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Academic research and writing: A concise introduction

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Academic research and writing: A concise introduction Paperback – June 1, 2016

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Writing academic scientific papers can be difficult.  Much like any skill, it requires baseline knowledge, deliberate practice, and intermittent reflection and improvement.  The most common structure for scientific papers is the IMRaD model—Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.  In this series of podcasts we will try to delve into each of these sections, provide some educational theory, possible structured approaches, practical tips for success, and pitfalls to avoid in order to help you become a better more thoughtful academic writer.

Practical Tips for Academic Writing: Title, Abstract, and Odds and Ends

In this podcast we’ll conclude the Academic Writing series by discussing the Title and Abstract of a scientific paper—its importance, suggested components and structure, things to avoid, and end with some other general odds and ends regarding academic writing for completeness.

*If you are unable to play the podcast please click here to download the file .

References:

Title and Abstract Section :

Alspach, J. G. (2017). Writing for Publication 101: Why the Abstract Is So Important. Crit Care Nurse, 37 (4), 12-15.

Anstey, A. (2014). Writing style: what's in a title? Br J Dermatol, 170 (5), 1003-1004.

Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part II: title and abstract. J Clin Epidemiol, 66 (6), 585.

Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the Title, Abstract and Introduction: Looks Matter! Indian Pediatr, 53 (3), 235-241.

Tullu, M. S. (2019). Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key. Saudi J Anaesth, 13 (Suppl 1), S12-S17.

Practical Tips for Academic Writing: the Discussion Section

In this podcast we’ll discuss the Discussion Section of the IMRaD model—its importance as the “heart of the paper”, provide practical tips on suggested components and structure, and end with some general tips for success and caveats to avoid.

Discussion Section:

Bagga, A. (2016). Discussion: The Heart of the Paper. Indian Pediatr, 53(10), 901-904.

Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part VI: discussion. J Clin Epidemiol, 66(10), 1064.

Conn, V. S. (2017). How to Craft a Strong Discussion Section. West J Nurs Res, 39(5), 607-608.

CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) 2010 Checklist: http://www.consort-statement.org/

Hofler, M., Venz, J., Trautmann, S., & Miller, R. (2018). Writing a discussion section: how to integrate substantive and statistical expertise. BMC Med Res Methodol, 18(1), 34.

Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi J Anaesth, 13(Suppl 1), S18-S19.

Kearney, M. H. (2017). The Discussion Section Tells Us Where We Are. Res Nurs Health, 40(4), 289-291.

Masic, I. (2018). How to Write an Efficient Discussion? Med Arch, 72(4), 306-307.

Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2009). Writing the discussion. Singapore Med J, 50(5), 458-460.

STROBE (Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology) checklists for observational studies: https://www.strobe-statement.org/index.php?id=available-checklists

Practical Tips for Academic Writing: the Results Section

In this podcast we’ll discuss the Results Section of the IMRaD model—its place within the paper, provide some practical tips on structure and necessary components, discuss practical use of tables and figures, and end with some general tips for success.

Results Section :

Kotz, D., & Cals, J. W. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part V: results. J Clin Epidemiol, 66 (9), 945.

Mukherjee, A., & Lodha, R. (2016). Writing the Results. Indian Pediatr, 53 (5), 409-415.

Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2008). Writing the results. Singapore Med J, 49 (12), 967-968

Wagner, P. D. (2009). Writing up your research results for publication. Chest, 136 (2), 639- 642.

Practical Tips for Academic Writing:  the Methods Section

In this podcast we'll discuss the Methods Section of the IMRaD model, provide an understanding of its overall importance and place within the paper, some practical tips on structure and necessary components, and end with some tips for success.

Methods Section :

Arora, S. K., & Shah, D. (2016). Writing Methods: How to Write What You Did? Indian Pediatr, 53 (4), 335-340.

Azevedo, L. F., Canario-Almeida, F., Almeida Fonseca, J., Costa-Pereira, A., Winck, J. C., & Hespanhol, V. (2011). How to write a scientific paper--writing the methods section. Rev Port Pneumol, 17 (5), 232-238.

Kotz, D., & Cals, J. W. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part IV: methods. J Clin Epidemiol, 66 (8), 817.

Ng, K. H., & Peh, W. C. (2008). Writing the materials and methods. Singapore Med J, 49 (11), 856-858

Reporting Guidelines for Main Study Types.  Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR Network).  www.equator-network.org.

Stenson, J. F., Foltz, C., Lendner, M., & Vaccaro, A. R. (2018). How to Write an Effective Materials and Methods Section for Clinical Studies. Clin Spine Surg .

Veale, B. L., & Moore, Q. T. (2016). Writing a Methods Section: Detailing Your Approach. Radiol Technol, 88 (1), 111-112.

Practical Tips for Academic Writing:  the Introduction Section

In this podcast we'll tackle the Introduction Section of the IMRaD model, provide some practical tips on structure, necessary components, highlight the Problem-Gap-Hook heuristic, and end with some examples from recent papers in major journals.

Introduction Section :

Annesley, T. M. (2010). "It was a cold and rainy night": set the scene with a good introduction. Clin Chem, 56 (5), 708-713.

Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part III: introduction. J Clin Epidemiol, 66 (7), 702.

Foote, M. (2006). How to make a good first impression: a proper introduction. Chest, 130 (6), 1935-1937.

Lingard, L. (2015). Joining a conversation: the problem/gap/hook heuristic. Perspect Med Educ, 4 (5), 252-253.

Sauaia, A., Moore, E. E., Crebs, J. L., Maier, R. V., Hoyt, D. B., & Shackford, S. R. (2014). The anatomy of an article: title, abstract, and introduction. J Trauma Acute Care Surg, 76 (5), 1322-1327.

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academic research and writing a concise introduction

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  • How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples

How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

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academic research and writing a concise introduction

Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

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This chapter will help you:

  • Recognize patterns and best practices in academic writing
  • Understand the types of scholarly articles

Introduction to Academic Writing

There are various outlets for research dissemination, including conference posters, presentations, and scholarly articles. However scholarly articles are generally considered the most highly regarded type across disciplines. Scholarly, or journal, articles are published through academic journals. Scholarly articles are written by experts or scholars in a field and provide original research or analysis. They are written for an audience of other scholars or experts in the same discipline. Most scholarly articles are peer reviewed, meaning they are reviewed by experts in the field before they are published.

