . The proposal outlines the context, relevance, purpose, and plan of your research.
As well as outlining the background, problem statement, and research questions, the proposal should also include a literature review that shows how your project will fit into existing work on the topic. The research design section describes your approach and explains exactly what you will do.
You might have to get the proposal approved by your supervisor before you get started, and it will guide the process of writing your thesis or dissertation.
>>Read more about writing a research proposal
If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write an introduction for a research paper
How to write an introduction for a research paper
Beginnings are hard. Beginning a research paper is no exception. Many students—and pros—struggle with how to write an introduction for a research paper.
This short guide will describe the purpose of a research paper introduction and how to create a good one.
What is an introduction for a research paper?
Introductions to research papers do a lot of work.
It may seem obvious, but introductions are always placed at the beginning of a paper. They guide your reader from a general subject area to the narrow topic that your paper covers. They also explain your paper’s:
- Scope: The topic you’ll be covering
- Context: The background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in the context of an industry or the world
Your introduction will cover a lot of ground. However, it will only be half of a page to a few pages long. The length depends on the size of your paper as a whole. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper.
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Why is an introduction vital to a research paper?
The introduction to your research paper isn’t just important. It’s critical.
Your readers don’t know what your research paper is about from the title. That’s where your introduction comes in. A good introduction will:
- Help your reader understand your topic’s background
- Explain why your research paper is worth reading
- Offer a guide for navigating the rest of the piece
- Pique your reader’s interest
Without a clear introduction, your readers will struggle. They may feel confused when they start reading your paper. They might even give up entirely. Your introduction will ground them and prepare them for the in-depth research to come.
What should you include in an introduction for a research paper?
Research paper introductions are always unique. After all, research is original by definition. However, they often contain six essential items. These are:
- An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. Narrow the overview until you address your paper’s specific subject. Then, mention questions or concerns you had about the case. Note that you will address them in the publication.
- Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other conclusions on your topic. Include both older scholars and modern scholars. This background information shows that you are aware of prior research. It also introduces past findings to those who might not have that expertise.
- A rationale for your paper. Explain why your topic needs to be addressed right now. If applicable, connect it to current issues. Additionally, you can show a problem with former theories or reveal a gap in current research. No matter how you do it, a good rationale will interest your readers and demonstrate why they must read the rest of your paper.
- Describe the methodology you used. Recount your processes to make your paper more credible. Lay out your goal and the questions you will address. Reveal how you conducted research and describe how you measured results. Moreover, explain why you made key choices.
- A thesis statement. Your main introduction should end with a thesis statement. This statement summarizes the ideas that will run through your entire research article. It should be straightforward and clear.
- An outline. Introductions often conclude with an outline. Your layout should quickly review what you intend to cover in the following sections. Think of it as a roadmap, guiding your reader to the end of your paper.
These six items are emphasized more or less, depending on your field. For example, a physics research paper might emphasize methodology. An English journal article might highlight the overview.
Three tips for writing your introduction
We don’t just want you to learn how to write an introduction for a research paper. We want you to learn how to make it shine.
There are three things you can do that will make it easier to write a great introduction. You can:
- Write your introduction last. An introduction summarizes all of the things you’ve learned from your research. While it can feel good to get your preface done quickly, you should write the rest of your paper first. Then, you’ll find it easy to create a clear overview.
- Include a strong quotation or story upfront. You want your paper to be full of substance. But that doesn’t mean it should feel boring or flat. Add a relevant quotation or surprising anecdote to the beginning of your introduction. This technique will pique the interest of your reader and leave them wanting more.
- Be concise. Research papers cover complex topics. To help your readers, try to write as clearly as possible. Use concise sentences. Check for confusing grammar or syntax . Read your introduction out loud to catch awkward phrases. Before you finish your paper, be sure to proofread, too. Mistakes can seem unprofessional.
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Starting Your Research Paper: Writing an Introductory Paragraph
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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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How to write your first research paper.
Writing a research manuscript is an intimidating process for many novice writers in the sciences. One of the stumbling blocks is the beginning of the process and creating the first draft. This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research manuscript. The paper discusses seven rules that allow the writer to prepare a well-structured and comprehensive manuscript for a publication submission. In addition, the author lists different strategies for successful revision. Each of those strategies represents a step in the revision process and should help the writer improve the quality of the manuscript. The paper could be considered a brief manual for publication.
It is late at night. You have been struggling with your project for a year. You generated an enormous amount of interesting data. Your pipette feels like an extension of your hand, and running western blots has become part of your daily routine, similar to brushing your teeth. Your colleagues think you are ready to write a paper, and your lab mates tease you about your “slow” writing progress. Yet days pass, and you cannot force yourself to sit down to write. You have not written anything for a while (lab reports do not count), and you feel you have lost your stamina. How does the writing process work? How can you fit your writing into a daily schedule packed with experiments? What section should you start with? What distinguishes a good research paper from a bad one? How should you revise your paper? These and many other questions buzz in your head and keep you stressed. As a result, you procrastinate. In this paper, I will discuss the issues related to the writing process of a scientific paper. Specifically, I will focus on the best approaches to start a scientific paper, tips for writing each section, and the best revision strategies.
1. Schedule your writing time in Outlook
Whether you have written 100 papers or you are struggling with your first, starting the process is the most difficult part unless you have a rigid writing schedule. Writing is hard. It is a very difficult process of intense concentration and brain work. As stated in Hayes’ framework for the study of writing: “It is a generative activity requiring motivation, and it is an intellectual activity requiring cognitive processes and memory” [ 1 ]. In his book How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing , Paul Silvia says that for some, “it’s easier to embalm the dead than to write an article about it” [ 2 ]. Just as with any type of hard work, you will not succeed unless you practice regularly. If you have not done physical exercises for a year, only regular workouts can get you into good shape again. The same kind of regular exercises, or I call them “writing sessions,” are required to be a productive author. Choose from 1- to 2-hour blocks in your daily work schedule and consider them as non-cancellable appointments. When figuring out which blocks of time will be set for writing, you should select the time that works best for this type of work. For many people, mornings are more productive. One Yale University graduate student spent a semester writing from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. when her lab was empty. At the end of the semester, she was amazed at how much she accomplished without even interrupting her regular lab hours. In addition, doing the hardest task first thing in the morning contributes to the sense of accomplishment during the rest of the day. This positive feeling spills over into our work and life and has a very positive effect on our overall attitude.
Rule 1: Create regular time blocks for writing as appointments in your calendar and keep these appointments.
2. start with an outline.
Now that you have scheduled time, you need to decide how to start writing. The best strategy is to start with an outline. This will not be an outline that you are used to, with Roman numerals for each section and neat parallel listing of topic sentences and supporting points. This outline will be similar to a template for your paper. Initially, the outline will form a structure for your paper; it will help generate ideas and formulate hypotheses. Following the advice of George M. Whitesides, “. . . start with a blank piece of paper, and write down, in any order, all important ideas that occur to you concerning the paper” [ 3 ]. Use Table 1 as a starting point for your outline. Include your visuals (figures, tables, formulas, equations, and algorithms), and list your findings. These will constitute the first level of your outline, which will eventually expand as you elaborate.
The next stage is to add context and structure. Here you will group all your ideas into sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion ( Table 2 ). This step will help add coherence to your work and sift your ideas.
Now that you have expanded your outline, you are ready for the next step: discussing the ideas for your paper with your colleagues and mentor. Many universities have a writing center where graduate students can schedule individual consultations and receive assistance with their paper drafts. Getting feedback during early stages of your draft can save a lot of time. Talking through ideas allows people to conceptualize and organize thoughts to find their direction without wasting time on unnecessary writing. Outlining is the most effective way of communicating your ideas and exchanging thoughts. Moreover, it is also the best stage to decide to which publication you will submit the paper. Many people come up with three choices and discuss them with their mentors and colleagues. Having a list of journal priorities can help you quickly resubmit your paper if your paper is rejected.
Rule 2: Create a detailed outline and discuss it with your mentor and peers.
3. continue with drafts.
After you get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to, the process of real writing begins. Copy your outline into a separate file and expand on each of the points, adding data and elaborating on the details. When you create the first draft, do not succumb to the temptation of editing. Do not slow down to choose a better word or better phrase; do not halt to improve your sentence structure. Pour your ideas into the paper and leave revision and editing for later. As Paul Silvia explains, “Revising while you generate text is like drinking decaffeinated coffee in the early morning: noble idea, wrong time” [ 2 ].
