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How to Write an Introduction Paragraph to a Research Paper
Sometimes life can be complicated, and we may not have enough time to do the task as qualitatively as we want. The reasons for it could be different from lacking time to difficultness of the topic. Its habitual things for many students, but sometimes a substandard piece of work can ruin the whole paper. Do you realize that one of the most common mistakes of student’s writing process is to skip or make a meaningful introduction? Many students think that the most important thing in the work is the body of the research papers. Well, you will not get a perfect grade for only a good research paper introduction, but anyway you shouldn’t skip it. Why it’s so important to pay attention to your intro paragraph? The introduction is the face of your work that the reader will see first, which is why it is one of the most memorable segments of the whole work that has to be perfect. Talking briefly, it’s responsible for the first impression from your research paper.
General Guidelines On Writing An Introduction
If it doesn’t attract the reader’s attention at the beginning – he may not be serious to the rest of your work or pay less attention. That is why it is a serious matter. It’s not difficult but anyway you need to pay due attention to it and think about how to contain all the work’s sense in a little intro paragraph. There are the main rules that will tell you about writing the perfect introduction to a research paper! So, we need to determine what exactly we want to see in the introduction.
Writing A Good Research Paper Introduction
- If you have a keyword list – try to use it there. If you are writing an article for publication, you will be asked to provide a short list of keywords that reflect the field to which your research relates. Why? In the title of the article, there may also be some keywords on which you want to emphasize the readers’ attention in the opening clause. For example, if your papers are about World’s water reserve – use the word Water in the first paragraph. This will make it clear for your audience. Try to now write your papers way too abstract and non-relate to the topic, it may confuse the reader.
- Define the concepts and keywords if it’s necessary. If you have some difficult common concepts that will accompany the reader while along the whole work – it would be useful to explain it in the introduction.
- Present the topic of the work in the short interesting history. Many of works started with the short history that illustrates the topic in the beginning – make sure that your story is short and related to the work, and remember that it’s a great way to attract the reader’s attention and make him impressed.
- It’s also better to avoid emotional expressions and slang in the introduction. If your paper is in an academic tone – try to keep it in whole the document.
Examples Of A Good Introduction To A Research Paper
There are many ways to start your research paper successfully, and here are examples of interesting opening paragraphs:
- Quote – start your work with a quote from the famous person – is a great way to make an impression and show the importance of the topic. You can use the quotes of the famous philosopher or even literature character. Anyway, you need to find the one that will describe your topic and will look organically.
- Use the shocking fact. Check your topic – maybe you can find some shocking facts about it – using such facts is another simple but effective way to draw the reader’s attention, making him interested in the rest of your text. For example, your topic is Global warming. Here is a sample:
“Global warming can drastically change the ocean currents, which in turn will lead to a mini Ace-age period in Europe. So, why we don’t think about it?”
- Then you need to add some your own thoughts about this or add the question that relates to the fact. Don’t write a less information and remember that the intro paragraph needs to state the question of the main thesis of your work. It would be a great way to attract the reader’s attention to the problem of your topic but the most important thing in this type of introduction is to be confident that your facts are verified.
- And here are some statistics. There is no more cogent fact then official statistics, for example, you are writing about the problem of educated people in the world, then you can find some statistics on verified sources and use it in the intro.
“79% of schools do not have libraries, and only 7% of schools have a full library of textbooks and 3,544 schools don’t have electricity at all”
Thus, if you are hoping to get a perfect grade you need to think about all the aspects of work. The first impression of your work the reader makes while reading the introduction. Just imagine that your work will contain a perfect research, but introduction and conclusion will not have any sense.
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction Paragraph
When you’re ready to write a research paper, you should start with an introduction. These sentences will form the entire thesis that you will explore in the body paragraphs in the rest of the paper. You should explain the topic and explain the importance of your research as well as its results. It may seem a little strange to write your introduction after writing the whole essay, but this is a great practice to follow.
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What Is an Introduction Paragraph for Research Paper?
The introduction paragraph or paragraphs are usually placed at the beginning of the research paper. Moreover, everything you write in the introduction should attract the reader’s attention. This part of your work is designed to help the reader identify whether he or she wants to read the paper.
How to Write a Research Paper Introduction?
After writing your research paper, you will have a broad picture of your entire research and analysis. This will help you identify the main points and include them in the introduction. These tips will attract your reader’s attention, pique their interest to read the whole essay and define the thesis statement. There are also a few simple tricks which can help you make your research paper introduction shine:
1. State Your Research Theme
The first sentences should be common about the general topic and then you should add some details about your topic. This is called the inverted triangle when you start with the broad theme and then narrow it down.