Types of Scholarly Articles

The main types of academic articles are original research articles and review articles. However, you might find content in scholarly journals that fall outside of these types, such as an editorial piece or book review. In addition to scholarly articles found in academic journals, conference proceedings are another type of scholarly work that uses an academic writing style.

Table content reused from UC Merced LibGuide Writing 101 under CC-BY-NC license.

Academic Writing Style

Academic writing (or scholarly writing) is the style of writing that is used for scholarly publications, including articles, posters, and reports. This type of writing is formal, concise, and takes an unbiased approach. Academic writing provides relevant evidence to support any claims. This type of writing avoids informal language, like slang or conversational phrases, and long-winded or emotional text. Academic writing is well-structured and uses section headings and paragraph breaks to help readers follow along. This style is generally consistent regardless of the type of scholarly article.

6 features of academic writing

The scholarly voice

Academic writing usually is in the third-person, rather than first-person. Authors should avoid referring to themselves and their personal thoughts. Any arguments presented should be evidence-based and presented from an objective stance, backed with cited evidence.

Sentences should be simple and direct. Authors should avoid using overly complicated or “fancy” words just for the sake of trying to make the work sound more sophisticated. On the other hand, authors should also avoid slang and causal expressions.

In academic writing, authors cite others to support any claims. Properly attributing other’s work, or citing, is a fundamental component of academic writing and academic integrity. Proper citations or references are needed to avoid plagiarism, as well as to give credit where credit is due.

There are hundreds of citation styles and editions. Many professional societies, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) provide the standard citation style for the field. These different styles reflect the best practices of scholarly communication in that discipline. For example, some styles use an in-text citation style that mentions the authors name and date of publication in the in-text citation. Other styles might instead refer to a source with a number, e.g. [2], which corresponds to a citation in the reference list.

Anatomy of a Scholarly Paper

sections of a scholarly article

The structure and components of an article are dictated by the type or article and any formatting requirements from the publisher or journal or by the discipline’s style guidelines. The most common sections of a scholarly paper are outlined in the table below:

Some of these sections may not be included in a paper or may be combined depending on the type of paper and requirements from the publisher. Additional sections may be included as well, such as an appendix or acknowledgements section. Journals and conferences will typically provide clear expectations and guidelines for the sections that should be included.

Literature Reviews

Literature reviews are a common section of an article and a necessary step for successful research. They are both a product and a process. A literature review summarizes and synthesizes key works in the field. It uses a narrative structure that allows readers to understand how previously published work relates to one another and provides a concise road map on further research. The goal of a literature review is to outline relevant literature that leads to your research, but it does not include your new research.

In addition to serving the readers, a literature review is also for you, the author, to gain breadth and depth of understanding in your field of research. It helps you understand how your research fits into the scholarly conversation and how it is reflected in the literature.

A literature review is not a list, editorial option, or description of your own research.

Literature review process

Conducting a literature review is an ongoing process. It is usually described as a linear process, as it is below, but it is really a complex feedback process.

  • Define scope – The boundaries of a literature review usually follow the boundaries of the research. However, be prepared to change those boundaries as you make new discoveries or as conditions change.
  • Identify literature – Explore the literature and discover, learn, and pursue new concepts. See Chapter 2 for information on finding and evaluating literature.
  • Analyze findings – Evaluate results and discard or relocate less relevant items. Conduct a “quick read” to get to a subset of papers you will read in depth.
  • Summarize and synthesize – Begin to make connections and integrate information. Use a narrative structure so readers are easily able to follow ideas as they read.

Steps described above in a linear graphic

Understanding the Importance of Citations

Citations are more than just a nuisance to include in a paper. In addition to getting credit, there are other reasons why authors want to be cited for their work. Citations play a role in the scholarly conversation and how scholars interact with each other. Citations are tracked through various tools to assess the impact of a work or author, which can support the author’s scholarly identity and progress toward promotion.

Citations also demonstrate that you, as the author, have researched this topic and have authority to join the scholarly conversation. They also provide identifying information (title, author, etc.) that allow readers to track down and explore the references cited.

Without a good workflow with literature, it can be easy to accidentally plagiarize. See Chapter 4 on citation management software, which supports organizing literature and citing.

Tips for Academic Writing

  • Don’t use fancy words for the sake of sounding sophisticated
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Organize your writing logically
  • Always support claims with evidence. Academic writing is not about sharing opinions, but presenting new information founded in evidence.
  • Always cite your sources of information. Utilizing the scholarly record and noting where it has been used creates a solid foundation upon which your research builds.

Practice identifying best practices in academic writing. Find a scholarly article from an academic journal and observe the best practices for academic writing in action:

  • Is the abstract informative?
  • How is the paper organized? What sections do you see?
  • Is the paper well-cited with a reference list?
  • Is it written in third person with little to no use of “I or “we”?
  • Is there a literature review? It is easy for you as the reader to understand how this research fits into the larger scholarly conversation?

Navigating the Research Lifecycle for the Modern Researcher Copyright © 2022 (1st Edition) by Emily Bongiovanni is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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academic research and writing a concise introduction

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How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Writing a concise yet compelling introduction is a challenge for many people. Still, it’s an important skill whether you’re in high school, an undergrad, or pursuing a doctoral degree. The introduction is what helps your reader decide if they’re interested in your paper or not. So, remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!  

Research papers follow the same basic format, especially within the social sciences. It’s important to keep it concise (no more than 4 pages) while laying out only the most important information for your reader. Anyone can write a good research paper introduction by following this standard format. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the introduction’s purpose and why it’s so important to the rest of your paper. Then, we’ll share some tips to help you write a winning introduction that will leave your reader wanting more. 

Check out this video where Dave explains the basic formula for writing a research paper introduction. 

This post was written by Abbie Van Wagner (freelance writer) on behalf of Dr. Dave Maslach for the R3ciprocity project (check out the YouTube Channel or the writing feedback software ).

What is the Introduction, and Why Does it Matter? 