Many students complain that they are not productive writers because they experience writer’s block. Staring at an empty screen is frustrating, but your screen is not really empty: You have a template of your article, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks. Indeed, writer’s block is a logical fallacy for a scientist ― it is just an excuse to procrastinate. When scientists start writing a research paper, they already have their files with data, lab notes with materials and experimental designs, some visuals, and tables with results. All they need to do is scrutinize these pieces and put them together into a comprehensive paper.
3.1. Starting with Materials and Methods
If you still struggle with starting a paper, then write the Materials and Methods section first. Since you have all your notes, it should not be problematic for you to describe the experimental design and procedures. Your most important goal in this section is to be as explicit as possible by providing enough detail and references. In the end, the purpose of this section is to allow other researchers to evaluate and repeat your work. So do not run into the same problems as the writers of the sentences in (1):
1a. Bacteria were pelleted by centrifugation. 1b. To isolate T cells, lymph nodes were collected.
As you can see, crucial pieces of information are missing: the speed of centrifuging your bacteria, the time, and the temperature in (1a); the source of lymph nodes for collection in (b). The sentences can be improved when information is added, as in (2a) and (2b), respectfully:
2a. Bacteria were pelleted by centrifugation at 3000g for 15 min at 25°C. 2b. To isolate T cells, mediastinal and mesenteric lymph nodes from Balb/c mice were collected at day 7 after immunization with ovabumin.
If your method has previously been published and is well-known, then you should provide only the literature reference, as in (3a). If your method is unpublished, then you need to make sure you provide all essential details, as in (3b).
3a. Stem cells were isolated, according to Johnson . 3b. Stem cells were isolated using biotinylated carbon nanotubes coated with anti-CD34 antibodies.
Furthermore, cohesion and fluency are crucial in this section. One of the malpractices resulting in disrupted fluency is switching from passive voice to active and vice versa within the same paragraph, as shown in (4). This switching misleads and distracts the reader.
4. Behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 were programmed by using E-Prime. We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales (SI Methods). The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness [ 4 ].
The problem with (4) is that the reader has to switch from the point of view of the experiment (passive voice) to the point of view of the experimenter (active voice). This switch causes confusion about the performer of the actions in the first and the third sentences. To improve the coherence and fluency of the paragraph above, you should be consistent in choosing the point of view: first person “we” or passive voice [ 5 ]. Let’s consider two revised examples in (5).
5a. We programmed behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 by using E-Prime. We took ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal by using Visual Analogue Scales (SI Methods) as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music. We operationalized the preferred and unpreferred status of the music along a continuum of pleasantness. 5b. Behavioral computer-based experiments of Study 1 were programmed by using E-Prime. Ratings of enjoyment, mood, and arousal were taken as the patients listened to preferred pleasant music and unpreferred music by using Visual Analogue Scales (SI Methods). The preferred and unpreferred status of the music was operationalized along a continuum of pleasantness.
If you choose the point of view of the experimenter, then you may end up with repetitive “we did this” sentences. For many readers, paragraphs with sentences all beginning with “we” may also sound disruptive. So if you choose active sentences, you need to keep the number of “we” subjects to a minimum and vary the beginnings of the sentences [ 6 ].
Interestingly, recent studies have reported that the Materials and Methods section is the only section in research papers in which passive voice predominantly overrides the use of the active voice [ 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 ]. For example, Martínez shows a significant drop in active voice use in the Methods sections based on the corpus of 1 million words of experimental full text research articles in the biological sciences [ 7 ]. According to the author, the active voice patterned with “we” is used only as a tool to reveal personal responsibility for the procedural decisions in designing and performing experimental work. This means that while all other sections of the research paper use active voice, passive voice is still the most predominant in Materials and Methods sections.
Writing Materials and Methods sections is a meticulous and time consuming task requiring extreme accuracy and clarity. This is why when you complete your draft, you should ask for as much feedback from your colleagues as possible. Numerous readers of this section will help you identify the missing links and improve the technical style of this section.
Rule 3: Be meticulous and accurate in describing the Materials and Methods. Do not change the point of view within one paragraph.
3.2. writing results section.
For many authors, writing the Results section is more intimidating than writing the Materials and Methods section . If people are interested in your paper, they are interested in your results. That is why it is vital to use all your writing skills to objectively present your key findings in an orderly and logical sequence using illustrative materials and text.
Your Results should be organized into different segments or subsections where each one presents the purpose of the experiment, your experimental approach, data including text and visuals (tables, figures, schematics, algorithms, and formulas), and data commentary. For most journals, your data commentary will include a meaningful summary of the data presented in the visuals and an explanation of the most significant findings. This data presentation should not repeat the data in the visuals, but rather highlight the most important points. In the “standard” research paper approach, your Results section should exclude data interpretation, leaving it for the Discussion section. However, interpretations gradually and secretly creep into research papers: “Reducing the data, generalizing from the data, and highlighting scientific cases are all highly interpretive processes. It should be clear by now that we do not let the data speak for themselves in research reports; in summarizing our results, we interpret them for the reader” [ 10 ]. As a result, many journals including the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Investigation use joint Results/Discussion sections, where results are immediately followed by interpretations.
Another important aspect of this section is to create a comprehensive and supported argument or a well-researched case. This means that you should be selective in presenting data and choose only those experimental details that are essential for your reader to understand your findings. You might have conducted an experiment 20 times and collected numerous records, but this does not mean that you should present all those records in your paper. You need to distinguish your results from your data and be able to discard excessive experimental details that could distract and confuse the reader. However, creating a picture or an argument should not be confused with data manipulation or falsification, which is a willful distortion of data and results. If some of your findings contradict your ideas, you have to mention this and find a plausible explanation for the contradiction.
In addition, your text should not include irrelevant and peripheral information, including overview sentences, as in (6).
6. To show our results, we first introduce all components of experimental system and then describe the outcome of infections.
Indeed, wordiness convolutes your sentences and conceals your ideas from readers. One common source of wordiness is unnecessary intensifiers. Adverbial intensifiers such as “clearly,” “essential,” “quite,” “basically,” “rather,” “fairly,” “really,” and “virtually” not only add verbosity to your sentences, but also lower your results’ credibility. They appeal to the reader’s emotions but lower objectivity, as in the common examples in (7):
7a. Table 3 clearly shows that … 7b. It is obvious from figure 4 that …
Another source of wordiness is nominalizations, i.e., nouns derived from verbs and adjectives paired with weak verbs including “be,” “have,” “do,” “make,” “cause,” “provide,” and “get” and constructions such as “there is/are.”
8a. We tested the hypothesis that there is a disruption of membrane asymmetry. 8b. In this paper we provide an argument that stem cells repopulate injured organs.
In the sentences above, the abstract nominalizations “disruption” and “argument” do not contribute to the clarity of the sentences, but rather clutter them with useless vocabulary that distracts from the meaning. To improve your sentences, avoid unnecessary nominalizations and change passive verbs and constructions into active and direct sentences.
9a. We tested the hypothesis that the membrane asymmetry is disrupted. 9b. In this paper we argue that stem cells repopulate injured organs.
Your Results section is the heart of your paper, representing a year or more of your daily research. So lead your reader through your story by writing direct, concise, and clear sentences.
Rule 4: Be clear, concise, and objective in describing your Results.
3.3. now it is time for your introduction.
Now that you are almost half through drafting your research paper, it is time to update your outline. While describing your Methods and Results, many of you diverged from the original outline and re-focused your ideas. So before you move on to create your Introduction, re-read your Methods and Results sections and change your outline to match your research focus. The updated outline will help you review the general picture of your paper, the topic, the main idea, and the purpose, which are all important for writing your introduction.
The best way to structure your introduction is to follow the three-move approach shown in Table 3 .
Adapted from Swales and Feak [ 11 ].
The moves and information from your outline can help to create your Introduction efficiently and without missing steps. These moves are traffic signs that lead the reader through the road of your ideas. Each move plays an important role in your paper and should be presented with deep thought and care. When you establish the territory, you place your research in context and highlight the importance of your research topic. By finding the niche, you outline the scope of your research problem and enter the scientific dialogue. The final move, “occupying the niche,” is where you explain your research in a nutshell and highlight your paper’s significance. The three moves allow your readers to evaluate their interest in your paper and play a significant role in the paper review process, determining your paper reviewers.
Some academic writers assume that the reader “should follow the paper” to find the answers about your methodology and your findings. As a result, many novice writers do not present their experimental approach and the major findings, wrongly believing that the reader will locate the necessary information later while reading the subsequent sections [ 5 ]. However, this “suspense” approach is not appropriate for scientific writing. To interest the reader, scientific authors should be direct and straightforward and present informative one-sentence summaries of the results and the approach.