2. Be Original
If you write a research paper in humanities, you can start the introduction with a quotation or even an anecdote. If your academic area is science or medicine, you can write an extremely interesting fact or even a shocking fact. Such an approach will help you develop an attractive research paper introduction.
3. Explain Key Terms
You should explain the key terms and concepts in the introduction to avoid reader-confusion later. Make your investigation clear and understandable.
4. Size Is Important
You should find your own ideal length for the introduction. It should be short enough to be readable and gain the attention of the reader and long enough to explain all the main features of your essay.
5. Refer to the Keywords
The keywords should be used in the introduction. The aim of this trick is to write a research paper easier to find. These could be separate words or word combinations which define your topic.
6. Follow the Rules of Logic
You should be consistent in writing. Logical links between sentences will make your text coherent.
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Research Paper Introduction Examples
The theory is good but the practice is quite different. Read our examples to get good ideas about how to write an excellent introduction.
Contemporary literary marketing has become digital because of the demands of the online era. Popular best-selling authors such as J. K. Rowling or Dan Brown profit from the internet and use it as a source for advertising to show the audience their creations. On the other hand, many writers find digital literature harmful and destructive for their livelihood because many users can get their books without paying for them. However, more studies reveal that the business side of the book industry is not far from the negative. This research paper will define whether the culture of digital book consumption has to be changed due to the creations of writers becoming worthless due to online piracy and because people have stopped valuing non-digitized books.
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Sample Of Introduction Paragraph For College Research Paper
The second sample is on the topic: “Behavioral Study Of The Phenomenon Of Obedience”
Modern theories tend to associate misbehavior and intentional actions that harm others with personal characteristics. The psychologists and doctors in a survey predicted that only a small portion of people (about 1-3%) would intentionally harm someone after being told to do so.
A good example of this phenomenon is a recent war trial with Adolph Eichmann, who claimed he was only following orders to carry out Nazi war crimes. Therefore, is it possible that people can harm others by only “following orders?” Are people capable of betraying their moral convictions if ordered to do so?
During the experiment, we will see whether someone can continue administering painful electric shocks that harm another person simply because he or she is told to do so. It is expected that very few will continue and that most of the participants will not obey the order.
Writing an engaging introduction is not less important than conducting research papers or providing a high-quality context in your issue. In fact, a great intro is even more important for your success! An opening paragraph that attracts attention and keeps the reader engaged is the key to success with this academic work. The intro is the first thing that a reader sees. It is exactly what helps him or her gets the first impression of your work, which carries their opinion about the merits of your paper while they finish reading it. That’s why it’s so important to get it done right.
How do you create flawless intros for your research papers? These tips and examples in this article should help you deal with this assignment effortlessly while avoiding common mistakes. However, it also requires practice. We encourage students to practice writing as much as they can to master these skills and never face difficulties with writing academic papers again!
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The Introductory Paragraph: Start Your Paper Off Right
Grace Fleming, M.Ed., is a senior academic advisor at Georgia Southern University, where she helps students improve their academic performance and develop good study skills.
In a well-constructed first paragraph, that first sentence leads into three or four sentences that provide details about the subject you address in the body of your essay. These sentences should also set the stage for your thesis statement.
Writing a good thesis statement is the subject of much instruction and training, as it’s the driver of your research and the subject of your paper. The entirety of your paper hangs on that sentence, which is generally the last sentence of your introductory paragraph and is refined throughout your research and drafting phases.
Writing an Intro Paragraph
It’s often easier to write the introductory paragraph after you’ve written the first draft of the main part of the paper (or at least sketched out a detailed outline, section by section or paragraph by paragraph). After the drafting stage, your research and main points are fresh in your mind, and your thesis statement has been polished to gleaming. It’s typically honed during the drafting stage, as research may have necessitated its adjustment.
At the start of a large writing project, it can also be intimidating to put those first words down, so it’s often easier to begin composing in the middle of the paper and work on the introduction and conclusion after the meat of the report has been organized, compiled, and drafted.
Construct your introductory paragraph with the following:
- An attention-grabbing first sentence
- Informative sentences that build to your thesis
- The thesis statement, which makes a claim or states a view that you will support or build upon
Your First Sentence
As you researched your topic, you probably discovered some interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction.
Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning.
Surprising fact: The Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States, there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.
