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Background of The Study – Examples and Writing Guide

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Background of The Study

Background of The Study

Definition:

Background of the study refers to the context, circumstances, and history that led to the research problem or topic being studied. It provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and the significance of the study.

The background of the study usually includes a discussion of the relevant literature, the gap in knowledge or understanding, and the research questions or hypotheses to be addressed. It also highlights the importance of the research topic and its potential contributions to the field. A well-written background of the study sets the stage for the research and helps the reader to appreciate the need for the study and its potential significance.

How to Write Background of The Study

Here are some steps to help you write the background of the study:

Identify the Research Problem

Start by identifying the research problem you are trying to address. This problem should be significant and relevant to your field of study.

Provide Context

Once you have identified the research problem, provide some context. This could include the historical, social, or political context of the problem.

Review Literature

Conduct a thorough review of the existing literature on the topic. This will help you understand what has been studied and what gaps exist in the current research.

Identify Research Gap

Based on your literature review, identify the gap in knowledge or understanding that your research aims to address. This gap will be the focus of your research question or hypothesis.

State Objectives

Clearly state the objectives of your research . These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Discuss Significance

Explain the significance of your research. This could include its potential impact on theory , practice, policy, or society.

Finally, summarize the key points of the background of the study. This will help the reader understand the research problem, its context, and its significance.

How to Write Background of The Study in Proposal

The background of the study is an essential part of any proposal as it sets the stage for the research project and provides the context and justification for why the research is needed. Here are the steps to write a compelling background of the study in your proposal:

  • Identify the problem: Clearly state the research problem or gap in the current knowledge that you intend to address through your research.
  • Provide context: Provide a brief overview of the research area and highlight its significance in the field.
  • Review literature: Summarize the relevant literature related to the research problem and provide a critical evaluation of the current state of knowledge.
  • Identify gaps : Identify the gaps or limitations in the existing literature and explain how your research will contribute to filling these gaps.
  • Justify the study : Explain why your research is important and what practical or theoretical contributions it can make to the field.
  • Highlight objectives: Clearly state the objectives of the study and how they relate to the research problem.
  • Discuss methodology: Provide an overview of the methodology you will use to collect and analyze data, and explain why it is appropriate for the research problem.
  • Conclude : Summarize the key points of the background of the study and explain how they support your research proposal.

How to Write Background of The Study In Thesis

The background of the study is a critical component of a thesis as it provides context for the research problem, rationale for conducting the study, and the significance of the research. Here are some steps to help you write a strong background of the study:

  • Identify the research problem : Start by identifying the research problem that your thesis is addressing. What is the issue that you are trying to solve or explore? Be specific and concise in your problem statement.
  • Review the literature: Conduct a thorough review of the relevant literature on the topic. This should include scholarly articles, books, and other sources that are directly related to your research question.
  • I dentify gaps in the literature: After reviewing the literature, identify any gaps in the existing research. What questions remain unanswered? What areas have not been explored? This will help you to establish the need for your research.
  • Establish the significance of the research: Clearly state the significance of your research. Why is it important to address this research problem? What are the potential implications of your research? How will it contribute to the field?
  • Provide an overview of the research design: Provide an overview of the research design and methodology that you will be using in your study. This should include a brief explanation of the research approach, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • State the research objectives and research questions: Clearly state the research objectives and research questions that your study aims to answer. These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Summarize the chapter: Summarize the chapter by highlighting the key points and linking them back to the research problem, significance of the study, and research questions.

How to Write Background of The Study in Research Paper

Here are the steps to write the background of the study in a research paper:

  • Identify the research problem: Start by identifying the research problem that your study aims to address. This can be a particular issue, a gap in the literature, or a need for further investigation.
  • Conduct a literature review: Conduct a thorough literature review to gather information on the topic, identify existing studies, and understand the current state of research. This will help you identify the gap in the literature that your study aims to fill.
  • Explain the significance of the study: Explain why your study is important and why it is necessary. This can include the potential impact on the field, the importance to society, or the need to address a particular issue.
  • Provide context: Provide context for the research problem by discussing the broader social, economic, or political context that the study is situated in. This can help the reader understand the relevance of the study and its potential implications.
  • State the research questions and objectives: State the research questions and objectives that your study aims to address. This will help the reader understand the scope of the study and its purpose.
  • Summarize the methodology : Briefly summarize the methodology you used to conduct the study, including the data collection and analysis methods. This can help the reader understand how the study was conducted and its reliability.

Examples of Background of The Study

Here are some examples of the background of the study:

Problem : The prevalence of obesity among children in the United States has reached alarming levels, with nearly one in five children classified as obese.

Significance : Obesity in childhood is associated with numerous negative health outcomes, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

Gap in knowledge : Despite efforts to address the obesity epidemic, rates continue to rise. There is a need for effective interventions that target the unique needs of children and their families.

Problem : The use of antibiotics in agriculture has contributed to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which poses a significant threat to human health.

Significance : Antibiotic-resistant infections are responsible for thousands of deaths each year and are a major public health concern.

Gap in knowledge: While there is a growing body of research on the use of antibiotics in agriculture, there is still much to be learned about the mechanisms of resistance and the most effective strategies for reducing antibiotic use.

Edxample 3:

Problem : Many low-income communities lack access to healthy food options, leading to high rates of food insecurity and diet-related diseases.

Significance : Poor nutrition is a major contributor to chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Gap in knowledge : While there have been efforts to address food insecurity, there is a need for more research on the barriers to accessing healthy food in low-income communities and effective strategies for increasing access.

Examples of Background of The Study In Research

Here are some real-life examples of how the background of the study can be written in different fields of study:

Example 1 : “There has been a significant increase in the incidence of diabetes in recent years. This has led to an increased demand for effective diabetes management strategies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a new diabetes management program in improving patient outcomes.”

Example 2 : “The use of social media has become increasingly prevalent in modern society. Despite its popularity, little is known about the effects of social media use on mental health. This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health in young adults.”

Example 3: “Despite significant advancements in cancer treatment, the survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer remains low. The purpose of this study is to identify potential biomarkers that can be used to improve early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer.”

Examples of Background of The Study in Proposal

Here are some real-time examples of the background of the study in a proposal:

Example 1 : The prevalence of mental health issues among university students has been increasing over the past decade. This study aims to investigate the causes and impacts of mental health issues on academic performance and wellbeing.

Example 2 : Climate change is a global issue that has significant implications for agriculture in developing countries. This study aims to examine the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers to climate change and identify effective strategies to enhance their resilience.

Example 3 : The use of social media in political campaigns has become increasingly common in recent years. This study aims to analyze the effectiveness of social media campaigns in mobilizing young voters and influencing their voting behavior.

Example 4 : Employee turnover is a major challenge for organizations, especially in the service sector. This study aims to identify the key factors that influence employee turnover in the hospitality industry and explore effective strategies for reducing turnover rates.

Examples of Background of The Study in Thesis

Here are some real-time examples of the background of the study in the thesis:

Example 1 : “Women’s participation in the workforce has increased significantly over the past few decades. However, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, particularly in male-dominated industries such as technology. This study aims to examine the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles in the technology industry, with a focus on organizational culture and gender bias.”

Example 2 : “Mental health is a critical component of overall health and well-being. Despite increased awareness of the importance of mental health, there are still significant gaps in access to mental health services, particularly in low-income and rural communities. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based mental health intervention in improving mental health outcomes in underserved populations.”

Example 3: “The use of technology in education has become increasingly widespread, with many schools adopting online learning platforms and digital resources. However, there is limited research on the impact of technology on student learning outcomes and engagement. This study aims to explore the relationship between technology use and academic achievement among middle school students, as well as the factors that mediate this relationship.”

Examples of Background of The Study in Research Paper

Here are some examples of how the background of the study can be written in various fields:

Example 1: The prevalence of obesity has been on the rise globally, with the World Health Organization reporting that approximately 650 million adults were obese in 2016. Obesity is a major risk factor for several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. In recent years, several interventions have been proposed to address this issue, including lifestyle changes, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery. However, there is a lack of consensus on the most effective intervention for obesity management. This study aims to investigate the efficacy of different interventions for obesity management and identify the most effective one.

Example 2: Antibiotic resistance has become a major public health threat worldwide. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are associated with longer hospital stays, higher healthcare costs, and increased mortality. The inappropriate use of antibiotics is one of the main factors contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance. Despite numerous efforts to promote the rational use of antibiotics, studies have shown that many healthcare providers continue to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately. This study aims to explore the factors influencing healthcare providers’ prescribing behavior and identify strategies to improve antibiotic prescribing practices.

Example 3: Social media has become an integral part of modern communication, with millions of people worldwide using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media has several advantages, including facilitating communication, connecting people, and disseminating information. However, social media use has also been associated with several negative outcomes, including cyberbullying, addiction, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on mental health and identify the factors that mediate this relationship.

Purpose of Background of The Study

The primary purpose of the background of the study is to help the reader understand the rationale for the research by presenting the historical, theoretical, and empirical background of the problem.

