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Research Paper Introduction 101: How to Master Them?

No one ever gets to make a first impression twice, especially with academic writing. The introduction to your research paper is your strongest chance to leave an impact on your reader.

But how to use this chance to your benefit is an art only a few have mastered. This article is your cheat sheet for writing a powerful research paper introduction that is both pleasing and functional.

What is a Research Paper Introduction? 

A research article’s introduction section or paragraph is one of its key components. It is concise and has several roles to play that show its importance. 

  1. Introduces you topic 
  2. Provides context to your work by giving an appropriate backdrop on the subject/ topic 
  3. Reflect on your problem question or opinion on the topic
  4. Engages the reader’s attention 
  5. Gives an overview of the entire structure 
  6. Helps the reader navigate through it

Key Element of a Research Article Intro

We know that the intro text is your least favorite part of any research article. But you would be positively giddy if you knew how much effort goes into that introductory paragraph by the author. Here are a few key elements to consider:

  • Hook 
  • Background 
  • Thesis Statement/ Research Question 
  • Objective
  • Overview 

The outlook of your introduction varies according to the type of paper you’re writing. The two most noticeable types of research are empirical and argumentative. 

Empirical Paper: An original research conducted with the help of stats and facts 
Argumentative Paper: An argument based paper comparing two or more existing researches.

Steps for Creating a Strong Research Paper Introduction

The strongest introduction of the research paper needs to be able to answer the question: “What on Earth is this paper about?” Thus you need to follow the series of steps to captivate your audience. Here are some basics for getting started with a killer and on-point research intro 

Introducing Your Topic

Introduce the topic in a way that is relevant to your readers and makes them want to read on.

You can do this by using an anecdote or story or by giving an overview of the field and its history. For example, a good introduction might be, “The field of computer science has been around since the 1960s.”

  • Hook

So what will you do, sit down and crunch numbers all day? Here’s the catch, it only works if you have a good hook. Make it powerful, maybe even controversial. But how? You’ll get the details below.

  • Background
  1. After you’ve hooked your reader with an interesting anecdote or opinion-based statement about your topic and its place in history, it’s time to explain why this matters today.
  2. Explain why you are writing about this topic or what led you to choose it as your topic.

This section should also introduce any other sources you will use in your paper, such as books, websites, or someone else’s research.

Establishing Research Problem

A strong research introduction must establish the problem the writer is attempting to solve. This can be done by asking a question related to the paper’s subject. Think about what question you are asking. What is it that you want to know?

  • Thesis Statement

The next step is to create a thesis statement, an overview of what you will discuss in your paper. It should be written in one sentence and state your position on the topic.

  • It should be written as a question or an assertion and should be debatable (i.e., not just a statement of fact).

For example: “The American Revolution was successful because it was fought by people who believed in freedom.”

  • Research Question

Once you have established your research problem and thesis statement, you will have created a foundation to build your entire report. 

Your next step will be to determine what specific questions need answering for you to complete this task successfully.

State Your Objectives 

This is where you’ll tell the reader what your paper is about. Do this in one sentence, and ensure it’s clear and concise.

This might seem obvious, but it’s important to figure out what you want to accomplish in your paper before you begin writing. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you be sure you’ll get there?

Your objectives can be as simple as “to examine how X affects Y,” or they might be more complex and specific such as “to determine whether Z is true given A and B. 

Providing an Overview 

Your overview is not the time to get into all the details but to bring your reader up to speed on what they can expect from your paper in one statement. 

This should be a brief one-sentence summary of the entire paper, and it should include the purpose of the paper and why it is important.

You should do this by summarizing your thesis statement so that it comes across as interesting and inviting. 

6 Strategies to Master the Steps of Introduction Writing

The paper writing process can get overwhelming for many students as it requires them to do things they have been taught not to do in school. Liking thinking outside the box. 

But to make these above-mentioned steps work the way you expect them to, you must go the extra mile. Here are the strategies you can utilize to enhance each step of writing in a research paper introduction.

Research and Subject Knowledge

You might have noticed that you can talk non-stop about the topics that are your current (secret) obsession. This is because you have gathered your knowledge on these subjects through various channels; books, podcasts, classes, reddit, etc.

Similarly, you need thorough research to write a strong paper, let alone an introduction to a subject. The more you know about your topic, the more easily you can translate “it’s important” into “it’s important because of reasons X, Y, and Z.”

Crafting Compelling Hook

Before you turn in your research paper, ask yourself one question: Did I capture my audience’s attention with my introduction? A boring introduction will not excite readers about what you have to say.

The second important strategy for writing a strong introduction is to craft a compelling hook. The following elements can help you achieve that goal.

  • Use relevant facts, statistics, quotes, stories, and questions to grab readers’ attention.
  • Make bold statements that get your point across.
  • Use vivid imagery and add an attention-grabbing phrase or word.
  • Quote a person who is recognized for their authority in the subject matter.
  • Ask a question that will start a conversation between you and your reader.

Backdrop of the Topic 

The third step of writing a strong introduction is adding background information. The background information in an academic paper should be the most important, relevant, and interesting facts about the topic.

This means you need only to use information directly related to the paper’s topic, not “any information” that seemed important at first glance. To avoid including irrelevant information, you need thorough editing. 

