How to write a research paper introduction?
Research paper introduction – Create a lasting impression
Did you know that according to a recent study, an estimated 50 million academic papers have been published till date? Or that a record 1.48 million peer-reviewed scholarly articles were published in the year 2010 alone? These are nothing but strong evidence that supports the claim that the academic community is wholeheartedly thriving, thanks to the millions of academicians who put in their tireless efforts in performing research and producing their unique findings in the form of research papers.
Yet of the millions of research papers published every year, there are even more which sadly end up in the reject pile. You will be shocked to know that fewer than a meager 1% of scientists are able to publish a research paper every year.
It could include anything between plagiarism, obsolete research techniques, inconsistencies in data or research methodology, improper language, and many more. And your research paper’s introduction is one of the most closely scrutinized elements of your written work as it gives a general idea to the peer-review committee that whether or not your entire research work is credible enough to be included in a journal.
It is, thus, your fundamental duty to ensure that the introduction of your research paper speaks volumes about the quality of your work. But how do you manage to write a research paper introduction that fulfills all the criteria of a scholarly academic work? Learn these practical and methodical elements that you could include in your research paper introduction to save it from the doom of the reject pile.
· Add logic to your thesis
The importance of logical reasoning and rationality in the world of academics cannot be overstated. The why of everything – starting from the choice of topic to the line of reasoning applied in logically coming down to your thesis statement – determines the quality of your thinking.
A haphazardly written thesis statement, which lacks in logical narration or build-up, conveys to the peer-review committee that there is no substantial or definitive reason as to why you chose a particular thesis statement, to begin with.And this could severely damage your chances of getting published. To understand, how you can add the element of logic in your thesis statement, consider this research paper intro for Gun Control.
“Gun Control and the subsequent violence have always spawned a multitude of controversies and ideological differences. Both USA and Canada have been at the epicenter of raging debates regarding whether or not there should exist such liberal laws that deal with possession of arms. In the USA, unlike in Canada, the implementation of any gun control law mostly remains defeated since the firearm regulation laws are not federal in nature, but fall under the jurisdiction of the individual state. One of the biggest reasons why there have been endless debates since decades regarding gun control is that this issue is not a single independent issue. It is in fact a complex amalgamation of several critical entities such as personal rights, race, crime, violence and many more.
Proponents of gun possession laws opine that liberal gun laws are not necessarily the reason behind the staggering urban violence figures. The ones who chose to disagree with this often state that in the light of such laws, it becomes easy for criminals and/or mentally unstable individuals to gain possession of something that has the potential to manifest mass-slaughter. History is rife with examples where the safety and security of an average law abiding citizen has been compromised greatly in the face of indiscriminate carnage and chaos created as a result of gun violence. This engenders a highly logical question – is the possession of firearms intertwined with personal defence and empowerment of the common man or is it a power-driven need of the privileged man who seeks to assert domination over others? Through detailed analysis of the academic work done in this field, it is possible to find tangible answers to this question and also understand in depth the social impact of liberal gun laws in countries such as the USA.”
The highlighted sentences above serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they provide a clear cut picture regarding the complexity and ubiquity of the issue of gun control. Secondly, they provide a gradual and smooth transition to the thesis statement, which is logically sound. The key thing to remember here is that in addition to collecting facts and data for your introduction paper, you should also know how to present your ideas in a cogent and systematic manner. And this factor alone says a lot about your research paper writing skills.
· Back it up with numbers
It goes without saying that as much as academicians love logic, they love numbers more. Realistic and relevant statistics are the nitro-boosters your introduction needs to justify the magnitude of the issue at hand.As told earlier, logic is an important element of how you frame your introduction, including the thesis statement.And an inevitable part of bringing that theory into practice is by adding succinct and useful facts and figures to deepen the impact.
Take, for example, this research paper introduction to the subject of Hate Crime.