More specifically, the background of the study aims to:

  • Provide a clear understanding of the research problem and its context.
  • Identify the gap in knowledge that the study intends to fill.
  • Establish the significance of the research problem and its potential contribution to the field.
  • Highlight the key concepts, theories, and research findings related to the problem.
  • Provide a rationale for the research questions or hypotheses and the research design.
  • Identify the limitations and scope of the study.

When to Write Background of The Study

The background of the study should be written early on in the research process, ideally before the research design is finalized and data collection begins. This allows the researcher to clearly articulate the rationale for the study and establish a strong foundation for the research.

The background of the study typically comes after the introduction but before the literature review section. It should provide an overview of the research problem and its context, and also introduce the key concepts, theories, and research findings related to the problem.

Writing the background of the study early on in the research process also helps to identify potential gaps in knowledge and areas for further investigation, which can guide the development of the research questions or hypotheses and the research design. By establishing the significance of the research problem and its potential contribution to the field, the background of the study can also help to justify the research and secure funding or support from stakeholders.

Advantage of Background of The Study

The background of the study has several advantages, including:

  • Provides context: The background of the study provides context for the research problem by highlighting the historical, theoretical, and empirical background of the problem. This allows the reader to understand the research problem in its broader context and appreciate its significance.
  • Identifies gaps in knowledge: By reviewing the existing literature related to the research problem, the background of the study can identify gaps in knowledge that the study intends to fill. This helps to establish the novelty and originality of the research and its potential contribution to the field.
  • Justifies the research : The background of the study helps to justify the research by demonstrating its significance and potential impact. This can be useful in securing funding or support for the research.
  • Guides the research design: The background of the study can guide the development of the research questions or hypotheses and the research design by identifying key concepts, theories, and research findings related to the problem. This ensures that the research is grounded in existing knowledge and is designed to address the research problem effectively.
  • Establishes credibility: By demonstrating the researcher’s knowledge of the field and the research problem, the background of the study can establish the researcher’s credibility and expertise, which can enhance the trustworthiness and validity of the research.

Disadvantages of Background of The Study

Some Disadvantages of Background of The Study are as follows:

  • Time-consuming : Writing a comprehensive background of the study can be time-consuming, especially if the research problem is complex and multifaceted. This can delay the research process and impact the timeline for completing the study.
  • Repetitive: The background of the study can sometimes be repetitive, as it often involves summarizing existing research and theories related to the research problem. This can be tedious for the reader and may make the section less engaging.
  • Limitations of existing research: The background of the study can reveal the limitations of existing research related to the problem. This can create challenges for the researcher in developing research questions or hypotheses that address the gaps in knowledge identified in the background of the study.
  • Bias : The researcher’s biases and perspectives can influence the content and tone of the background of the study. This can impact the reader’s perception of the research problem and may influence the validity of the research.
  • Accessibility: Accessing and reviewing the literature related to the research problem can be challenging, especially if the researcher does not have access to a comprehensive database or if the literature is not available in the researcher’s language. This can limit the depth and scope of the background of the study.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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How to Write an Effective Background of the Study: A Comprehensive Guide

Madalsa

Table of Contents

The background of the study in a research paper offers a clear context, highlighting why the research is essential and the problem it aims to address.

As a researcher, this foundational section is essential for you to chart the course of your study, Moreover, it allows readers to understand the importance and path of your research.

Whether in academic communities or to the general public, a well-articulated background aids in communicating the essence of the research effectively.

While it may seem straightforward, crafting an effective background requires a blend of clarity, precision, and relevance. Therefore, this article aims to be your guide, offering insights into:

  • Understanding the concept of the background of the study.
  • Learning how to craft a compelling background effectively.
  • Identifying and sidestepping common pitfalls in writing the background.
  • Exploring practical examples that bring the theory to life.
  • Enhancing both your writing and reading of academic papers.

Keeping these compelling insights in mind, let's delve deeper into the details of the empirical background of the study, exploring its definition, distinctions, and the art of writing it effectively.

What is the background of the study?

The background of the study is placed at the beginning of a research paper. It provides the context, circumstances, and history that led to the research problem or topic being explored.

It offers readers a snapshot of the existing knowledge on the topic and the reasons that spurred your current research.

When crafting the background of your study, consider the following questions.

  • What's the context of your research?
  • Which previous research will you refer to?
  • Are there any knowledge gaps in the existing relevant literature?
  • How will you justify the need for your current research?
  • Have you concisely presented the research question or problem?

In a typical research paper structure, after presenting the background, the introduction section follows. The introduction delves deeper into the specific objectives of the research and often outlines the structure or main points that the paper will cover.

Together, they create a cohesive starting point, ensuring readers are well-equipped to understand the subsequent sections of the research paper.

While the background of the study and the introduction section of the research manuscript may seem similar and sometimes even overlap, each serves a unique purpose in the research narrative.

Difference between background and introduction

A well-written background of the study and introduction are preliminary sections of a research paper and serve distinct purposes.

Here’s a detailed tabular comparison between the two of them.

What is the relevance of the background of the study?

It is necessary for you to provide your readers with the background of your research. Without this, readers may grapple with questions such as: Why was this specific research topic chosen? What led to this decision? Why is this study relevant? Is it worth their time?

Such uncertainties can deter them from fully engaging with your study, leading to the rejection of your research paper. Additionally, this can diminish its impact in the academic community, and reduce its potential for real-world application or policy influence .

To address these concerns and offer clarity, the background section plays a pivotal role in research papers.

The background of the study in research is important as it:

  • Provides context: It offers readers a clear picture of the existing knowledge, helping them understand where the current research fits in.
  • Highlights relevance: By detailing the reasons for the research, it underscores the study's significance and its potential impact.
  • Guides the narrative: The background shapes the narrative flow of the paper, ensuring a logical progression from what's known to what the research aims to uncover.
  • Enhances engagement: A well-crafted background piques the reader's interest, encouraging them to delve deeper into the research paper.
  • Aids in comprehension: By setting the scenario, it aids readers in better grasping the research objectives, methodologies, and findings.

How to write the background of the study in a research paper?

The journey of presenting a compelling argument begins with the background study. This section holds the power to either captivate or lose the reader's interest.

An effectively written background not only provides context but also sets the tone for the entire research paper. It's the bridge that connects a broad topic to a specific research question, guiding readers through the logic behind the study.

But how does one craft a background of the study that resonates, informs, and engages?

Here, we’ll discuss how to write an impactful background study, ensuring your research stands out and captures the attention it deserves.

Identify the research problem

The first step is to start pinpointing the specific issue or gap you're addressing. This should be a significant and relevant problem in your field.

A well-defined problem is specific, relevant, and significant to your field. It should resonate with both experts and readers.

Here’s more on how to write an effective research problem .

Provide context

Here, you need to provide a broader perspective, illustrating how your research aligns with or contributes to the overarching context or the wider field of study. A comprehensive context is grounded in facts, offers multiple perspectives, and is relatable.

In addition to stating facts, you should weave a story that connects key concepts from the past, present, and potential future research. For instance, consider the following approach.

  • Offer a brief history of the topic, highlighting major milestones or turning points that have shaped the current landscape.
  • Discuss contemporary developments or current trends that provide relevant information to your research problem. This could include technological advancements, policy changes, or shifts in societal attitudes.
  • Highlight the views of different stakeholders. For a topic like sustainable agriculture, this could mean discussing the perspectives of farmers, environmentalists, policymakers, and consumers.
  • If relevant, compare and contrast global trends with local conditions and circumstances. This can offer readers a more holistic understanding of the topic.

Literature review

For this step, you’ll deep dive into the existing literature on the same topic. It's where you explore what scholars, researchers, and experts have already discovered or discussed about your topic.

Conducting a thorough literature review isn't just a recap of past works. To elevate its efficacy, it's essential to analyze the methods, outcomes, and intricacies of prior research work, demonstrating a thorough engagement with the existing body of knowledge.

  • Instead of merely listing past research study, delve into their methodologies, findings, and limitations. Highlight groundbreaking studies and those that had contrasting results.
  • Try to identify patterns. Look for recurring themes or trends in the literature. Are there common conclusions or contentious points?
  • The next step would be to connect the dots. Show how different pieces of research relate to each other. This can help in understanding the evolution of thought on the topic.

By showcasing what's already known, you can better highlight the background of the study in research.

Highlight the research gap

This step involves identifying the unexplored areas or unanswered questions in the existing literature. Your research seeks to address these gaps, providing new insights or answers.

A clear research gap shows you've thoroughly engaged with existing literature and found an area that needs further exploration.

How can you efficiently highlight the research gap?

  • Find the overlooked areas. Point out topics or angles that haven't been adequately addressed.
  • Highlight questions that have emerged due to recent developments or changing circumstances.
  • Identify areas where insights from other fields might be beneficial but haven't been explored yet.

State your objectives

Here, it’s all about laying out your game plan — What do you hope to achieve with your research? You need to mention a clear objective that’s specific, actionable, and directly tied to the research gap.

How to state your objectives?

  • List the primary questions guiding your research.
  • If applicable, state any hypotheses or predictions you aim to test.
  • Specify what you hope to achieve, whether it's new insights, solutions, or methodologies.

Discuss the significance

This step describes your 'why'. Why is your research important? What broader implications does it have?