Humor: When my older brother substituted fresh eggs for our hard-boiled Easter eggs, he didn’t realize our father would take the first crack at hiding them. My brother’s holiday ended early that particular day in 1991, but the rest of the family enjoyed the warm April weather, outside on the lawn, until late into the evening. Perhaps it was the warmth of the day and the joy of eating Easter roast while Tommy contemplated his actions that make my memories of Easter so sweet. Whatever the true reason, the fact remains that my favorite holiday of the year is Easter Sunday.
Quotation: Hillary Rodham Clinton once said, “There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard.” In 2006, when Nancy Pelosi became the nation’s first female Speaker of the House, one woman’s voice rang out clearly. With this development, democracy grew to its truest level ever in terms of women’s equality. The historical event also paved the way for Senator Clinton as she warmed her own vocal cords in preparation for a presidential race.
Finding the Hook
In each example, the first sentence draws the reader in to find out how the interesting fact leads to a point. You can use many methods to capture your reader’s interest.
Curiosity: A duck’s quack doesn’t echo. Some people might find a deep and mysterious meaning in this fact…
Definition: A homograph is a word with two or more pronunciations. Produce is one example…
Anecdote: Yesterday morning I watched as my older sister left for school with a bright white glob of toothpaste gleaming on her chin. I felt no regret at all until she stepped onto the bus…
The body of your introductory paragraph should fulfill two functions: It should explain your first sentence and should build up to your thesis statement. You’ll find that this is much easier than it sounds. Just follow the pattern you see in the above examples.
During the revision stage for the paper as a whole, you can make further refinements to the introduction as needed.
How to Write a Body of a Research Paper
The main part of your research paper is called “the body.” To write this important part of your paper, include only relevant information, or information that gets to the point. Organize your ideas in a logical order—one that makes sense—and provide enough details—facts and examples—to support the points you want to make.
Writing the Body Paragraphs
The first sentence of your body should continue the transition from the end of your introduction to present your first topic. Often too, your first sentence will be your “topic sentence,” the sentence that presents the topic, point, or argument that will be presented in the paragraph. The body of the paragraph should contain evidence, in the form of a discussion using quotations and examples, that supports or “proves” the topic. The final sentence of the paragraph should provide a transition to the third paragraph of the paper where the second topic will be presented.
- The third and fourth paragraphs follow the same format as the second:
- Transition or topic sentence.
- Topic sentence (if not included in the first sentence).
- Supporting sentences including a discussion, quotations, or examples that support the topic sentence.
- Concluding sentence that transitions to the next paragraph.
The topic of each paragraph will be supported by the evidence you itemized in your outline. However, just as smooth transitions are required to connect your paragraphs, the sentences you write to present your evidence should possess transition words that connect ideas, focus attention on relevant information, and continue your discussion in a smooth and fluid manner.
You presented the main idea of your paper in the thesis statement. In the body, every single paragraph must support that main idea. If any paragraph in your paper does not, in some way, back up the main idea expressed in your thesis statement, it is not relevant, which means it doesn’t have a purpose and shouldn’t be there.
Each paragraph also has a main idea of its own. That main idea is stated in a topic sentence, either at the beginning or somewhere else in the paragraph. Just as every paragraph in your paper supports your thesis statement, every sentence in each paragraph supports the main idea of that paragraph by providing facts or examples that back up that main idea. If a sentence does not support the main idea of the paragraph, it is not relevant and should be left out.
A paper that makes claims or states ideas without backing them up with facts or clarifying them with examples won’t mean much to readers. Make sure you provide enough supporting details for all your ideas. And remember that a paragraph can’t contain just one sentence. A paragraph needs at least two or more sentences to be complete. If a
paragraph has only one or two sentences, you probably haven’t provided enough support for your main idea. Or, if you have trouble finding the main idea, maybe you don’t have one. In that case, you can make the sentences part of another paragraph or leave them out.
Arrange the paragraphs in the body of your paper in an order that makes sense, so that each main idea follows logically from the previous one. Likewise, arrange the sentences in each paragraph in a logical order.
If you carefully organized your notes and made your outline, your ideas will fall into place naturally as you write your draft. The main ideas, which are building blocks of each section or each paragraph in your paper, come from the Roman-numeral headings in your outline. The supporting details under each of those main ideas come from the capital-letter headings. In a shorter paper, the capital-letter headings may become sentences that include supporting details, which come from the Arabic numerals in your outline. In a longer paper, the capital letter headings may become paragraphs of their own, which contain sentences with the supporting details, which come from the Arabic numerals in your outline.