“Even though the term “Hate Crime” officially became a part of the American dictionary only in 1985, the occurrence of hate crimes has been a part of history since time immemorial. History describes Native Americans as one of the earliest targets of hate crime, yet there are a plethora of instances dating much earlier than these events where particular demography has been at the receiving end of race, ethnicity, and/or gender-based crime.
Recent crime reports published by the FBI reveal a distressing picture of the surging hate crimes, inflicted on immigrants, minorities, and similar groups that end up spawning fear, distrust, and psychological stress amongst millions across the globe. According to the report, roughly 5,850 instances of criminal acts and 6, 885 related offenses were reported in the USA for the year 2015, which could be categorized as hate crimes. Out of these, 59.2% of the crimes were targeted towards racial and ethnic intolerance, 19.7% has a religious bias at its core, and 17.7% focused on sexual orientation. The remaining 3.3% was aimed at gender identity bias, disability bias, and gender bias collectively. Another significant trend observed was that a massive 31.5% of the crimes were committed at or near the residence. A majority of offenders, 48.4% were white.
This and many other authentic studies reveal a stark pattern that exists in the types of demography that remains largely affected by hate crime. This paper aims to present a cogent and comprehensive study of the patterns that hate crimes show globally …”
What lends this introduction paragraph and the thesis statement massive credibility is that it is supported by the latest, authoritative, relevant, and cogent data.In order to bring into light the patterns that violators in hate crimes usually demonstrate, you could do one of these things.
One, you could go on and on about who is targeted in a hate crime, what groups are currently most affected, and why your research delves into an issue that has a significant context in the real world.Or, you could simply enlist recent and compelling statistics that do your share of the load for persuading the readers and reviewers.
· Thesis statement must be having these three things…
What three things you ask?
Before exploring for an answer to that, read this introduction paragraph that deals with the topic of marijuana.
“The use of marijuana for recreational purposes has seen an unprecedented growth amongst adolescents, with almost 12% of individuals 12 years or older reported to have high indulgence either through smoking or oral ingestion. While the popular notion dictates that this addictive drug is practically harmless and thus should not be banned or criminalized, the catastrophic effect it manifests on teenage and adult health paints a completely different picture.
It is true that the research done in this field is still in its nascent stage, yet it is possible to predict the disastrous consequences legalization of marijuana can bring. This study aims to review the latest and most relevant pieces of scientific evidence pertaining to the usage of marijuana and it’s short-term and long-term effects on physical and mental health of individuals, shedding light on whether marijuana usage should face ubiquitous legalization or strict criminalization”
Now ask yourself, what is this research paper about?
It, very evidently, is about reviewing scientific data about the short and long-term use of marijuana and its effect on health. This paper also goes on to answer whether it should be legalized or criminalized. In a very simple, straightforward, and concise manner as the author here stated the complete thesis statement. And your peer-review committee appreciates such a clearly written thesis statement. So coming back to the question, what are the three things your thesis statement should be?
Clear. Straightforward. Concise.
· For all intents and purpose…
Forget all about the stressful peer-review phase. For a few moments, forget all about who all are going to scrutinize, judge, select, and (hopefully) publish your findings. About all your mentors, professors, and other scholars whom you have approached hundreds of time during writing your research paper.
Think only about your intention of writing the paper. Why would you pick this particular topic and conduct diligent, time-taking research? What idea or rationale moved you so much? Why would you want the academic community, nay, the entire world to see things from your perspective and research findings? What is your core intention?
And when you find the answer, include it skilfully in your research paper introduction. Just like this research paper on the adverse effects of widespread usage of Ritalin for treating ADD did.
“With somewhere around 3 to 5 million American children prescribed Ritalin or Ritalin-like drugs currently, and American kids comprising of 90% of the global Ritalin-consuming demography, it can be safely inferred that the use of such mind-altering drugs is witnessing the most unfortunate upsurge in the USA. Ritalin is regarded as a drug of choice for kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), that manifests behavioral and personality changes making ADD-diagnosed children fit for schools. Observing the staggering amount of money invested in the marketing aspect of pharmaceutical companies to make this drug indispensable, one can observe how closely the marketing and popularization of Ritalin and its sudden increase in prescription are intertwined.
