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In the introduction, you are attempting to inform the reader about the rationale behind the work, and to justify why your work is essential in the field.The introduction does not have a strict word limit, unlike the abstract, but it should be as concise as possible.You should assume that your paper is aimed at someone with a good working knowledge of your particular field.
The opening paragraphs of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions about the logic of your argument, your writing style, the overall quality of your research, and, ultimately, the validity of your findings and conclusions.
A vague, disorganized, or error-filled introduction will create a negative impression, whereas, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will lead your readers to think highly of your analytical skills, your writing style, and your research approach.
Organize the information so as to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the introduction, then narrow your analysis to more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your research problem and the rationale for studying it [often written as a series of key questions to be addressed or framed as a hypothesis or set of assumptions to be tested] and, whenever possible, a description of the potential outcomes your study can reveal. Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick; Samraj, B.
It is often useful to review the introduction late in the writing process. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. “Introductions in Research Articles: Variations Across Disciplines.” Giving the dictionary definition of words related to the research problem may appear appropriate because it is important to define specific terminology that readers may be unfamiliar with.
All introductions should conclude with a brief paragraph that describes the organization of the rest of the paper.
Think of the structure of the introduction as an inverted triangle of information that lays a foundation for understanding the research problem.In many fields, this could make up an entire essay in itself, so be careful to stick to only relevant information.The background then leads into the rationale behind the research, revealing whether it is building upon previous research, looking at something that everybody else has overlooked, or improving upon a previous research project that delivered unclear results.According to Reyes, there are three overarching goals of a good introduction: 1) ensure that you summarize prior studies about the topic in a manner that lays a foundation for understanding the research problem; 2) explain how your study specifically addresses gaps in the literature, insufficient consideration of the topic, or other deficiency in the literature; and, 3) note the broader theoretical, empirical, and/or policy contributions and implications of your research.A well-written introduction is important because, quite simply, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.It can be a tricky part of the paper to write, so many scientists and researchers prefer to write it last, to make sure they haven’t missed anything important.For a longer research paper, where you use an outline, it can be useful to structure your introduction around the outline. The introduction gives an overall review of the paper, but does address a few slightly different issues from the abstract.After all, a weakness in your paper might later inspire another research question, so be very clear about your assumptions early on.The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).As long as you warn the reader about this, so that they are aware of the shortcomings, then they can easily judge the validity of the research for themselves.This is much better than making them wait until you point the weaknesses out in the discussion.