Another problem is that writers understate the significance of the Introduction. Many new researchers mistakenly think that all their readers understand the importance of the research question and omit this part. However, this assumption is faulty because the purpose of the section is not to evaluate the importance of the research question in general. The goal is to present the importance of your research contribution and your findings. Therefore, you should be explicit and clear in describing the benefit of the paper.
The Introduction should not be long. Indeed, for most journals, this is a very brief section of about 250 to 600 words, but it might be the most difficult section due to its importance.
Rule 5: Interest your reader in the Introduction section by signalling all its elements and stating the novelty of the work.
3.4. discussion of the results.
For many scientists, writing a Discussion section is as scary as starting a paper. Most of the fear comes from the variation in the section. Since every paper has its unique results and findings, the Discussion section differs in its length, shape, and structure. However, some general principles of writing this section still exist. Knowing these rules, or “moves,” can change your attitude about this section and help you create a comprehensive interpretation of your results.
The purpose of the Discussion section is to place your findings in the research context and “to explain the meaning of the findings and why they are important, without appearing arrogant, condescending, or patronizing” [ 11 ]. The structure of the first two moves is almost a mirror reflection of the one in the Introduction. In the Introduction, you zoom in from general to specific and from the background to your research question; in the Discussion section, you zoom out from the summary of your findings to the research context, as shown in Table 4 .
Adapted from Swales and Feak and Hess [ 11 , 12 ].
The biggest challenge for many writers is the opening paragraph of the Discussion section. Following the moves in Table 1 , the best choice is to start with the study’s major findings that provide the answer to the research question in your Introduction. The most common starting phrases are “Our findings demonstrate . . .,” or “In this study, we have shown that . . .,” or “Our results suggest . . .” In some cases, however, reminding the reader about the research question or even providing a brief context and then stating the answer would make more sense. This is important in those cases where the researcher presents a number of findings or where more than one research question was presented. Your summary of the study’s major findings should be followed by your presentation of the importance of these findings. One of the most frequent mistakes of the novice writer is to assume the importance of his findings. Even if the importance is clear to you, it may not be obvious to your reader. Digesting the findings and their importance to your reader is as crucial as stating your research question.
Another useful strategy is to be proactive in the first move by predicting and commenting on the alternative explanations of the results. Addressing potential doubts will save you from painful comments about the wrong interpretation of your results and will present you as a thoughtful and considerate researcher. Moreover, the evaluation of the alternative explanations might help you create a logical step to the next move of the discussion section: the research context.
The goal of the research context move is to show how your findings fit into the general picture of the current research and how you contribute to the existing knowledge on the topic. This is also the place to discuss any discrepancies and unexpected findings that may otherwise distort the general picture of your paper. Moreover, outlining the scope of your research by showing the limitations, weaknesses, and assumptions is essential and adds modesty to your image as a scientist. However, make sure that you do not end your paper with the problems that override your findings. Try to suggest feasible explanations and solutions.
If your submission does not require a separate Conclusion section, then adding another paragraph about the “take-home message” is a must. This should be a general statement reiterating your answer to the research question and adding its scientific implications, practical application, or advice.
Just as in all other sections of your paper, the clear and precise language and concise comprehensive sentences are vital. However, in addition to that, your writing should convey confidence and authority. The easiest way to illustrate your tone is to use the active voice and the first person pronouns. Accompanied by clarity and succinctness, these tools are the best to convince your readers of your point and your ideas.
Rule 6: Present the principles, relationships, and generalizations in a concise and convincing tone.
4. choosing the best working revision strategies.
Now that you have created the first draft, your attitude toward your writing should have improved. Moreover, you should feel more confident that you are able to accomplish your project and submit your paper within a reasonable timeframe. You also have worked out your writing schedule and followed it precisely. Do not stop ― you are only at the midpoint from your destination. Just as the best and most precious diamond is no more than an unattractive stone recognized only by trained professionals, your ideas and your results may go unnoticed if they are not polished and brushed. Despite your attempts to present your ideas in a logical and comprehensive way, first drafts are frequently a mess. Use the advice of Paul Silvia: “Your first drafts should sound like they were hastily translated from Icelandic by a non-native speaker” [ 2 ]. The degree of your success will depend on how you are able to revise and edit your paper.
The revision can be done at the macrostructure and the microstructure levels [ 13 ]. The macrostructure revision includes the revision of the organization, content, and flow. The microstructure level includes individual words, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
The best way to approach the macrostructure revision is through the outline of the ideas in your paper. The last time you updated your outline was before writing the Introduction and the Discussion. Now that you have the beginning and the conclusion, you can take a bird’s-eye view of the whole paper. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction. You will be able to see if something is missing in any of the sections or if you need to rearrange your information to make your point.
The next step is to revise each of the sections starting from the beginning. Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time [ 14 ]. After these short sections, your eyes get used to your writing and your efficiency in spotting problems decreases. When reading for content and organization, you should control your urge to edit your paper for sentence structure and grammar and focus only on the flow of your ideas and logic of your presentation. Experienced researchers tend to make almost three times the number of changes to meaning than novice writers [ 15 , 16 ]. Revising is a difficult but useful skill, which academic writers obtain with years of practice.
In contrast to the macrostructure revision, which is a linear process and is done usually through a detailed outline and by sections, microstructure revision is a non-linear process. While the goal of the macrostructure revision is to analyze your ideas and their logic, the goal of the microstructure editing is to scrutinize the form of your ideas: your paragraphs, sentences, and words. You do not need and are not recommended to follow the order of the paper to perform this type of revision. You can start from the end or from different sections. You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word.
One of the microstructure revision strategies frequently used during writing center consultations is to read the paper aloud [ 17 ]. You may read aloud to yourself, to a tape recorder, or to a colleague or friend. When reading and listening to your paper, you are more likely to notice the places where the fluency is disrupted and where you stumble because of a very long and unclear sentence or a wrong connector.
Another revision strategy is to learn your common errors and to do a targeted search for them [ 13 ]. All writers have a set of problems that are specific to them, i.e., their writing idiosyncrasies. Remembering these problems is as important for an academic writer as remembering your friends’ birthdays. Create a list of these idiosyncrasies and run a search for these problems using your word processor. If your problem is demonstrative pronouns without summary words, then search for “this/these/those” in your text and check if you used the word appropriately. If you have a problem with intensifiers, then search for “really” or “very” and delete them from the text. The same targeted search can be done to eliminate wordiness. Searching for “there is/are” or “and” can help you avoid the bulky sentences.
The final strategy is working with a hard copy and a pencil. Print a double space copy with font size 14 and re-read your paper in several steps. Try reading your paper line by line with the rest of the text covered with a piece of paper. When you are forced to see only a small portion of your writing, you are less likely to get distracted and are more likely to notice problems. You will end up spotting more unnecessary words, wrongly worded phrases, or unparallel constructions.
After you apply all these strategies, you are ready to share your writing with your friends, colleagues, and a writing advisor in the writing center. Get as much feedback as you can, especially from non-specialists in your field. Patiently listen to what others say to you ― you are not expected to defend your writing or explain what you wanted to say. You may decide what you want to change and how after you receive the feedback and sort it in your head. Even though some researchers make the revision an endless process and can hardly stop after a 14th draft; having from five to seven drafts of your paper is a norm in the sciences. If you can’t stop revising, then set a deadline for yourself and stick to it. Deadlines always help.
Rule 7: Revise your paper at the macrostructure and the microstructure level using different strategies and techniques. Receive feedback and revise again.
5. it is time to submit.
It is late at night again. You are still in your lab finishing revisions and getting ready to submit your paper. You feel happy ― you have finally finished a year’s worth of work. You will submit your paper tomorrow, and regardless of the outcome, you know that you can do it. If one journal does not take your paper, you will take advantage of the feedback and resubmit again. You will have a publication, and this is the most important achievement.
What is even more important is that you have your scheduled writing time that you are going to keep for your future publications, for reading and taking notes, for writing grants, and for reviewing papers. You are not going to lose stamina this time, and you will become a productive scientist. But for now, let’s celebrate the end of the paper.
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Home » Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and Examples
Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and Examples
Table of Contents
Research Paper Introduction
Research paper introduction is the first section of a research paper that provides an overview of the study, its purpose, and the research question (s) or hypothesis (es) being investigated. It typically includes background information about the topic, a review of previous research in the field, and a statement of the research objectives. The introduction is intended to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the research problem, why it is important, and how the study will contribute to existing knowledge in the field. It also sets the tone for the rest of the paper and helps to establish the author’s credibility and expertise on the subject.
