What should I include in a research paper introduction?
- Present your topic
In simple terms, start by writing what your topic is about. We recommended that you start with the broad/general topic and narrow it down. It is also advisable to include a personal reference – if there is one. You should also include your insights, opinions, and personal views. If our topic has jargon that the reader may not be familiar with, make sure that you explain them briefly and clearly.
- Provide background information or context
Of course, you have conducted plenty of research on your topic, and you are very familiar with it. You should provide appropriate and relevant information to your readers so that they can be able to understand what your topic is about. Focus on what the reader needs as far as the research paper goes. However, avoid giving too much information.
- Define your reasoning
Your readers need to know how and why your research paper topic is relevant to them. Your topic should also be pertinent to your field and society. This is vital since it shows your research paper’s importance to the readers.
- Highlight your thesis statement
The thesis statement usually comes at the end of the research paper’s introduction. It refers to the main point or main idea of your research paper. In other words, it highlights what your paper is about. A thesis statement is crucial since it sets the tone for the rest of the research paper. It should be clear, assertive, engaging, and easily understandable by all your readers.
- Finalize with the outline
An outline is a paragraph of three or four sentences that details your research paper’s plan. An outline helps you organize your thoughts, ensure that there is nothing you are forgetting, and help your research paper’s information continuity.
Though the introduction ends with the thesis statement, there is something else to consider—the transition to the paper’s body. You do not want the introduction and body to feel like two unrelated pieces. A transition could be what distinguishes you from an amateur writer. You should include a sentence that serves as a bridge between the body and the introduction. This sentence should be short, should consist of information on what the reader expects in the body, and should be rational.
Even though the introduction is the first section of your paper, you do not have to write it first. You can always write it after you have completed the rest of the paper. The advantage of this is that your introduction will be inclusive, compelling, and easier to write. Students make a common mistake by including many citations in the introduction; while they make excellent topic overviews, they may not necessarily provide sufficient context to readers. Thoroughly revise your introduction and research paper, checking for any spelling or grammatical mistakes. You do not want the first thing that your readers see to be a mistake. Also, avoid using superfluous words, they will only confuse your reader further, and they may end up changing the meaning of some of your sentences. Another thing to remember is to keep your introduction short.
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