If you’ve written a research paper, the last thing you want is to have your readers begin reading your paper and then give up because they think it is too boring, not informative enough, or not written well.
In order to attract an audience, your research paper needs a good introduction, but a good introduction is not easy to write.
Many inexperienced writers scare away their readers by writing introductions that are too long, too complicated, too boring, or just irrelevant to the paper. This article will teach you some of the methods of writing a great introduction to your research paper.
Start with some historical background. What is the field you were researching? What are some recent developments in that field? Give your readers some historical background so they can appreciate the importance of your work and of its subject matter. This is also a good opportunity to show that you have mastered the field by studying its development.
Explain why you wrote the paper. It’s easy to lose the forest for the trees, and many writers forget to mention why their paper is important or useful. Explain why you wrote the paper and what questions you were trying to answer. This will give your readers a sense of purpose and meaning.
Cite major works in the field. Your introduction should provide citations of a few major works, developments, and findings in the field. This will help the reader to put your work in perspective, and to identify where even major researchers in the field have left some unfinished work, which is where your work comes in.
Keep it short. Most readers want to get to the “meat” of your paper, so keep your introduction short and to the point. You want your results and findings to speak for themselves, so don’t spend too many words on the introduction.
Don’t include results, methods, or conclusions. It is very tempting to jump ahead and include “teasers” from the methods, results, and conclusions sections, but you must resist that temptation. A research paper is divided into sections for a reason, and the introduction section should introduce your readers to the subject and the paper, and nothing more.
Write your introduction last. This may sound counter-intuitive since the introduction is the first part of a research paper. However, writing the introduction last will enable you to have the hindsight of the entire paper as you write the introduction. That way, you can tailor the introduction to what you already know your paper contains.
Don’t use too many “big words” in your introduction. Your introduction should ease the reader into your research paper, not scare them away with jargon-laced sentences. Make your introduction as reader-friendly as possible so that your readers feel comfortable proceeding with the rest of the paper.