There’s a reason that literally every research paper starts with an introduction. Academic research papers typically begin the same way and provide the same kind of information to the reader within the first few pages. 

Introductions are always your reader’s first encounter with your work, so you want to pique their interest as quickly as possible while giving them the information they need to understand the rest of the paper. Plus, you want them to want to keep reading!  

Still, introductions do a lot more than just tell your reader what the paper is about. A properly written introduction will help your reader understand your topic, the scope of your research, the paper’s context, existing research and literature, the problem or question you’re seeking to resolve, and why any of your research matters.

Even with all that information, your introduction should still be relatively short compared to the rest of your research paper. Creating a clear and concise intro is a struggle for many writers, so don’t feel bad if you have to edit yours down more than once. 

How Long Should a Research Paper Introduction Be? 

The exact length of your intro depends on your paper’s length. In any case, the introduction should typically be the shortest section of your paper. So, depending on how long your whole paper is, the introduction could be half of a page or two or three pages long.

Your introduction should never be more than four pages long (double spaced), but one to two pages is probably pretty close to ideal in most cases. 

At the end of the day, you will have to determine how long your introduction needs to be. You want to provide the reader with enough background information, context, and implications to convince them the research paper is worth reading. Still, you don’t want to summarize your entire report with thousands of unnecessary words.   

For more paper-writing advice, check out this article which provides writing tips from a graduate student.  

How to Format Your Research Paper’s Introduction

Research papers (particularly in the social sciences) follow the same basic format. By using this template to guide your writing, you’ll have an easier time getting organized and including only the necessary information in your introduction. 

For more discussion on structuring the rest of your research paper, check out this video where Dave explains how to write one in 47 hours or less!

Introduction Part One

The first paragraph of your research paper is an important one. It’s the introduction to your introduction. This is where you set the tone for your paper and grab the reader’s attention, so you’ll want to be clear and concise without overloading them with more information than they need. 

This is where you’ll address the current research related to your topic or research area. When you start out, the information should be very broad, as you’ll narrow the scope as you progress through the intro and paper.

The first part of your introduction is where you tell the reader, “this is what we know.” 

To learn more about citing existing literature, check out this article which discusses the best citation software for research papers.

Introduction Part Two 

The next part of your introduction is where you’ll narrow your scope a little further as you introduce an unresolved gap in the research or other problem. This may be a puzzle or issue which opens the door for more investigation. 

This part of the introduction typically says something along the lines of: 

  • “Despite everything we know about this topic, we still don’t know this ,” or 
  • “Even with all the progress and advancements in the field, we still aren’t sure about this .” 

After stating what we “still don’t know,” you’ll need to define what “ this” is while also discussing why “ this ” matters. 

Giving this added explanation is critical, but it’s something that many people miss. If you don’t take the time to explain why this question or research gap you’ve discovered is important, the paper is dead in the water. 

Just figuring out that something hasn’t been explained or studied before isn’t automatically enough to warrant a research paper. Remember, just because something hasn’t been studied before doesn’t always mean that it needs to be studied now . It’s your job as the writer to stress the importance of the research and why the subject is relevant now. 

Some ways to do this include discussing the practical applications of the research now or in the future, explaining how the research could change the field, expressing new theories, or filling holes in the existing literature. 

Introduction Part Three

The third part of your introduction should address your research methods and findings. Whether you conducted a qualitative or quantitative study, performed an experiment, looked at data, or used some other methodology, this is where you’ll explain that to the reader. 

To learn more about research design, check out this video ! 

You’ll explain exactly what you did and how you did it, then discuss the findings. It would look something like “we did this…” and “ when we did this , we found this.. .” 

So, in other words, you provide a brief overview of the major findings of the research. While you may have a lot of information about your methodology and findings, you should try to be concise within the introduction. That means selecting a few of the major findings that will inform the reader about the importance of your research. 

Sometimes this part of the introduction requires weeding through your findings and only selecting the most interesting or most relevant items. You might think of it as just picking out the “sexy” findings that will encourage the reader to continue with your paper. 

Use this part of your introduction to play into the reader’s curiosity so they will want to find out more! As you summarize your results and select which findings to include, consider what the reader may think about and what questions they may have. 

If you feel like you need more help writing your research paper, check out Dave’s Essential Guide to Writing Research Papers . 

Essential Guide To Writing Research Papers

And, if you want more information about specifically writing your methods and analysis sections, you should watch this video !

Introduction Wrap-Up and Final Paragraphs

The end of your introduction will address the theoretical implications of the research. In this area of the intro, you should discuss how your findings contribute to solving the problem or filling in the research gap you mentioned earlier. 

In this part of your introduction, you get to brag on yourself a little bit by telling the reader that you solved your research question (yay!) and also why that matters. 

To strengthen your research paper, you will definitely want to make a theoretical implication, stretch the existing theory, or discuss a new theory. You can also include practical applications here or explain how your research fits into our existing understanding of the field.

A good rule of thumb is to try to include two or three of these implications in your discussion. If you feel that your results or findings have even more applications or theoretical implications, you will certainly address those later in your paper. But, for the purposes of your introduction, you want to keep it concise and limit the amount of discussion to just the most important or most relevant findings and implications.

The last sentence of your introduction should be a broad statement about how your research advances the literature. 

If you’re thinking about reviewing someone else’s research paper, check out this video where Dave talks about the steps for reviewing an article.

Putting It All Together

Keeping your introduction concise and neatly assembled is key. You are going to be putting a lot of information into a small amount of writing, so it will be important to keep yourself organized and only include the most relevant information. 

Your introduction will set the tone for your research paper, so try to include the most interesting data and findings to help pique the readers’ interest. 

Remember, you will expand and go into more detail in the paper, so don’t give it all away in the first few pages. Instead, write your introduction last (after your paper is complete), read it, slim it down, and repeat as needed.  

For more information and tips on writing research papers, check out The Ultimate Guide to Academic Papers . 

Top Research Papers: Your Complete Guide To Academic Papers

David Maslach

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How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Writing an introduction for a research paper is a critical element of your paper, but it can seem challenging to encapsulate enormous amount of information into a concise form. The introduction of your research paper sets the tone for your research and provides the context for your study. In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing an effective introduction that grabs the reader's attention and captures the essence of your research paper.