The significance of “why” should be both theoretical (adding to the existing literature) and practical (having real-world implications).

How do we effectively discuss the significance?

  • Discuss how your research adds to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Highlight how your findings could be applied in real-world scenarios, from policy changes to on-ground practices.
  • Point out how your research could pave the way for further studies or open up new areas of exploration.

Summarize your points

A concise summary acts as a bridge, smoothly transitioning readers from the background to the main body of the paper. This step is a brief recap, ensuring that readers have grasped the foundational concepts.

How to summarize your study?

  • Revisit the key points discussed, from the research problem to its significance.
  • Prepare the reader for the subsequent sections, ensuring they understand the research's direction.

Include examples for better understanding

Research and come up with real-world or hypothetical examples to clarify complex concepts or to illustrate the practical applications of your research. Relevant examples make abstract ideas tangible, aiding comprehension.

How to include an effective example of the background of the study?

  • Use past events or scenarios to explain concepts.
  • Craft potential scenarios to demonstrate the implications of your findings.
  • Use comparisons to simplify complex ideas, making them more relatable.

Crafting a compelling background of the study in research is about striking the right balance between providing essential context, showcasing your comprehensive understanding of the existing literature, and highlighting the unique value of your research .

While writing the background of the study, keep your readers at the forefront of your mind. Every piece of information, every example, and every objective should be geared toward helping them understand and appreciate your research.

How to avoid mistakes in the background of the study in research?

To write a well-crafted background of the study, you should be aware of the following potential research pitfalls .

  • Stay away from ambiguity. Always assume that your reader might not be familiar with intricate details about your topic.
  • Avoid discussing unrelated themes. Stick to what's directly relevant to your research problem.
  • Ensure your background is well-organized. Information should flow logically, making it easy for readers to follow.
  • While it's vital to provide context, avoid overwhelming the reader with excessive details that might not be directly relevant to your research problem.
  • Ensure you've covered the most significant and relevant studies i` n your field. Overlooking key pieces of literature can make your background seem incomplete.
  • Aim for a balanced presentation of facts, and avoid showing overt bias or presenting only one side of an argument.
  • While academic paper often involves specialized terms, ensure they're adequately explained or use simpler alternatives when possible.
  • Every claim or piece of information taken from existing literature should be appropriately cited. Failing to do so can lead to issues of plagiarism.
  • Avoid making the background too lengthy. While thoroughness is appreciated, it should not come at the expense of losing the reader's interest. Maybe prefer to keep it to one-two paragraphs long.
  • Especially in rapidly evolving fields, it's crucial to ensure that your literature review section is up-to-date and includes the latest research.

Example of an effective background of the study

Let's consider a topic: "The Impact of Online Learning on Student Performance." The ideal background of the study section for this topic would be as follows.

In the last decade, the rise of the internet has revolutionized many sectors, including education. Online learning platforms, once a supplementary educational tool, have now become a primary mode of instruction for many institutions worldwide. With the recent global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rapid shift from traditional classroom learning to online modes, making it imperative to understand its effects on student performance.

Previous studies have explored various facets of online learning, from its accessibility to its flexibility. However, there is a growing need to assess its direct impact on student outcomes. While some educators advocate for its benefits, citing the convenience and vast resources available, others express concerns about potential drawbacks, such as reduced student engagement and the challenges of self-discipline.

This research aims to delve deeper into this debate, evaluating the true impact of online learning on student performance.

Why is this example considered as an effective background section of a research paper?

This background section example effectively sets the context by highlighting the rise of online learning and its increased relevance due to recent global events. It references prior research on the topic, indicating a foundation built on existing knowledge.

By presenting both the potential advantages and concerns of online learning, it establishes a balanced view, leading to the clear purpose of the study: to evaluate the true impact of online learning on student performance.

As we've explored, writing an effective background of the study in research requires clarity, precision, and a keen understanding of both the broader landscape and the specific details of your topic.

From identifying the research problem, providing context, reviewing existing literature to highlighting research gaps and stating objectives, each step is pivotal in shaping the narrative of your research. And while there are best practices to follow, it's equally crucial to be aware of the pitfalls to avoid.

Remember, writing or refining the background of your study is essential to engage your readers, familiarize them with the research context, and set the ground for the insights your research project will unveil.

Drawing from all the important details, insights and guidance shared, you're now in a strong position to craft a background of the study that not only informs but also engages and resonates with your readers.

Now that you've a clear understanding of what the background of the study aims to achieve, the natural progression is to delve into the next crucial component — write an effective introduction section of a research paper. Read here .

Frequently Asked Questions

The background of the study should include a clear context for the research, references to relevant previous studies, identification of knowledge gaps, justification for the current research, a concise overview of the research problem or question, and an indication of the study's significance or potential impact.

The background of the study is written to provide readers with a clear understanding of the context, significance, and rationale behind the research. It offers a snapshot of existing knowledge on the topic, highlights the relevance of the study, and sets the stage for the research questions and objectives. It ensures that readers can grasp the importance of the research and its place within the broader field of study.

The background of the study is a section in a research paper that provides context, circumstances, and history leading to the research problem or topic being explored. It presents existing knowledge on the topic and outlines the reasons that spurred the current research, helping readers understand the research's foundation and its significance in the broader academic landscape.

The number of paragraphs in the background of the study can vary based on the complexity of the topic and the depth of the context required. Typically, it might range from 3 to 5 paragraphs, but in more detailed or complex research papers, it could be longer. The key is to ensure that all relevant information is presented clearly and concisely, without unnecessary repetition.

how to write background of a research paper

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What is the Background of a Study and How Should it be Written?

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Table of Contents

The background of a study is one of the most important components of a research paper. The quality of the background determines whether the reader will be interested in the rest of the study. Thus, to ensure that the audience is invested in reading the entire research paper, it is important to write an appealing and effective background. So, what constitutes the background of a study, and how must it be written?

What is the background of a study?

The background of a study is the first section of the paper and establishes the context underlying the research. It contains the rationale, the key problem statement, and a brief overview of research questions that are addressed in the rest of the paper. The background forms the crux of the study because it introduces an unaware audience to the research and its importance in a clear and logical manner. At times, the background may even explore whether the study builds on or refutes findings from previous studies. Any relevant information that the readers need to know before delving into the paper should be made available to them in the background.

How is a background different from the introduction?

The introduction of your research paper is presented before the background. Let’s find out what factors differentiate the background from the introduction.

  • The introduction only contains preliminary data about the research topic and does not state the purpose of the study. On the contrary, the background clarifies the importance of the study in detail.
  • The introduction provides an overview of the research topic from a broader perspective, while the background provides a detailed understanding of the topic.
  • The introduction should end with the mention of the research questions, aims, and objectives of the study. In contrast, the background follows no such format and only provides essential context to the study.

How should one write the background of a research paper?

The length and detail presented in the background varies for different research papers, depending on the complexity and novelty of the research topic. At times, a simple background suffices, even if the study is complex. Before writing and adding details in the background, take a note of these additional points:

  • Start with a strong beginning: Begin the background by defining the research topic and then identify the target audience.
  • Cover key components: Explain all theories, concepts, terms, and ideas that may feel unfamiliar to the target audience thoroughly.
  • Take note of important prerequisites: Go through the relevant literature in detail. Take notes while reading and cite the sources.
  • Maintain a balance: Make sure that the background is focused on important details, but also appeals to a broader audience.
  • Include historical data: Current issues largely originate from historical events or findings. If the research borrows information from a historical context, add relevant data in the background.
  • Explain novelty: If the research study or methodology is unique or novel, provide an explanation that helps to understand the research better.
  • Increase engagement: To make the background engaging, build a story around the central theme of the research

Avoid these mistakes while writing the background:

  • Ambiguity: Don’t be ambiguous. While writing, assume that the reader does not understand any intricate detail about your research.
  • Unrelated themes: Steer clear from topics that are not related to the key aspects of your research topic.
  • Poor organization: Do not place information without a structure. Make sure that the background reads in a chronological manner and organize the sub-sections so that it flows well.

Writing the background for a research paper should not be a daunting task. But directions to go about it can always help. At Elsevier Author Services we provide essential insights on how to write a high quality, appealing, and logically structured paper for publication, beginning with a robust background. For further queries, contact our experts now!

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What is the Background of the Study and How to Write It

how to write background of a research paper

What is the Background of the Study in Research? 

The background of the study is the first section of a research paper and gives context surrounding the research topic. The background explains to the reader where your research journey started, why you got interested in the topic, and how you developed the research question that you will later specify. That means that you first establish the context of the research you did with a general overview of the field or topic and then present the key issues that drove your decision to study the specific problem you chose.

Once the reader understands where you are coming from and why there was indeed a need for the research you are going to present in the following—because there was a gap in the current research, or because there is an obvious problem with a currently used process or technology—you can proceed with the formulation of your research question and summarize how you are going to address it in the rest of your manuscript.

Why is the Background of the Study Important?

No matter how surprising and important the findings of your study are, if you do not provide the reader with the necessary background information and context, they will not be able to understand your reasons for studying the specific problem you chose and why you think your study is relevant. And more importantly, an editor who does not share your enthusiasm for your work (because you did not fill them in on all the important details) will very probably not even consider your manuscript worthy of their and the reviewers’ time and will immediately send it back to you.

