Writing a Research Paper Introduction: Best Guide 2021

Writing a Research Paper Introduction: Best Guide 2021

Imagine stumbling across a piece of writing that you are greatly interested in. After reading the title, you stumble right into the arguments of the article. You have no insight into the paper’s content at all and go right into reading the writer’s opinions. Such an odd piece of writing, don’t you think? Every written paper of a subject requires a research paper introduction.

In this article, we will discuss the functions of a research paper introduction and its elements. You will get to see that writing an introduction to a research paper is quite easy.

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What is a Research Paper Introduction?

An introduction is the beginning of a research paper. It is the section your audience is likely to read first. Thus definitions, concepts, and relevant information needed for understanding the paper are presented here.

A research paper introduction gives the reader context on the contents of the research paper. An introduction may be the hardest thing to write in your research paper. Thus, it is prudent to take your time and be objective to get it right.

Your research paper should engage your audience from the first line. It should hold the readers’ attention and get them more interested to learn the information presented in your research paper. State a hypothesis for your paper that you will prove or disprove within your arguments. Remember, every research paper must have an introduction.

How to write a research paper introduction

The introduction of your research paper is where you set up your topic of discussion and style for the reader. The main functions of the introduction are:

  1. Present your topic and grab the interest of the reader
  2. Provide context or review existing research
  • Point out your approach
  1. Mention a detailed research problem
  2. Give an outline of the paper’s structure

The introduction varies from one research paper to another. You may be presenting results based on empirical research or construct arguments backed by various sources.

There are a few steps to follow to put up an effective introduction to your research paper. These steps make up parts of the introduction within a research paper:

  1. Introduce your topic

The foremost task of a research paper introduction is to state your topic to the reader and express why it is important. Start with a strong opening hook to achieve this effect.

The hook is an outstanding opening sentence that expresses the relevance of your topic. Think of something interesting, for example, a statistic, a fact, a strong argument, or an anecdote. This will get the reader pondering upon your topic.

Do not focus too much on the hook to be impressive. It should be clear and concise more than it is catchy.

  1. Define the background

This part varies depending on the style of research paper you are taking. In an argumentative paper, you will most likely include a general background. Additionally, in an empirical paper, you need to review previous research and fit it into your background.

  1. Identify your research problem

You need to identify how your subject of study fits in and the problem it addresses. Without a research problem, your research paper is rendered useless since it solves nothing in particular.

  1. State your objectives.

Get into the details of what you intend to present in your research paper. This gives your audience a clear picture of what your discussion will entail.

  1. Outline your paper

Creating an outline for your paper allows you to have a seamless writing experience. You can write your research paper with the proper flow of thought while adjusting where necessary.

Role of an Introduction

A research paper introduction is the best opportunity to persuade your audience that your research paper holds valuable information. As you write your introduction, try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the scope of your subject of the investigation – how short or wide is your topic?
  • How does the topic relate to your audience? Is the audience acing the challenges addressed in your research paper?
  • Do you have any new ideas or a fresh perspective to add to the existing research of your topic?
  • Why should your audience read your research paper?
  • Will you provide information or make a claim to your audience?

In short, the introduction should:

  • Captivate your audience
  • Detail the essence of your topic
  • Explain how your subject is relevant to your audience
  • Describe the related subject matter
  • Establish honesty: What authority do you have to discuss this topic?
  • Establish authenticity: What’s new or special about your idea?
  • Create an outline for your argument’s analysis
  • State your thesis or purpose of your research paper

Writing an Introduction

You may start your introduction with an anecdote, quote, question, or another type of “hook” that inspires you. A good story will set the natural outline of your main points, presenting your main arguments without force.

Alternatively, it may be easier to start the introduction after you have created an outline for your main ideas and arguments. Working on your main arguments will lead you to an easy introduction to your research paper.

