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writing an introduction for a research paper

Tips on writing an introduction for a research paper

Sep 09, 2012 - Posted to  Research Paper Writing
An introduction is an important part of a research paper. The introduction is basically the writer giving a broad basis of his particular research topic before narrowing it down to the nitty gritty of the topic. The best way of looking at an introduction is like an invented pyramid with the broad overview coming first before being narrowed downwards. The main points of the paper and the final elements of an introduction is the thesis statement or hypothesis.
In the introductory part of the research paper the student is expected to inform his audience about the rationale behind his research. The student is expected to answer the question on why he thinks his research paper is an integral part of research in his field of study.
There is not a strict word limit when it comes to introduction but it must be as concise as possible. For example if you are writing a dissertation, it is expected that you already have your outline. Your introduction should be structured based on your outline. The introduction is expected to give your audience a review of the entire research paper. When writing an introduction for your research paper, it is better to assume that your audience is sophisticated and experienced in your chosen field.


The first task of an introduction is to set the background of the research paper. It gives your research paper content and compares how it fits with already done research in the field. Depending on your discipline and topic, it may be possible to start your introduction with a historical narration. Your aim is to get your audience acquainted with the first development of the research topic up to the present day. If you decide to go this route, it is best if you stick to relevant information.
Whilst writing your introduction, it is good if it naturally flows into the details of your research. For example, you would want to inform your audience about the objective of your research and the methodology that you plan to use for the research. You should try as much as possible to predict the impact your research is going to have if everything works out well. After making your prediction, it is a good idea at this point to reject any null hypothesis.
Mention the limitations of your research if any. It is important that your audience be aware of any weakness in your research so that they can easily judge and validate of the research. Stating any short coming at this point is definitely better than making them wait till they get to the discussion section of the research paper.
It is also important that you point out any assumptions early in the introduction. Any basic principles set out by the student should be made known. The long and short of the whole matter is that your introduction should be kept short. All rambling should be avoided. There must be a proper definition of the problem at hand. Your audience should know your aim early on.
Sometimes a dissertation paper lacks introduction entirely. This is a serious error on the part of the students that needs to be corrected. An introduction is not the time to tell your readers everything there is to know about your paper. Its purpose is just to help them get the general overview.
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