How to Write Research Paper Introduction
Writing an introduction for a research paper can be challenging because it sets the tone for the entire paper. Here are some steps to follow to help you write an effective research paper introduction:
- Start with a hook : Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement, a question, or a surprising fact that will make the reader interested in reading further.
- Provide background information: After the hook, provide background information on the topic. This information should give the reader a general idea of what the topic is about and why it is important.
- State the research problem: Clearly state the research problem or question that the paper addresses. This should be done in a concise and straightforward manner.
- State the research objectives: After stating the research problem, clearly state the research objectives. This will give the reader an idea of what the paper aims to achieve.
- Provide a brief overview of the paper: At the end of the introduction, provide a brief overview of the paper. This should include a summary of the main points that will be discussed in the paper.
- Revise and refine: Finally, revise and refine your introduction to ensure that it is clear, concise, and engaging.
Structure of Research Paper Introduction
The following is a typical structure for a research paper introduction:
- Background Information: This section provides an overview of the topic of the research paper, including relevant background information and any previous research that has been done on the topic. It helps to give the reader a sense of the context for the study.
- Problem Statement: This section identifies the specific problem or issue that the research paper is addressing. It should be clear and concise, and it should articulate the gap in knowledge that the study aims to fill.
- Research Question/Hypothesis : This section states the research question or hypothesis that the study aims to answer. It should be specific and focused, and it should clearly connect to the problem statement.
- Significance of the Study: This section explains why the research is important and what the potential implications of the study are. It should highlight the contribution that the research makes to the field.
- Methodology: This section describes the research methods that were used to conduct the study. It should be detailed enough to allow the reader to understand how the study was conducted and to evaluate the validity of the results.
- Organization of the Paper : This section provides a brief overview of the structure of the research paper. It should give the reader a sense of what to expect in each section of the paper.
Research Paper Introduction Examples
Research Paper Introduction Examples could be:
Example 1: In recent years, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly prevalent in various industries, including healthcare. AI algorithms are being developed to assist with medical diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and patient monitoring. However, as the use of AI in healthcare grows, ethical concerns regarding privacy, bias, and accountability have emerged. This paper aims to explore the ethical implications of AI in healthcare and propose recommendations for addressing these concerns.
Example 2: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has resulted in rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and other environmental impacts. In this paper, we will review the scientific evidence on climate change, discuss the potential consequences of inaction, and propose solutions for mitigating its effects.
Example 3: The rise of social media has transformed the way we communicate and interact with each other. While social media platforms offer many benefits, including increased connectivity and access to information, they also present numerous challenges. In this paper, we will examine the impact of social media on mental health, privacy, and democracy, and propose solutions for addressing these issues.
Example 4: The use of renewable energy sources has become increasingly important in the face of climate change and environmental degradation. While renewable energy technologies offer many benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy independence, they also present numerous challenges. In this paper, we will assess the current state of renewable energy technology, discuss the economic and political barriers to its adoption, and propose solutions for promoting the widespread use of renewable energy.
Purpose of Research Paper Introduction
The introduction section of a research paper serves several important purposes, including:
- Providing context: The introduction should give readers a general understanding of the topic, including its background, significance, and relevance to the field.
- Presenting the research question or problem: The introduction should clearly state the research question or problem that the paper aims to address. This helps readers understand the purpose of the study and what the author hopes to accomplish.
- Reviewing the literature: The introduction should summarize the current state of knowledge on the topic, highlighting the gaps and limitations in existing research. This shows readers why the study is important and necessary.
- Outlining the scope and objectives of the study: The introduction should describe the scope and objectives of the study, including what aspects of the topic will be covered, what data will be collected, and what methods will be used.
- Previewing the main findings and conclusions : The introduction should provide a brief overview of the main findings and conclusions that the study will present. This helps readers anticipate what they can expect to learn from the paper.
When to Write Research Paper Introduction
The introduction of a research paper is typically written after the research has been conducted and the data has been analyzed. This is because the introduction should provide an overview of the research problem, the purpose of the study, and the research questions or hypotheses that will be investigated.
Once you have a clear understanding of the research problem and the questions that you want to explore, you can begin to write the introduction. It’s important to keep in mind that the introduction should be written in a way that engages the reader and provides a clear rationale for the study. It should also provide context for the research by reviewing relevant literature and explaining how the study fits into the larger field of research.
Advantages of Research Paper Introduction
The introduction of a research paper has several advantages, including:
- Establishing the purpose of the research: The introduction provides an overview of the research problem, question, or hypothesis, and the objectives of the study. This helps to clarify the purpose of the research and provide a roadmap for the reader to follow.
- Providing background information: The introduction also provides background information on the topic, including a review of relevant literature and research. This helps the reader understand the context of the study and how it fits into the broader field of research.
- Demonstrating the significance of the research: The introduction also explains why the research is important and relevant. This helps the reader understand the value of the study and why it is worth reading.
- Setting expectations: The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the paper and prepares the reader for what is to come. This helps the reader understand what to expect and how to approach the paper.
- Grabbing the reader’s attention: A well-written introduction can grab the reader’s attention and make them interested in reading further. This is important because it can help to keep the reader engaged and motivated to read the rest of the paper.
- Creating a strong first impression: The introduction is the first part of the research paper that the reader will see, and it can create a strong first impression. A well-written introduction can make the reader more likely to take the research seriously and view it as credible.
- Establishing the author’s credibility: The introduction can also establish the author’s credibility as a researcher. By providing a clear and thorough overview of the research problem and relevant literature, the author can demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in the field.
- Providing a structure for the paper: The introduction can also provide a structure for the rest of the paper. By outlining the main sections and sub-sections of the paper, the introduction can help the reader navigate the paper and find the information they are looking for.
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TIP Sheet HOW TO START (AND COMPLETE) A RESEARCH PAPER
You are a re-entry student and it's been fourteen years since you've written a paper. You coasted through high school on your charm and good looks and never actually wrote a research paper. You have written research papers, but every time is like the first time, and the first time was like a root canal. How do you start? Here is a step-by-step approach to starting and completing a research paper.
- Choose a topic.
- Read and keep records.
- Form a thesis.
- Create a mind map or outline.
- Read again.
- Rethink your thesis.
- Draft the body.
- Add the beginning and end.
- Proofread and edit.
You may read this TIP Sheet from start to finish before you begin your paper, or skip to the steps that are causing you the most grief.
1. Choosing a topic: Interest, information, and focus Your job will be more pleasant, and you will be more apt to retain information if you choose a topic that holds your interest. Even if a general topic is assigned ("Write about impacts of GMO crops on world food supply"), as much as possible find an approach that suits your interests. Your topic should be one on which you can find adequate information; you might need to do some preliminary research to determine this. Go to the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature in the reference section of the library, or to an electronic database such as Proquest or Wilson Web, and search for your topic. The Butte College Library Reference Librarians are more than happy to assist you at this (or any) stage of your research. Scan the results to see how much information has been published. Then, narrow your topic to manageable size:
Once you have decided on a topic and determined that enough information is available, you are ready to proceed. At this point, however, if you are having difficulty finding adequate quality information, stop wasting your time; find another topic.
2. Preliminary reading & recordkeeping Gather some index cards or a small notebook and keep them with you as you read. First read a general article on your topic, for example from an encyclopedia. On an index card or in the notebook, record the author, article and/or book title, and all publication information in the correct format (MLA or APA, for example) specified by your instructor. (If you need to know what publication information is needed for the various types of sources, see a writing guide such as S F Writer .) On the index cards or in your notebook, write down information you want to use from each identified source, including page numbers. Use quotation marks on anything you copy exactly, so you can distinguish later between exact quotes and paraphrasing. (You will still attribute information you have quoted or paraphrased.)
Some students use a particular index card method throughout the process of researching and writing that allows them great flexibility in organizing and re-organizing as well as in keeping track of sources; others color-code or otherwise identify groups of facts. Use any method that works for you in later drafting your paper, but always start with good recordkeeping.
3. Organizing: Mind map or outline Based on your preliminary reading, draw up a working mind map or outline. Include any important, interesting, or provocative points, including your own ideas about the topic. A mind map is less linear and may even include questions you want to find answers to. Use the method that works best for you. The object is simply to group ideas in logically related groups. You may revise this mind map or outline at any time; it is much easier to reorganize a paper by crossing out or adding sections to a mind map or outline than it is to laboriously start over with the writing itself.