Gaining Attention and InterestWriting a research paper introduction


To gain the attention and interest of the audience, you need an astounding opening line and an overview of your research essay. Here are six strategies of a mind-blowing introduction:

1.     Make a statement that is controversial or provocative

2.     State a surprising or less-known fact

3.     Open with a measure of balance. If you can’t think of a sentence that properly draws attention to your topic, seek some research paper help

4.     Write a short anecdote

5.     Make your case appropriate for your audience

6.      Adopt positive reinforcements in your research essay. Do not lean in too much on a view that you strongly disagree with in your introduction

How to write an introduction for a research paper APA

You may have heard of the APA writing style. That is an acronym that stands for American Psychological Association (APA). You need to know this to establish the proper writing style to use.

APA format is a writing style that is used to make citations to references in Social Sciences. Using APA writing style means formatting the structure of your paper and not the content of the paper. Here are a few guidelines for writing a research paper introduction in APA format.

  1. Describe

Your introduction requires an explanation of the problem you aim to address within the paper. Additionally, you should state the paper’s purpose.

In APA format, it is a requirement for you to clearly and succinctly explain to your readers what they can expect from your research paper. Explore the importance of your study within the paper. Be sure to include relevant background information to validate your arguments and discuss the reasoning behind your research.

For example, say your research paper is on psychological issues among military veterans. You may start the introduction of your paper by showing a statistical study of how post-war psychological issues among military veterans.

  1. Compose

The next step is to create a thesis statement that ascertains your main arguments or major point. You should coherently articulate your stance on the topic. This will ensure there is no doubt in the reader’s mind on where you stand on the topic under investigation.

Using the same example above you may develop a thesis statement on psychological issues among military veterans. This may be put as, “A majority of military veterans who have experienced war have some underlying psychological conditions. These may range from aggression, PTSD, depression, etc. Action should be taken to treat these conditions for the men and women who so diligently serve us.”

  1. Format

Your paper should be written in past tense unless you’re writing about proven facts or common knowledge. The abstract section of your research paper should be on its separate page after the title section of the paper. The next page of your paper should now contain the introduction and body section of the paper.

Do away with any information on your introduction that may not help the reader follow your claims. Leading statements such as; “The study indicates….” or “The evidence suggests…” are better to use than words like “proves”.

Selecting a research paper

A crucial step in writing a good research paper includes composing or researching a research paper topic. There are numerous fields that you may research on. Here are a few research paper topics open for discussion:

  1. How has Hip-Hop music evolved since the turn of the 21st century
  2. Describe the contemporary portrayal of minorities in the media
  3. Discuss sexism, as portrayed in various types of media (television, print, and social media)
  4. Discuss the effect of the Black Lives Matter movement on the perception of racism in the United States
  5. Compare the United States and European Union migration laws
  6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning through the Montessori Method?
  7. Discuss the effect of college debt on the financial decisions of a person after school
  8. Does stem cell research better advance the medical field?
  9. Is it moral to donate organs in exchange for money?
  10. Discuss the causes of the Rwandan genocide

Research paper introduction example

Now that we have learned how to write an introduction for a research paper, let’s look at an example. This will give you a first-hand experience of what it should look like:

 Is space tourism relevant considering the current global economic and climate conditions?

What is beyond our world? Space has been a marvel to humanity. The wonders hidden in the sky so far from us are what humans seek to see and understand.

Since the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong, efforts have been made for more humans to go into space. Earlier on, only scientists had this privilege in a bid to further study the universe. In recent years, we have seen space opening up to the public for tourism.

Traveling to space, however, does not come at a cheap price. Whether for scientific or touristic purposes, a trip to space costs money in their billions. For example, according to yahoo finance, plans are underway to get more humans on the moon and Mars. It is estimated that this will cost $30 billion by the year 2024.

Hence a controversial question arises. Should funds used for space tourism be diverted to more worthy causes here on earth?

The world is experiencing a mild global economic crisis created by the Coronavirus pandemic. There are issues such as climate change that threaten the existence of the earth. Aren’t these causes that funds used in space tourism could be diverted to?

In summary

An introduction is one of the most important elements of a research paper. This is the first piece of your research paper that your audience will read. A research paper introduction requires creativity and a mastery of the technical aspects of writing it.

In case you do not fully understand how to write the introduction to a research paper, review this article carefully. Additionally, it is prudent to seek help with your research paper if you need help with your assignment.

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