Understanding the Purpose of a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction acts as a road map for your research paper, guiding the reader through the main ideas and arguments. The purpose of the introduction is to present your research topic to the readers and provide a rationale for why your study is relevant. It helps the reader locate your research and its relevance in the broader field of related scientific explorations. Additionally, the introduction should inform the reader about the objectives and scope of your study, giving them an overview of what to expect in the paper. By including a comprehensive introduction, you establish your credibility as an author and convince the reader that your research is worth their time and attention.

Key Elements to Include in Your Introduction

When writing your research paper introduction, there are several key elements you should include to ensure it is comprehensive and informative.

  • A hook or attention-grabbing statement to capture the reader's interest.  It can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote that relates to your research topic.
  • A brief overview of the research topic and its significance. By highlighting the gap in existing knowledge or the problem your research aims to address, you create a compelling case for the relevance of your study.
  • A clear research question or problem statement. This serves as the foundation of your research and guides the reader in understanding the unique focus of your study. It should be concise, specific, and clearly articulated.
  • An outline of the paper's structure and main arguments, to help the readers navigate through the paper with ease.

Preparing to Write Your Introduction

Before diving into writing your introduction, it is essential to prepare adequately. This involves 3 important steps:

  • Conducting Preliminary Research: Immerse yourself in the existing literature to develop a clear research question and position your study within the academic discourse.
  • Identifying Your Thesis Statement: Define a specific, focused, and debatable thesis statement, serving as a roadmap for your paper.
  • Considering Broader Context: Reflect on the significance of your research within your field, understanding its potential impact and contribution.

By engaging in these preparatory steps, you can ensure that your introduction is well-informed, focused, and sets the stage for a compelling research paper.

Structuring Your Introduction

Now that you have prepared yourself to tackle the introduction, it's time to structure it effectively. A well-structured introduction will engage the reader from the beginning and provide a logical flow to your research paper.

Starting with a Hook

Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing hook that captivates the reader's interest. This hook serves as a way to make your introduction more engaging and compelling. For example, if you are writing a research paper on the impact of climate change on biodiversity, you could start your introduction with a statistic about the number of species that have gone extinct due to climate change. This will immediately grab the reader's attention and make them realize the urgency and importance of the topic.

Introducing Your Topic

Provide a brief overview, which should give the reader a general understanding of the subject matter and its significance. Explain the importance of the topic and its relevance to the field. This will help the reader understand why your research is significant and why they should continue reading. Continuing with the example of climate change and biodiversity, you could explain how climate change is one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, how it affects ecosystems, and the potential consequences for both wildlife and human populations. By providing this context, you are setting the stage for the rest of your research paper and helping the reader understand the importance of your study.

Presenting Your Thesis Statement

The thesis statement should directly address your research question and provide a preview of the main arguments or findings discussed in your paper. Make sure your thesis statement is clear, concise, and well-supported by the evidence you will present in your research paper. By presenting a strong and focused thesis statement, you are providing the reader with the information they could anticipate in your research paper. This will help them understand the purpose and scope of your study and will make them more inclined to continue reading.

Writing Techniques for an Effective Introduction

When crafting an introduction, it is crucial to pay attention to the finer details that can elevate your writing to the next level. By utilizing specific writing techniques, you can captivate your readers and draw them into your research journey.

Using Clear and Concise Language

One of the most important writing techniques to employ in your introduction is the use of clear and concise language. By choosing your words carefully, you can effectively convey your ideas to the reader. It is essential to avoid using jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or alienate your audience. Instead, focus on communicating your research in a straightforward manner to ensure that your introduction is accessible to both experts in your field and those who may be new to the topic. This approach allows you to engage a broader audience and make your research more inclusive.

Establishing the Relevance of Your Research

One way to establish the relevance of your research is by highlighting how it fills a gap in the existing literature. Explain how your study addresses a significant research question that has not been adequately explored. By doing this, you demonstrate that your research is not only unique but also contributes to the broader knowledge in your field. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize the potential impact of your research. Whether it is advancing scientific understanding, informing policy decisions, or improving practical applications, make it clear to the reader how your study can make a difference.

By employing these two writing techniques in your introduction, you can effectively engage your readers. Take your time to craft an introduction that is both informative and captivating, leaving your readers eager to delve deeper into your research.

Revising and Polishing Your Introduction

Once you have written your introduction, it is crucial to revise and polish it to ensure that it effectively sets the stage for your research paper.

Self-Editing Techniques

Review your introduction for clarity, coherence, and logical flow. Ensure each paragraph introduces a new idea or argument with smooth transitions.

Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structures.

Ensure that your introduction aligns with the overall tone and style of your research paper.

Seeking Feedback for Improvement

Consider seeking feedback from peers, colleagues, or your instructor. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improving your introduction. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to refine your introduction and make it more compelling for the reader.

Writing an introduction for a research paper requires careful thought and planning. By understanding the purpose of the introduction, preparing adequately, structuring effectively, and employing writing techniques, you can create an engaging and informative introduction for your research. Remember to revise and polish your introduction to ensure that it accurately represents the main ideas and arguments in your research paper. With a well-crafted introduction, you will capture the reader's attention and keep them inclined to your paper.

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ResearchGPT: A Custom GPT for Researchers and Scientists Best Academic Search Engines [2023] How To Humanize AI Text In Scientific Articles Elevate Your Writing Game With AI Grammar Checker Tools

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  • The Scientist University

The Fundamentals of Academic Science Writing

Writing is an essential skill for scientists, and learning how to write effectively starts with good fundamentals and lots of practice..

Nathan Ni, PhD Headshot

Nathan Ni holds a PhD from Queens University. He is a science editor for The Scientist’s Creative Services Team who strives to better understand and communicate the relationships between health and disease.

View full profile.

Learn about our editorial policies.

A person sitting in a laboratory writing notes with a pen in a notebook.

Writing is a big part of being a scientist, whether in the form of manuscripts, grants, reports, protocols, presentations, or even emails. However, many people look at writing as separate from science—a scientist writes, but scientists are not regarded as writers. 1 This outdated assertion means that writing and communication has been historically marginalized when it comes to training and educating new scientists. In truth, being a professional writer is part of being a scientist . 1 In today’s hypercompetitive academic environment, scientists need to be as proficient with the pen as they are with the pipette in order to showcase their work. 

