Research papers are one of the most commonly written assignments. No matter what your faculty is, you’ll face the necessity of writing research papers sooner or later. This type of academic paper is more difficult than an essay, as it requires a deeper analysis and a higher level of writing skills. However, there is nothing impossible for talented people, right? So, don’t waste a minute, and take your first step into the world of research paper writing with our guide on how to write an introduction for a research paper.
Why Is a Research Paper Introduction Important?
It is hard to overestimate the significance of the introduction for a research paper. Although its length usually doesn’t exceed 10% of the whole paper, the role of an introduction for a research paper is huge.
The most important thing about the introduction is that it serves as an attention-grabber and as a brief overview of your research paper at the same time. After the readers take a brief glance at your title page and abstract, they want to be amazed and drawn in by your introduction. If this part of your research paper is poor, you’ll lose a chance to grab the readers’ attention.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t forget about the academic importance of the introduction. It is not an advertisement of your paper but its indispensable part. Writing an introduction for a research paper requires a proper style, academic language, a clear structure, and logical reasoning.
Every introduction to a research paper answers three questions:
- What knowledge area do you want to research?
- Why do you want to research this particular subject?
- How will you fill in this knowledge gap?
In short, you have to explain what, why, and how when writing your research paper. Obviously, you will have to compose three connected parts of introduction in a research paper.
How to Write a Research Paper Introduction in 3 Steps
1. Present your research paper subject and the background information on your topic.
Define the research subject area in a concise statement. Compose a brief overview of background information, but don’t mention well-known and broad facts like “the earth is round” or “William Shakespeare was a good writer.”
2. Explain why your research on this subject is important and needed.
The next step is to determine the knowledge gap. In other words, you answer the question, “What is the missing information?” Make sure that your research paper will be unique and useful. When you want to research a well-known issue or piece of art, try to find the aspects that have not been discovered yet. A good research paper requires a creative approach and innovative ideas.
3. Show how your research paper will add to the general research of your subject.
Explain why your research was created, and why it is worth readers’ attention. Define your purpose clearly, and determine the objective of your research paper introduction. The readers always want to know why they should spend their time on reading your paper, and what kind of useful and valuable information they’ll get.
Imagine that your introduction is a promise, and don’t forget to fulfill it.
The 2 Main Elements of an Introduction for a Research Paper
Above, we’ve told you about the proper content for your introduction. Now, it’s the right moment to learn more about the fundamental elements of any good introduction for research paper: the hook and thesis statement. We will define these two terms, figure out their role in the introduction, and present various strategies of their writing (of course, with proper examples).
A hook is more about marketing and advertising than science. This element of the introduction for research paper serves as an attention grabber. It has to be catchy, attractive, and intriguing. That’s why you’ll use the full power of your imagination and creativity to compose an outstanding hook for your research paper.
As the research papers require a formal writing style, we won’t suggest you to use jokes or anecdotes as in the essays. Still, we’d like to present three great ways of how to start a research paper introduction with a hook.
1. Facts or statistics
This is the exact situation when the numbers should be mind-blowing and eye-opening, and not boring. Facts or statistics are the perfect way to start your introduction, as they sound neutral and formal but intriguing at the same time.
Example of a hook for research paper introduction: “There are one million ants for every person in the world.”
2. A real-life example
This type of hook is appropriate for any kind of research field. If you study economics, you can mention a well-known organization as an example. If you write a literary analysis research paper, try to find the connection between imaginary episodes and real historical events. You have plenty of variations, just think outside the box!
Example of a hook for research paper introduction: “In the 21st century, social inequality can still be a decisive factor in human interrelationship as in the novel Martin Eden written by Jack London in 1909.”
3. An inverted pyramid
This type of hook is good for any kind of writing. You start with an abstract statement that is somehow connected with your topic. Then, you create a smooth transition and end with your thesis statement. In this manner, you compose your hook from broad (base of the pyramid) to specific (top of the pyramid).
Example of a hook for research paper introduction: “The plague wiped out thousands of lives. Surprisingly, the epidemic had a few positive consequences. Thanks to population decline, the resources were redistributed, and that resulted in an economic and cultural rise of Western Europe in the Renaissance.”
You can’t even imagine the importance of this sentence for your research paper. It actually establishes the whole structure of your paper. At least, it should. A thesis statement should be concise, understandable, and relevant. Create a top-notch thesis statement in four steps:
- Make sure that your statement answers the research question.
- Check one more time to see if it answers the WHOLE question.
- Add a few appropriate examples.
- Bring your thesis statement to perfection!
How to Write a Research Paper Introduction: 10 Tips
Some of the tips below are appropriate for the whole text of your research paper, while others are focused exclusively on the introduction. However, these instructions are a great lead in the world of academic writing!
1. Use references to related studies.
Every academic paper should be based on a range of previous studies. Don’t forget to review your sources, and provide your readers with their general ideas. Use proper citation in order to avoid plagiarism!
2. Clarify definitions and terms.
Remember that not all your readers are educated enough to understand rarely used scientific terms. Confusions will hinder the understanding of your writing, so clarify complex words and expressions in your research paper introduction.