To avoid such desk rejections , you need to make sure you pique the reader’s interest and help them understand the contribution of your work to the specific field you study, the more general research community, or the public. Introducing the study background is crucial to setting the scene for your readers.

Table of Contents:

  • What is “Background Information” in a Research Paper?
  • What Should the Background of a Research Paper Include?
  • Where Does the Background Section Go in Your Paper?

background of the study, brick wall

Background of the Study Structure

Before writing your study background, it is essential to understand what to include. The following elements should all be included in the background and are presented in greater detail in the next section:

  • A general overview of the topic and why it is important (overlaps with establishing the “importance of the topic” in the Introduction)
  • The current state of the research on the topic or on related topics in the field
  • Controversies about current knowledge or specific past studies that undergird your research methodology
  • Any claims or assumptions that have been made by researchers, institutions, or politicians that might need to be clarified
  • Methods and techniques used in the study or from which your study deviated in some way

Presenting the Study Background

As you begin introducing your background, you first need to provide a general overview and include the main issues concerning the topic. Depending on whether you do “basic” (with the aim of providing further knowledge) or “applied” research (to establish new techniques, processes, or products), this is either a literature review that summarizes all relevant earlier studies in the field or a description of the process (e.g., vote counting) or practice (e.g., diagnosis of a specific disease) that you think is problematic or lacking and needs a solution.

Example s of a general overview

If you study the function of a Drosophila gene, for example, you can explain to the reader why and for whom the study of fly genetics is relevant, what is already known and established, and where you see gaps in the existing literature. If you investigated how the way universities have transitioned into online teaching since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected students’ learning progress, then you need to present a summary of what changes have happened around the world, what the effects of those changes have been so far, and where you see problems that need to be addressed. Note that you need to provide sources for every statement and every claim you make here, to establish a solid foundation of knowledge for your own study. 

Describing the current state of knowledge

When the reader understands the main issue(s), you need to fill them in more specifically on the current state of the field (in basic research) or the process/practice/product use you describe (in practical/applied research). Cite all relevant studies that have already reported on the Drosophila gene you are interested in, have failed to reveal certain functions of it, or have suggested that it might be involved in more processes than we know so far. Or list the reports from the education ministries of the countries you are interested in and highlight the data that shows the need for research into the effects of the Corona-19 pandemic on teaching and learning.

Discussing controversies, claims, and assumptions

Are there controversies regarding your topic of interest that need to be mentioned and/or addressed? For example, if your research topic involves an issue that is politically hot, you can acknowledge this here. Have any earlier claims or assumptions been made, by other researchers, institutions, or politicians, that you think need to be clarified?

Mentioning methodologies and approaches

While putting together these details, you also need to mention methodologies : What methods/techniques have been used so far to study what you studied and why are you going to either use the same or a different approach? Are any of the methods included in the literature review flawed in such a way that your study takes specific measures to correct or update? While you shouldn’t spend too much time here justifying your methods (this can be summarized briefly in the rationale of the study at the end of the Introduction and later in the Discussion section), you can engage with the crucial methods applied in previous studies here first.

When you have established the background of the study of your research paper in such a logical way, then the reader should have had no problem following you from the more general information you introduced first to the specific details you added later. You can now easily lead over to the relevance of your research, explain how your work fits into the bigger picture, and specify the aims and objectives of your study. This latter part is usually considered the “ statement of the problem ” of your study. Without a solid research paper background, this statement will come out of nowhere for the reader and very probably raise more questions than you were planning to answer.   

Where does the study background section go in a paper?

Unless you write a research proposal or some kind of report that has a specific “Background” chapter, the background of your study is the first part of your introduction section . This is where you put your work in context and provide all the relevant information the reader needs to follow your rationale. Make sure your background has a logical structure and naturally leads into the statement of the problem at the very end of the introduction so that you bring everything together for the reader to judge the relevance of your work and the validity of your approach before they dig deeper into the details of your study in the methods section .

Consider Receiving Professional Editing Services

Now that you know how to write a background section for a research paper, you might be interested in our AI text editor at Wordvice AI. And be sure to receive professional editing services , including academic editing and proofreading , before submitting your manuscript to journals. On the Wordvice academic resources website, you can also find many more articles and other resources that can help you with writing the other parts of your research paper , with making a research paper outline before you put everything together, or with writing an effective cover letter once you are ready to submit.

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Background information identifies and describes the history and nature of a well-defined research problem with reference to contextualizing existing literature. The background information should indicate the root of the problem being studied, appropriate context of the problem in relation to theory, research, and/or practice , its scope, and the extent to which previous studies have successfully investigated the problem, noting, in particular, where gaps exist that your study attempts to address. Background information does not replace the literature review section of a research paper; it is intended to place the research problem within a specific context and an established plan for its solution.

Fitterling, Lori. Researching and Writing an Effective Background Section of a Research Paper. Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences; Creating a Research Paper: How to Write the Background to a Study. DurousseauElectricalInstitute.com; Background Information: Definition of Background Information. Literary Devices Definition and Examples of Literary Terms.

Importance of Having Enough Background Information

Background information expands upon the key points stated in the beginning of your introduction but is not intended to be the main focus of the paper. It generally supports the question, what is the most important information the reader needs to understand before continuing to read the paper? Sufficient background information helps the reader determine if you have a basic understanding of the research problem being investigated and promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis and findings. This information provides the reader with the essential context needed to conceptualize the research problem and its significance before moving on to a more thorough analysis of prior research.

Forms of contextualization included in background information can include describing one or more of the following:

  • Cultural -- placed within the learned behavior of a specific group or groups of people.
  • Economic -- of or relating to systems of production and management of material wealth and/or business activities.
  • Gender -- located within the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with being self-identified as male, female, or other form of  gender expression.
  • Historical -- the time in which something takes place or was created and how the condition of time influences how you interpret it.
  • Interdisciplinary -- explanation of theories, concepts, ideas, or methodologies borrowed from other disciplines applied to the research problem rooted in a discipline other than the discipline where your paper resides.
  • Philosophical -- clarification of the essential nature of being or of phenomena as it relates to the research problem.
  • Physical/Spatial -- reflects the meaning of space around something and how that influences how it is understood.
  • Political -- concerns the environment in which something is produced indicating it's public purpose or agenda.
  • Social -- the environment of people that surrounds something's creation or intended audience, reflecting how the people associated with something use and interpret it.
  • Temporal -- reflects issues or events of, relating to, or limited by time. Concerns past, present, or future contextualization and not just a historical past.

Background information can also include summaries of important research studies . This can be a particularly important element of providing background information if an innovative or groundbreaking study about the research problem laid a foundation for further research or there was a key study that is essential to understanding your arguments. The priority is to summarize for the reader what is known about the research problem before you conduct the analysis of prior research. This is accomplished with a general summary of the foundational research literature [with citations] that document findings that inform your study's overall aims and objectives.

NOTE : Research studies cited as part of the background information of your introduction should not include very specific, lengthy explanations. This should be discussed in greater detail in your literature review section. If you find a study requiring lengthy explanation, consider moving it to the literature review section.

ANOTHER NOTE : In some cases, your paper's introduction only needs to introduce the research problem, explain its significance, and then describe a road map for how you are going to address the problem; the background information basically forms the introduction part of your literature review. That said, while providing background information is not required, including it in the introduction is a way to highlight important contextual information that could otherwise be hidden or overlooked by the reader if placed in the literature review section.

Background of the Problem Section: What do you Need to Consider? Anonymous. Harvard University; Hopkins, Will G. How to Write a Research Paper. SPORTSCIENCE, Perspectives/Research Resources. Department of Physiology and School of Physical Education, University of Otago, 1999; Green, L. H. How to Write the Background/Introduction Section. Physics 499 Powerpoint slides. University of Illinois; Pyrczak, Fred. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences . 8th edition. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing, 2014; Stevens, Kathleen C. “Can We Improve Reading by Teaching Background Information?.” Journal of Reading 25 (January 1982): 326-329; Woodall, W. Gill. Writing the Background and Significance Section. Senior Research Scientist and Professor of Communication. Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions. University of New Mexico.

Structure and Writing Style

Providing background information in the introduction of a research paper serves as a bridge that links the reader to the research problem . Precisely how long and in-depth this bridge should be is largely dependent upon how much information you think the reader will need to know in order to fully understand the problem being discussed and to appreciate why the issues you are investigating are important.

From another perspective, the length and detail of background information also depends on the degree to which you need to demonstrate to your professor how much you understand the research problem. Keep this in mind because providing pertinent background information can be an effective way to demonstrate that you have a clear grasp of key issues, debates, and concepts related to your overall study.

The structure and writing style of your background information can vary depending upon the complexity of your research and/or the nature of the assignment. However, in most cases it should be limited to only one to two paragraphs in your introduction.