Transition Words and Phrases
In addition to keeping your ideas in logical order, transitions are another way to guide readers from one idea to another. Transition words and phrases are important
when you are suggesting or pointing out similarities between ideas, themes, opinions, or a set of facts. As with any perfect phrase, transition words within paragraphs should not be used gratuitously. Their meaning must conform to what you are trying to point out, as shown in the examples below:
- “Accordingly” or “in accordance with” indicates agreement. For example :Thomas Edison’s experiments with electricity accordingly followed the theories of Benjamin Franklin, J. B. Priestly, and other pioneers of the previous century.
- “Analogous” or “analogously” contrasts different things or ideas that perform similar functions or make similar expressions. For example: A computer hard drive is analogous to a filing cabinet. Each stores important documents and data.
- “By comparison” or “comparatively”points out differences between things that otherwise are similar. For example: Roses require an alkaline soil. Azaleas, by comparison, prefer an acidic soil.
- “Corresponds to” or “correspondingly” indicates agreement or conformity. For example: The U.S. Constitution corresponds to England’s Magna Carta in so far as both established a framework for a parliamentary system.
- “Equals,”“equal to,” or “equally” indicates the same degree or quality. For example:Vitamin C is equally as important as minerals in a well-balanced diet.
- “Equivalent” or “equivalently” indicates two ideas or things of approximately the same importance, size, or volume. For example:The notions of individual liberty and the right to a fair and speedy trial hold equivalent importance in the American legal system.
- “Common” or “in common with” indicates similar traits or qualities. For example: Darwin did not argue that humans were descended from the apes. Instead, he maintained that
they shared a common ancestor.
- “In the same way,”“in the same manner,”“in the same vein,” or “likewise,” connects comparable traits, ideas, patterns, or activities. For example: John Roebling’s suspension bridges in Brooklyn and Cincinnati were built in the same manner, with strong cables to support a metallic roadway. Example 2: Despite its delicate appearance, John Roebling’s
Brooklyn Bridge was built as a suspension bridge supported by strong cables. Example 3: Cincinnati’s Suspension Bridge, which Roebling also designed, was likewise supported by cables.
- “Kindred” indicates that two ideas or things are related by quality or character. For example: Artists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are considered kindred spirits in the Impressionist Movement. “Like” or “as” are used to create a simile that builds reader understanding by comparing two dissimilar things. (Never use “like” as slang, as in: John Roebling was like a bridge designer.) For examples: Her eyes shone like the sun. Her eyes were as bright as the sun.
- “Parallel” describes events, things, or ideas that occurred at the same time or that follow similar logic or patterns of behavior. For example:The original Ocktoberfests were held to occur in parallel with the autumn harvest.
- “Obviously” emphasizes a point that should be clear from the discussion. For example: Obviously, raccoons and other wildlife will attempt to find food and shelter in suburban areas as
their woodland habitats disappear.
- “Similar” and “similarly” are used to make like comparisons. For example: Horses and ponies have similar physical characteristics although, as working farm animals, each was bred to perform different functions.
- “There is little debate” or “there is consensus” can be used to point out agreement. For example:There is little debate that the polar ice caps are melting.The question is whether global warming results from natural or human-made causes.
Other phrases that can be used to make transitions or connect ideas within paragraphs include:
- Use “alternately” or “alternatively” to suggest a different option.
- Use “antithesis” to indicate a direct opposite.
- Use “contradict” to indicate disagreement.
- Use “on the contrary” or “conversely” to indicate that something is different from what it seems.
- Use “dissimilar” to point out differences between two things.
- Use “diverse” to discuss differences among many things or people.
- Use “distinct” or “distinctly” to point out unique qualities.
- Use “inversely” to indicate an opposite idea.
- Use “it is debatable,” “there is debate,” or “there is disagreement” to suggest that there is more than one opinion about a subject.
- Use “rather” or “rather than” to point out an exception.
- Use “unique” or “uniquely” to indicate qualities that can be found nowhere else.
- Use “unlike” to indicate dissimilarities.
- Use “various” to indicate more than one kind.
Writing Topic Sentences
Remember, a sentence should express a complete thought, one thought per sentence—no more, no less. The longer and more convoluted your sentences become, the more likely you are to muddle the meaning, become repetitive, and bog yourself down in issues of grammar and construction. In your first draft, it is generally a good idea to keep those sentences relatively short and to the point. That way your ideas will be clearly stated.You will be able to clearly see the content that you have put down—what is there and what is missing—and add or subtract material as it is needed. The sentences will probably seem choppy and even simplistic.The purpose of a first draft is to ensure that you have recorded all the content you will need to make a convincing argument. You will work on smoothing and perfecting the language in subsequent drafts.
