The introduction paragraph is perhaps the most daunting section for many students. Besides struggling to narrow an idea down to a few sentences there is the challenge of writing your introduction in a fun way to hook your reader into reading your essay.
How should you go about writing an introduction for a research paper? This article will discuss the purpose of an introduction and highlight some ways to start a paper and make an impact on your reader.
What is an introduction in a research paper?
The introduction is the section of a paper that introduces the purpose of the paper. In simple essays, the introduction comes after the title as opposed to after the literature review in higher-level papers.
The introduction to a research paper helps a reader to determine the relevance of a topic and also to get the scope of the research methods and research objectives.
Purpose of an introduction paragraph
Why is it necessary to write an introduction for your paper? The most common purpose of the introduction is to hook your reader into reading your topic. However, the introduction serves more purposes than grabbing your reader’s attention. These functions include:
- Highlighting the central issues to be addressed within your paper
- Discussing the background of your topic, making clear the gaps that necessitate your research on a topic
- Contains a thesis statement that gives the reader a gist of your perspective towards a research topic.
Parts of an introduction paragraph
Like all things academic, the introduction can be divided into parts without which your introduction may fail to meet its purpose. The introduction can be divided into a hook, a context, and a thesis statement.
The hook comprises a statement that focuses your reader’s attention on the topic, pushing them to read the essay further. the context then expands on the topic details to show the focus of your work and to also show why a given topic is important to study.
A thesis statement finally gives a summary of your argument, making clear the angle from which you are approaching the essay topic. These parts of the introduction allow you to easily plan the information to include in your paper, helping you overcome any confusing details.
Good ways to start a paper
We have already established the relevance of a good hook to an academic paper. However, what are some of the options for starting your paper?
- Rhetorical questions
Rhetorical questions are a staple among various ways how to introduce a research question. These open-ended questions can be used to highlight a research problem and lead a reader through arguments within your essay. The questions can also be used to evoke a given emotion, making it easy to win your reader in a persuasive essay.
Ideally, make questions from your research objectives, creating eagerness within the reader to answer these questions.
- Statistics and facts
Facts and statistics are a great way to lend credence to your arguments and to highlight a problem trivialized by your reader. Ideally, the fact should be related to your topic directly, helping you transition to the context and show how your paper will analyse the identified problem.
However, note that facts should be backed with proper references, helping the reader follow up on an issue and also removing any doubts of bias in your selected facts.
Personal essays can be started with a story highlighting a key moment relating to your topic. Storytelling helps you to put various tools into use, appealing to your reader and smoothly transitioning to your thesis statement.
However, avoid giving away the end of your story, building curiosity for your reader to read further in search of answers to questions inspired by your introduction.
How long should an introduction be?
The length of an introduction varies depending on the level of essay you are writing and the overall word count. a simple 5-paragraph essay should have a single-paragraph introduction of up to a hundred words.
Conversely, higher-level research papers may have longer introductions as they carry more details compared to their lower-level counterparts. The introduction for research papers, thesis, and dissertation should range between 10% and 15% of the total word count.
If you are having challenges in establishing the total word count for your paper, we recommend that you revisit the faculty guidelines for clarification.
We hope that this guide was handy in addressing various issues you were facing with writing a paper introduction. Feel free to reach out to our experts for assistance with your essay and other aspects that you might struggle with in your academic journey.