3. Determine the problems your study explores.
The readers want to know in advance what they will learn from your research paper. A good introduction can be considered as a specific form of a table of contents. Don’t hide anything from your potential readers – you are not writing a detective story!
4. Use keywords from the title.
Keywords are the signs that catch the attention of the reader. With their help, it is easier to understand if the piece of writing is worth attention. Your introduction should be relevant to your title, so you’d better use some keywords to establish the logical connection.
5. Review up-to-date credible sources.
It is said that classic literature is always relevant. Still, you can’t base your physics research on the works of Ancient Greeks. They are no doubt credible authors, but their statements are outdated. On the other hand, a post of a modern blogger is an up-to-date source, but you can’t consider it to be trustworthy. So, keep balance between relevance and credibility!
6. Write the introduction second to last.
As an introduction for research paper is a challenging part, you should take your time. Write the main body, and then compose a relevant introductory part. It may sound weird, but this order will simplify the whole writing process. Just try it!
7. Choose active voice.
Passive voice makes your sentences sound weaker. Moreover, passive phrases take more space to express the thought. Active voice sounds more persuasive, and that’s an extremely good quality for research papers.
8. Write concise sentences.
Laconism and conciseness are your best friends when it comes to writing research papers. Forget about metaphors, symbols, and fancy words – you are writing an academic paper! The readers should easily follow your thoughts, so avoid ambiguity.
9. Pick strong verbs.
Use “assist” instead of “give assistance,” “suggest” instead of “make suggestions,” and “state” instead of “make statements.” We hope that you’ve understood the principle. Fewer nouns, more verbs!
10. Narrow your thoughts from broad to specific.
When you start your introduction from something broad, you have more chances to attract readers, as a wider theme is more likely to pull someone’s heartstrings. Just don’t forget to specify your topic in order not to turn your research paper into a philosophical work.
5 Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an Introduction for a Research Paper
After we’ve told you how you SHOULD write an introduction for a research paper, let’s move on to some things you SHOULDN’T do. Ever.
1. Don’t put well-known facts in your introduction.
That’s so annoying! Sure, you have to provide your readers with background information, but don’t you dare start with the Big Bang! Choose data that is not well-known and can be really helpful for your readers. Don’t try to fill your word limit using meaningless phrases.
2. Don’t overuse first-person pronouns.
A research paper is not a narrative essay or autobiography. Sometimes, instructors even forbid using first-person pronouns. Actually, you don’t need them in the introduction for a research paper, so avoiding them is not a big deal. Still, such a move will improve your writing immediately.
3. Don’t cite a dictionary.
This method is so banal that it should be officially forbidden. Really, it is not even funny. Please, don’t do this. You’d better give your own definition if you want this so much.
4. Avoid an irrelevant introduction.
You should compose your introduction second to last in order to avoid this huge mistake. The reader will be confused if the “promise” you’ve given in your introduction for a research paper is not fulfilled in the main body.
5. Don’t make the introduction too long.
Although the introduction is an extremely important part of the research paper, it shouldn’t exceed the limit of 10% of your paper. You may think that you haven’t provided enough background information in your introduction. However, it’s very hard to define the reasonable boundaries of “not enough” or “too much.” Limit yourself with concrete numbers, and don’t worry so much about context.
Good Research Paper Introduction Examples at Essayshark.com
We follow the rule that if you want to teach something, you have to provide a few examples. Even when you have not understood the theoretical material, examples help figure out all nuances. That’s why we always provide our readers with excellent samples to look through. Below, you’ll find links to examples of introduction in research papers of different themes. For your comfort, we’ve also written short descriptions, so you’ll know at once whether you need this particular example or not.
In this business research paper, take a closer look at the thesis: “However, during the launch in this state, Netflix faced a lot of challenges related to the economic, cultural, and legislative aspects that significantly complicated this process.” As you see, the writer established the structure of the whole paper in one sentence defining three themes that would be developed: economic, cultural, and legislative aspects.
Here, you are welcome to dive into the world of literature and art. The author produced a well-considered hook that can be defined as an inverted pyramid. He or she starts with an abstract sentence: “A fear of the aging process seems to disturb humans at all times.” Then, there is a transition: “Since this obsession with the youth is common for many people, it has also been documented in literary samples.” And, finally, the writing focuses on one particular book: “For instance, the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde.”
Check out this research paper on fans psychology and behavior. It includes a good example of introduction in a research paper. The writer wrote the introductory paragraph in a concise and understandable manner and included necessary background information.
This research paper will be interesting for students who study literature or sociology. A bold and catchy statement serves as a great thesis statement for the introduction: “The Great Gatsby is not at all an ode to the carefree life of those on top: on the contrary, the novel is a statement of illusiveness of the American dream, which can never bring one the happiness and fulfillment it promises.”
We are sure that now you are able to write an impressive research paper introduction and score a good grade. Still, if our guide on how to write an introduction for a research paper is not enough, you can also check out our article on research paper writing.
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