Ways & How

how to start a research paper introduction

how to start a research paper introduction

Writing the introduction to the body of a research paper could be daunting to some researchers. A research paper introduction is important because it gives readers the first impression about one’s paper. A good research paper deserves a thought provoking introduction. Learning how to start a research paper introduction will help a researcher finish packaging his or her paper. Here are helpful tips:

  1. Begin by giving the readers general background information of the topic.  Your readers should be able to understand the general landscape in which your study is based.  Be able to give your readers an initial understanding of the topic at hand. This serves as an overview.

    Point out the problem which prompted you to work on your topic. If you are working on the growing popularity of alternative medicine, you can begin by pointing out the exorbitant fees required in seeking medical help from doctors these days. If you are working on a problem of peace in a region, you can briefly describe the horrendous experiences of some people in the midst of violence in the area.


    Depending on your topic, you can be more informative or persuasive in your writing approach. Although, in most cases, the backgrounder will include a bit of history. Be careful, however, to include only relevant details. You may use anecdotes and rhetorical questions. Be careful to cite the sources of stories. Avoid travelogue. Make sure the introductory part does not give away the entire paper nor should it be written in very lengthy texts that may diminish the focus of your paper or your readers’ interests. You should be able to narrow down your discussion from the general information to your specific topic.

  2. Show the importance of your topic. The topic must be significant to your prospective group of readers. The significance of the study could be based on several reasons. One is the dearth of studies available on the topic. Thus, undergoing research in that area will hopefully alleviate the scarcity of conducted research. Second is the potential contribution of the study in addressing pertinent issues in the field.

    You should be able to point out how your study intends to build on previous studies or replicate them to confirm or refute previous results or findings.

  3. State the purpose of the research paper. In stating the purpose, you can incorporate the controlling questions or thesis statement.  Your statement of purpose can be as direct as the following:

                  The purpose of this paper is to answer the following questions: (state the questions)


                  This paper aims to discuss the problem of.... (state the questions)

    Do not use the verb know. For example, do not say, “the purpose of this paper is to know...” Instead, use verbs like discuss, present, look into, compare, analyze  and the like.

  4. Define the problem. The research questions, which are usually written after the purpose statement, should be expressed clearly. The questions must be measurable or clearly doable. End your introduction with the research problem or ask a rhetorical question.

If you've followed all these steps then you can be sure you have done a good job. You may rewrite or edit your work later to improve the order and the style. Good introductions usually follow an inverted pyramid style of presenting ideas. For research papers that do not need to be proposed nor conducted, it would be best to write the introduction after the body of the paper has been written. This gives the researcher a better grasp of the topic.


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