Given this, here are some questions to consider while writing this part of your introduction :

  • Are there concepts, terms, theories, or ideas that may be unfamiliar to the reader and, thus, require additional explanation?
  • Are there historical elements that need to be explored in order to provide needed context, to highlight specific people, issues, or events, or to lay a foundation for understanding the emergence of a current issue or event?
  • Are there theories, concepts, or ideas borrowed from other disciplines or academic traditions that may be unfamiliar to the reader and therefore require further explanation?
  • Is there a key study or small set of studies that set the stage for understanding the topic and frames why it is important to conduct further research on the topic?
  • Y our study uses a method of analysis never applied before;
  • Your study investigates a very esoteric or complex research problem;
  • Your study introduces new or unique variables that need to be taken into account ; or,
  • Your study relies upon analyzing unique texts or documents, such as, archival materials or primary documents like diaries or personal letters that do not represent the established body of source literature on the topic?

Almost all introductions to a research problem require some contextualizing, but the scope and breadth of background information varies depending on your assumption about the reader's level of prior knowledge . However, despite this assessment, background information should be brief and succinct and sets the stage for the elaboration of critical points or in-depth discussion of key issues in the literature review section of your paper.

Writing Tip

Background Information vs. the Literature Review

Incorporating background information into the introduction is intended to provide the reader with critical information about the topic being studied, such as, highlighting and expanding upon foundational studies conducted in the past, describing important historical events that inform why and in what ways the research problem exists, defining key components of your study [concepts, people, places, phenomena] and/or placing the research problem within a particular context. Although introductory background information can often blend into the literature review portion of the paper, essential background information should not be considered a substitute for a comprehensive review and synthesis of relevant research literature.

Hart, Cris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998; Pyrczak, Fred. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences . 8th edition. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing, 2014.

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Enago Academy

What Is Background in a Research Paper?

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So you have carefully written your research paper  and probably ran it through your colleagues ten to fifteen times. While there are many elements to a good research article, one of the most important elements for your readers is the background of your study.

What is Background of the Study in Research

The background of your study will provide context to the information discussed throughout the research paper . Background information may include both important and relevant studies. This is particularly important if a study either supports or refutes your thesis.

Why is Background of the Study Necessary in Research?

The background of the study discusses your problem statement, rationale, and research questions. It links  introduction to your research topic  and ensures a logical flow of ideas.  Thus, it helps readers understand your reasons for conducting the study.

Providing Background Information

The reader should be able to understand your topic and its importance. The length and detail of your background also depend on the degree to which you need to demonstrate your understanding of the topic. Paying close attention to the following questions will help you in writing background information:

  • Are there any theories, concepts, terms, and ideas that may be unfamiliar to the target audience and will require you to provide any additional explanation?
  • Any historical data that need to be shared in order to provide context on why the current issue emerged?
  • Are there any concepts that may have been borrowed from other disciplines that may be unfamiliar to the reader and need an explanation?
Related: Ready with the background and searching for more information on journal ranking? Check this infographic on the SCImago Journal Rank today!

Is the research study unique for which additional explanation is needed? For instance, you may have used a completely new method

How to Write a Background of the Study

The structure of a background study in a research paper generally follows a logical sequence to provide context, justification, and an understanding of the research problem. It includes an introduction, general background, literature review , rationale , objectives, scope and limitations , significance of the study and the research hypothesis . Following the structure can provide a comprehensive and well-organized background for your research.

Here are the steps to effectively write a background of the study.

1. Identify Your Audience:

Determine the level of expertise of your target audience. Tailor the depth and complexity of your background information accordingly.

2. Understand the Research Problem:

Define the research problem or question your study aims to address. Identify the significance of the problem within the broader context of the field.

3. Review Existing Literature:

Conduct a thorough literature review to understand what is already known in the area. Summarize key findings, theories, and concepts relevant to your research.

4. Include Historical Data:

Integrate historical data if relevant to the research, as current issues often trace back to historical events.

5. Identify Controversies and Gaps:

Note any controversies or debates within the existing literature. Identify gaps , limitations, or unanswered questions that your research can address.

6. Select Key Components:

Choose the most critical elements to include in the background based on their relevance to your research problem. Prioritize information that helps build a strong foundation for your study.

7. Craft a Logical Flow:

Organize the background information in a logical sequence. Start with general context, move to specific theories and concepts, and then focus on the specific problem.

8. Highlight the Novelty of Your Research:

Clearly explain the unique aspects or contributions of your study. Emphasize why your research is different from or builds upon existing work.

Here are some extra tips to increase the quality of your research background:

Example of a Research Background

Here is an example of a research background to help you understand better.

The above hypothetical example provides a research background, addresses the gap and highlights the potential outcome of the study; thereby aiding a better understanding of the proposed research.

What Makes the Introduction Different from the Background?

Your introduction is different from your background in a number of ways.

  • The introduction contains preliminary data about your topic that  the reader will most likely read , whereas the background clarifies the importance of the paper.
  • The background of your study discusses in depth about the topic, whereas the introduction only gives an overview.
  • The introduction should end with your research questions, aims, and objectives, whereas your background should not (except in some cases where your background is integrated into your introduction). For instance, the C.A.R.S. ( Creating a Research Space ) model, created by John Swales is based on his analysis of journal articles. This model attempts to explain and describe the organizational pattern of writing the introduction in social sciences.

Points to Note

Your background should begin with defining a topic and audience. It is important that you identify which topic you need to review and what your audience already knows about the topic. You should proceed by searching and researching the relevant literature. In this case, it is advisable to keep track of the search terms you used and the articles that you downloaded. It is helpful to use one of the research paper management systems such as Papers, Mendeley, Evernote, or Sente. Next, it is helpful to take notes while reading. Be careful when copying quotes verbatim and make sure to put them in quotation marks and cite the sources. In addition, you should keep your background focused but balanced enough so that it is relevant to a broader audience. Aside from these, your background should be critical, consistent, and logically structured.

Writing the background of your study should not be an overly daunting task. Many guides that can help you organize your thoughts as you write the background. The background of the study is the key to introduce your audience to your research topic and should be done with strong knowledge and thoughtful writing.

The background of a research paper typically ranges from one to two paragraphs, summarizing the relevant literature and context of the study. It should be concise, providing enough information to contextualize the research problem and justify the need for the study. Journal instructions about any word count limits should be kept in mind while deciding on the length of the final content.

The background of a research paper provides the context and relevant literature to understand the research problem, while the introduction also introduces the specific research topic, states the research objectives, and outlines the scope of the study. The background focuses on the broader context, whereas the introduction focuses on the specific research project and its objectives.

When writing the background for a study, start by providing a brief overview of the research topic and its significance in the field. Then, highlight the gaps in existing knowledge or unresolved issues that the study aims to address. Finally, summarize the key findings from relevant literature to establish the context and rationale for conducting the research, emphasizing the need and importance of the study within the broader academic landscape.

The background in a research paper is crucial as it sets the stage for the study by providing essential context and rationale. It helps readers understand the significance of the research problem and its relevance in the broader field. By presenting relevant literature and highlighting gaps, the background justifies the need for the study, building a strong foundation for the research and enhancing its credibility.

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Mastering the Basics of Writing Background of the Study

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Table of contents

  • 1 Purpose of the Research Paper Background
  • 2.1 Starting with Preliminary Research for Broad Context
  • 2.2.1 Chronological
  • 2.2.2 Thematical
  • 2.2.3 Methodological
  • 2.3 Link to Your Research Question
  • 2.4 Avoid Plagiarism and Ensuring Proper Citation
  • 2.5 Using Clear, Academic Language
  • 2.6 Don’t Overload with Excessive Details
  • 2.7 Review Relevant Literature
  • 2.8 Identify Gaps or Contradiction
  • 2.9 Keep Your Target Audience in Mind
  • 2.10 Stay Objective
  • 2.11 Mention Methodologies, Scope, and Limitations
  • 3 Bottom Line
  • 4.1 How long should background information be?
  • 4.2 What is the difference between background of the study and problem statement?
  • 4.3 Why is background research important to the research process?

Writing a research paper can be a juggling act, especially for those with little experience. There are so many elements to consider, and you need to cover all the bases if you want your paper to elevate your academic standings.

The background in research paper is where you lay out the topic, the gaps in the literature that this study seeks to fill, and your study’s general and unique contributions. Thus, developing the research paper background section is crucial to give a general overview of the study.

That’s why we’ve decided to give you some pointers, including:

  • The purpose of the background of the study;
  • Collecting and organizing background information;
  • Linking the background to your present study;
  • Using proper citation and wording, retaining objectivity.

Purpose of the Research Paper Background

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When you write a research background of the study, you explain the rationale and foundation for doing the research. It’s quite different from the research paper introduction section or a literature review. Here, you explore the history, nature, and scope of your research problem. Once you determine how previous studies have covered the problem, you can pinpoint the remaining gaps, discuss their importance, and how your study can fill them.

Essentially, it’s the foundation of your entire study. It determines the structure of your paper, highlights a well-defined research problem, and helps the reader determine your research’s unique and general contributions. Besides serving as a clear roadmap, a well-written background of the study must help the reader understand the value and purpose of your research.

How to Write a Background of the Study

Any researcher needs to understand the steps that go into writing an effective background of the study. Since you don’t have clarity in the early stages, you need to collect more information via preliminary research. Then, you should organize your information in a structure that can seamlessly lead up to your research paper in a way that shows the significance of your study.

