Research Paper Introduction Writing Help


(Updated on July 6, 2020)

The introduction for a research paper is the beginning section of the document that contextualizes the topic and articulates the paper's thesis.  Introductions for research papers will vary depending on the type of research paper and the length requirements; however, all research paper introductions should contain information that allows the reader to fully understand the topic, the topic's relevance, and the paper's thesis before proceeding to more in-depth examination or exploration.

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An introduction for a research paper will be quite different from an introduction for an essay, which is a more flexible writing form in which writers are often encouraged to be creative in their presentation.  Research papers, on the other hand, must be very straightforward and transparent.  Therefore, writers of research papers are encouraged to save their creativity for their analysis rather than their introductions.

Research Paper Introduction Writing HelpThe first function of the introduction is to define and contextualize the topic.  This means that the topic should first be thoroughly explained and then contextualized through an explanation of the topic's relevance.  For instance, if the report were on the gravitational pull of black holes, the introduction would explain what the gravitational pull of black holes is and then give the reason why the gravitational pull of black holes is a relevant topic of data collection.  When completing introductions for research papers, learners should be sure to fully explain and contextualize, but should stay on track—the explanation and contextualization are only background information for the thesis, which is the main point of the document.  Therefore, the explanation and contextualization should be thorough, but as concise as possible.  The length of the introduction for a research paper will often depend on the complexity of the topic, because more complex topics (such as the gravitational pull of black holes) require more lengthy contextualization and explanation

After the topic has been explained and contextualized, the writer should present his/her thesis statement—her main point or argument regarding the topic.  The thesis statement follows the explanation and contextualization of the topic because it's only after the topic has been explained and contextualized that a specific argument about that topic can make sense to the reader.  This thesis should be clearly articulated in a sentence or group of sentences that assert the research writer's primary point regarding the topic.  Often, introductions for research papers end with the assertion of the thesis statement or a sentence or two that explain and contextualize why the thesis is a relevant topic of inquiry.

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction

The research paper introduction requires unique formatting and content.  In order to write effective project introductions, students must be sure that they first understand the topic and requirements.

A research paper is a formal academic document that learners write after they have spent an extended amount of time researching a particular subject.  Students in all grades and courses may have to write research papers many times over the period of the course and over the academic careers, in general.

Research reports should follow a specific format, which includes an introduction, body, conclusion, and supporting documents, such as an appendix and references.  Regardless of the course or the level of academic study, learners should follow a similar research paper format.

The research paper introduction is one of the most important parts of the report because it introduces readers to the topic and provides background information about the topic.  The research paper introduction also contains the thesis statement for the entire research paper, which may be included in the first or last paragraph of the introduction.

In order to write effective project introductions, learners should format their introductions like an inverted pyramid, with general information at the beginning of the introduction and specific information at the end of the introduction.  In fact, all reports should be formatted in the inverted pyramid style if students want to complete a document that has good flow.

In most cases, research paper introductions should be limited to just one paragraph.  However, if students are writing very formal research papers, such as dissertations or theses, they may wish to make the report introduction several paragraphs or pages.  Students should keep in mind that research paper introductions merely introduce a topic; they don't explain the student's findings in detail.  The body of the document gives further explanation that supports the introduction and thesis.

One of the major differences between the research paper introduction and body of the document is that the introduction shouldn't introduce any new information.  The body of the document is where students should introduce new information and ideas.  The introduction merely provides background information and introduces why the body of the document is important.  Any ideas presented in the introduction should be general.

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