research paper tips

How to start a research paper: helpful examples

The introductory paragraph of your research paper is by far the most important one. This is where you grab the attention of your reader and engage them with your ideas. A well-written introduction makes all the difference in the world. You cannot afford to bore your audience, or lose them entirely, before you have even begun. Like all beautiful things, a good introduction is a work of art. It is aesthetically pleasing, interesting, informative, and intriguing. Yet you cannot make it too lengthy. Challenging work, isn’t it?

Here are a few tips and examples to write an impressive introduction:

  1. Set the scene: Start with a few lines supporting your topic. Opening the paragraph with the topic can be distastefully abrupt. For example, “The world economy has seen some major crises in the 150 years of Capitalism.” Start with broad comments and narrow it down to the hypothesis or question. This approach is best for humanities research papers. If you are writing a scientific paper, you can start with the importance of your study.
  2. Example: “The world economy has seen some major crisis in the 150 years of Capitalism. There seem to be regular cycles of economic booms and busts. The collapse of Lehmann’s Brothers in 2008 seems to hold the key to the current economic crisis.”

  3. Consider using other opening lines if supporting statements do not seem to fit. A quotation, question, anecdote, or comparison can work as an attention grabber.
  4. Objective: Make the objective of your research paper clear in the first paragraph of the introduction. Introduce your methodology. Your topic statement should be the last statement of this paragraph.
  5. Limitations: Be honest and up front about the limitations of your study. These have to be mentioned somewhere. This is the best place to state them, as your reader will have a clearer idea about what to expect further down the paper.
  6. Assumptions: All studies and experiments take some things “for granted.” These are the assumptions of your paper. Mention them in the introduction. Example: If you are studying the service standard at a restaurant, you might assume the clientele to be from similar socioeconomic backgrounds etc.
  7. Mention the important points of your research paper in chronological order, in the subsequent paragraphs of introduction. This will prepare your reader for the body of your work.