So, if you’re wondering what is background of the study in research and how to compose it, here are some tips.

Starting with Preliminary Research for Broad Context

Before delving into writing the background of a research paper, you need a comprehensive review of the most important articles and reports on the subject in a literature review to acquire some introductory background information. Basically, you need to collect as much research data as possible.

To start with the background of an article, look for prior studies that address your issue statement in detail. Refer to reputable resources, such as academic databases and publications, and use their bibliography and literature review section to find new sources. This lets you discover new authors treating your research topic.

Finally, keep note of each piece of material you find if you decide to include it in your thesis. It helps you avoid or at least reduce plagiarism in research when you integrate those sources into your work.

Organize the Information

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Now it’s time to discuss a vital writing tip: background information categorization. Most researchers use one of the three approaches: chronological, thematic, or methodological.

Chronological

Here, the study background and contextual information are organized in a chronological structure. As such, the reader can understand how you arrived at your conclusions about the development and the next steps you want to take in your research.

It can also be based on a trend. This method should be used only if you’re sure that the trends build logically upon one another and trace back in time. Overall, you must:

  • Highlight only the most crucial background information in research
  • Only use facts that can be objectively confirmed
  • Find gaps in previous studies
  • Give your opinion

When the background of a research paper is thematic, it is structured around the topics comprising your research problem. Start by identifying the main and secondary themes. Then, create hierarchies based on their importance or how they’re related to each other.

In other words, it requires structuring the basic background information into paragraphs that highlight themes and identify patterns in the research topic.

Separate each paragraph with a topic sentence, and ensure that each sentence effectively synthesizes background information from many sources. You can also use the famous inverted pyramid method to go from a general overview to the specifics. Overall, this method gives an overview of all topics and themes of your research subject.

Methodological

This approach for writing background of study in research focuses on the methodology in research paper rather than specific topics or the chronological order. It draws attention to the differences and similarities across research methods and offers alternative insights into the subject.

If you cover a topic where there are many relevant models or theories, it is helpful to highlight the most popular ones. In this manner, you can get a basic understanding of the most common perspectives on your subject by categorizing the paper according to the theoretical framework.

Link to Your Research Question

Be specific about the knowledge gap your research study intends to fill and show how this inspired your research questions or theories. This will help place your study in the context of the larger academic discussion while also highlighting its unique contribution.

Avoid talking about irrelevant topics, and focus on what is most important regarding your subject. In other words, every step or theme you discuss should disclose the problems and explain why you deem it important to solve them.

Avoid Plagiarism and Ensuring Proper Citation

Plagiarism is one of the main reasons for writers to seek professional help with research paper writing. To avoid accusations of plagiarism, it is important to properly credit the ideas, models, and conclusions of others. Accurately citing your sources helps maintain academic honesty and gives readers easy access to further basic research papers.

The citation style you use may be determined by the guidelines of the publication or the institution you’re affiliated with. There are plenty of online resources, including guidelines and generators, that help you adhere to the given requirements.

Using Clear, Academic Language

pic

An effective background should clearly highlight the research problem and how you plan to address it. This can only be achieved by using the correct terminology while keeping the text clear and understandable. Thus, use technical phrases with caution and provide essential context and definitions for any unfamiliar term.

Make sure that even readers who aren’t familiar with your field can understand the rationale and hypothesis in study papers. Your study will be more accessible and appealing if you do this.

Don’t Overload with Excessive Details

Keep your writing simple and to the point. Although providing sufficient background information helps simplify your study, you should avoid using too many words. Going too deeply into the evidence that inspired your research problem might just confuse your readers.

In other words, it is not necessary to describe every step or every point of relevant research studies. In the background section, only discuss the important details and results that led you to formulate your research question.

Review Relevant Literature

Only by knowing and understanding what has been said and discovered before you can hope to give your contribution. When reviewing relevant research literature, you should provide a concise summary of previous studies and other works that have laid the groundwork for your own. Ensuring the material you use comes from credible sources in research is key. Also, remember to explore all nuances that could help with your research topic.

Identify Gaps or Contradiction

Normally, research objectives are based on the gaps and contradictions found in analyzing the literature review and previous research. Failing to do so might create a redundant or meaningless paper. That’s why, in the background section, you must clarify the reasoning behind how you unveiled the problems you seek to solve. You should also detail the methods to test and quantify your study hypothesis and how your findings will add to what’s already known.

Note that you’re also likely to leave a research gap or have some contradictions in your study. Don’t forget to recognize and inform your readers about them. It shows professionalism and enhances your credibility.

Keep Your Target Audience in Mind

It’s crucial to tailor the background of the study to your audience. Whether for an assignment or an academic publishing, you must write in a way that makes your message come across. So, if you know that the paper is going to be read by experts in the field, it’s ok to use a more technical and complex vocabulary.

Conversely, if the audience is more general, consider their scholarly background, avoid jargon, provide contextual information and explain concepts in a simple way.

Stay Objective

Retaining objectivity is one of the defining key components for all academic essay writers . However, having a personal interest or predisposition for a certain point of view might make it difficult to avoid bias and retain impartiality. Using a wide range of sources that address various topics, viewpoints, and research methods is crucial for maintaining objectivity both in the background and literature review section.

Mention Methodologies, Scope, and Limitations

Scientific research demands appropriate and proven methodologies. That’s why it’s important to clarify which ones you used, why and how they fit in the context of your research. The explanation should include the methodology for data collection and analysis, models, and the tools used.

The reasoning must be linked with the scope of your research. This must be clearly stated and intertwined with methods and context.

Finally, identify and discuss the shortcomings of your study background. It demonstrates that you’ve given careful thought to the study’s limits and have a firm grasp of the subject at hand. Researchers and reviewers will respect you more if you are upfront about the limits of your research methodology and go into depth about them rather than pretending they don’t exist.

Bottom Line

The first stage in writing a great research paper is to provide an intriguing background for the study. Its purpose is to explain the bigger picture, stress the importance of your study, and lay out the key issues you chose to study. Don’t forget that the background section of research paper writing isn’t a literature review. It discusses the reasons behind your study, points out any gaps in existing works, and explains how you would help fill those gaps.

All this should have taught you how to write a background for a research paper. But don’t forget that knowing the theory is only the first step. Whenever you feel stuck, don’t be shy to ask for guidance and rely on the help of experts.

How long should background information be?

What is the difference between background of the study and problem statement, why is background research important to the research process, readers also enjoyed.

Writing a Literature Review: General Guidelines

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how to write background of a research paper

What is the Background in a Research Paper?

An effective Background section in your manuscript establishes the context for your study. And while original research requires novel findings, providing the necessary background information for these findings may be just as important. It lets your readers know that your findings are novel, important, and worthy of their time and attention.

Updated on October 3, 2022

What is the Background in a Research Paper?

A good Background section explains the history and nature of your research question in relation to existing literature – a “state of the art.” This section, along with the rationale, helps readers understand why you chose to study this problem and why your study is worthwhile. This article will show you how to do this.

Read on to better understand the:

  • Real purpose of the Background section
  • Typical length of a Background section and its placement
  • Elements of an effective Background

What is the Background section of a research paper?

The Background section is an essential element of every study, answering:

  • What do we already know about the topic?
  • How does your study relate to what's been done so far in your field?
  • What is its scope?
  • Why does the topic warrant your interest and their interest?
  • How did you develop the research question that you'll later introduce?

In grant writing, a Background section is often referred to as the “state of the art,” and this is a useful term to have in mind when writing this part of your paper.

What comes next?

After you make the above points,

  • Formulate your research question/hypothesis . Research aims and objectives should be closely related to how you'll fill the gap you've identified in the literature. Your research gap is the central theme of your article and why people should read it.
  • Summarize how you'll address it in the paper . Your methodology needs to be appropriate for addressing the “problem” you've identified.
  • Describe the significance of your study . Show how your research fits into the bigger picture.

Note that the Background section isn't the same as the research rationale. Rather, it provides the relevant information the reader needs so they can follow your rationale. For example, it

  • Explains scientific terms
  • Provides available data and statistics on the topic
  • Describes the methods used so far on your topic. Especially if these are different from what you're going to do. Take special care here, because this is often where peer reviewers focus intently.

This is a logical approach to what comes after the study's background. Use it and the reader can easily follow along from the broader information to the specific details that come later. Crucially, they'll have confidence that your analysis and findings are valid.

Where should the background be placed in a research paper?

Usually, the background comes after the statement of the problem, in the Introduction section. Logically, you need to provide the study context before discussing the research questions, methodology, and results.

The background can be found in:

The abstract

The background typically forms the first few sentences of the abstract. Why did you do the study? Most journals state this clearly. In an unstructured (no subheadings) abstract, it's the first sentence or two. In a structured abstract, it might be called the Introduction, Background, or State-of-the-Art.

PLOS Medicine , for example, asks for research article abstracts to be split into three sections: Background, Methods and Findings, and Conclusions. Journals in the humanities or social sciences might not clearly ask for it because articles sometimes have a looser structure than STEM articles.

The first part of the Introduction section

In the journal Nature , for example, the Introduction should be around 200 words and include

  • Two to three sentences giving a basic introduction to the field.
  • The background and rationale of the study are stated briefly.
  • A simple phrase “Here we show ...”, or “In this study, we show ....” (to round out the Introduction).