4. Formulating a thesis: Focus and craftsmanship Write a well defined, focused, three- to five-point thesis statement, but be prepared to revise it later if necessary. Take your time crafting this statement into one or two sentences, for it will control the direction and development of your entire paper.
For more on developing thesis statements, see the TIP Sheets "Developing a Thesis and Supporting Arguments" and "How to Structure an Essay."
5. Researching: Facts and examples Now begin your heavy-duty research. Try the internet, electronic databases, reference books, newspaper articles, and books for a balance of sources. For each source, write down on an index card (or on a separate page of your notebook) the publication information you will need for your works cited (MLA) or bibliography (APA) page. Write important points, details, and examples, always distinguishing between direct quotes and paraphrasing. As you read, remember that an expert opinion is more valid than a general opinion, and for some topics (in science and history, for example), more recent research may be more valuable than older research. Avoid relying too heavily on internet sources, which vary widely in quality and authority and sometimes even disappear before you can complete your paper.
Never copy-and-paste from internet sources directly into any actual draft of your paper. For more information on plagiarism, obtain from the Butte College Student Services office a copy of the college's policy on plagiarism, or attend the Critical Skills Plagiarism Workshop given each semester.
6. Rethinking: Matching mind map and thesis After you have read deeply and gathered plenty of information, expand or revise your working mind map or outline by adding information, explanations, and examples. Aim for balance in developing each of your main points (they should be spelled out in your thesis statement). Return to the library for additional information if it is needed to evenly develop these points, or revise your thesis statement to better reflect what you have learned or the direction your paper seems to have taken.
7. Drafting: Beginning in the middle Write the body of the paper, starting with the thesis statement and omitting for now the introduction (unless you already know exactly how to begin, but few writers do). Use supporting detail to logically and systematically validate your thesis statement. For now, omit the conclusion also.
For more on systematically developing a thesis statement, see TIP sheets "Developing a Thesis and Supporting Arguments" and "How to Structure an Essay."
8. Revising: Organization and attribution Read, revise, and make sure that your ideas are clearly organized and that they support your thesis statement. Every single paragraph should have a single topic that is derived from the thesis statement. If any paragraph does not, take it out, or revise your thesis if you think it is warranted. Check that you have quoted and paraphrased accurately, and that you have acknowledged your sources even for your paraphrasing. Every single idea that did not come to you as a personal epiphany or as a result of your own methodical reasoning should be attributed to its owner.
For more on writing papers that stay on-topic, see the TIP Sheets "Developing a Thesis and Supporting Arguments" and "How to Structure an Essay." For more on avoiding plagiarism, see the Butte College Student Services brochure, "Academic Honesty at Butte College," or attend the Critical Skills Plagiarism Workshop given each semester.
9. Writing: Intro, conclusion, and citations Write the final draft. Add a one-paragraph introduction and a one-paragraph conclusion. Usually the thesis statement appears as the last sentence or two of the first, introductory paragraph. Make sure all citations appear in the correct format for the style (MLA, APA) you are using. The conclusion should not simply restate your thesis, but should refer to it. (For more on writing conclusions, see the TIP Sheet "How to Structure an Essay.") Add a Works Cited (for MLA) or Bibliography (for APA) page.
10. Proofreading: Time and objectivity Time permitting, allow a few days to elapse between the time you finish writing your last draft and the time you begin to make final corrections. This "time out" will make you more perceptive, more objective, and more critical. On your final read, check for grammar, punctuation, correct word choice, adequate and smooth transitions, sentence structure, and sentence variety. For further proofreading strategies, see the TIP Sheet "Revising, Editing, and Proofreading."
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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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How to Write a Research Paper: Student's Practical Guide
26 Nov 2021
Have you been wandering in the confusing maze of academic research, wondering where to turn for guidance on what should a research paper look like and how to set up a research paper? If so, you have landed in just the right spot. This article will discuss the intricate process of writing a top-notch academic research paper, providing step-by-step directions.
Our primary mission is to make the research paper writing journey accessible and stress-free for all the students. Here is a quick roadmap of what is ahead:
- After reading the article, you will understand how to compose an outstanding research paper.
- The article provides a step-by-step guide to structuring a research paper.
- Clearly defining your research topic helps keep your paper focused.
- When writing your first draft, don’t forget to think about your audience.
- Citing sources as a crucial role in avoiding plagiarism.
Consider this article your trusted companion, offering practical research paper guidelines to make your research paper writing journey a breeze. Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about crafting a professional research paper without getting help from quick essay writers !
What is a Research Paper?
Unfortunately, many students begin their research paper writing journey without clearly understanding what a research paper is. Are you wondering, too? Well, think of it as a document where you dive deep into a topic, like becoming a detective for a while. You spend much time gathering information, evidence, and facts from various sources to understand and explain something.
Now, one question might pop into your mind - How does a research paper stand apart from others? The big difference is how you use all the gathered sources and facts. In a research paper, you use all your research to support your ideas, arguments, or theories. You are not just giving your opinion but backing it up with solid evidence from other experts.
Other papers, like essays, might focus more on your thoughts or feelings. They are often based on something different than your perspective and might not require you to conduct research. Research papers are like information-packed investigations, while other papers are more about expressing your thoughts.
Research Paper Writing Steps
Research paper writing can be an exciting journey, much like any adventure. Just like any trip, it is essential to have a roadmap to guide you through the process. Without the roadmap, you will sail aimlessly in a vast sea of information without a caption. Here are the steps you must follow to write research papers that impress your readers!
Understanding the Assignment
Imagine you are planning a road trip. Before you hit the road, you will want to know where you are headed, right? Similarly, when you start the research paper writing process, it is crucial to understand the scope of your journey.
Most research papers without a well-defined scope face the risk of rejection by academic journals or publishers. Identifying the scope of your journey is just like setting your GPS destination. It will help you stay on track, avoid getting lost, and reach your destination efficiently and timely. Here is why it matters a lot:
- Keeps you focused: Imagine you are writing about climate change. If your paper's scope is broad, like "Climate Change and its effects," you might end up all over the place, discussing everything from carbon emissions to melting ice caps. However, with a clearly defined scope like "Impact of Climate Change on Polar Bear Habitats," you will be more likely to stay focused.
- Saves Much Time: With a well-defined scope, you will know where to look for information. It will further prevent you from gathering unnecessary information and save you much time during the research process.
- Clarifies Your Purpose: Understanding the scope will help you determine the purpose of your paper. You will know whether your paper aims to inform, persuade, analyze, or compare.
Types of Research Papers
Once you are clear about the scope of your research paper, you will know what type of paper you want to write. Here are the most popular types of research papers :
- Argumentative Research Paper: An argumentative research paper for college requires you to take a stance on an issue and support it with solid evidence. Think of this like a courtroom. You are presenting a case and arguing for a particular viewpoint. For example, if your topic is "Should Vaccinations be Mandatory for School Children?" your thesis statement might be "Mandatory vaccinations are essential to prevent the spread of various diseases in school-going children." Here, you are taking a stance and providing evidence to support your argument.
- Analytical Research Paper: Analytical research papers are focused on breaking the topic into its critical components to understand a target audience better. In an analytical paper, you are not required to take sides. Instead, you just have to break down the topic and examine all its parts. Let us say your topic is "The Industrial Revolution's Impact on Society." Your paper can explore the causes, effects, and societal changes without taking a stance on a specific viewpoint. It is like dissecting a complex machine to understand the workings of each part.
So, by clearly defining your scope, you ensure a focused and purposeful paper and determine whether it will be an argumentative journey or an analytical exploration.
Importance of a Relevant Topic and Tips for Choosing it
Think of your research paper topic as the starting point of your paper, like the first and main ingredient in a recipe. Choosing the right one will be like finding the perfect puzzle piece - it must fit just right. A relevant topic will keep your research and writing focused. Without it, you will end up writing a paper that is all over the place. Also, when you are interested in the topic chosen, the research and writing process becomes more enjoyable. Otherwise, it will just feel like a significant burden on your shoulders.
Moreover, a well-chosen topic will help your readers know exactly what to expect from your paper. It is like putting the correct label on the jar to tell people what is stored inside.
Tips for Choosing the Right Topic
Are you uncertain about what to write a research paper on? Here is how you can pick a good topic for a research paper:
- Consider Your Interests : To write a good research paper, choosing a topic that genuinely interests you is important. If you are passionate about music, writing about "The Influence of Jazz on Modern Music" will be more engaging than a topic you have no interest in.