Clear Problem Question or Thesis Statement

Formulating an effective introduction requires a clear problem question or thesis statement. This involves taking simple steps to establish clear and concise problem statements.

  • State the problem or argument explicitly.
  • Be concise 
  • Use clear language 
  • Highlight the relevance of your problem/ thesis statement: explain why it is important to answer this question.
  • Consider the scope and boundaries: be precise with the population you’re studying. Make sure you clearly outline your scope so that you don’t end up with overwhelming data to analyze. 
  • Only pick subjects that are research-able
  • Refine your problem or thesis statement before finalizing it.

Identifying the Significance of Your Objectives

To identify the significance of your objectives, think of how your work fits into the bigger picture. Or what does your research bring to the table? 

These questions will not only help you pick impressive research topics but will also help you crystalize your objectives. Here is what you should consider while highlighting the importance of your research. 

  • How achieving the objectives of your research will contribute to the real world? Would it solve any problems? Does it have practical benefits? 
  • Can it expand the existing theories and knowledge in the field?
  • Is your work filling any gaps in the literature?
  • How can your work impact society? 
  • Would it become a foundation for further research/ study?
  • Do you satisfy your interests or passions by working on this research? 

Cohesion and Wordplay

Anything can impact people strongly if it’s worded the right way. You might have realized we discussed using “appropriate or clear” language throughout this guide. 

This is because even in the same section, different types of vocabulary are needed for a cohesive introduction. 

  • In the hook, you require some emotion here and there 
  • In the background, you may use some technical terms 
  • Your research question or thesis statement requires strictly technical jargon
  • And your overview needs more digestible and regular vocab, so it’s the easiest to understand.

4 Examples of Well-Written Research Paper Introduction 

Example 1: Abortion 

In a world filled with complexities and controversies, the topic of abortion has ignited impassioned debates that resonate through societies and echo within individual hearts. The topic is laden with ethical, moral, and religious implications and raises questions about the value of life and the meaning of freedom.

It’s because of the conflicting views that this issue has become so polarizing—but it doesn’t have to be. This research aims to explore the ethical dilemmas surrounding abortion and address the question: What are the moral implications and societal consequences of varying perspectives on abortion?

By examining the multifaceted aspects of abortion, this study seeks to deepen our understanding of its impact on individuals, families, and communities, shedding light on the profound ethical and social implications that shape our perspectives and policies.

Example 2: Online Homework Assistance

In today’s fast-paced academic landscape, students face overwhelming assignments and deadlines. Academic assistance providers have capitalized on this by offering online assignment help service platforms for students.

The emergence of digital technologies in the education system has revolutionized academic assistance through online platforms that connect students with subject-matter experts. These platforms claim to help students with many tasks and homework, time management, skill development, and much more.

However, believing without experience is credulous. Thus, this study aims to explore the truth behind online assignment assistance and analyze if they truly help enhance a student’s learning experience and, consequently, their academic career.

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Example 3: Global Warming

Most people have heard of global warming, but many are still confused about the term. Global warming refers to the gradual increase in Earth’s temperature, a phenomenon most definitely caused by human activities and has various effects on our planet.

“Global warming is real,” said The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “The industrial revolution, the widespread use of fossil fuels, and other activities have dramatically increased atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses. These glasses are changing Earth’s climate.”

This paper will focus primarily on the causes and consequences of global warming. It will also touch on steps to limit its impact at the international and individual levels.

Example 4: The Natural Beauty

It was in the late 90s when the natural beauty movement took off, with influential celebrities and models like Christy Turlington and Gisele Bündchen donning their straight, imperfect faces for the camera. This was a welcome shift away from the airbrushed celebrity photos that dominated magazines and everyday life.

For long, society had glamorized an unrealistic image of beauty that celebrated big eyes, small noses, and chiseled cheekbones. But these new celebrities represented real women—ones with freckles, scars, and cellulite—and they were being celebrated for it.

The natural beauty movement sought to revolutionize unrealistic beauty norms by embracing authenticity as a source of empowerment and self-worth. Though this movement has been lauded for its revolutionary potential for positive change, it has also been criticized for its potential to reinforce negative body image in those already struggling with it.

While it’s true that the natural beauty movement could empower some women to embrace their bodies, it could also reinforce negative ideals among those who still see themselves as “imperfect”.

6 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are six common mistakes both students and professionals commit when writing a research paper introduction

  • Avoid adding too much emotion to your introduction, as it can distract the reader and lead to bias.
  • Avoid explaining things in too much detail. I.e., giving lengthy background information. This can bore or agitate the reader, and they may stop reading your content with any interest.
  • Don’t create too much excitement or hype in your introduction, as it may lead to unrealistic expectations in your readers. 
  • Avoid being too general or too vague.
  • Poor organization of the introduction section is a big no.
  • Avoid lack of coherence in writing.


You just found the best solution for how to write an introduction for your research paper. It’s all here, from what they are to what they should include. Use it if your writing is stuck in first gear, and rev up your introduction to boost your grades.

However, writing a paper is probably the last thing you feel like doing after long hours on campus. Yet, we also know that this does not excuse you from having to do it for your professor.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a research paper introduction important? Are Introduction and Abstract the same in research papers? How to start a research paper? What are the 5 major parts of the research paper? How to write a good introduction?
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