Using the Active Voice

Stereotypical academic writing is rigid, dry, and mechanical, delivering prose that evokes memories of high school and undergraduate laboratory reports. The hallmark of this stereotype is passive voice overuse. In writing, the passive voice is when the action comes at the end of a clause—for example, “the book was opened”. In scientific writing, it is particularly prevalent when detailing methodologies and results. How many times have we seen something like “citric acid was added to the solution, resulting in a two-fold reduction in pH” rather than “adding citric acid to the solution reduced the pH two-fold”?

Scientists should write in the active voice as much as possible. However, the active voice tends to place much more onus on the writer’s perspective, something that scientists have historically been instructed to stay away from. For example, “we treated the cells with phenylephrine” places much more emphasis on the operator than “the cells were treated with phenylephrine.” Furthermore, pronoun usage in academic writing is traditionally discouraged, but it is much harder, especially for those with non-native English proficiency, to properly use active voice without them. 

Things are changing though, and scientists are recognizing the importance of giving themselves credit. Many major journals, including Nature , Science , PLoS One , and PNAS allow pronouns in their manuscripts, and prominent style guides such as APA even recommend using first-person pronouns, as traditional third-person writing can be ambiguous. 2 It is vital that a manuscript clearly and definitively highlights and states what the authors specifically did that was so important or novel, in contrast to what was already known. A simple “we found…” statement in the abstract and the introduction goes a long way towards giving readers the hook that they need to read further.

Keeping Sentences Simple

Writing in the active voice also makes it easier to organize manuscripts and construct arguments. Active voice uses fewer words than passive voice to explain the same concept. It also introduces argument components sequentially—subject, claim, and then evidence—whereas passive voice introduces claim and evidence before the subject. Compare, for example, “T cell abundance did not differ between wildtype and mutant mice” versus “there was no difference between wildtype and mutant mice in terms of T cell abundance.” T cell abundance, as the measured parameter, is the most important part of the sentence, but it is only introduced at the very end of the latter example.

The sequential nature of active voice therefore makes it easier to not get bogged down in overloading the reader with clauses and adhering to a general principle of “one sentence, one concept (or idea, or argument).” Consider the following sentence: 

Research on CysLT 2 R , expressed in humans in umbilical vein endothelial cells, macrophages, platelets, the cardiac Purkinje system, and coronary endothelial cells , had been hampered by a lack of selective pharmacological agents , the majority of work instead using the nonselective cysLT antagonist/partial agonist Bay-u9773 or genetic models of CysLT 2 R expression modulation) .

The core message of this sentence is that CysLT 2 R research is hampered by a lack of selective pharmacological agents, but that message is muddled by the presence of two other major pieces of information: where CysLT 2 R is expressed and what researchers used to study CysLT 2 R instead of selective pharmacological agents. Because this sentence contains three main pieces of information, it is better to break it up into three separate sentences for clarity.

In humans, CysLT 2 R is expressed in umbilical vein endothelial cells, macrophages, platelets, the cardiac Purkinje system, and coronary endothelial cells . CysLT 2 R research has been hampered by a lack of selective pharmacological agents . Instead, the majority of work investigating the receptor has used either the nonselective cysLT antagonist/partial agonist Bay-u9773 or genetic models of CysLT 2 R expression modulation.

The Right Way to Apply Jargon

There is another key advantage to organizing sentences in this simple manner: it lets scientists manage how jargon is introduced to the reader. Jargon—special words used within a specific field or on a specific topic—is necessary in scientific writing. It is critical for succinctly describing key elements and explaining key concepts. But too much jargon can make a manuscript unreadable, either because the reader does not understand the terminology or because they are bogged down in reading all of the definitions. 

The key to using jargon is to make it as easy as possible for the audience. General guidelines instruct writers to define new terms only when they are first used. However, it is cumbersome for a reader to backtrack considerable distances in a manuscript to look up a definition. If a term is first introduced in the introduction but not mentioned again until the discussion, the writer should re-define the term in a more casual manner. For example: “PI3K can be reversibly inhibited by LY294002 and irreversibly inhibited by wortmannin” in the introduction, accompanied by “when we applied the PI3K inhibitor LY294002” for the discussion. This not only makes things easier for the reader, but it also re-emphasizes what the scientist did and the results they obtained.

Practice Makes Better

Finally, the most important fundamental for science writing is to not treat it like a chore or a nuisance. Just as a scientist optimizes a bench assay through repeated trial and error, combined with literature reviews on what steps others have implemented, a scientist should practice, nurture, and hone their writing skills through repeated drafting, editing, and consultation. Do not be afraid to write. Putting pen to paper can help organize one’s thoughts, expose next steps for exploration, or even highlight additional experiments required to patch knowledge or logic gaps in existing studies. 

Looking for more information on scientific writing? Check out The Scientist’s TS SciComm  section. Looking for some help putting together a manuscript, a figure, a poster, or anything else? The Scientist’s Scientific Services  may have the professional help that you need.

  • Schimel J. Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited And Proposals That Get Funded . Oxford University Press; 2012.
  • First-person pronouns. American Psychological Association. Updated July 2022. Accessed March 2024. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/grammar/first-person-pronouns  

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

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This resource will help you write clearly by eliminating unnecessary words and rearranging your phrases.

The goal of concise writing is to use the most effective words. Concise writing does not always have the fewest words, but it always uses the strongest ones. Writers often fill sentences with weak or unnecessary words that can be deleted or replaced. Words and phrases should be deliberately chosen for the work they are doing. Like bad employees, words that don't accomplish enough should be fired. When only the most effective words remain, writing will be far more concise and readable.

This resource contains general concision tips followed by very specific strategies for pruning sentences. For more help, visit the Purdue OWL's vidcast on cutting during the revision phase of the writing process .

1. Replace several vague words with more powerful and specific words.

Often, writers use several small and ambiguous words to express a concept, wasting energy expressing ideas better relayed through fewer specific words. As a general rule, more specific words lead to more concise writing. Because of the variety of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, most things have a closely corresponding description. Brainstorming or searching a thesaurus can lead to the word best suited for a specific instance. Notice that the examples below actually convey more as they drop in word count.

