How to Start a Research Paper: Introduction Writing Guide

Like all beginnings, the introduction of a research paper presents its fair share of challenges. Besides having to master ways to pique a reader’s interest, the introduction calls for a vast understanding of the topic to guide the reader through your arguments.

The complexity of the research paper introduction often complicates essay writing for many students, resulting in an unobjective introduction that barely expresses the content of your paper. This article will guide you on how to write a good introduction for a research paper and highlight the elements and tips to consider for an outstanding introduction.

How to set up a research paper

The approach taken to introduce your research paper greatly determines the reader’s capacity to follow through with the arguments within your paper and to identify your stance toward a topic. Ideally, your introduction should contain:

  1. The general view

Before narrowing your topic down, discuss the key idea that was assigned in your research paper prompt. From here, narrow your topic down while connecting your selected topic to the general idea. 

This will help the reader to determine how your research paper fits into the general topic, making it easy to justify the relevance of your work. 

  1. Tackle the background information

The key purpose of a research paper is to enhance the existing knowledge within a particular field. It is therefore crucial to discuss the extent of knowledge within your field and to highlight the research gaps on the topic. 

The background information shows that you did ample research, also, giving your reader an understanding of the topic and the shortcomings of the existing knowledge. 

  1. Highlight the gap

After looking at the extent of existing knowledge, discuss the gaps that you feel are worth investigating. While at this, explain the relevance of analyzing these gaps and the benefits that come with researching these research gaps. 

  1. Describe your research methodology

Besides stating what you intend to research, it is crucial that you discuss how you intend to study your selected topic. your introduction should thus touch on your research approach while highlighting why your approach is best suited for your case. 

However, refrain from delving into the steps of your research in this section. Your introduction should only mention your selected approach and justify the reasons why this approach was best suited for your research. 

  1. Guide the reader through your outline

Finally, your introduction should capture your criteria and approach to your research topic. This part should briefly touch on your sections, giving the reader a gist of the direction taken in developing arguments within your paper. 

How to start a research paper

Having tackled the items to include in your introduction, you are left with the onus to determine the starting point to write an introduction for a research paper. Some of the steps to consider as you write your research paper introduction are:

  1. Understand the topic

What are the key arguments within your essay? What information might pique a reader’s interest? Before writing your introduction, tackle the body section of your paper to identify the key claims and research questions for your essay.

This will allow you to capture the essence of your research paper, reducing confusion on the details to tackle in your introduction. 

  1. Prepare an outline for your introduction

Like all sections in your paper, the introduction should have a logical link to ideas. It is thus beneficial to develop an outline that sorts various information you intend to present within your paper. 

An outline is also a key tool that allows you to gauge the completeness of your introduction and also helps you overcome arguments that are not expressed within your paper. 

  1. Editing

After writing your introduction, check for various guidelines for your introduction. These guidelines include the word count and the ideas that you are expected to tackle within the introduction. 

You could also opt to seek expert help to correct your paper and get further guidance on how to introduce the topic. 

Tips for writing an introduction for a research paper

  • Save your introduction for last. This will help you to get a clear picture of your major claims and to avoid covering ideas that are not tackled within your paper. 
  • Find a relevant hook that captures the essence of your paper to evoke interest within your reader. 
  • Use simple language and precise sentences to avoid miscommunication 
  • Communicate your paper’s structure to allow the reader to gauge the approach you took in researching a topic
  • Consider reading a research paper introduction example to familiarize yourself with the format of an introduction, and have an easier time going about your paper’s introduction.