- Start Broad, Narrow Down Later: Imagine you are writing about the "Impact of Technology on our Lives." That is pretty broad, right? You could narrow it down to "Impact of Smartphones on Teenagers' Social Lives'. By doing so, you are making your topic more specific and manageable.
- Identify Research Potential: Before finalizing your topic, ensure enough information is available for research. If you cannot find any sources or data on the chosen topic, you must look for another.
Conducting Preliminary Research
Once you have your research topic in hand, it is time to gather the building blocks for your paper. The first rule of research is to find reliable sources. Think of it like baking a cake- you want the best ingredients. Credible sources are like high-quality ingredients that make your paper rich and flavorful.
Look for books, academic journals, articles from reputable websites, and research papers related to your topic. Libraries, online databases such as RefSeek, and university websites are great places to start your own research. However, avoid random websites, as most do not provide accurate or trustworthy information.
As you find valuable information, take notes of key facts, statistics, quotes, and source details. Also, take notes of where you found each piece of information. It will save you a lot of time and energy to cite sources later.
Once you have collected your information and notes, it is time to organize them. Think of this step as sorting your treasure into neat piles. Create categories or sections that match the structure of your paper.
Conducting preliminary research is like setting the stage for your research paper. Finding reliable sources ensures your paper is built on a strong foundation, taking notes helps you remember the valuable information you have discovered, and organizing your findings makes writing a research paper a breeze.
Formulate a Thesis Statement
Now that you have done your research and are starting to gather your thoughts, it is time to create the heart of your paper - the thesis statement. You might be wondering what exactly thesis statements are. They are like the main points or core ideas of your research papers. A sentence that tells your readers what your paper is about and your stance.
While formulating a thesis statement for your paper, keep it specific, arguable, concise, and connected to your research. Also, remembering that your thesis is not set in stone is worth remembering. As you continue to research and write, you can refine it to understand your topic better.
Create a Research Paper Outline
Imagine you are building a house. Before you start the construction work, it is important to have a blueprint, right? Well, think of creating a research paper outline as a blueprint for your paper. It will help you organize your thoughts and ensure your paper flows thoroughly. An outline will give your paper a better structure and provide clarity to readers.
Now, let us briefly discuss the parts of a research paper outline:
- Title & Abstract: Start a research paper with the title page. It is the first page of the paper shows the title of the research paper and the author's name. It also shows affiliations, acknowledgments, and other specific information relevant to the paper. Next comes the abstract - a concise summary of the paper that includes the main problem, the research paper question , the study's goal, the methods implemented, the findings, and the study's contributions.
- Introduction: The introduction section is the first main section of your paper and sets the stage for what follows next. It offers readers the necessary background and context for your study. Also, the introductory paragraph provides an overview of the main points or technical arguments your paper will explore. The best research paper introduction section offers a concise presentation of your central topic while summarizing the existing state of research within the current scientific literature and community.
- Literature Review: In this part, we look at past research and previous studies to find gaps. We also discover new possibilities in the topic. A good literature review in a paper gives a wider view of the study and its language. It also helps the reader understand other related works better.
- Methodology: The methods section explains how the study was done, including the plan, who was involved, what materials were used, the steps taken, and how the data was analyzed. In a research paper, this section should contain all the steps and specifics used to find the research results. It must have detailed information enough so other researchers can repeat the study if needed.
- Results: The results section shares the study's main findings through visuals like figures and tables. It should stick to facts and avoid interpretation or discussion.
- Discussion: The discussion section interprets the study's results, explains how they relate to the research question and prior studies, mentions study limitations, and suggests implications or recommendations for future research or practice.
- Conclusion: The effective research paper conclusion sums up the main points, restates the research questions, and highlights key contributions without introducing new information or unnecessary repetition.
- References: The annotated bibliography summarizes all used materials, while the references section lists only cited sources in a specific citation style (like APA or MLA), excluding sources only read or consulted.
- Appendices : Appendices should include supplementary materials such as charts, statistics, and efficient mathematical solutions and formulas that enhance understanding.
Remember, the outline will be your roadmap for the research paper. It does not need to be too detailed, just a skeleton of your paper's structure. It will help you stay organized and ensure your paper is well-structured, making it easier for you to write and for your readers to navigate. So, before you start building the walls of your paper, focus on creating a solid outline.
Writing a First Draft
Once you have gathered your research and created an outline, it is time to dive into the exciting process of writing your first draft. It might not be perfect, but it is the starting point for something great. Now, one thing you must remember while writing your paper's first draft is the target audience.
Take a little time to understand your paper's target audience. Who are you writing for? Is it experts in your field, classmates, or a general audience? Knowing your target audience before writing your first draft will help you choose the right tone and language for your message. Just like you would not use complicated jargon when talking to the senior members of your family about technology, you will have to tailor your writing to your target audience's level of understanding.
Also, when writing the first draft of your research paper, do not worry too much about perfection. It is more like building the framework of your paper. You can refine and polish it in later drafts. Just let your ideas flow and consider your target audience's preferences!
Proofreading for Grammar, Syntax, and Structure Errors
Proofreading your research paper will help you catch spelling mistakes, fix awkward topic sentences, and tidy up your paper's overall structure. While proofreading, take enough time and read aloud to help yourself spot errors that you might miss when reading silently.
Moreover, you can use spell-check and grammar-check tools to catch common mistakes. However, do not rely on them entirely, as they often miss context-specific errors. When proofreading your final draft, concentrate on one type of error at a time. For example, look for grammar errors first, then syntax and structure errors. It will make the proofreading process more manageable and efficient.
Remember, proofreading is like giving your paper the last layer of polish. Therefore, take your time, be patient, and give your paper the finishing touch it deserves. Your readers will be thankful for it!
Using information or ideas from other sources is like borrowing pieces from someone else's puzzle to complete yours. Citing sources is crucial as it shows you have done your homework and gives credit to the original creators of the ideas or information you are using. Also, it makes your paper look more authentic and credible.
Now, different citation styles are like different languages for your citations. Each style has its formatting style, but they all serve the same purpose - making your sources clear and accessible.
Here are a few citation styles for research papers:
- APA (American Psychological Association) : is often used in social sciences and psychology. APA Style typically includes the author's name and publication year in parentheses, like (Smith, 2023).
- MLA (Modern Language Association) : is commonly used in the humanities. In a Modern language association, you usually include the author's name and page number, (Smith 45).
- Chicago Style: is used in history and other fields. It has two main styles: notes and bibliography (used for citations within the text) and author-date (used in the sciences).
- IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers): is often used in engineering and computer science. It uses numbers in square brackets, like .
Each style has its unique rules and formatting guidelines. Therefore, choose the style that fits your field and adheres to your professor's or institute's guidelines. However, if you still struggle to cite the sources, you can use PapersOwl's helping tools. These free citation generators will help you generate a citation in any style you want.
Therefore, there is no need to spend your precious time memorizing all the rules and formatting guidelines for each style. Also, be sure not to overlook the inclusion of page numbers. Page numbers are essential for proper citation and referencing in research papers.
Creating a Bibliography or Works Cited Page
Creating a bibliography or references list for your research paper is like giving credit where it is due. It is essential to list all the sources you have used, like books or websites, following a specific citation style (APA, MLA, etc.). Organize the research paper’s citations alphabetically by the author's last name and use hanging indents. This clear and organized reference list adds credibility to your paper and helps readers explore your sources faster.
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Tips on How to Write a Research Paper Fast
Do you wonder how to write a research paper fast without sacrificing quality? Here are a few tips on how to write a research paper fast :
- Write in Sprints and Set Realistic Goals: Break your writing process into manageable chunks. Set aside specific blocks of time, like 30 minutes to an hour, and commit to focused writing during those periods. Also, you must set realistic goals for each sprint, like completing an outline or writing a specific section. By doing so, you will make steady progress without feeling overwhelmed.
- Eliminate Distractions: For working on a research paper, you should find a quiet and comfortable space to work in. Turn off notifications on your phone or computer, and let your family or roommates know you need uninterrupted time. Distractions can interrupt your writing flow, so create a distraction-free zone.
- Prioritize Sections of a Research Paper: When writing a research paper, start with the most interesting or comfortable sections. It will help build your momentum. Also, do not get bogged down if stuck on a particular part. Move to another section and come back to it later.
- Revise and Edit Later: Do not obsess over perfection during your initial draft. Focus on getting your ideas down on paper. You can fine-tune and polish your writing while reviewing and editing your paper . Trying to write perfectly from the start can slow you down.
