Last Updated on February 7, 2021 by Chrisantus Oden
How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
The introduction of a research paper presents the content that the reader will find on the following pages. So, even though it appeared at the beginning, it is one of the last parts to be written. After all, the author needs to know the entire structure of the work in advance.
In the final year of graduation, students are extremely concerned with delivering the final project. Structuring this section is not an easy task, but one thing is certain: time needs to be set aside to create the introduction. And it is not enough to copy and paste some parts of the project. The student must take care to synthesize the ideas and tie them, in a way that makes sense to the reader and instigates his curiosity. According to the standard rules of many institutions, the final project must be divided into pre-textual elements, textual elements, and post-textual elements. The second group is considered the most important, after all, it gathers introduction, development, and conclusion.
What is the introduction of a research paper?
The introduction of a research paper is the first part of writing the research work. To fulfil the role of presenting the subject to the reader, the introduction must have the following items:
- Delimitation of time and space.
- Study object.
- Theoretical reference.
The introductory text of the work points out the theme and objectives of the investigation. The idea is to create content that is easy to understand even for a layperson on the subject. Many experts in research methods and techniques, have established that text of the introduction and the rest of the report should be:
Impersonal: the first person singular must be avoided. Therefore, no expressions like “my thesis” or “my study.” Replace with “this work” or “the present study.” The text can be written in the third person singular or the first-person plural.
Objective: Direct language and only with relevant considerations.
Straightforward: Repetitions, ambiguities, and elaborate words must be avoided
Precise: Each sentence must accurately translate the researcher’s observations, measurements, and analysis. Adjectives are not welcome, as well as expressions such as “recently, ” “formerly” “almost all,” “good part.”
Consistent: The essential elements must be exposed in a logical and orderly manner.
Concise: Use of simple sentences with few words.
When writing the introduction, the main tip is not to go too deep into the topic. Remember that details will be dealt with throughout development of the project. It is interesting to leave room for the audience and examiners to raise questions, as the answers are included in the survey.
How to write a research paper introduction?
In this section, we would be talking about the steps to take when you want to write a research paper. See below the step by step to build an introduction for your work:
1. General presentation
A good introduction to academic work begins with a general presentation of the topic. Statistical data, historical references, or other elements can be used to help contextualize the studied reality.
2. Delimitation of the theme
Then comes the delimitation. Within the most general theme, it is explained in detail what will be investigated. For example, if the scenario is unemployment in Nigeria, the limit may be the lack of formal positions for youths in low-income areas.
By delimiting the subject in the introduction, the student can present the problem or ask a question, which will be explained throughout the research presentation. The limits of the theme are established so that the examination board does not query the student on more than what the work has undertaken to do.
3. Time and space
The researcher needs to determine the limits of time and space of his study right in the introduction. After all, it is impossible to do a very comprehensive research paper, which analyzes data over a long period or a very large area. For example, the study deals with school dropout, from 1991 to 2001, in Lagos State.
The delimitation of the theme must be accompanied by a justification. It is interesting to explain the importance of work and why that object was chosen: is it a topic of social relevance? Is research lacking on the subject? Many aspects can be considered to elaborate the justification within the introduction, such as relevance to knowledge, contribution to solving problems, clarification of confusing aspects, or simply a contemplation of previous research.
From these questions, the research problem is drawn, that is, the main question that the final project will try to solve.
Along with the items presented above, there are objectives, which can be numbered in a list to facilitate reading. The student can also write in the form of a paragraph.
When preparing the research proposal, the student raises the objectives of the work. In the introduction, this information is taken up, concisely and surgically. It is important to remember that there are two types of objectives:
General objective: it is defined as the guiding thread of the study, that is, the central idea. It has a direct connection with what the monograph proposes to defend and explain.
Specific objectives: are defined based on the intermediate steps, which need to be carried out to achieve the general objective.
6. Definition of terms
At this stage of the introduction, the researcher is expected to be able to clarify the concepts used and the main terms. If there is no suitable terminology, he can create.
7. Indication of methodology
The introduction text contemplates several aspects of the research paper in a synthetic way, including the research methodology. Therefore, it is important to reserve some lines to mention the approach, procedures, and techniques used throughout the investigation.
8. Order of chapters
Finally, it is suggested that the introduction of the research work indicates how the order of chapters will be. This measure demonstrates the organization and provides better guidance to the examination board.
The introduction of a final project follows some general rules, which also guide many research papers. Take a look below:
- The text must be typed on an A4 sheet (21 x 29.7 cm).
- Leave 3 cm for the top and left margins and 2 cm for the top and right margins.
- Assign a number to each page in the upper right corner. Counting starts from the cover sheet, but the numbering appears in the work from the introduction.
- Font size 12.
- The leading spacing of 1.5.
Important tips to note
- Search for statistical data from trusted research institutes to contextualize your research topic.
- Write the introduction in the third person.
- When addressing the objectives in the introduction, use verbs in the infinitive, such as: define, report, describe, examine, analyze, evaluate, appreciate, experiment, debate, apply and discuss. These verbs can express different ideas, including knowledge, analysis, understanding, application, evaluation, and synthesis.
- The introduction should present only the most important information about the research, but without closing the points.
- Read other research papers.
- Attention to the size of the introduction: it should not exceed 3 pages.
Now that you know how to write a good introduction for your research paper, we urge you to follow this guide in order to achieve your desired grade.