How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
  • 3-minute read
  • 8th August 2023

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

An effective introduction for a research paper is crucial as it helps readers understand the context, significance, and scope of your study, but sometimes writing one is even more difficult than conducting the research itself. In this post, we take you through how to write an engaging and informative introduction that sets the tone for your entire research paper.

Engage the Reader

Since a research paper is a formal, academic text, the introduction shouldn’t start with a joke or personal anecdote – but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can hook your reader with a compelling introduction by beginning with an interesting fact, a strong thesis statement, or a thought-provoking question related to your study. For example, a research paper on the effect of screen time on toddlers might start with a question that encourages the reader to consider the significance of the topic:

Can too much screen time impact when a child learns to read?

And a study on social media and interpersonal communication might start with a clear and definitive thesis statement that outlines the researcher’s main point:

The prevalence of social media has transformed interpersonal communication, leading to both positive effects, such as global connectivity, and negative effects, such as privacy concerns and the spread of misinformation.

Keep in mind that an introduction for a research paper should be brief and to the point, so don’t veer off course with unrelated or unnecessary information. While there is no strict rule for the length of an introduction, it should generally be around 10–15% of the total length of your paper.

Provide Background Information

Give readers a general understanding of the topic by providing some context for your study. Give an overview of the broader field of study, the main concepts of your research, and any relevant historical or theoretical background. Keep this part brief and reader-friendly by sticking to the general concepts and avoiding too much technical jargon. You’ll discuss the results and methodologies of your study in much more detail later in the paper.

State the Research Objectives and Questions

In the introduction, clearly, but briefly, state the purpose of your research. What are you trying to achieve with your research? What questions are you attempting to answer? If applicable, outline your research questions or hypothesis to provide a frame of reference for the goals of your study. You can also give a brief overview of how your paper is organized by describing the sections/chapters included in the main content.

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Mention Previous Related Studies

Briefly discuss any previous studies that are directly related to your current research. This shows your consideration of the existing literature and demonstrates how your study will fit within the context of previous work.

Within this context, describe the scope of your research. What aspects will you cover that previous research has not? Highlight the gap in the existing literature that your research aims to address, which emphasizes the need for your study and the unique contribution it will make to the field.

Proofread and Edit Your Introduction

After you write your introduction, double-check that you’ve included all the essential information necessary and edit it as required. After editing, proofread what you’ve written for typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes.

To save time and ensure your research makes the biggest possible impact, you can have your entire paper (including the introduction) proofread by our experts. Our team has experience working with a wide variety of academic subjects and topics – so get started today by sending in your free sample of 500 words or less.

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