What is the Proper Introductory Paragraph Format for a Research Paper?
Learning how to write a great introductory paragraph is just another aspect of writing a great research paper. Research papers are much longer than standard essay papers, so your introduction can actually be one or two paragraphs. No matter how long, you should first check with your instructor to double check on any special requirements. If you there are no special requirements then you can follow the outline below for a standard research paper.
Here’s how to properly format an introductory paragraph in a research paper:
- Include a background: In longer papers it’s a good idea to give a little background on your specific topic. Have there been any other studies? What was the context by which those studies took place? Are there any theories you want to prove or disprove? Give a brief historical narrative that makes your research relevant.
- Indicate the importance: Why are you conducting this research? What implications does it have for your discipline and topic? These are the kinds of things you should mention in your introduction to give your reader an idea of what your motivations for starting this research were in the first place. Don’t be afraid to predict the impact your study will have – as long as you can back it up with content academics like to see a confident study.
- Show your limitations: Some studies are so grand in scope that it’s almost impossible to conduct a full experiment. This being said, it’s important you let your reader know that you do in fact have such limitations and that your study only covers a specific section of research. The reason for this is that there may be another research or academic who can conduct a similar research with a larger group and add to your work.
- Give your assumptions: Your introduction should also include any assumptions you are making in your research paper. These could be on the conditions of your study or on the data sets you had to work with. Be sure to establish your basic principle before starting your experiment so that you know how to refer to them and mention them when you include these assumptions in your intro.
- Write your thesis: The last one or two sentences of your introduction should be where you place your thesis statement. It should clearly and concisely express your point of view, argument or position on your topic. You may have to rewrite this a few times as your paper develops. This is perfectly fine as long as each version of your thesis lets the reader know exactly what he or she will be reading in your research paper.