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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your topic and get the reader interested
  • Provide background or summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.

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Table of contents

Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.

The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.

For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:

A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:

Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.

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write an introduction to a research report

This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.

In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.

Argumentative paper: Background information

After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.

Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .

Empirical paper: Describing previous research

For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.

This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.

Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.

The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.

Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance

In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.

Empirical paper: Relate to the literature

In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:

  • What research gap is your work intended to fill?
  • What limitations in previous work does it address?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?

You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.

Although has been studied in detail, insufficient attention has been paid to . You will address a previously overlooked aspect of your topic.
The implications of study deserve to be explored further. You will build on something suggested by a previous study, exploring it in greater depth.
It is generally assumed that . However, this paper suggests that … You will depart from the consensus on your topic, establishing a new position.

Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.

The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).

Argumentative paper: Thesis statement

The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.

Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis

The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.

Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.

A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.

  • This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
  • We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.

If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.

For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:

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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.

In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.

If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.

  • This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
  • This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …

Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.

The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.

The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your research topic
  • Capture reader interest
  • Summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Define your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.

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Table of Contents

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The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader

  • Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
  • Context: Background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted

The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:

  • It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
  • It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
  • It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
  • It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.

What are the parts of introduction in the research?

A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2

  • What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
  • What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
  • What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.

How to write a research paper introduction?

The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.

The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:

  • Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
  • Describe the background of the topic
  • Present an overview of current research on the topic

Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.

  • Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
  • Formulate the research question

Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.

  • State the purpose of your study
  • Highlight the key characteristics of your study
  • Describe important results
  • Highlight the novelty of the study.
  • Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.

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Paperpal Copilot is a generative AI-powered academic writing assistant. It’s trained on millions of published scholarly articles and over 20 years of STM experience. Paperpal Copilot helps authors write better and faster with:

  • Real-time writing suggestions
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With Paperpal Copilot, create a research paper introduction effortlessly. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how Paperpal transforms your initial ideas into a polished and publication-ready introduction.

write an introduction to a research report

How to use Paperpal to write the Introduction section

Step 1: Sign up on Paperpal and click on the Copilot feature, under this choose Outlines > Research Article > Introduction

Step 2: Add your unstructured notes or initial draft, whether in English or another language, to Paperpal, which is to be used as the base for your content.

Step 3: Fill in the specifics, such as your field of study, brief description or details you want to include, which will help the AI generate the outline for your Introduction.

Step 4: Use this outline and sentence suggestions to develop your content, adding citations where needed and modifying it to align with your specific research focus.

Step 5: Turn to Paperpal’s granular language checks to refine your content, tailor it to reflect your personal writing style, and ensure it effectively conveys your message.

You can use the same process to develop each section of your article, and finally your research paper in half the time and without any of the stress.

The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.

The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.

When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper

Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.

The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4

  • Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
  • Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
  • Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
  • Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.

To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, choose trusted AI academic writing assistants like Paperpal to effortlessly craft your research paper introduction and other sections of your research article.

1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.

2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.

3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.

4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.

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Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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Writing a Research Paper Introduction (with 3 Examples)

Nail your research paper's introduction! Learn to captivate and inform readers from the start—our guide shows how!

write an introduction to a research report

Ertugrul Portakal

Apr 12, 2024

Writing a Research Paper Introduction (with 3 Examples)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A catchy and informative introduction is essential in academic writing, especially if you want your readers to have background information about your paper. However, writing an interesting and informative introduction can sometimes be a time-consuming and tiring process. If you don't know where to start when crafting an introduction, no need to worry - we've got you covered!

In this article, we will explain step by step what an introduction is in academic writing and how to write it!

Ready? Let's start!

  • An introduction is a paragraph that provides information about your entire paper and aims to attract and inform the reader.
  • Before writing an introduction or even starting your paper, you need to research academic sources.
  • The first one or two sentences of an introduction paragraph should be a hook to attract the reader's attention.
  • Afterwards, you need to prepare the reader for your argument by giving background information about your topic.
  • Finally, you should state your argument about your topic with a thesis statement.
  • If you are writing a longer paper, you can inform your readers about the map of your paper.
  • If you are looking for an AI assistant to support you throughout your writing process, TextCortex is designed for you with its advanced features.

