Writing an Introduction for a Research Paper


An introductory paragraph for a research paper is generally half a page or more in length; it sets the tone for the paper, and provides the thesis. Moreover, the introduction should grab the reader’s attention and provide insight into the reasoning behind the writer’s work.

Writing an introductory paragraph does not have to be a challenging process if it is approached in the right manner. Once the research paper is thought out, the introduction is essentially complete; it simply needs to be put in the correct format. Think of the introduction as a story: it needs three sections: A beginning, middle, and an end, as well as a plot and a clear conclusion.

  • The Beginning
  • Grab the reader’s attention with a strong first sentence. This is a good place to recite a relevant anecdote or mention an intriguing fact that was unearthed during the research process. The beginning sentences should give the reader a sense of the issue discussed in the paper or a reason the research is significant. Avoid sentences such as, “This paper is about” or “In this paper we will discuss.”

  • The Middle
  • Like a sequence of events in a story, the middle section follows the points discussed in the paper. This section is straightforward; mention the points in the same order as they are in the paper. It is not necessary to bring up all the paper’s points in the introduction but mention the major ones. This section further explains the paper and lets readers know what they should expect to find in the paper.

  • The End
  • Everything that came before in the introductory paragraph led to these last few sentences: The thesis. The thesis provides several important pieces of information. It makes clear the objective of the paper, shows where the writer stands on a topic, and it concisely expresses the overall theme of the paper and the research. The thesis statement presents the writer’s argument to the reader. The rest of the paper is simply a gathering and organizing of evidence in a manner that supports the thesis.

      Oftentimes, once a writer has a strong thesis statement, the rest of the introductory paragraph falls into place. A solid thesis is born from critical thinking and the collection and organization of evidence. Before the research paper is crafted, the writer should review the subject and look for similarities between known facts and whether or not those similarities are significant. From there, a basic argument is constructed and the writer gathers evidence to support it. In the paper, the basic argument becomes the thesis and the gathered evidence becomes the points in the paper that support the thesis.