Writing Introductions For A Research Paper


CRLS Research Guide






Writing an Introduction

Tip Sheet 17


Ask these questions:

What is it?

An introduction is the first paragraph of a written research paper, or the first thing you say in an oral presentation, or the first thing people see, hear, or experience about your project.

It has two parts:

1. A general introduction to the topic you will be discussing

2. Your Thesis Statement


Why do it?

Without an introduction it is sometimes very difficult for your audience to figure out what you are trying to say. There needs to be a thread of an idea that they will follow through your paper or presentation. The introduction gives the reader the beginning of the piece of thread so they can follow it.


When do I do it?

Many books recommend writing your introduction last, after you finish your project. This is to make sure that you introduce what you are actually going to say.
If your project changes in the creating process, it is important to make sure that your introduction accurately reflects what you will be saying. If, however, you have written a good outline and stick to it, then it is fine to start writing your introduction first. Just make sure in your proofreading that you have kept the thread consistent throughout the paper.


How do I do it?

Start with a couple of sentences that introduce your topic to your reader. You do not have to give too much detailed information; save that for the body of your paper. Make these sentences as interesting as you can. Through them, you can hook a reader and get them very interested in the line of thinking you are going to develop in your project.

Then state your thesis, which may be done in one or more sentences. The length of your introduction depends on the length and complexity of your project, but generally it should not exceed one page unless it is a very long project or a book. The average length of an introduction is one half a page.


Some Examples:

For the example, the regular text is the general introduction to the topic. The BOLD text is the writer's Thesis Statement.

Example 1

Teenagers in many American cities have been involved in more gangs in the last five years than ever before. These gangs of teens have been committing a lot of violent crimes. The victims of these crimes are both gang members and people outside of gangs. Many people do not want to travel to areas in our cities because of the danger from this problem.  For this terrible situation to stop, it is going to take a combined effort on the part of many people. Excellent, supervised after-school programs, more jobs available for teens, and healthy family relationships will go a long way towards ending this crisis in our society.

Example 2

During the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East there was much armed conflict between Christians and Muslims. Christians called these conflicts the Crusades because they were fighting under the sign of the cross to save the holy lands of the Bible from being desecrated by non-Christians. However, the true reason for fighting for these lands was less than holy. It was mainly a desire for economic gain that prompted the Christian leaders to send soldiers to fight in the Holy Land.


An introduction gives the reader an idea of where you are going in your project so they can follow along. You can give them more background details and supporting evidence for your thesis in the body of the paper itself.


WHERE TO GO FROM HERE:


Copyright © 2004 Holly Samuels All Rights Reserved



Though introduction to any writing is frequently associated with beginning, this is not about an introduction to a research paper. Here introduction serves as a crucial outlining part, which presents your topic to the reader. While creating an introduction for a research paper students frequently get lost in the consistency of their thoughts. But following the structure and simple rules, you will succeed with your academic writing.

Start with announcing your topic

Your topic is basically the fundament of any writing you prepare. Regarding, from which angle you look at your topic, it will reflect different aspects. Thus, it’s better to begin with outlining your topic. There is no secret on how to start a research paper intro: you should just state your topic and add some connected with topic issues that bothers you a lot. This is a perfect strategy to intrigue the reader.

It is recommended to start with general info and then narrowing down to some concrete aspects. Try not to deepen into a state of things in the beginning, but explain your view on the topic. If you are going to use some difficult expressions in the central part of an essay, make them clear to any reader and point out their connection with your topic.

Review the literature

Developing your statement in the main body, you will need some literature sources to refer to. While your idea can sound a bit subjectively, if you maintain it with citations extracted from works of famous scientists, authors or philosophers, you will prove your point. Don’t neglect modern time scholars that are being deeply concerned about the issue or opinion you stated. Your introduction should briefly state what the literature will be about.

Stress on rationale

The rationale is the key element of your beginning. Once you stated the topic, it’s time to prove it’s very relevant and gives readers food for thought. The rationale serves as an indicator of both – the importance of your essay and your attitude to the issue. The rationale should be laconic and precise to show the reader the significance of your research.

State your thesis

Thesis statement marks the conclusive part of the introduction for research paper and transition to the actual research. This sentence supports all the things you have written before and collects all your ideas in a logical and concise saying. If your subject is too complicated, you should make it comprehensible with your thesis statement. The thesis is what runs through your complete essay, that’s why the intro where a thesis is stated sets the tone for the entire paper.

Your thesis should:

  • Give general info on topic
  • Be engaging and precise
  • Reflect the significance of raised issue

If all these are ready, the only thing left is to make the outline of a structure.

Conclude with the outline

When all the important work is done, it’s time for the outline of your paper’s structure. Not every mentor requires an essay structure overview in the introduction, but sometimes students are asked to stress on few aspects of their future research. This is not about the detailed depiction of every part of your work. The outline is a short paragraph, which consists of 3 or 4 sentences and represents your plan of the entire paper. You can also look for some research paper introduction example to grab some ideas.

Need Additional Help?

As you see, writing research papers introduction is not that challenging if you follow the guide. But sometimes even the smartest students fail in choosing a competitive topic and building a solid thesis. Even if you consider your topic important, it can seem questionable for your professor. How to write an introduction to a research paper and make it flawless?

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