The introduction takes the audience from a general subject area to a particular topic. It determines the scope, context, and the importance of your research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and different information about the issue you’re writing about. It also identifies the purpose of the work in the form of the research problem supported by some questions, explaining briefly the methodological side used to explore the research problem.
The introduction plays a crucial role in writing a research paper. Why? If it is written correctly, the reader will be fully interested and optimistic about everything that is coming in the paper. To nail the introduction, make sure to percept it as a mental map to the whole writing. It also must answer the following questions:
What was I studying?
Why was this topic important to investigate?
What did I know about this topic before I did the research?
What was unknown about it?
How this gap can be filled?
A well-written introduction is a must-have part because you have just one chance to make a nice first impression.
Basic Tips to Guide You through Your Writing
Let’s try to divide the introduction into the first, second and the third part, aka ‘known and unknown information and the gap between them’ parts. We divide it because a) this writing is not that small, and b) let’s investigate it a bit deeper.
Things to do in the first part:
- try to catch the readers’ attention and use more summarized rather than the broad beginning. Try to avoid some understandable facts that your readers would know anyway;
- do not forget to cite all the sources that you’ve used;
- the literature you use must support your explanation of the current base of knowledge. It also should be relevant, up-to-date and totally appropriate.
Tricks for the ‘unknown information’ part:
- once you’ve provided the background information, begin to highlight the areas where very little information is given;
- decide how you can fill the missing information in. Think about the next steps that can be made based on current investigations. The confidence in your writing and awareness of the chosen topic are crucial things to base your paper on.
The third, “gap part” also has its plan:
At this point, you have mentioned the missing knowledge and the needed information to fill it. Now, stating your purpose and giving a reasonable hypothesis will be your tasks.
- the hypothesis shouldn’t be too long. Make sure to put a clarification about things that are discussed in the writing.
- it will also be helpful to answer the following question, “What useful information will the readers gain after filling the lacking-knowledge gap?”
If you’re afraid that the readers might think of your well-structured introduction as dry and uninteresting – dilute it with fun. These things will help you attract everyone:
- don’t hesitate to open your writing with a compelling story.
- an unexpected anecdote, nice quotation or a vivid hook will be appropriate.
- you can also cite some examples or case studies that show why your research is important.