What is an Introduction in a research paper?

In any academic writing, including essays and research papers, an introduction is the first paragraph that the reader will encounter. This paragraph should both attract the reader's attention and give them the necessary information about the paper. In any academic paper, the introduction paragraph constitutes 10% of the paper's total word count. For example, if you are preparing a 3,000-word paper, your introduction paragraph should consist of approximately 300 words. You should also write sentences within these 300 words that will attract the reader's attention and provide them with information about the paper.

Importance of an Introduction Paragraph

The biggest function of an introduction paragraph is to prepare the reader for the author's thesis statement. A traditional introduction paragraph begins with a few sentences or questions that will catch the reader's attention. After attracting the reader's attention, necessary background information on the subject is given. Finally, the author explains to the readers what the whole paper is about by stating the thesis. A thesis statement is the final sentence that summarizes the main points of your paper and conveys your claim.

First Things First: Preliminary Research

When working on any academic writing type, it is essential to start by researching your topic thoroughly before beginning to type. What sets academic writing apart from other writing types is the requirement for it to be written using accurate information from reliable sources.

Researching academic sources can be a time-consuming and unnecessary process. One has to read through hundreds of pages, review dozens of articles and verify the accuracy of each source. However, if you're looking to reduce your workload and maximize efficiency by automating repetitive tasks such as literature review, ZenoChat is the perfect solution for you. With its web search feature, ZenoChat can use the entire internet as a data source. Additionally, by activating the "scholar" option of the ZenoChat web search feature, you can ensure that it only uses academic sources when generating output.

How to Create an Introduction for Academic Writing?

Creating an introduction paragraph that is interesting, informative, and conveys your thesis is an easier process than it seems. As long as you have sufficient information about your topic and an outline , you can write engaging introductions by following a few simple steps. Let's take a closer look at how to write an introduction for academic writing.

1-) Start with a Catchy Hook

Your first sentence is one of the factors that most influence a reader's decision to read your paper. This sentence determines the tone of your paper and attracts the reader's attention. For this reason, we recommend that you start your introduction paragraph with a strong and catchy hook sentence.

  • Avoid long and complex sentences
  • Use clear and concise sentences
  • Write a sentence that will spark the reader's curiosity
  • You can ask questions that will encourage the reader to read the remaining paragraph
  • Avoid fact or overly broad sentences
  • Avoid using dictionary definitions as your hook

2-) Give Background Information

After writing a strong hook sentence, you need to provide basic information about your topic so that the reader can understand what they will learn about when they read your paper. In this section, you can benefit from opinions that support or oppose your argument. Additionally, this section should refer to the body paragraphs of your writing.

  • You can write a background information sentence for each body paragraph.
  • The information here should be concise and compact
  • Avoid talking about your evidence and results unless necessary.

3-) State Your Thesis 

After attracting the reader's attention and providing background information, it is time to present your approach and argument towards the topic with a thesis statement. A thesis statement usually comprises one or two sentences and communicates the paper's argument to the reader. A well-written thesis statement should express your stance on the topic.

  • Avoid merely stating a fact
  • Claim your argument

4-) Tell Reader About Your Paper

Although you need to move on to body paragraphs after the thesis statement in short papers, it will be useful to add a few sentences that will guide the reader in your longer papers. This way, your readers can better understand which arguments they will encounter on which pages and the course of your paper. That leads the reader to clearly understand and follow your content.

Let’s Wrap it Up

Writing an interesting and informative introduction is usually a long process that requires a lot of rewriting. You may need to rewrite a sentence dozens of times so that your words and sentences clearly describe your paper and argument. Fortunately, you can generate state-of-the-art introductions using AI tools and use them with a little editing.

