One of the most challenging aspects of writing a research paper is often coming up with a great introduction. Introductions are incredibly important as they are your first chance to make an impression on your reader. A good introduction should explain what the topic of your paper is while also giving information about the context. The introduction should hen state your thesis or research topic question. If your introduction is well written it will set the entire tone for your research paper. With that in mind, we have put together a brief guide which will help you to learn how to write an introduction for your research paper.
Introduce Your Topic
The first step in crafting a great introduction for your research paper is to introduce your research topic. This should only take you a couple of sentences, but should announce your topic and indicate the type of research questions you will be tackling. This is your chance to really grab the reader’s interest so you need to begin with a punchy opening statement. You can go into a little more depth later in your introductory paragraph. You will want to use relevant keywords in your title and in your first few sentences, because if you will submit your research paper for publication you will need to also submit a series of keywords. It is best to get into this habit from the start even if you are not yet ready to submit for publication!
Define Key Terms and Concepts
In some instances, it might be necessary for you to clarify any key terms or concepts. The best place to do so is near the start of your introduction. With a research paper you need to express yourself very clearly, so unfamiliar terms will confuse your reader. That is why it is best to explain them at the start in order to give readers a clearer understanding of what you are talking about. This is especially important if your research paper is aiming to develop a completely new concept including terminology that readers are not yet familiar with.
Consider a Quote or Anecdote
A great way to pique your reader’s interest is to include a relevant quotation or an anecdote in your introduction. If you decide to go with an anecdote then please make sure that it is short and of course relevant. This approach is not appropriate to all fields of study so do check with your professor if you should avoid this approach in your research paper. If your professor does agree, then this can be a creative and interesting way to provide context for your research.
State Your Research Questions & Thesis Statement
Once you have properly introduced the topic of your research paper and given some indication of the context of your research, the next step is to specify which research questions your paper will examine and make your thesis statement. You should have already alluded to these questions earlier in the introduction, so they should not come as a surprise to the reader. Your research questions should be at the end of the introduction and you might want to include some of the keywords that we discussed previously.
These are just some of the things that you need to think about when writing an introduction for a research paper. Introductions are something that take practice to perfect, so do not be too hard on yourself if you are struggling at first.