The Journal of Organic Chemistry has similar author guidelines.

The Background as a distinct section

This is often the case for research proposals or some types of reports, as discussed above. Rather than reviewing the literature, this is a concise summary of what's currently known in the field relevant to the question being addressed in this proposed study.

How long should the Background section be?

As mentioned, there's no set length for the Background section. It generally depends on the journal and the content of your manuscript. Check the journal's author guidelines, the research center, granting agency, etc. If it's still not clear or if the instructions are contradictory, email or phone them directly.

The length of your background will depend on:

The manuscript length and content

A book-length study needs a more extensive Background than a four-page research article. Exploring a relatively unknown method or question might also need a longer Background.

For example, see this Frontiers article on the applications of artificial intelligence for developing COVID-19 vaccines. It has a seven-paragraph long Background (1,200 words) in a separate section. The authors need to discuss earlier successful uses of machine learning for therapy discovery to make a convincing case.

An academic paper published in an international journal is usually around 5,000 words. Your paper needs to be balanced, with appropriate text lengths used for the different sections: It would make no sense to have a 300-word introduction and then 4,000 words for the methods, for example. In a 5,000-word manuscript, you'll be able to use about 1,500 for the introduction, which includes the background.

How much you need to show your understanding of the topic

A lengthy grant application might need a longer Background (sub-)section. That's because if they're going to grant you money, they need a very good reason to. You'll need to show that the work is both interesting and doable. The Background is where you can do this.

What should the Background of a research manuscript include?

The Background of a research paper needs to show two things:

The study's territory ( scope )

First, provide a general overview of the field. Scientists in most disciplines should find it relatively easy to understand. Be broad, keep it interesting. Don't go into the specifics of your particular study.

Let's look at two examples:

  • one from basic research (seeking to generate new knowledge)
  • one from applied research (trying to solve or improve existing processes or products)

Applied research

This Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence article explores how AI can help discover treatments for COVID-19.

The background of the study can be found (i) in the abstract and (ii) in a separate section discussed at the end of this article. The abstract starts with this general overview: “SARS-COV-2 has roused the scientific community with a call to action to combat the growing pandemic.” ( Arshadi et al., 2020 ). This is broad, and it's interesting. This is a topic that many researchers (even from outside this specific area) may want to learn more about.

Think of any theories, models, concepts, or terms (maybe borrowed from different disciplines) that may be unfamiliar to your reader. Be sure to clarify them in plainer language, if necessary.

For example, this systematic review looks at the connections of physician burnout with career engagement and quality of patient care. The Background is in the Introduction section. It starts by defining what burnout is:

  • “Burnout is defined as a syndrome related to work that involves three key dimensions.” ( Hodkinson et al., 2022 )

The authors go on to explain its three aspects: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment.

Basic research

Imagine you're investigating how universities' moves to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students' learning outcomes in the United Kingdom. The overview could be:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown generated tremendous challenges across the higher education sector. University campuses were forced to close. Face-to-face teaching and assessment transitioned into a virtual format.

2. The niche in the field (motivation)

To establish the niche in your field, describe what drove you to explore this specific topic.

  • Explain how (un)successfully previous studies have investigated the problem.
  • Note the knowledge gap or present a problem with a currently used process/practice/product.

After setting the stage, the abstract of the Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence article identifies a problem:

  • “At the time of this writing, there are as yet no novel antiviral agents or approved vaccines available for deployment as a frontline defense.” ( Arshadi et al., 2020 )

The authors need to support their claim that computational methods can help discover new COVID-19 treatments. They do so by referring to previous research findings:

  • “In the last decade, machine learning-based models, trained on specific biomolecules, have offered inexpensive and rapid implementation methods for the discovery of effective viral therapies.” ( Arshadi et al., 2020 )

Going back to the study on students' learning outcomes after universities introduced e-learning. The background section will next identify and describe the current knowledge gap and your proposed method of fixing it. It may be something like:

  • Existing literature and studies by the UK Department for Education reveal x + y changes and effects on teaching and learning. Yet they provide little to no information on students' learning outcomes. Understanding the impact of online teaching and assessments on student outcomes is key to adopting future teaching practices and ensuring students from disadvantaged backgrounds are not left behind.

How is the background different from the literature review?

Both the background and literature review sections compile previous studies that are relevant and important to the topic.

Despite their similarities, they're different in scope and aims.

the differences between a background and a literature review

Overall, the research background could be seen as a small part of the detailed critical discussion in the literature review. Almost always, primary research articles do not include a detailed literature review.

How is the Background different from the Introduction section?

Although often part of the Introduction, the Background differs from the Introduction in scope and aim.

the differences between a background and an introduction

Breakdown of the Background in published articles

Consider this systematic review looking at the connections of physician burnout with career engagement and quality of patient care.

The Background is placed in the Introduction section. It's critical, consistent, and logically structured, moving from general to specific information.

main aspects of the background of a study

You can also check out the summary paragraph breakdown provided by Nature. (Nature's “summary paragraph” is essentially an abstract.)

And if you're looking for some help, or have an article that's finished but needs a pre-submission review click here to connect with one of our expert AJE editors.

Gareth Dyke, PhD, Paleontology, University of Bristol

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How to Write a Research Paper: Background Research Tips

  • Anatomy of a Research Paper
  • Developing a Research Focus
  • Background Research Tips
  • Searching Tips
  • Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals
  • Thesis Statement
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Citing Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Literature Review
  • Academic Integrity
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Understanding Fake News
  • Data, Information, Knowledge

Suggested Guidelines

*Your instructor will often provide you with an approximate number of source you will need.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created at the time under study. 

Types of primary sources include: 

  • Original Documents: Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, and official records 
  • Creative Works: Poetry, drama, novels music, and art 
  • Relics of Artifacts: pottery, furniture, clothing, and buildings

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary source. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes, or graphics of primary sources in them. 

Types of secondary sources include: 

  • Journal Articles 
  • Magazine Articles
  • Histories 
  • Criticisms 
  • Commentaries 
  • Encyclopedias

Tertiary sources  index, abstract, organize, compile, or digest other sources. They are not usually not credited to a particular author. 

Types of tertiary sources include: 

  • Dictionaries
  • Directories 

Keep Track of Resources

-Create the reference or Works Cited page as you gather your resources. This will save you time and effort because you will not have to search for the material again and you will have this part done as you work on the paper. 

-Annotate the reference list so you know why you printed out or saved the article.

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  • Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024 5:51 PM
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  • A Research Guide
  • Research Paper Guide

How to Write a Background for a Research Paper

  • What is the background
  • Background structure
  • Literature review vs background
  • Step-by-step writing guide
  • Tips to avoid mistakes

Background information example

How to Write a Background for a Research Paper

The background of any academic paper is the academic backbone it relates to. Thus, you must carefully write the first section to keep the end goal clear for your reader.

We’ve got you covered if you need more time or writing skills to create a solid study paper! This article will provide the necessary information to write a background for a research paper. Let’s go!

What is the background of the study in research?

The research paper background refers to the section, component, or thesis that provides context and justification for conducting the study. It outlines the existing knowledge, gaps, and limitations in the field or topic you currently investigate.

The definition of “background” says it should begin with a general introduction to the subject matter, providing an overview of the broader scientific area. It aims to familiarize the reader with the topic and establish its significance and relevance in the existing body of knowledge.

Furthermore, the background of the study highlights the specific problem or knowledge gap that the current study aims to address. It emphasizes the need for further investigation, highlighting the unanswered questions or areas where you have to conduct an additional examination.

The background of the study also plays a crucial role in shaping the study objectives, questions, and hypotheses . By reviewing the existing literature and identifying gaps, academic associates can formulate clearer goals and design appropriate methodologies to address the specific problems.

The background of the study structure

The background statement can vary depending on the scientific field and the paper or thesis requirements. However, it generally follows a logical flow and includes several key components. Here is a standard structure for the background structure:

  • Introduction: Begin with a brief introduction that provides an overview of the chosen topic and its importance. This section should capture the reader’s interest and establish the context for the study.
  • Current problem: As an academic author, you must clearly identify the scientif problem or gap in the existing knowledge the study aims to address. Please explain why this problem is significant and why it requires further investigation.
  • Literature review: Review the relevant literature related to the research topic. Summarize critical theories, concepts, and findings from previous studies directly relevant to the research problem. Discuss the existing knowledge and highlight any limitations or gaps the current study aims to fill.
  • Research questions/objectives/hypotheses: To write background information, you should clearly state the research questions, objectives, or assumptions that guide the study. These should be directly derived from the research problem and align with the gaps identified in the literature review.
  • Study rationale: Explain the potential contributions and implications of the study. Discuss how the findings may advance knowledge, address practical issues, or have broader impacts in the field or society. Justify why the study is worth conducting and how it adds value to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Scope and limitations: Define the size of the study by outlining the boundaries and specific aspects you will cover. Discuss any limits or constraints impacting the study’s findings or generalizability.
  • Summary: Provide a concise summary or conclusion of the background section of a research paper, emphasizing the research problem, significance, and the need for further investigation.