When it comes to text generation, paraphrasing, and grammar & spelling checking, TextCortex is the way to go with its advanced LLMs and customization options. With TextCortex, you can generate all writing types, including introduction, from scratch, rewrite your existing texts, change their tone of voice, or fix their grammar. TextCortex is available as a web application and browser extension. The TextCortex browser extension is integrated with 30,000+ websites and apps. So, you can complete your AI-driven writing tasks anywhere and anytime.

Let's examine a few sample introductions generated by TextCortex.

Example Introduction #1

“Should social media platforms be banned from collecting their users' data?”

example research paper introduction

Example Introduction #2

“Do electric vehicles decrease overall emissions?”

example research paper introduction 2

Example Introduction #3

“Is graffiti an act of vandalism or the creation of art?”

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write an introduction to a research report

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

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How to write an introduction for a research paper? Eventually (and with practice) all writers will develop their own strategy for writing the perfect introduction for a research paper. Once you are comfortable with writing, you will probably find your own, but coming up with a good strategy can be tough for beginning writers.

The Purpose of an Introduction

Your opening paragraphs, phrases for introducing thesis statements, research paper introduction examples, using the introduction to map out your research paper.

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

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  • First write your thesis.Your thesis should state the main idea in specific terms.
  • After you have a working thesis, tackle the body of your paper before you write the rest of the introduction. Each paragraph in the body should explore one specific topic that proves, or summarizes your thesis. Writing is a thinking process. Once you have worked your way through that process by writing the body of the paper, you will have an intimate understanding of how you are supporting your thesis. After you have written the body paragraphs, go back and rewrite your thesis to make it more specific and to connect it to the topics you addressed in the body paragraph.
  • Revise your introduction several times, saving each revision. Be sure your introduction previews the topics you are presenting in your paper. One way of doing this is to use keywords from the topic sentences in each paragraph to introduce, or preview, the topics in your introduction.This “preview” will give your reader a context for understanding how you will make your case.
  • Experiment by taking different approaches to your thesis with every revision you make. Play with the language in the introduction. Strike a new tone. Go back and compare versions. Then pick the one that works most effectively with the body of your research paper.
  • Do not try to pack everything you want to say into your introduction. Just as your introduction should not be too short, it should also not be too long. Your introduction should be about the same length as any other paragraph in your research paper. Let the content—what you have to say—dictate the length.

The first page of your research paper should draw the reader into the text. It is the paper’s most important page and, alas, often the worst written. There are two culprits here and effective ways to cope with both of them.

First, the writer is usually straining too hard to say something terribly BIG and IMPORTANT about the thesis topic. The goal is worthy, but the aim is unrealistically high. The result is often a muddle of vague platitudes rather than a crisp, compelling introduction to the thesis. Want a familiar example? Listen to most graduation speakers. Their goal couldn’t be loftier: to say what education means and to tell an entire football stadium how to live the rest of their lives. The results are usually an avalanche of clichés and sodden prose.

The second culprit is bad timing. The opening and concluding paragraphs are usually written late in the game, after the rest of the thesis is finished and polished. There’s nothing wrong with writing these sections last. It’s usually the right approach since you need to know exactly what you are saying in the substantive middle sections of the thesis before you can introduce them effectively or draw together your findings. But having waited to write the opening and closing sections, you need to review and edit them several times to catch up. Otherwise, you’ll putting the most jagged prose in the most tender spots. Edit and polish your opening paragraphs with extra care. They should draw readers into the paper.

After you’ve done some extra polishing, I suggest a simple test for the introductory section. As an experiment, chop off the first few paragraphs. Let the paper begin on, say, paragraph 2 or even page 2. If you don’t lose much, or actually gain in clarity and pace, then you’ve got a problem.

There are two solutions. One is to start at this new spot, further into the text. After all, that’s where you finally gain traction on your subject. That works best in some cases, and we occasionally suggest it. The alternative, of course, is to write a new opening that doesn’t flop around, saying nothing.

What makes a good opening? Actually, they come in several flavors. One is an intriguing story about your topic. Another is a brief, compelling quote. When you run across them during your reading, set them aside for later use. Don’t be deterred from using them because they “don’t seem academic enough.” They’re fine as long as the rest of the paper doesn’t sound like you did your research in People magazine. The third, and most common, way to begin is by stating your main questions, followed by a brief comment about why they matter.