2. Interrogate every word in a sentence

Check every word to make sure that it is providing something important and unique to a sentence. If words are dead weight, they can be deleted or replaced. Other sections in this handout cover this concept more specifically, but there are some general examples below containing sentences with words that could be cut.

3. Combine Sentences.

Some information does not require a full sentence, and can easily be inserted into another sentence without losing any of its value. To get more strategies for sentence combining, see the handout on Sentence Variety .

How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)   

essay introduction

The introduction of an essay plays a critical role in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. It sets the stage for the rest of the essay, establishes the tone and style, and motivates the reader to continue reading. 

Table of Contents

What is an essay introduction , what to include in an essay introduction, how to create an essay structure , step-by-step process for writing an essay introduction , how to write an introduction paragraph , how to write a hook for your essay , how to include background information , how to write a thesis statement .

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction Example: 
  • Expository Essay Introduction Example 

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Check and revise – checklist for essay introduction , key takeaways , frequently asked questions .

An introduction is the opening section of an essay, paper, or other written work. It introduces the topic and provides background information, context, and an overview of what the reader can expect from the rest of the work. 1 The key is to be concise and to the point, providing enough information to engage the reader without delving into excessive detail. 

The essay introduction is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire piece and provides the reader with a roadmap of what to expect. Here are key elements to include in your essay introduction: 

  • Hook : Start with an attention-grabbing statement or question to engage the reader. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a compelling anecdote. 
  • Background information : Provide context and background information to help the reader understand the topic. This can include historical information, definitions of key terms, or an overview of the current state of affairs related to your topic. 
  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. Your thesis should be concise and specific, providing a clear direction for your essay. 

Before we get into how to write an essay introduction, we need to know how it is structured. The structure of an essay is crucial for organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly and logically. It is divided as follows: 2  

  • Introduction:  The introduction should grab the reader’s attention with a hook, provide context, and include a thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.  
  • Body:  The body should consist of focused paragraphs that support your thesis statement using evidence and analysis. Each paragraph should concentrate on a single central idea or argument and provide evidence, examples, or analysis to back it up.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis differently. End with a final statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid new information or arguments. 

academic research and writing a concise introduction

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay introduction: 

  • Start with a Hook : Begin your introduction paragraph with an attention-grabbing statement, question, quote, or anecdote related to your topic. The hook should pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue reading. 
  • Provide Background Information : This helps the reader understand the relevance and importance of the topic. 
  • State Your Thesis Statement : The last sentence is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, and directly address the topic of your essay. 
  • Preview the Main Points : This gives the reader an idea of what to expect and how you will support your thesis. 
  • Keep it Concise and Clear : Avoid going into too much detail or including information not directly relevant to your topic. 
  • Revise : Revise your introduction after you’ve written the rest of your essay to ensure it aligns with your final argument. 

Here’s an example of an essay introduction paragraph about the importance of education: 

Education is often viewed as a fundamental human right and a key social and economic development driver. As Nelson Mandela once famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to unlocking a wide range of opportunities and benefits for individuals, societies, and nations. In today’s constantly evolving world, education has become even more critical. It has expanded beyond traditional classroom learning to include digital and remote learning, making education more accessible and convenient. This essay will delve into the importance of education in empowering individuals to achieve their dreams, improving societies by promoting social justice and equality, and driving economic growth by developing a skilled workforce and promoting innovation. 

This introduction paragraph example includes a hook (the quote by Nelson Mandela), provides some background information on education, and states the thesis statement (the importance of education). 

This is one of the key steps in how to write an essay introduction. Crafting a compelling hook is vital because it sets the tone for your entire essay and determines whether your readers will stay interested. A good hook draws the reader in and sets the stage for the rest of your essay.  

  • Avoid Dry Fact : Instead of simply stating a bland fact, try to make it engaging and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of exercise, you could start with a startling statistic like, “Did you know that regular exercise can increase your lifespan by up to seven years?” 
  • Avoid Using a Dictionary Definition : While definitions can be informative, they’re not always the most captivating way to start an essay. Instead, try to use a quote, anecdote, or provocative question to pique the reader’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing about freedom, you could begin with a quote from a famous freedom fighter or philosopher. 
  • Do Not Just State a Fact That the Reader Already Knows : This ties back to the first point—your hook should surprise or intrigue the reader. For Here’s an introduction paragraph example, if you’re writing about climate change, you could start with a thought-provoking statement like, “Despite overwhelming evidence, many people still refuse to believe in the reality of climate change.” 

Including background information in the introduction section of your essay is important to provide context and establish the relevance of your topic. When writing the background information, you can follow these steps: 

  • Start with a General Statement:  Begin with a general statement about the topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific focus. For example, when discussing the impact of social media, you can begin by making a broad statement about social media and its widespread use in today’s society, as follows: “Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users worldwide.” 
  • Define Key Terms : Define any key terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers but are essential for understanding your argument. 
  • Provide Relevant Statistics:  Use statistics or facts to highlight the significance of the issue you’re discussing. For instance, “According to a report by Statista, the number of social media users is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.” 
  • Discuss the Evolution:  Mention previous research or studies that have been conducted on the topic, especially those that are relevant to your argument. Mention key milestones or developments that have shaped its current impact. You can also outline some of the major effects of social media. For example, you can briefly describe how social media has evolved, including positives such as increased connectivity and issues like cyberbullying and privacy concerns. 
  • Transition to Your Thesis:  Use the background information to lead into your thesis statement, which should clearly state the main argument or purpose of your essay. For example, “Given its pervasive influence, it is crucial to examine the impact of social media on mental health.” 

academic research and writing a concise introduction

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here’s how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Identify the topic:  Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise for overall health, your topic is “exercise.” 
  • State your position:  Next, state your position or claim about the topic. This is the main argument or point you want to make. For example, if you believe that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, your position could be: “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health.” 
  • Support your position:  Provide a brief overview of the reasons or evidence that support your position. These will be the main points of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of exercise, you could mention the physical health benefits, mental health benefits, and the role of exercise in disease prevention. 
  • Make it specific:  Ensure your thesis statement clearly states what you will discuss in your essay. For example, instead of saying, “Exercise is good for you,” you could say, “Regular exercise, including cardiovascular and strength training, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” 

Examples of essay introduction 

Here are examples of essay introductions for different types of essays: 

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example:  

Topic: Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

“The question of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 has sparked nationwide debate. While some argue that 16-year-olds lack the requisite maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions, others argue that doing so would imbue young people with agency and give them a voice in shaping their future.” 