It’s important to note that you can imply changes to the structure based on your requirements and the specific guidelines provided by your college advisor.

Difference between literature review and background

The literature review and the background of the study are two distinct components of a research paper or thesis, although they are closely related. Let’s explore the differences between these two sections:

Steps to write a good background section

When writing a background section for a research paper, you can follow these three steps to ensure a clear and compelling presentation:

Identify the Research Problem

  • Begin by clearly identifying and defining the research problem or gap in the existing knowledge that your study aims to address.
  • Consider the significance and relevance of the problem within your research field or discipline.
  • Briefly explain why the problem is essential and how addressing it can contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Review the Relevant Literature

  • Conduct a thorough literature review to gather relevant information and understand the current state of knowledge on your research topic.
  • Summarize critical theories, concepts, and findings from previous studies that directly relate to your research problem.
  • Highlight any gaps, controversies, or limitations in the existing literature that your study aims to address.
  • Organize the literature review logically, either by themes, sub-topics, or chronologically, depending on what they mean for your research.

Provide Rationale and Objectives

  • Provide a clear rationale for conducting your study based on the research problem and the gaps identified in the literature review.
  • Explain why your research is essential and how it will contribute to filling the identified gaps or advancing knowledge in the field.
  • State the specific research objectives or questions your study aims to answer.
  • Align the objectives with the research problem and the gaps identified in the literature, demonstrating how your study will address those gaps.

Following these steps, you can create a well-structured and coherent background section that establishes your research’s context, significance, and rationale. Remember to provide sufficient background information and be concise yet informative in your presentation.

The main tips to avoid mistakes

Here are a few tips to help you avoid common mistakes when writing background paragraphs:

  • Focus on the research topic;
  • Be concise and clear;
  • Use credible and up-to-date sources;
  • Provide a logical flow;
  • Avoid excessive jargon and technical terms;
  • Balance breadth and depth;
  • Use citations appropriately;
  • Revise and proofread.

By following these tips, you can enhance the quality of your background section, ensuring that it effectively sets the stage for your research and engages the reader from the beginning of your paper.

To write the background of a research paper, you must understand the overall structure and know exactly how this section should look.

Let’s see an excellent example of a background section for a research paper on the topic of “The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health”:

“The rapid rise of social media platforms in recent years has transformed how people communicate, connect, and share information. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat have become integral parts of daily life for millions of individuals worldwide. 

While social media offers numerous benefits, including increased social connectivity and access to diverse perspectives, concerns have been raised regarding its potential impact on mental health.

Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between social media use and mental health outcomes, focusing on depression, anxiety, and body image dissatisfaction. 

This study seeks to contribute to the existing knowledge by employing a longitudinal design and examining a broad range of mental health outcomes among a diverse sample of adults aged 18-45.

Research has shown that excessive use of social media and constant exposure to carefully curated and idealized representations of others’ lives can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, social comparison, and low self-esteem. 

Additionally, cyberbullying has emerged as a significant concern, as individuals may experience harassment, negative comments, and exclusion within the online environment”.

Brief Summary

You have to be very concise and clear to write a background paragraph. Remember that it often serves as the first point of contact between your research and the reader. As a result, the background section has to focus on the study, explaining the significance and relevance of the research problem.

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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

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Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

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There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

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A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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VIDEO

  1. How to Choose a Research Paper Topic: Tips and Examples

  2. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction: Tips and Examples

  3. How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper with AI Tools and Tips

  4. Tips on Writing the Background of the Study

  5. How to Write Description of Study Area in Research

  6. 02_How to Set the Background of Your Article, Write Rationale and Objective(s)?

COMMENTS

  1. Background of The Study

    Here are the steps to write the background of the study in a research paper: Identify the research problem: Start by identifying the research problem that your study aims to address. This can be a particular issue, a gap in the literature, or a need for further investigation. Conduct a literature review: Conduct a thorough literature review to ...

  2. How to Write an Effective Background of the Study

    The background of the study is a section in a research paper that provides context, circumstances, and history leading to the research problem or topic being explored. It presents existing knowledge on the topic and outlines the reasons that spurred the current research, helping readers understand the research's foundation and its significance ...

  3. What is the Background of a Study and How to Write It

    The background of a study in a research paper helps to establish the research problem or gap in knowledge that the study aims to address, sets the stage for the research question and objectives, and highlights the significance of the research. The background of a study also includes a review of relevant literature, which helps researchers ...

  4. What is the Background of a Study and How Should it be Written?

    The background of a study is one of the most important components of a research paper. The quality of the background determines whether the reader will be interested in the rest of the study. Thus, to ensure that the audience is invested in reading the entire research paper, it is important to write an appealing and effective background.

  5. How to write the background of your study

    Focus on including all the important details but write concisely. Don't be ambiguous. Writing in a way that does not convey the message to the readers defeats the purpose of the background, so express yourself keeping in mind that the reader does not know your research intimately. Don't discuss unrelated themes.

  6. What is the Background of the Study and How to Write It

    The background of the study is the first section of a research paper and gives context surrounding the research topic. The background explains to the reader where your research journey started, why you got interested in the topic, and how you developed the research question that you will later specify. That means that you first establish the ...

  7. Q: How to write the background to the study in a research paper?

    Answer: The background of the study provides context to the information that you are discussing in your paper. Thus, the background of the study generates the reader's interest in your research question and helps them understand why your study is important. For instance, in case of your study, the background can include a discussion on how ...

  8. Background Information

    Fitterling, Lori. Researching and Writing an Effective Background Section of a Research Paper. Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences; Creating a Research Paper: How to Write the Background to a Study. DurousseauElectricalInstitute.com; Background Information: Definition of Background Information. Literary Devices Definition and Examples of Literary Terms.

  9. 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.

  10. How to Write the Background of a Study

    The background to a study sets the scene. It lays out the "state of the art". It tells your reader about other research done on the topic in question, via useful review papers and other summaries of the literature. The background to your study, sometimes called the 'state of the art' (especially in grant writing), sets the scene for a ...

  11. How to write the Introduction and the background for a research paper

    While writing your background, you must: Mention the main developments in your research area. Highlight significant questions that need to be addressed. Discuss the relevant aspects of your study. Related reading: 4 Step approach to writing the Introduction section of a research paper. The secret to writing the introduction and methods section ...

  12. What Is Background in a Research Paper?

    The structure of a background study in a research paper generally follows a logical sequence to provide context, justification, and an understanding of the research problem. It includes an introduction, general background, literature review, rationale, objectives, scope and limitations, significance of the study and the research hypothesis.

  13. How to Write Background of the Study: Blueprint to Rese

    1 Purpose of the Research Paper Background. 2 How to Write a Background of the Study. 2.1 Starting with Preliminary Research for Broad Context. 2.2 Organize the Information. 2.2.1 Chronological. 2.2.2 Thematical. 2.2.3 Methodological. 2.3 Link to Your Research Question. 2.4 Avoid Plagiarism and Ensuring Proper Citation.

  14. What is the Background in a Research Paper?

    A good Background section explains the history and nature of your research question in relation to existing literature - a "state of the art.". This section, along with the rationale, helps readers understand why you chose to study this problem and why your study is worthwhile. This article will show you how to do this.

  15. How to Write the Background of a Study in a Research Paper: A Step-by

    In this video, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write the background of a study for your research paper, thesis, dissertation, or resea...

  16. Writing a Research Paper Introduction (with 3 Examples)

    In any academic writing, including essays and research papers, an introduction is the first paragraph that the reader will encounter. This paragraph should both attract the reader's attention and give them the necessary information about the paper. In any academic paper, the introduction paragraph constitutes 10% of the paper's total word count.

  17. How to Write a Background for a Research Paper: Tips

    Writing an effective background section in 3 easy steps. To create a coherent and engaging section, adhere to the following algorithm. Step 1. Recognize the research problem. Start by precisely delineating the research problem or defining the gap in current knowledge that your investigation seeks to tackle.

  18. How to Write a Research Paper: Background Research Tips

    Background Research Tips - How to Write a Research Paper - Research Guides at University of Mary. Length of Research Paper or Project. Approximate Number (Types of Sources Needed) 1-2 pages. 2-3 sources (articles or websites) 3-5 pages. 4-8 sources (books, articles, and websites)

  19. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to: Organize your thoughts; Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related; ... The introduction to a research paper presents your topic, provides background, and details your research problem. 3499. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step ...

  20. How to Write a Background for a Research Paper

    Background information example. To write the background of a research paper, you must understand the overall structure and know exactly how this section should look. Let's see an excellent example of a background section for a research paper on the topic of "The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health":

  21. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Research Paper

    Unlike essays, research papers usually divide the body into sections with separate headers to facilitate browsing and scanning. Use the divisions in your outline as a guide. Follow along your outline and go paragraph by paragraph. Because this is just the first draft, don't worry about getting each word perfect.

  22. How to Write a Research Paper

    Choose a research paper topic. Conduct preliminary research. Develop a thesis statement. Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft.

  23. (Pdf) Procedure for Writing a Background Study for A Research Paper

    How to write a background study for a research paper that meets the academic standards and expectations? This PDF document provides a clear and comprehensive procedure with a practical example by ...