Whichever opening you choose, it should engage your readers and coax them to continue. Having done that, you should give them a general overview of the project—the main issues you will cover, the material you will use, and your thesis statement (that is, your basic approach to the topic). Finally, at the end of the introductory section, give your readers a brief road map, showing how the paper will unfold. How you do that depends on your topic but here are some general suggestions for phrase choice that may help:

  • This analysis will provide …
  • This paper analyzes the relationship between …
  • This paper presents an analysis of …
  • This paper will argue that …
  • This topic supports the argument that…
  • Research supports the opinion that …
  • This paper supports the opinion that …
  • An interpretation of the facts indicates …
  • The results of this experiment show …
  • The results of this research show …

Comparisons/Contrasts

  • A comparison will show that …
  • By contrasting the results,we see that …
  • This paper examines the advantages and disadvantages of …

Definitions/Classifications

  • This paper will provide a guide for categorizing the following:…
  • This paper provides a definition of …
  • This paper explores the meaning of …
  • This paper will discuss the implications of …
  • A discussion of this topic reveals …
  • The following discussion will focus on …

Description

  • This report describes…
  • This report will illustrate…
  • This paper provides an illustration of …

Process/Experimentation

  • This paper will identify the reasons behind…
  • The results of the experiment show …
  • The process revealed that …
  • This paper theorizes…
  • This paper presents the theory that …
  • In theory, this indicates that …

Quotes, anecdotes, questions, examples, and broad statements—all of them can used successfully to write an introduction for a research paper. It’s instructive to see them in action, in the hands of skilled academic writers.

Let’s begin with David M. Kennedy’s superb history, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 . Kennedy begins each chapter with a quote, followed by his text. The quote above chapter 1 shows President Hoover speaking in 1928 about America’s golden future. The text below it begins with the stock market collapse of 1929. It is a riveting account of just how wrong Hoover was. The text about the Depression is stronger because it contrasts so starkly with the optimistic quotation.

“We in America today are nearer the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.”—Herbert Hoover, August 11, 1928 Like an earthquake, the stock market crash of October 1929 cracked startlingly across the United States, the herald of a crisis that was to shake the American way of life to its foundations. The events of the ensuing decade opened a fissure across the landscape of American history no less gaping than that opened by the volley on Lexington Common in April 1775 or by the bombardment of Sumter on another April four score and six years later. The ratcheting ticker machines in the autumn of 1929 did not merely record avalanching stock prices. In time they came also to symbolize the end of an era. (David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 . New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 10)

Kennedy has exciting, wrenching material to work with. John Mueller faces the exact opposite problem. In Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War , he is trying to explain why Great Powers have suddenly stopped fighting each other. For centuries they made war on each other with devastating regularity, killing millions in the process. But now, Mueller thinks, they have not just paused; they have stopped permanently. He is literally trying to explain why “nothing is happening now.” That may be an exciting topic intellectually, it may have great practical significance, but “nothing happened” is not a very promising subject for an exciting opening paragraph. Mueller manages to make it exciting and, at the same time, shows why it matters so much. Here’s his opening, aptly entitled “History’s Greatest Nonevent”:

On May 15, 1984, the major countries of the developed world had managed to remain at peace with each other for the longest continuous stretch of time since the days of the Roman Empire. If a significant battle in a war had been fought on that day, the press would have bristled with it. As usual, however, a landmark crossing in the history of peace caused no stir: the most prominent story in the New York Times that day concerned the saga of a manicurist, a machinist, and a cleaning woman who had just won a big Lotto contest. This book seeks to develop an explanation for what is probably the greatest nonevent in human history. (John Mueller, Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War . New York: Basic Books, 1989, p. 3)

In the space of a few sentences, Mueller sets up his puzzle and reveals its profound human significance. At the same time, he shows just how easy it is to miss this milestone in the buzz of daily events. Notice how concretely he does that. He doesn’t just say that the New York Times ignored this record setting peace. He offers telling details about what they covered instead: “a manicurist, a machinist, and a cleaning woman who had just won a big Lotto contest.” Likewise, David Kennedy immediately entangles us in concrete events: the stunning stock market crash of 1929. These are powerful openings that capture readers’ interests, establish puzzles, and launch narratives.