Expository Essay Introduction Example  

Topic: The benefits of regular exercise 

“In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. From improving physical health to boosting mental well-being, the benefits of exercise are numerous and far-reaching. This essay will examine the various advantages of regular exercise and provide tips on incorporating it into your daily routine.” 

Text: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 

“Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is a timeless classic that explores themes of racism, injustice, and morality in the American South. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the reader is taken on a journey that challenges societal norms and forces characters to confront their prejudices. This essay will analyze the novel’s use of symbolism, character development, and narrative structure to uncover its deeper meaning and relevance to contemporary society.” 

  • Engaging and Relevant First Sentence : The opening sentence captures the reader’s attention and relates directly to the topic. 
  • Background Information : Enough background information is introduced to provide context for the thesis statement. 
  • Definition of Important Terms : Key terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to the audience or are central to the argument are defined. 
  • Clear Thesis Statement : The thesis statement presents the main point or argument of the essay. 
  • Relevance to Main Body : Everything in the introduction directly relates to and sets up the discussion in the main body of the essay. 

academic research and writing a concise introduction

Writing a strong introduction is crucial for setting the tone and context of your essay. Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3  

  • Hook the Reader : Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. 
  • Provide Background : Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion. 
  • Thesis Statement : State your thesis, which is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be concise, clear, and specific. 
  • Preview the Structure : Outline the main points or arguments to help the reader understand the organization of your essay. 
  • Keep it Concise : Avoid including unnecessary details or information not directly related to your thesis. 
  • Revise and Edit : Revise your introduction to ensure clarity, coherence, and relevance. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Seek Feedback : Get feedback from peers or instructors to improve your introduction further. 

The purpose of an essay introduction is to give an overview of the topic, context, and main ideas of the essay. It is meant to engage the reader, establish the tone for the rest of the essay, and introduce the thesis statement or central argument.  

An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

An essay introduction is critical in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. To ensure its effectiveness, consider incorporating these key elements: a compelling hook, background information, a clear thesis statement, an outline of the essay’s scope, a smooth transition to the body, and optional signposting sentences.  

The process of writing an essay introduction is not necessarily straightforward, but there are several strategies that can be employed to achieve this end. When experiencing difficulty initiating the process, consider the following techniques: begin with an anecdote, a quotation, an image, a question, or a startling fact to pique the reader’s interest. It may also be helpful to consider the five W’s of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how.   For instance, an anecdotal opening could be structured as follows: “As I ascended the stage, momentarily blinded by the intense lights, I could sense the weight of a hundred eyes upon me, anticipating my next move. The topic of discussion was climate change, a subject I was passionate about, and it was my first public speaking event. Little did I know , that pivotal moment would not only alter my perspective but also chart my life’s course.” 

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your introduction paragraph is crucial to grab your reader’s attention. To achieve this, avoid using overused phrases such as “In this paper, I will write about” or “I will focus on” as they lack originality. Instead, strive to engage your reader by substantiating your stance or proposition with a “so what” clause. While writing your thesis statement, aim to be precise, succinct, and clear in conveying your main argument.  

To create an effective essay introduction, ensure it is clear, engaging, relevant, and contains a concise thesis statement. It should transition smoothly into the essay and be long enough to cover necessary points but not become overwhelming. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to assess its effectiveness. 

References  

  • Cui, L. (2022). Unit 6 Essay Introduction.  Building Academic Writing Skills . 
  • West, H., Malcolm, G., Keywood, S., & Hill, J. (2019). Writing a successful essay.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education ,  43 (4), 609-617. 
  • Beavers, M. E., Thoune, D. L., & McBeth, M. (2023). Bibliographic Essay: Reading, Researching, Teaching, and Writing with Hooks: A Queer Literacy Sponsorship. College English, 85(3), 230-242. 

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Related Reads:

  • What is an Argumentative Essay? How to Write It (With Examples)
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  • How to Cite Social Media Sources in Academic Writing? 

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Academic research and writing

A concise introduction

Chapter 7 – Primer

The structural elements to be applied in academic writing depend on the nature of the research project. Manifestations of academic writing range from student assignments and term papers to doctoral theses and other forms of complex research documentations. Some structural elements are always used in research papers. Other structural elements are optionally or selectively used. Technically, research papers can be divided into four sections: addments, directories, main body and annex. Each of these sections contains different structural elements that have to be applied in accordance with the formal instructions laid out in academic style guides. Although the applicable rules may vary according to the field of research, some commonalities for structural elements exist. These commonalities may be based on logical considerations or result from traditional academic conventions. Important elements to be discussed in this chapter are cover page, abstract, outline, directories, main body, bibliography and list of references, glossary and appendix, declaration of originality as well as data carrier and electronic storage media.

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  1. Academic research and writing : A concise introduction

    Academic research and writing. : Christian Decker, Rita Werner. Icademicus, Jun 1, 2016 - Reference - 332 pages. This book forms part of an integrated methodical-didactic concept developed on the basis of the authors' experience with academic texts and their work with students. The objective is to provide an introduction into the field of ...

  2. Home

    Academic research and writing. A concise introduction. Menu. E-learning ... Please use chapter links for full learning instructions. Chapter 1 - Foundations Primer Introduction to chapter 1 (00:00) Unit 0 Agenda (01:34) Unit 1 Context and relevance (03:35) Unit 2 Sample cases (07:05) Unit 3 Terminology (09:00) Unit 4 Philosophical ...

  3. Academic Research and Writing : A Concise Introduction

    This book addresses fundamental aspects and techniques of academic research and writing in order to provide the beginner and the intermediate student with a solid basis for working on essay assignments, term papers as well as undergraduate and graduate research projects. The objective is to deliver an easily applicable, yet theoretically profound introduction into the field of academic ...

