What do you put in an introduction?

Contents of an introduction

What do you put in an introduction?

A research paper introduction is the first part of the paper that a reader is most likely to start with. A proper way of writing an introduction is telling the reader what your topic is about. Think of an introduction as a movie preview. You want the reader to know what the movie (research paper) is about but briefly, concisely, and simply. Introductions are important because they make the first impression on the reader.

A bad introduction will have a negative impact on the reader’s interest, while a good introduction will intrigue the reader to delve into your paper. With this in mind, it does not come as a surprise that students often struggle with their research paper introductions, either due to inexperience, lack of information, or insufficient time. If you are one of these students, you are in luck. We have provided paper writing help to undergraduate and graduate students for ten years now. We are in the know of some of the most common mistakes that students make with their introductions. So what do you put in an introduction?

  1. Present your topic

In simple terms, start by writing what your topic is about. We recommended that you start with the broad/general topic and narrow it down. It is also advisable to include a personal reference – if there is one. You should also include your insights, opinions, and personal views. If our topic has jargon that the reader may not be familiar with, make sure that you explain them briefly and clearly.

  1. Provide background information or context

Of course, you have conducted plenty of research on your topic, and you are very familiar with it. You should provide appropriate and relevant information to your readers so that they can be able to understand what your topic is about. Focus on what the reader needs as far as the research paper goes. However, avoid giving too much information.

  1. Define your reasoning

Your readers need to know how and why your research paper topic is relevant to them. Your topic should also be pertinent to your field and society. This is vital since it shows your research paper’s importance to the readers.

  1. Highlight your thesis statement

The thesis statement usually comes at the end of the research paper’s introduction. It refers to the main point or main idea of your research paper. In other words, it highlights what your paper is about. A thesis statement is crucial since it sets the tone for the rest of the research paper. It should be clear, assertive, engaging, and easily understandable by all your readers.

  1. Finalize with the outline

An outline is a paragraph of three or four sentences that details your research paper’s plan. An outline helps you organize your thoughts, ensure that there is nothing you are forgetting, and help your research paper’s information continuity.  

Though the introduction ends with the thesis statement, there is something else to consider—the transition to the paper’s body. You do not want the introduction and body to feel like two unrelated pieces. A transition could be what distinguishes you from an amateur writer. You should include a sentence that serves as a bridge between the body and the introduction. This sentence should be short, should consist of information on what the reader expects in the body, and should be rational.

Even though the introduction is the first section of your paper, you do not have to write it first. You can always write it after you have completed the rest of the paper. The advantage of this is that your introduction will be inclusive, compelling, and easier to write. Students make a common mistake by including many citations in the introduction; while they make excellent topic overviews, they may not necessarily provide sufficient context to readers.

Thoroughly revise your introduction and research paper, checking for any spelling or grammatical mistakes. You do not want the first thing that your readers see to be a mistake. Also, avoid using superfluous words, they will only confuse your reader further, and they may end up changing the meaning of some of your sentences. Another thing to remember is to keep your introduction short.

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What do you put in an introduction?

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