Sociologist James Coleman begins in a completely different way, by posing the basic questions he will study. His ambitious book, Foundations of Social Theory , develops a comprehensive theory of social life, so it is entirely appropriate for him to begin with some major questions. But he could just as easily have begun with a compelling story or anecdote. He includes many of them elsewhere in his book. His choice for the opening, though, is to state his major themes plainly and frame them as a paradox. Sociologists, he says, are interested in aggregate behavior—how people act in groups, organizations, or large numbers—yet they mostly examine individuals:

A central problem in social science is that of accounting for the function of some kind of social system. Yet in most social research, observations are not made on the system as a whole, but on some part of it. In fact, the natural unit of observation is the individual person…  This has led to a widening gap between theory and research… (James S. Coleman, Foundations of Social Theory . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990, pp. 1–2)

After expanding on this point, Coleman explains that he will not try to remedy the problem by looking solely at groups or aggregate-level data. That’s a false solution, he says, because aggregates don’t act; individuals do. So the real problem is to show the links between individual actions and aggregate outcomes, between the micro and the macro.

The major problem for explanations of system behavior based on actions and orientations at a level below that of the system [in this case, on individual-level actions] is that of moving from the lower level to the system level. This has been called the micro-to-macro problem, and it is pervasive throughout the social sciences. (Coleman, Foundations of Social Theory , p. 6)

Explaining how to deal with this “micro-to-macro problem” is the central issue of Coleman’s book, and he announces it at the beginning.

Coleman’s theory-driven opening stands at the opposite end of the spectrum from engaging stories or anecdotes, which are designed to lure the reader into the narrative and ease the path to a more analytic treatment later in the text. Take, for example, the opening sentences of Robert L. Herbert’s sweeping study Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society : “When Henry Tuckerman came to Paris in 1867, one of the thousands of Americans attracted there by the huge international exposition, he was bowled over by the extraordinary changes since his previous visit twenty years before.” (Robert L. Herbert, Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988, p. 1.) Herbert fills in the evocative details to set the stage for his analysis of the emerging Impressionist art movement and its connection to Parisian society and leisure in this period.

David Bromwich writes about Wordsworth, a poet so familiar to students of English literature that it is hard to see him afresh, before his great achievements, when he was just a young outsider starting to write. To draw us into Wordsworth’s early work, Bromwich wants us to set aside our entrenched images of the famous mature poet and see him as he was in the 1790s, as a beginning writer on the margins of society. He accomplishes this ambitious task in the opening sentences of Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s :

Wordsworth turned to poetry after the revolution to remind himself that he was still a human being. It was a curious solution, to a difficulty many would not have felt. The whole interest of his predicament is that he did feel it. Yet Wordsworth is now so established an eminence—his name so firmly fixed with readers as a moralist of self-trust emanating from complete self-security—that it may seem perverse to imagine him as a criminal seeking expiation. Still, that is a picture we get from The Borderers and, at a longer distance, from “Tintern Abbey.” (David Bromwich, Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998, p. 1)

That’s a wonderful opening! Look at how much Bromwich accomplishes in just a few words. He not only prepares the way for analyzing Wordsworth’s early poetry; he juxtaposes the anguished young man who wrote it to the self-confident, distinguished figure he became—the eminent man we can’t help remembering as we read his early poetry.

Let us highlight a couple of other points in this passage because they illustrate some intelligent writing choices. First, look at the odd comma in this sentence: “It was a curious solution, to a difficulty many would not have felt.” Any standard grammar book would say that comma is wrong and should be omitted. Why did Bromwich insert it? Because he’s a fine writer, thinking of his sentence rhythm and the point he wants to make. The comma does exactly what it should. It makes us pause, breaking the sentence into two parts, each with an interesting point. One is that Wordsworth felt a difficulty others would not have; the other is that he solved it in a distinctive way. It would be easy for readers to glide over this double message, so Bromwich has inserted a speed bump to slow us down. Most of the time, you should follow grammatical rules, like those about commas, but you should bend them when it serves a good purpose. That’s what the writer does here.