- Use Academic Writing Tools: Take advantage of writing tools and software to help you stay organized and improve your writing. Tools like grammar and spell checkers, citation generators, and writing apps can save you time and reduce the chances of errors.
Final Thoughts on Your Journey to Research Paper Success
This step-by-step research paper guide on the steps to write a research paper has shown you the way to create a successful paper that meets research paper requirements and makes a good research paper. We've covered understanding your scope, picking interesting topics, doing research, making strong thesis statements, and organizing your ideas according to the format for research paper. We've also talked about writing with your readers in mind, checking for mistakes, and giving credit to your sources. With these tips, you're ready to start your research paper journey. Remember, it's not just about finishing; it's about what you learn and share as you go. Happy writing!
How long should a research paper be?
Why is it important to use citations within your research paper, how many sources should a research paper have, what steps can i take to make the process of writing a research paper less daunting, was this article helpful, thanks for your feedback.
Prof. Linda Mia
I’ve worked for the past eight years as a content editor, creative writer, and professional essay writer. Every day, I work hard to make sure my clients are satisfied with the projects and papers I write for them. My areas of expertise are wide, ranging from Psychology and Sociology to Political Science and World History.
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Five Different Ways to Start an Introduction for a Research Paper
Benjamin twist, 27 jun 2018.
If you've ever read a research paper that had you head-bobbing after the first sentence, then you know how important the introductory paragraph is. You have a limited amount of time to grab your reader and pull her in, so don't make her yawn in the first sentence. The best introductions start in a way that creates a connection between the reader's interest or experience and the research and conclusions you intend to present.
Explore this article
- Defining Unfamiliar Terms
- Adding an Anecdote or Quotation
- Creating a Contrast
- Following the Funnel Method
- Foreshadowing the Conclusion
1 Defining Unfamiliar Terms
In a paper that deals with a particularly specialized topic or a term your audience is unlikely to be familiar with, you can start your introduction by defining a central word or phrase. Do not use this if a definition will not add useful information. Starting an essay with a dictionary definition of a common word, for example, is a cliched and shallow practice that you should avoid. Instead, give a definition while hinting at the angle, focus or thesis of your paper.
2 Adding an Anecdote or Quotation
This method eases the reader into the substance of your paper by providing a memorable and relevant story or a quotation from a well-known person or work. Pick something that is engaging in its own right, but that also creates a connection to your research paper's central thesis. You may draw, for example, from a legend or myth that seeks to answer the same question you did or share the experience of a famed researcher in your field. A dictionary of quotations can help you find quotations related to your topic.
3 Creating a Contrast
One way to help a reader grasp the scope of your topic is to start with the part you do not cover or a position you disagree with. For example, you may state what a long-standing theory holds, then transition, with a word like "however" or "but," to describe the contrasting conclusions your research leads to. This technique is particularly useful in argumentative essays or if you will be presenting your paper in a setting where alternate conclusions will also be proposed.
4 Following the Funnel Method
Like a physical funnel, a funnel method introduction starts broadly and gets progressively narrower to end with the thesis statement. This technique provides a natural way to create a connection between your reader's broad familiarity with your field and your specific research topic. If your topic has multiple components, such as "teaching math to developmentally disabled kindergarten students," you can start with a sentence about one component and narrow it by adding another component in each sentence. In this example, you might start with a broad statement about teaching math, then teaching math in kindergarten, then state your full thesis.
5 Foreshadowing the Conclusion
Sometime, providing your conclusion in advance can help the reader understand what to look for as she reads the rest of your paper. When using this method, bear in mind that the reader will not yet know about the research, methods and context you explain in the paper. Frame your conclusion as a simplified hint about the direction in which you will be moving, rather than a detailed or technical statement. Make sure that the conclusion of your paper adds more information and develops the results you hint at in the introduction.
- 1 The University of North Carolina: Introductions -- The Writing Center
About the Author
Benjamin Twist has worked as a writer, editor and consultant since 2007. He writes fiction and nonfiction for online and print publications, as well as offering one-on-one writing consultations and tutoring. Twist holds a Master of Arts in Bible exposition from Columbia International University.
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Research Paper Introduction Example: Academic Writing Insight
How to write an introductory paragraph for research paper.
The writing of the research paper is a multi-aspect process. Because this type of academic assignment consists of several parts. If you fail to complete one of the levels, you will fail the whole paper.
Introduction is not a Literal Beginning
As you know, the hardest part is just to begin the paper. And what should do student at the beginning? Not writing an outline. And not working on the introduction. He should make massive research on his topic . You cannot start writing an introduction without having a personal view on the issue that you are going to study. You have to prepare for introduction writing though analyzing facts available online and making notes. If it’s hard to do it yourself, the online essay help service by Edusson.com will solve this problem instantly!
Why do We Need an Introduction?
The key aim of the introduction is to introduce to the reader the purpose of your research. Just imagine any academic writing starting from the main body section. You cannot pour on the reader your evidence, ideas, and arguments without an explanation of what are you writing about. In the introduction, you must clearly indicate the hypothesis you want to prove or deny. You must explain the necessity of your research, its urgency, and significance for your study, and, finally, hook readers to continue reading it!
What Information Can I Get From my Search for the Introduction?
It depends on the discipline you are writing the research paper on. If your field of study is Humanities, it is likely that you can find a relevant quote, aphorism, or anecdote to introduce your topic to the reader. In case you study tech, social, and medical sciences quotes are irrelevant. More precise and specific facts will fit such an introduction. There is a general rule for all specialties too. You must find a fact that will intrigue a reader. You must hook him.
Attract the Reader in Any Case
Imagine that your research paper is a product that you want to sell and be paid for it. Figuratively, it is true because your aim is to be rewarded with high mark. The first thing salesmen do to sell their product is a promotion of it. They put effort into and use various methods to hook clients. So, what should research paper writers do to attract a reader? Even if you write a research paper, and the style of writing is formal, it is still necessary and possible to draw his attention. For example, your research paper topic is “How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?”. After a hasty internet search, you can find out that there are many legendary musicians like Radiohead that gave up being dependent on music labels and started to issue their LPs by themselves, online. Also, there is a site Pledge Music which is a popular crowdfunding platform for modern musicians. Such popular synth-pop band as IAMX raises money there to record and promote their albums. These two facts prove that digital downloading somehow affects the music industry, and it is urgent to research this topic to learn the character of this effect. Connect with a professional writer in 5 simple steps. Start now Please provide as many details about your writing struggle as possible. Next What's the area of study of your paper? English Business and Entrepreneurship Nursing History African-American Studies Accounting Anthropology Architecture Art, Theatre and Film Biology Business and Entrepreneurship Chemistry Communication Strategies Computer Science Criminology Economics Education English Engineering Environmental Issues Ethics Finance Geography Healthcare History International and Public Relations Law and Legal Issues Linguistics Literature Management Marketing Mathematics Music Nursing Nutrition Other Philosophy Physics Political Science Psychology Religion and Theology Sociology Sport Technology Tourism Next How many pages do you need? Next When is it due? 01 AM 02 AM 03 AM 04 AM 05 AM 06 AM 07 AM 08 AM 09 AM 10 AM 11 AM 12 AM 01 PM 02 PM 03 PM 04 PM 05 PM 06 PM 07 PM 08 PM 09 PM 10 PM 11 PM 12 PM Next What's your e-mail? Next Done!
Writing a Thesis Statement
Research paper writing is one of the most challenging tasks for students. To write your research papers in a relevant way, it is important to add new information and to connect the text with the research topic. For example, a research paper introduction example can help you learn how to create an introduction that grabs the attention of the reader. The introduction should not only explain the topic but should also provide enough detail to set up the body of the paper. This can be done by providing background information, presenting a hypothesis, or discussing existing research on the topic. Adding new information will make the introduction more interesting and will lead the reader to the body of the paper.
What do you feel when you watch a good teaser for the movie? You feel hooked, intrigued, and eager to watch the story till the end. The same result you must achieve with the thesis statement in a research paper. You must indicate the highlights of your essay, and leave an open question, a mystery, which the reader will want to learn for sure. To provide a worthy example of a research paper thesis statement let’s return to the discussed above topic “How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?”. A thesis statement is a point that you will have to defend. It mandatorily must not be general. For example, if you declare this statement during the conversation, it will surely provoke a conflict and make all people differ in their attitude and take a side. Wrong way: “Downloading music from the internet is bad and we must fight it.” It leaves too many questions to answer. And this statement is way too objective, it does not reflect the controversy of your topic. The truth is that there are no absolutely good or totally bad phenomena. And your thesis statement must show the reality.