  4. Academic research and writing: A concise introduction

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    Amazon.com: Academic research and writing: A concise introduction: 9783981558616: Decker, Christian, Werner, Dr Rita: Books

  6. Chapter 1

    Introduction to chapter 1 Chapter 1 introduces you to the world of academic research and writing from a practical, terminological and philosophical perspective. To start with, four sample cases exemplify how academic research is embedded in professional, university, institutional and collaborative scenarios. As a thread for you, the topic "windmill financing", appearing as a recurring…

  7. E-learning

    Complete list of free e-learning videos. Please use chapter links for full learning instructions. Chapter 1 - Foundations Primer Introduction to chapter 1 (00:00) Unit 0 Agenda (01:34) Unit 1 Context and relevance (03:35) Unit 2 Sample cases (07:05) Unit 3 Terminology (09:00) Unit 4 Philosophical considerations (14:29) Unit 5 Course structure (09:21) Unit 6 Summary…

  8. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  9. Introduction to Academic Writing

    Course Overview • 10 minutes. Essential Reading: Introduction to Academic Reading and Writing • 30 minutes. 3 quizzes • Total 12 minutes. Introduction to Academic Writing • 4 minutes. Building an Argument: The Core of Academic Writing • 6 minutes. Structure of an Academic Paper • 2 minutes. 2 peer reviews • Total 240 minutes.

  10. Practical Tips for Academic Writing: Introduction, Methods, Results

    Tullu, M. S. (2019). Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key. Saudi J Anaesth, 13(Suppl 1), S12-S17. ... Practical Tips for Academic Writing: the Introduction Section. In this podcast we'll tackle the Introduction Section of the IMRaD model, provide some practical tips on structure ...

  11. Academic research and writing: A concise introduction

    This book addresses fundamental aspects and techniques of academic research and writing in order to provide the beginner and the intermediate student with a solid basis for working on essay assignments, term papers as well as undergraduate and graduate research projects. The objective is to deliver an easily applicable, yet theoretically profound ...

  12. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Step 1: Hook your reader. Step 2: Give background information. Step 3: Present your thesis statement. Step 4: Map your essay's structure. Step 5: Check and revise. More examples of essay introductions. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

  13. Writing a Research Article: The Introduction and Background Sections

    Introduction. Writing for publication is a discipline, or perhaps even a habit. Like all disciplines (and habits), your writing will develop through repetition and undoubtedly benefit from sage guidance. One of the heartening thing about writing research articles or any other publications is that there is an abundance of guidance available.

  14. Academic Writing

    Academic writing (or scholarly writing) is the style of writing that is used for scholarly publications, including articles, posters, and reports. This type of writing is formal, concise, and takes an unbiased approach. Academic writing provides relevant evidence to support any claims. This type of writing avoids informal language, like slang ...

  15. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

    Writing a concise yet compelling introduction is a challenge for many people. Still, it's an important skill whether you're in high school, an undergrad, or pursuing a doctoral degree. ... There's a reason that literally every research paper starts with an introduction. Academic research papers typically begin the same way and provide the ...

  16. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

    When writing your research paper introduction, there are several key elements you should include to ensure it is comprehensive and informative. A hook or attention-grabbing statement to capture the reader's interest. It can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote that relates to your research topic.

  17. The Fundamentals of Academic Science Writing

    Writing is a big part of being a scientist, whether in the form of manuscripts, grants, reports, protocols, presentations, or even emails. However, many people look at writing as separate from science—a scientist writes, but scientists are not regarded as writers. 1 This outdated assertion means that writing and communication has been historically marginalized when it comes to training and ...

  18. Chapter 2

    „If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable." Seneca, Roman philosopher and playwright Chapter 2: Instructions Primer Introduction to chapter 2 (00:00) Video Unit 0 Agenda (01:05) Video Unit 1 Context and relevance (02:51) Video Unit 2 Accuracy (10:53) Book Subchapter 2.2 Read and take…

  19. Concision

    Concision. The goal of concise writing is to use the most effective words. Concise writing does not always have the fewest words, but it always uses the strongest ones. Writers often fill sentences with weak or unnecessary words that can be deleted or replaced. Words and phrases should be deliberately chosen for the work they are doing.

  20. How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)

    A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here's how to write a thesis statement: Identify the topic: Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise ...

  21. A scholarly dialogue: writing scholarship, authorship, academic

    Writing scholars also have a toolkit of responses we can bring to understanding and collaborating with generative technologies in higher education settings. The first tools are the self-reflexive skills that are at the heart of creative writing's practice-led research methodology (Candy & Edmonds, Citation 2018).

  22. AI and its implications for research in higher education: a critical

    Literature review. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has dramatically altered the landscape of academic research, acting as a catalyst for both methodological innovation and broader shifts in scholarly paradigms (Pal, Citation 2023).Its transformative power is evident across multiple disciplines, enabling researchers to engage with complex datasets and questions at a scale previously unimaginable ...

  23. Castleman Creek Elementary

    This research involved 6 second grade students; two girls and four boys of high and low academic levels, and mixed races. These six students were a part of one guided writing group. Before students began their small groups, they took a survey in which they rated themselves on how they feel about their own writing in relation to their ability to ...

  24. Chapter 2

    Chapter 2 - Primer. In chapter 2 five major academic principles are introduced. They represent sets of unwritten rules prescribing a certain formal and material behaviour in academic research and writing. Although there is often no legally binding rule set in academic research and writing, certain conventions have been developed and generally ...

  25. Chapter 5

    Chapter 5 - Primer. Chapter 5 - Unit 0 Agenda. Chapter 5 - Unit 1 Context and relevance. Chapter 5 - Unit 2 Candidate. Chapter 5 - Unit 3 Abstract and problem-based aims. Chapter 5 - Unit 4 Process and techniques. Chapter 5 - Unit 5 Verbalisation. Chapter 6 - Sourcing of information. Chapter 6 - Primer.

  26. Chapter 7

    Chapter 7 - Primer. The structural elements to be applied in academic writing depend on the nature of the research project. Manifestations of academic writing range from student assignments and term papers to doctoral theses and other forms of complex research documentations. Some structural elements are always used in research papers.