Transitioning from your topic sentence to the evidence that supports it can be problematic. It requires a transition, much like the transitions needed to move from one paragraph to the next. Choose phrases that connect the evidence directly to your topic sentence.
Phrases for Supporting Topic Sentences
- Consider this: (give an example or state evidence).
- If (identify one condition or event) then (identify the condition or event that will follow).
- It should go without saying that (point out an obvious condition).
- Note that (provide an example or observation).
- Take a look at (identify a condition; follow with an explanation of why you think it is important to the discussion).
- The authors had (identify their idea) in mind when they wrote “(use a quotation from their text that illustrates the idea).”
- The point is that (summarize the conclusion your reader should draw from your research).
- This becomes evident when (name the author) says that (paraphrase a quote from the author’s writing).
- We see this in the following example: (provide an example of your own).
- (The author’s name) offers the example of (summarize an example given by the author).
If an idea is controversial, you may need to add extra evidence to your paragraphs to persuade your reader. You may also find that a logical argument, one based solely on your evidence, is not persuasive enough and that you need to appeal to the reader’s emotions. Look for ways to incorporate your research without detracting from your argument.
Writing Transition Sentences
It is often difficult to write transitions that carry a reader clearly and logically on to the next paragraph (and the next topic) in an essay. Because you are moving from one topic to another, it is easy to simply stop one and start another. Great research papers, however, include good transitions that link the ideas in an interesting discussion so that readers can move smoothly and easily through your presentation. Close each of your paragraphs with an interesting transition sentence that introduces the topic coming up in the next paragraph.
Transition sentences should show a relationship between the two topics.Your transition will perform one of the following functions to introduce the new idea:
- Indicate that you will be expanding on information in a different way in the upcoming paragraph.
- Indicate that a comparison, contrast, or a cause-and-effect relationship between the topics will be discussed.
- Indicate that an example will be presented in the next paragraph.
- Indicate that a conclusion is coming up.
Transitions make a paper flow smoothly by showing readers how ideas and facts follow one another to point logically to a conclusion. They show relationships among the ideas, help the reader to understand, and, in a persuasive paper, lead the reader to the writer’s conclusion.
Each paragraph should end with a transition sentence to conclude the discussion of the topic in the paragraph and gently introduce the reader to the topic that will be raised in the next paragraph. However, transitions also occur within paragraphs—from sentence to sentence—to add evidence, provide examples, or introduce a quotation.
The type of paper you are writing and the kinds of topics you are introducing will determine what type of transitional phrase you should use. Some useful phrases for transitions
appear below. They are grouped according to the function they normally play in a paper. Transitions, however, are not simply phrases that are dropped into sentences. They are constructed to highlight meaning. Choose transitions that are appropriate to your topic and what you want the reader to do. Edit them to be sure they fit properly within the sentence to enhance the reader’s understanding.
Transition Phrases for Comparisons:
- We also see
- In addition to
- Notice that
- As well as
- Beside that,
- In comparison,
- Once again,
- For example,
- Comparatively, it can be seen that
- We see this when
- This corresponds to
- In other words,
- At the same time,
- By the same token,
Transition Phrases for Contrast:
- By contrast,
- On the contrary,
- An exception to this would be …
- Alongside that,we find …
- On one hand … on the other hand …
- [New information] presents an opposite view …
- Conversely, it could be argued …
- Other than that,we find that …
- We get an entirely different impression from …
- One point of differentiation is …
- Further investigation shows …
- An exception can be found in the fact that …
Transition Phrases to Show a Process:
- At the top we have … Near the bottom we have …
- Here we have … There we have …
- Continuing on,
- We progress to …
- Close up … In the distance …
- In addition to
- Next up
- With this in mind,
- Moving in sequence,
- Proceeding sequentially,
- Moving to the next step,
- First, Second,Third,…
- Examining the activities in sequence,
- As a result,
- The end result is …
- Thus …
- To illustrate …
- One consequence of …
- If … then …
- It follows that …
- This is chiefly due to …
- The next step …
- Later we find …
Phrases to Introduce Examples:
- For example,
- For instance,
- In particular,
- This includes,
- To illustrate,
- One illustration is
- One example is
- This is illustrated by
- This can be seen when
- This is especially seen in
- This is chiefly seen when
Transition Phrases for Presenting Evidence:
- Another point worthy of consideration is
- At the center of the issue is the notion that
- Before moving on, it should be pointed out that
- Another important point is
- Another idea worth considering is
- Even more important,
- Getting beyond the obvious,
- In spite of all this,
- It follows that
- It is clear that
- More importantly,
- Most importantly,
How to Make Effective Transitions
How to make effective transitions between sections of a research paper? There are two distinct issues in making strong transitions:
- Does the upcoming section actually belong where you have placed it?
