Each part of your research paper serves a specific purpose. This is why each section needs to be given due importance so that the overall product is done well. One area that is sometimes neglected is the Introduction. Although it does not contain the answers to your research question, this section sets the reader up for what happens next, which is why it must be done well.
The following are some things to consider when making your paper’s introduction.
- Clearly present the context of your topic
Not everyone who reads your paper is an expert in the field. Therefore, begin with a general introduction about the issue before narrowing it down to what your paper will focus on.
Although this part of the paper should be informative, ensure you do not go overboard by explaining too much.
- Add striking information
It helps to add striking facts about the context to capture your reader’s attention. These could be figures about what happened back then and what is happening now, or you may present real stories about how the issue is affecting people’s lives today.
If you are not sure if your data is striking enough, try rereading your work the following day, imagining that you are the reader. If it seems interesting, you may have found what you need. If not, look for something else in your notes.
- Explain your paper’s aim and significance
Aside from providing a background of what you are researching, your paper needs to inform the reader what you plan on achieving (aim) and why it is so important to know about it (significance). The reader needs to know these so they have an idea of what to expect and whether or not it is useful to continue reading.
- Mention your limitations
In addition to discussing your paper’s aim, it is necessary to include the limitations. Your paper cannot look into every variable; thus, your intro will also state what you will and will not be studying in the paper.
- State the research question/s and thesis statement
Like what was done for the aim and significance, you must clearly state your research questions and thesis statement. The research questions specifically mention what you will be testing, while the thesis statement informs the reader of what YOU are expecting to discover. Do not be worried about coming up with the “wrong” answer to the question. What matters is that you tried to uncover the truth.
- Keep to the style guide
Research papers often follow a style guide as required by the school or journal you are sending your paper to. Keep in mind at the start whether you need to follow APA, MLA, or some other format, and begin using it in your introduction. Doing so will lessen the revisions you will be forced to make later if you forgot to do this.
The introduction, just like the other sections, is an important part of the research paper. Take your time making it and be sure to follow the tips above as you do so. Happy writing!