Most of the available scientific literature states that the attention deficiency in ADD –diagnosed children can be controlled by administering Ritalin that works by increasing dopamine levels. While on the surface this argument seems plausible, in the field of pharmaceutical drugs establishment of such causality (hyperactivity or attention-paucity occurring as a result of dopamine deficiency) is largely erroneous. This can be understood from the rationale of the drug Aspirin. Usage of aspirin does relieve one of the headaches yet it cannot be stated that the dearth or absence of aspirin is the reason for headache. Also, a majority of physicians compare ADD to diabetes, wherein the deficiency of a particular hormone (insulin for diabetes and dopamine for ADD) subsequently leads to a bodily malfunction. Again, this analogy is flawed since while there are specific blood tests to measure blood sugar levels and affirm this theory for diabetes; there are no specific tests that can check the verity of Ritalin-related agenda.
In the light of such inherently inaccurate studies masquerading as sound medical advice for ADD-diagnosed children, this paper attempts to carefully analyze how fundamentally mistaken and disastrous the indiscriminate prescription of Ritalin for ADD-diagnosed children can be.”
Not only is the introduction packed with powerful statistics, but is also vehement in opposing the current trends of Ritalin-prescription mania engulfing American physicians. Such an introduction starts with a bang, maintains the momentum by grabbing the attention of the reader, and employs powerful and accurate evidence and language to present the thesis statement. The intention of writing such a research paper thus becomes quite clear because the author has left no stone unturned in putting across his findings in the most commanding and persuasive manner. And that will only come when you start wanting the entire world to understand the gravity of your thesis work.
· Make the thinkers think
That is what they love doing. Academicians love challenging the status quo by bringing to the world the unique and novel findings of researchers. Your peer-review committee, your publishers, and everybody associated with the institution of academic paper publishing want powerful and thought-provoking ideas to come forth.So if your research paper introduction fails to meet this expectation, well, you can imagine which pile your paper will land on. (Hint: it’s not the select pile)
Read this introduction paragraph written on the topic of child abuse, as a peer-reviewer, and think, would you want to publish these findings?
“Any form of maltreatment directed towards a child; be it physical, sexual, or psychological in nature comes under the grim category of child abuse. This umbrella term covers actions such as neglect, exploitation, and child trafficking, which are rendered actual harm or has the potential of causing harm to the child. Exploitation of children is sadly ubiquitous and gaining an alarming momentum worldwide.
It is estimated that over a billion children across the globe currently face some form of sexual, emotional, and/or physical violence. Roughly, 28% of all human trafficking victims are children, with as high as 150 million female and 73 million male children subject to forced sexual intercourse and violence. 218 million children are employed as laborers, and 50% of those work in hazardous conditions. To give things a clearer perspective, every day 5 children die as a result of child abuse and almost 7 out of 10 victims are abused by their own family member.
Studies also reveal abused children are 60% more likely to be facing juvenile charges, 28% more likely to face jail-time as adults, and 30% more likely to commit an act of violent crime. 80% of all such children met the criteria of at least one psychological disorder as adults. Observing these morbid figures, one can safely assert that not only is child abuse more monumentally pervasive than what is normally assumed, but also that controlling child abuse will effectively help in controlling juvenile delinquency, overall crime rates, and cases of mental instabilities across the globe.”
Just look at the highlighted statistics, figures, and statements. And think. How intense and harrowing are these findings? How helpful and relevant is the thesis statement in a real-life context? Wouldn’t you want to encourage such studies and research? If the answer to these questions is an affirmation, then you know how important it is to include thought-provoking and radical content in your research paper intro.
So don’t forget to add these critical elements in your research paper introduction. Keep revisiting this list every time you feel stuck while writing the introduction paragraph. Go out and make a lasting impression on your readers and get published!