- Have you adequately signaled the reader why you are taking this next step?
The first is the most important: Does the upcoming section actually belong in the next spot? The sections in your research paper need to add up to your big point (or thesis statement) in a sensible progression. One way of putting that is, “Does the architecture of your paper correspond to the argument you are making?” Getting this architecture right is the goal of “large-scale editing,” which focuses on the order of the sections, their relationship to each other, and ultimately their correspondence to your thesis argument.
It’s easy to craft graceful transitions when the sections are laid out in the right order. When they’re not, the transitions are bound to be rough. This difficulty, if you encounter it, is actually a valuable warning. It tells you that something is wrong and you need to change it. If the transitions are awkward and difficult to write, warning bells should ring. Something is wrong with the research paper’s overall structure.
After you’ve placed the sections in the right order, you still need to tell the reader when he is changing sections and briefly explain why. That’s an important part of line-by-line editing, which focuses on writing effective sentences and paragraphs.
Examples of Effective Transitions
Effective transition sentences and paragraphs often glance forward or backward, signaling that you are switching sections. Take this example from J. M. Roberts’s History of Europe. He is finishing a discussion of the Punic Wars between Rome and its great rival, Carthage. The last of these wars, he says, broke out in 149 B.C. and “ended with so complete a defeat for the Carthaginians that their city was destroyed . . . .” Now he turns to a new section on “Empire.” Here is the first sentence: “By then a Roman empire was in being in fact if not in name.”(J. M. Roberts, A History of Europe. London: Allen Lane, 1997, p. 48) Roberts signals the transition with just two words: “By then.” He is referring to the date (149 B.C.) given near the end of the previous section. Simple and smooth.
Michael Mandelbaum also accomplishes this transition between sections effortlessly, without bringing his narrative to a halt. In The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets, one chapter shows how countries of the North Atlantic region invented the idea of peace and made it a reality among themselves. Here is his transition from one section of that chapter discussing “the idea of warlessness” to another section dealing with the history of that idea in Europe.
The widespread aversion to war within the countries of the Western core formed the foundation for common security, which in turn expressed the spirit of warlessness. To be sure, the rise of common security in Europe did not abolish war in other parts of the world and could not guarantee its permanent abolition even on the European continent. Neither, however, was it a flukish, transient product . . . . The European common security order did have historical precedents, and its principal features began to appear in other parts of the world.
Precedents for Common Security
The security arrangements in Europe at the dawn of the twenty-first century incorporated features of three different periods of the modern age: the nineteenth century, the interwar period, and the ColdWar. (Michael Mandelbaum, The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets. New York: Public Affairs, 2002, p. 128)
It’s easier to make smooth transitions when neighboring sections deal with closely related subjects, as Mandelbaum’s do. Sometimes, however, you need to end one section with greater finality so you can switch to a different topic. The best way to do that is with a few summary comments at the end of the section. Your readers will understand you are drawing this topic to a close, and they won’t be blindsided by your shift to a new topic in the next section.
Here’s an example from economic historian Joel Mokyr’s book The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress. Mokyr is completing a section on social values in early industrial societies. The next section deals with a quite different aspect of technological progress: the role of property rights and institutions. So Mokyr needs to take the reader across a more abrupt change than Mandelbaum did. Mokyr does that in two ways. First, he summarizes his findings on social values, letting the reader know the section is ending. Then he says the impact of values is complicated, a point he illustrates in the final sentences, while the impact of property rights and institutions seems to be more straightforward. So he begins the new section with a nod to the old one, noting the contrast.
In commerce, war and politics, what was functional was often preferred [within Europe] to what was aesthetic or moral, and when it was not, natural selection saw to it that such pragmatism was never entirely absent in any society. . . . The contempt in which physical labor, commerce, and other economic activity were held did not disappear rapidly; much of European social history can be interpreted as a struggle between wealth and other values for a higher step in the hierarchy. The French concepts of bourgeois gentilhomme and nouveau riche still convey some contempt for people who joined the upper classes through economic success. Even in the nineteenth century, the accumulation of wealth was viewed as an admission ticket to social respectability to be abandoned as soon as a secure membership in the upper classes had been achieved.
