Research paper introduction tips and guide

Part of learning how to write a research paper is learning how to write the introduction. After finding an ideal title and writing the abstract of your research paper, the introduction is usually the next part of the paper you present to your readers. As the first part of your essay, it is important to ensure you introduce your paper strongly. The introduction is your chance to show your readers or reviewers why your research is valid and why they should invest their time in reading your work. Writing a compelling research paper introduction goes a long way in setting the tone for your paper

What is a research paper introduction?

An introduction is the first part of any written work. It is the part of your essay the reader will read first if they are focused on reading your paper in detail. This is where you present notions, definitions and other vital information the reader may require to be able to understand your paper.

All research papers require context for them to be understood by the reader. The introduction serves to give your paper context. The intro of your work sets out your rationale on which your work will be based on. The reader can tell right from your intro what to expect in the rest of the paper and whether it is something that interests them.

It is important to ensure you make the beginning of your paper interesting and engaging enough to capture the attention of the reader. This way, they will be interested in reading your work from beginning to end, and even cite it in their future works. This makes the research paper introduction one of the most challenging parts to write. It is highly important that you invest time to research on how to write the best introduction for your essay.  

Additionally, the introduction should also include the hypothesis of the expected outcome after stating your research and how you expect it come together in the conclusion.

Writing the introduction to your research paper in 4 easy steps.

As a rule of thumb, the introduction section accounts for 10% of the overall word count. It is important to ensure you cover everything you need in the introduction without making it too long.

Providing background information and context  

The first part of the introduction should prepare the reader for a more detailed introduction that comes a bit later. The first few sentences are always broad.

For example:

When writing a paper on organic matter in soil, you can begin with: ‘the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil are all factors that influence sustainable crop production. These factors are affected by the organic matter in soil.’

For a paper that discusses the advantage of bacteria in treating cancer can start with ‘the role played by bacteria is fighting cancerous cells was discovered more than one century ago.’

When writing a paper on lithium batteries, the introductory sentence can be: 

‘the speedy growth of the uses of lithium ion batteries like storing electricity for grid supply, and powering electric cars calls for research on more methods to understand how they work and predict battery life and performance.’

In all these examples, the introduction is short and straight to the point. The first sentence is meant to introduce the broader field related to your topic. After this, you can point out the focus of your paper from this broad perspective.

Introducing the main topic of your paper and explaining why it is important

From the three examples above, the author is focused on presenting the specific topic of their research paper. From the introductory sentence, you can move to offer statistical evidence to prove the importance of the problems you present, and why it makes the ideal research topic.

For example:

A paper of controlling malaria through preventative measures can include statistical evidence about the number of people affected, the number of people lost per given time and the cost of treating the disease.

A paper on how to develop crops that require less water should give statistics on how frequent severe drought occurs and how it affects crop production due to lack of water.

Writing a paper on effective means of transportation can present statistics on air pollution due to car emissions, or it can point out on the shrinking ration between the size of roads and the number of vehicles on the roads.

Another way you can emphasize the importance of a topic is by highlighting the possible advantages of solving the problem or finding answers to the questions. You can show possible savings, long-lasting devices, and greater production and so on.

The approach should emphasize the positives. For instance, instead of saying that an X amount of money is lost annually to malaria treatment, you can say that an X amount can be saved from finding ways to prevent the spread of malaria.

Mentioning past attempts made to solve the problem you highlighted and to answer the question

While presenting a formal review of literature work related to your topic is highly discouraged in the introduction, it is ideal to indicate the existence of any previous research done on your topic. This helps to clarify why your work differs from these previous attempts.

The difference can be as simple as repeating the same experiment using a different organism, elaborating the study using a larger and more diverse sample pool or a different geographical setup.

For example, to explain previous work on the same topic, you can say:

‘Even though the studies were valuable at that time, they were done before the draft genome sequence was available, therefore providing little information on the regulatory and evolutionary mechanisms.’

Concluding the introduction

You can close your introduction by mentioning the main objective of your research, which forms the thesis statement. The previous sentences in your introduction should lead to the main objective of your research. This is the part of your introduction that gives specific details about your research work and topic.  

For example, if earlier on in your introduction, you mentioned the importance of controlling malaria, the concluding part of your introduction should mention the control methods were used and the evaluation process. At the same time, you need to avoid giving too much information in this part, as you will cover most of it in the body of the essay.

You can structure your objectives in different ways. For instance, you can use questions, infinitives and hypothesis.

Questions objective structuring example:

‘Do some genes in barley create gene network? If so, how can they compare to the networks formed in rice?’

Hypothesis objective structuring example:

‘We settled on testing the following three hypotheses in relation to employees working in IT companies:

H1: how career stages affect work values

H2: how career stages affect job satisfaction

H3: why career stages do not affect organizational commitment.’

Objective structuring using infinitives example:

‘To assess how Oryza Sativa responds to different nitrogen doses in terms of plant height, biomass productions and crop duration.’

Once you have set the rationale of your paper with a thesis statement, you can conclude with the outline of your paper. This is not always necessary in your research paper unless it is required from the essay rubric. The outline should be a short paragraph that contains your writing plan for the paper.

Conclusion

There are different methods you can use to write a research paper introduction. Some students prefer writing it first to set the tone for the rest of the work, while others prefer to write it last. Whichever methods you prefer to use, following the steps highlighted in this article will ensure you construct the best-written introduction to any research paper. Getting it right is key to writing an exemplary paper. You can always seek research paper help from reputable custom essay writing service providers. This ensures that you get it right from the start.

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