Right way: “The culture of digital music consumption must be changed because the creations of musicians become worthless due to activity of web pirates and people stop valuing music according to its merit .”
In this example of thesis, I’ve narrowed my argument to the consequences of digital music downloads on the culture of music consumption. I’ve also focused on the fact that the main harm to the music industry present web pirates. It induces readers to assume that I will argue against them in the main body. To check if you have created a debatable thesis statement for the research paper, you must figure out whether it is debatable. It means that you must make the reader argue either for or against this statement. Wrong way : “The music industry has changed because of the era of the internet.” It is a statement, but not a thesis statement. It is a general truth. There is no point to argue with that fact. You can narrate about that, but not argue and make research to provide proper evidence to prove your point.
Right way: “Free music download sites must become commercial because recording a music is a full-time job of musicians and every work must be rewarded.” Now it is debatable. Opponents can argue that product that music product is not principal way to earn money for musicians, and internet is a the most effective way to promote their creation and lure audience to visit their concerts, what is a real way to earn money.
Research paper Introduction Writing Tips
Research paper introduction is an essential part of your writing and it must be created according to certain rules. It is true that when you write any kind of text you can push yourself too hard and cross the borders of norms. Because academic styles of writing are referred to as creative writing as well. You look for information, then analyze it, come up with thoughts, and ideas, and reflect it in a coherent text. The next tips will show you how to fulfill the purpose of the research paper introduction and get rid of the creative mess.
- Size matters. Before a tutor starts reading the article, he reviews it visually. If the size of the introduction is too large, it will make a bad impression on your paper. Just remember, all you have to present in the introduction is: the definition of the topic idea and its urgency, an explanation of the aim of the research, facts to hook the reader, and a thesis statement.
- Be logical. Your introduction will be really strong if it contains key ideas only in a few sentences. To reach such a result it is important to satisfy the logical connection of the thoughts. Your goal is to make the reader understand in the end of the introduction what exactly you attempted to achieve in a research paper and why this problem is worth profound research.
- Make it the last part. Many successful students first work on the whole outline, write the body of the paper and only then form the introduction. That’s because a person becomes more sure in what direction his research goes only after at least a shallow search and analysis of sources.
- Review previous studies on your topic. Every person can study the same topic in a different way. Before you start your own research, you must become aware of the discoveries other scholars made on this issue. Any result will be a reliable background for future work. Note that it is better to indicate recent developments in the primary research rather than a lengthy report.
Research Paper Introduction Example
Finally, when we have analyzed all highlights of introduction writing we can gather all parts of it in one, ultimate part of a paper. Let’s refresh the exemplary topic of it: “How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?”. Now, have a look at the research paper introduction example: “The musical marketing turns to be digital according to demands of current online epoche. Such underground, but worldwide famous bands like Radiohead and IAMX gain profit from the internet and use it as a primary source to show the audience their creation. On the other hand, many artists find the digital era harmful and destructive to their creativity because there are many sites that offer their products for free, giving no profit to the creator. Currently, there are more and more studies that reveal the business side of the music industry is far from the positive side. This research paper will define whether the culture of digital music consumption must be changed because the creations of musicians become worthless due to the activity of web pirates and because people have stopped valuing music according to its merit.”
As you see, all main components are preserved in the example above. The first sentences hook readers, the mid part of the introduction prove the reason for the research, and the thesis statement puts a debatable argument that needs further analysis and the right solution.
Integrity is a Key
After you created the final paper, be decisive to make necessary changes and corrections, especially before the submission. It usually happens that at the end of the research, a writer can face with inconsistencies in all sections of his writing. If the whole paper does not sound like a cohesive text, make improvements. If your main part does not answer the question raised in the introduction nothing obstructs you from adjusting its sense to the ideas from the main body. A paper with cohesive text deserves a high mark, so rule your writing!
Now You’re a Winner
I suppose that before you came across this article you underestimated the value of a worthy introductive paragraph. In fact, I have not introduced you to another meaningful feature of it. You know that all academic essays must end with a conclusive paragraph. There is an assumption that this is the hardest part of research paper completion. In fact, if you have succeeded in making of impressive introduction, you will significantly facilitate the process of conclusion writing. You don’t think it is easy for you? Ask professionals “ write an essay for me ” because writing your essay does not have to be a difficult job.
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How to Write an Introduction of a Research Paper
Publication Date: 26 Feb 2018
For many students, the introduction of a research paper may appear to be the most tricky part of the assignment. Its length may vary depending on what kind of paper you’re going to write. The introduction serves a few different functions: it presents your topic, clarifies the context of the paper, attracts the attention of readers, and presents a thesis statement which will be explained and developed throughout the whole research.
- Announce the topic
Start your introduction with a topic. Explain what you’re going to focus on, and what questions you will answer. The introduction also must grab attention and motivate your readers to keep reading. As for the topic, begin with a broader context, defining general issues of your topic. After that, start zooming in on particular features of such issues, explaining to your readers what exactly your paper is about. This method is called an “inverted triangle”.
- Define your keywords
Any research paper written for publication requires you to provide a list of keywords which reflects considered issues. The title of the paper may also include keywords. We suggest mentioning a few keywords in your first sentences. Keywords make your paper more specific and serve as reminders for your readers to keep them focused on your topic.
- Define specific concepts and terms
You have to make sure that your readers understand all necessary terms and concepts. Explain such information at the very beginning, in your introduction. By doing this, you minimize the risk of your readers to puzzle on what you’re talking about.
This advice is of key importance in case you’re developing a new theory which uses an existing terminology.
- Introduce your topic
In case your paper is devoted to social science or humanities, you have an opportunity to use some creative methods. For example, you can introduce your topic through an anecdote or quotation. By doing this, you follow the “inverted triangle” principle, applying it in a more imaginary way and so taking a chance to demonstrate your writing skills.
- If you decide to start with an anecdote, make sure that it’s directly related to your topic and short. Note that its main purpose is to announce the topic.
- You can write a short story from your life that illustrates your topic.
- Don’t use this method in case you’re writing a paper on physical or natural sciences.
- Include a literature review
It depends on the length of your research paper, but most often, you have to include the literature review. Your readers must familiarize with sources devoted to your topic. Literature reviews also allow you to demonstrate your good preparation and perfect knowledge of the area.
- Don’t forget that your introduction must be concise, so don’t try to start a long discussion. Just write an overview of recent works and most relevant issues.
- Here you also can use the “inverted triangle” principle, pointing out broad themes that are important for the better understanding of your research.
- A good literature review explains the importance of your topic and provides readers with an understanding of the background of your research.
- Consider the used literature in relation to your own contribution
A comprehensive review of the used literature is a great way to explain the importance of your own work. Explain the role of the existing literature in your research and what is completely new about your own concept. Explain what gaps you found in other sources, and why you decided to fill them with a new perspective.
- Clarify your motivation
After you considered your work within a broader topic, explain why you decided to make your own contribution. Focus on the value of your research paper, its strong sides, and uniqueness.
- For example, when writing a scientific research, focus on advantages of your methods and used models.
- Point out what features of your work are fresh and unique. However, don’t write too many details in the introductory section.
- Define the purpose of your research and how it can be used.
Specify Questions of Your Research
- Indicate main questions of your paper
Once you’ve explained what is a role of your paper in studying some phenomenon, define what questions you decided to answer. Make sure that you addressed the main question of your research in the introduction and that your readers don’t see it for the first time.
- Research questions must be formulated clearly and concisely.
- The main question of your research may mention some keywords from the first sentences of your introduction or title.
- The research question must shape a considered issue and turn it into an understandable hypothesis.
- State your hypothesis
Now you have to articulate your hypothesis, which serves as your thesis statement. The thesis statement narrows your topic and helps in focusing on its particular features, thus clearly defining the purpose of your research. Explain how you came to this idea by referencing the used sources.
- Try not to use the word “hypothesis” in your work, or minimize its use. It will help you make your paper less rigorous and easier to read.
- When writing a scientific paper , briefly mention results of your research and explain how they are related to your hypothesis. Make your thesis statement clear and coherent.
- Write an outline
Sometimes an introduction must include a quick overview of the structure of your research paper. It represents the structure of sentences and logical sections.
- The outline isn’t always necessary, so ask your instructors to make sure what your introduction should consist of.
- Papers on natural sciences are usually written according to a strict defined structure. Make sure that you’re familiar with the required format.
- Papers on social science and humanities offer you more opportunities to change the structure of the paper.