Institutions and Property Rights
The institutional background of technological progress seems, on the surface, more straightforward. (Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 176)
Note the phrase, “on the surface.” Mokyr is hinting at his next point, that surface appearances are deceiving in this case. Good transitions between sections of your research paper depend on:
- Getting the sections in the right order
- Moving smoothly from one section to the next
- Signaling readers that they are taking the next step in your argument
- Explaining why this next step comes where it does
Drafting Your Conclusion
Every good paper ends with a strong concluding paragraph. To write a good conclusion, sum up the main points in your paper. To write an even better conclusion, include a sentence or two that helps the reader answer the question, “So what?” or “Why does all this matter?” If you choose to include one or more “So What?” sentences, remember that you still need to support any point you make with facts or examples. Remember, too, that this is not the place to introduce new ideas from “out of the blue.” Make sure that everything you write in your conclusion refers to what you’ve already written in the body of your paper.
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Research paper introduction paragraph
How to Start a Research Paper – Introduction
All academic research papers must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. But how long does it take you to write a research paper introduction? 2, 5 or 30 minutes? How do you start off a research paper? Well, once you read this tutorial, it should take you the shortest time possible. We give you a research paper writing step-by-step guide and useful tips to keep in mind when handling your paper’s intro.
The introduction aims at presenting what the reader should expect to learn from the paper, stating the thesis statement, and giving definitions.
Since it introduces the reader to the topic, it should motivate the reader to continue reading. So, an excellent introduction should invoke a feeling or desire for more.
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It is essential to make the beginning of your research paper interesting and engaging. These will help capture the reader’s attention and create interest. Remember, your first lines will help decide whether or not the reader will read through the whole paper. You cannot afford to miss out on any point.
A research paper must have a context that will help readers understand why you decided to study and how your research is useful. Focus on answering the two questions in your introduction section, so take your time and make sure you get it right.
It is best practice to do the introduction paragraph last. First write the other parts of the paper first and then later focus on preparing an ideal opening paragraph.
How to write an introduction paragraph in a research paper
Unlike other forms of writing, research papers focus on facts, studies, and it’s quite a challenge for most students to come up with its introduction.
But remember, you need readers to go through the research. Therefore, entice them at the beginning of your paper.
Here are what should appear in your opening paragraph:
- Context of your research and background
- Explaining the significance of your research
- Stating your rationale and hypothesis
- Telling the reader about the research, you intend to carry out
- Introducing your topic
Now that you already know what should appear in that first paragraph let’s take a look at this step by step guide and have a better understanding.
Step 1. Announce your topic
When writing any academic essay, it is always advisable to start with the general information and then narrow down to specific details. Avoid going into more detail when drafting an introduction. Instead, aim at giving your view on the topic.
A topic in the central part of the writing of any paper you prepare, so it is only wise to start by stating your case and then add some issues connected with the given topic.
Step 2. Review the literature
Literature sources are needed when developing a statement in the main body. Present the bases and give citations without forgetting to avoid plagiarism, which is a punishable offense. In your introduction, briefly explain what the literature will entail.
Step 3. State your thesis statement
A research paper thesis statement is more like the aim of your paper. The statement serves a very crucial role in marking the introduction for the research paper and the transition of the actual research. You cannot afford to leave it out. The thesis statement collects all the ideas in a concise and logical sentence. It tells the reader what will run through the paper setting the tone.
Step 4. Draft an outline
An outline will give the research paper a structure. It will help you remember all the essential points and decide what to write when and where. An overview may be a short paragraph representing your plan for the entire paper or the quick notes you made while reading through the sources.
Tips on Writing a Flawless Research Paper Intro
We make writing an introduction for your research paper easier by our easy to follow steps. But to improve your writing experience, here are some useful tips to keep in mind.
- Aim at communicating your structure
- Start the paragraph with a quotation
- Define an explain concepts
- Be brief and concise
- Capture the reader’s attention using catch sentences and topics
- Start broadly and then narrow down
- Always give an overview of your paper
- Check the journal requirements
- Cite thoroughly but not excessively.
Writing an introduction can be a bit tricky. Sometimes you will be forced to write the rest of your paper before coming up with an introduction. But with the steps and tips mentioned about learning how to write a research paper introduction has been made easier.
With you having read through the whole article, it is now time to practice what you just learned. Remember, practice makes perfect!
This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.
The role of introductions
Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.
Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions.)
Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.
Why bother writing a good introduction?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.
Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).
Strategies for writing an effective introduction
Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:
Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)
Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!
Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.
Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.
Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):
- an intriguing example—for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
- a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument—for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
- a puzzling scenario—for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
- a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote—for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
- a thought-provoking question—for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?
Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.
How to evaluate your introduction draft
Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.
Five kinds of less effective introductions
1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.
Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.
2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.
Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.
Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”
4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.
Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.
5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.
Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.
And now for the conclusion…
Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!
Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Paper Introduction Example: Academic Writing Insight
How to write introductory paragraph for research paper
The writing of the research paper is a multi-aspect process. Because this type of academic assignment consists of several parts. If you fail to complete one of the levels, you will fail the whole paper.
Introduction is not a literal beginning
As you know, the hardest part is just to begin the paper. And what should do student at the beginning? Not writing an outline. And not working on the introduction. He should make a massive research on his topic. You cannot start writing an introduction without having a personal view on the issue that you are going to study. You have to prepare for introduction writing though analyzing facts available online and making notes. If it’s hard to do it yourself, the online essay help service will solve this problem instantly!
Why do we need an introduction?
The key aim of introduction is to introduce to the reader the purpose of your research. Just imagine any academic writing starting from the main body section. You cannot pour on the reader your evidence, ideas, arguments without explanation of what are you writing about. In the introduction, you must clearly indicate the hypothesis you want to prove or deny. You must explain the necessity of your research, its urgency and significance for your study and, finally, hook readers to continue reading it!
What information can I get from my search for the introduction?
It depends on the discipline you are writing the research paper on. If your field of studies is Humanities, it is likely that you can find a relevant quote, aphorism, anecdote to introduce your topic to the reader. In case you study tech, social, medical sciences quotes are irrelevant. More precise and specific facts will fit such introduction. There is a general rule for all specialties too. You must find a fact that will intrigue a reader. You must hook him.
Attract the reader in any case
Imagine that your research paper is a product that you want to sell and be paid for it. Figuratively, it is truth because your aim is to be rewarded with high mark. The first thing salesmen do to sell their product is a promotion of it. They put efforts and use various methods to hook clients. So, what should research paper writers do to attract a reader? Even if you write a research paper, and the style of writing is formal, it is still necessary and possible to draw his attention.
For example, your research paper topic is “How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?”. After a hasty internet search, you can find out that there are many legendary musicians like Radiohead that gave up being dependant on music labels and started to issue their LP by themselves, online. Also, there is a site Pledge Music that is a popular crowdfunding platform for modern musicians. Such popular synth-pop band as IAMX raises money there to record and promote their albums.
This two facts prove that digital downloading somehow effect music industry, and it is urgent to research this topic to learn the character of this effect.
Writing a thesis statement
What do you feel what you watch a good teaser for the movie? You feel hooked, intrigued and eager to watch the story till the end. The same result you must achieve with the thesis statement in research paper. You must indicate the highlights of your essay, and leave an opened question, a mystery, which the reader will want to learn for sure.
To provide a worthy example of research paper thesis statement lets return to the discussed above topic “How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?”.
A thesis statement is a point that you will have to defend. It mandatorily must not be general. For example, if you declare this statement during the conversation, it will surely provoke a conflict and make all people differ in their attitude and take a side.
Wrong way: “Downloading music from internet is bad and we must fight it.”
It leaves too many questions to answer. And this statement is a way too objective, it does not reflect the controversy of your topic. The truth is that there are no absolutely good or totally bad phenomenon. And your thesis statement must show the reality.
Right way: “The culture of digital music consumption must be changed because the creations of musicians become worthless due to activity of web pirates and people stop valuing music according to its merit .”
In this example of thesis, I’ve narrowed my argument to consequences of digital music download on culture of music consumption. I’ve also focused on the fact that main harm for music industry present web pirates. It induces readers to assume that I will argue against them in the main body.
To check if you have created a debatable thesis statement for the research paper, you must figure out whether it is debatable. It means that you must make reader argue either for or against this statement.
Wrong way: “The music industry has changed because of era of the internet.”
It is a statement, but not a thesis statement. It is a general truth. There is no point to argue with that fact. You can narrate about that, but not argue and make research to provide proper evidence to prove your point.
Right way: “Free music download sites must become commercial because recording a music is a full-time job of musicians and every work must be rewarded.”
Now it is debatable. Opponents can argue that product that music product is not principal way to earn money for musicians, and internet is a the most effective way to promote their creation and lure audience to visit their concerts, what is a real way to earn money.
Avoid puzzlement. It means that you must not overdo with previous two thesis statement tips. It must be focused and debatable and should also show your side. In the latter example we can easily see that the writer is against free music download because it affects negatively on the work of music industry and he is going to prove why in the main body.
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