The second small point is the phrase “after the revolution” in the first sentence: “Wordsworth turned to poetry after the revolution to remind himself that he was still a human being.” Why doesn’t Bromwich say “after the French Revolution”? Because he has judged his book’s audience. He is writing for specialists who already know which revolution is reverberating through English life in the 1790s. It is the French Revolution, not the earlier loss of the American colonies. If Bromwich were writing for a much broader audience—say, the New York Times Book Review—he would probably insert the extra word to avoid confusion.

The message “Know your audience” applies to all writers. Don’t talk down to them by assuming they can’t get dressed in the morning. Don’t strut around showing off your book learnin’ by tossing in arcane facts and esoteric language for its own sake. Neither will win over readers.

Bromwich, Herbert, and Coleman open their works in different ways, but their choices work well for their different texts. Your task is to decide what kind of opening will work best for yours. Don’t let that happen by default, by grabbing the first idea you happen upon. Consider a couple of different ways of opening your thesis and then choose the one you prefer. Give yourself some options, think them over, then make an informed choice.

Whether you begin with a story, puzzle, or broad statement, the next part of the introduction should pose your main questions and establish your argument. This is your thesis statement—your viewpoint along with the supporting reasons and evidence. It should be articulated plainly so readers understand full well what your paper is about and what it will argue.

After that, give your readers a road map of what’s to come. That’s normally done at the end of the introductory section (or, in a book, at the end of the introductory chapter). Here’s John J. Mearsheimer presenting such a road map in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics . He not only tells us the order of upcoming chapters, he explains why he’s chosen that order and which chapters are most important:

The Plan of the Book The rest of the chapters in this book are concerned mainly with answering the six big questions about power which I identified earlier. Chapter 2, which is probably the most important chapter in the book, lays out my theory of why states compete for power and why they pursue hegemony. In Chapters 3 and 4, I define power and explain how to measure it. I do this in order to lay the groundwork for testing my theory… (John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics . New York: W. W. Norton, 2001, p. 27)

As this excerpt makes clear, Mearsheimer has already laid out his “six big questions” in the introduction. Now he’s showing us the path ahead, the path to answering those questions.

At the end of the introduction, give your readers a road map of what’s to come. Tell them what the upcoming sections will be and why they are arranged in this particular order.

After having written your introduction it’s time to move to the biggest part: body of a research paper.

Back to How To Write A Research Paper .

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How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Writing an introduction for a research paper is a critical element of your paper, but it can seem challenging to encapsulate enormous amount of information into a concise form. The introduction of your research paper sets the tone for your research and provides the context for your study. In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing an effective introduction that grabs the reader's attention and captures the essence of your research paper.

Understanding the Purpose of a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction acts as a road map for your research paper, guiding the reader through the main ideas and arguments. The purpose of the introduction is to present your research topic to the readers and provide a rationale for why your study is relevant. It helps the reader locate your research and its relevance in the broader field of related scientific explorations. Additionally, the introduction should inform the reader about the objectives and scope of your study, giving them an overview of what to expect in the paper. By including a comprehensive introduction, you establish your credibility as an author and convince the reader that your research is worth their time and attention.

Key Elements to Include in Your Introduction

When writing your research paper introduction, there are several key elements you should include to ensure it is comprehensive and informative.

  • A hook or attention-grabbing statement to capture the reader's interest.  It can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote that relates to your research topic.
  • A brief overview of the research topic and its significance. By highlighting the gap in existing knowledge or the problem your research aims to address, you create a compelling case for the relevance of your study.
  • A clear research question or problem statement. This serves as the foundation of your research and guides the reader in understanding the unique focus of your study. It should be concise, specific, and clearly articulated.
  • An outline of the paper's structure and main arguments, to help the readers navigate through the paper with ease.

