Research Paper Introduction -Steps and 6 contents of a Research Paper Introduction

Research Paper Introduction -Steps and contents of a Research Paper Introduction

Like every other beginning, the beginning of a research paper is without exception. The introduction of any research paper is the beginning of the research and most students and even professionals sometimes find it difficult to write the introduction of a research paper on any topic of interest.

As a matter of fact, students most often lost consistency or flow of ideas when writing the introduction of a research paper. However, such difficulty is about to be taken away as this blog outlines the various steps that can be taken in writing an excellent research paper introduction. Here we present a guide that can be adopted in writing the introduction of a research paper.

Research Paper Introduction

The introduction is the starting point of a research paper which a reader most probably reads first. Thus, all the information necessary for driving understanding of the topic of the paper is highlighted therein. Therefore, context is required in all research papers so that readers can comprehend the topic and why is being written on.

The introduction is going to establish the rationale of the research paper, which is what the research will focus on. Thus, the reader should be able to say what the paper is all about starting from the beginning and if it is of interest to them.

It is very important to make the beginning of the research paper engaging and interesting to the reader from the very first statement or paragraph. This will keep the reader glued to the paper and curious to continually read on in order to what the paper is all about.

Contents of Research Paper Introduction

So having known what an introduction is all about, the following section discusses things you should consider including in the introduction of your research paper. Below is a list of the content of a research paper introduction:

  • An overview of the topic

Begin your introduction with an overall overview of the topic of your research paper. After presenting a general overview of your topic using maybe the first two paragraphs, narrow down the overview to a point where you are able to address the specific topic or subject of your research paper.

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For instance, if the topic of your research paper is “the impact of trade openness on economic growth”, then your introduction will give an overview of what economic growth is all about, how is measured, and the various factors that can bring about economic; of which trade openness is one of those factors. From there you can narrow it down to trade openness and its various components that can bring about economic growth.

  • Develop a Problem Statement

The problem statement is a statement of a particular contradiction, difficulties, issues as well as knowledge gaps surrounding the topic area of your research paper. Thus, your research problem can be categorized into two broad categories; practical and theoretical.

Practical problems are targeted at adding to change, while theoretical problems are targeted at contributing to or expanding the body of knowledge on the topic area. The research problem provides a clarification of how your research fits in and the type of problem it sought to address.

  • Draw on prior theoretical and empirical Literature

When developing statements that make up the main body of your introduction, you need some sources of literature to cite. Whilst your view may seem subjective, you need to back it up with citations mined from the works of well-known scholars in order to validate your point.

Your review can be drawn from both contemporary and old works by scholars who are passionate about your topic of interest or the problem your research seeks to provide answers to. Including some literature in your introduction shows that you are aware of prior studies in the topic area.

  • State your research objectives and questions

After presenting your problem statement, it is necessary you derive the objectives and questions to which you are trying to provide answers through your research. Your objectives should be channelled at providing a solution to the identified problems stated in your problem statement section, whilst the research questions are drawn from the research objectives. For instance, using the trade openness example the objective and question of the research are specified as follows:

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Research Objective

To investigate the effect of trade on economic growth

Research Question

what is the effect of trade openness on economic growth?

  • Research Rationale

It is important to state why your study is relevant. The rationale indicates both your response to the issues and the importance of the issue. It gives the reader(s) something to ponder on.

Also, you are to provide clarification as to the need to address your topic immediately; if possible, relate it to prevailing issues or realities. No matter how you go about it, a well-articulated rationale will capture the attention of your readers and give them a reason to read your paper to the end.

  • Finalize Your Introduction with Outline

Most often than never, the introduction of a research paper ends with an outline. After the presentation of the key issues and discussion, it is appropriate to highlight the structure of the research paper. Consider this a roadmap that guides your readers through your paper.

Bonus tips for Research Paper Introduction

There are three basic things that you can do to make writing your introduction easier. These are:

  • Your Introduction should be written last

Your introduction provides a summary of the major ideas or content of your research. Although it is ok to get your introduction written really quickly, you can also write other parts of the research paper first. This will make it easier for you to write a better overview.

  • Add a solid story or quotation upfront

Your intention is to make your paper full of substance. However, it does not imply it should look flat or boring. Thus, including an astonishing anecdote or quotation to start your introduction. This tactic will tickle your readers’ interest and keep them expecting more.

  • Be Succinct
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Complex topics make up the content of the research paper. Thus, in order to assist your readers to have a clear knowledge of what you are writing about try writing as plainly as possible. Make use of concise statements. Crosscheck for syntax or grammar that may sound confusing.

Try reading out your introduction to observing phrases that may sound out of place. Finally, before wrapping your paper, ensure you proofread your work carefully, as mistakes can make your work look unprofessional.


In summary, the introduction is not just important, it is a critical part of your research paper. The title of your research does not tell your reader what research is all about, which is where your introduction comes in. Thus, as a way of summarizing what has been discussed so far, the following bullet point summarises what a good introduction should achieve.

  • Assist your reader to comprehend the background of the topic of your research paper.
  • Provide an explanation as to why it is worth reading your research paper
  • Provide a guide that assists your reader to navigate through the rest of the paper
  • Pique the interest of your reader


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