Preparing to Write Your Introduction

Before diving into writing your introduction, it is essential to prepare adequately. This involves 3 important steps:

  • Conducting Preliminary Research: Immerse yourself in the existing literature to develop a clear research question and position your study within the academic discourse.
  • Identifying Your Thesis Statement: Define a specific, focused, and debatable thesis statement, serving as a roadmap for your paper.
  • Considering Broader Context: Reflect on the significance of your research within your field, understanding its potential impact and contribution.

By engaging in these preparatory steps, you can ensure that your introduction is well-informed, focused, and sets the stage for a compelling research paper.

Structuring Your Introduction

Now that you have prepared yourself to tackle the introduction, it's time to structure it effectively. A well-structured introduction will engage the reader from the beginning and provide a logical flow to your research paper.

Starting with a Hook

Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing hook that captivates the reader's interest. This hook serves as a way to make your introduction more engaging and compelling. For example, if you are writing a research paper on the impact of climate change on biodiversity, you could start your introduction with a statistic about the number of species that have gone extinct due to climate change. This will immediately grab the reader's attention and make them realize the urgency and importance of the topic.

Introducing Your Topic

Provide a brief overview, which should give the reader a general understanding of the subject matter and its significance. Explain the importance of the topic and its relevance to the field. This will help the reader understand why your research is significant and why they should continue reading. Continuing with the example of climate change and biodiversity, you could explain how climate change is one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, how it affects ecosystems, and the potential consequences for both wildlife and human populations. By providing this context, you are setting the stage for the rest of your research paper and helping the reader understand the importance of your study.

Presenting Your Thesis Statement

The thesis statement should directly address your research question and provide a preview of the main arguments or findings discussed in your paper. Make sure your thesis statement is clear, concise, and well-supported by the evidence you will present in your research paper. By presenting a strong and focused thesis statement, you are providing the reader with the information they could anticipate in your research paper. This will help them understand the purpose and scope of your study and will make them more inclined to continue reading.

Writing Techniques for an Effective Introduction

When crafting an introduction, it is crucial to pay attention to the finer details that can elevate your writing to the next level. By utilizing specific writing techniques, you can captivate your readers and draw them into your research journey.

Using Clear and Concise Language

One of the most important writing techniques to employ in your introduction is the use of clear and concise language. By choosing your words carefully, you can effectively convey your ideas to the reader. It is essential to avoid using jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or alienate your audience. Instead, focus on communicating your research in a straightforward manner to ensure that your introduction is accessible to both experts in your field and those who may be new to the topic. This approach allows you to engage a broader audience and make your research more inclusive.

Establishing the Relevance of Your Research

One way to establish the relevance of your research is by highlighting how it fills a gap in the existing literature. Explain how your study addresses a significant research question that has not been adequately explored. By doing this, you demonstrate that your research is not only unique but also contributes to the broader knowledge in your field. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize the potential impact of your research. Whether it is advancing scientific understanding, informing policy decisions, or improving practical applications, make it clear to the reader how your study can make a difference.

By employing these two writing techniques in your introduction, you can effectively engage your readers. Take your time to craft an introduction that is both informative and captivating, leaving your readers eager to delve deeper into your research.

Revising and Polishing Your Introduction

Once you have written your introduction, it is crucial to revise and polish it to ensure that it effectively sets the stage for your research paper.

Self-Editing Techniques

Review your introduction for clarity, coherence, and logical flow. Ensure each paragraph introduces a new idea or argument with smooth transitions.

Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structures.

Ensure that your introduction aligns with the overall tone and style of your research paper.

Seeking Feedback for Improvement

Consider seeking feedback from peers, colleagues, or your instructor. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improving your introduction. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to refine your introduction and make it more compelling for the reader.

Writing an introduction for a research paper requires careful thought and planning. By understanding the purpose of the introduction, preparing adequately, structuring effectively, and employing writing techniques, you can create an engaging and informative introduction for your research. Remember to revise and polish your introduction to ensure that it accurately represents the main ideas and arguments in your research paper. With a well-crafted introduction, you will capture the reader's attention and keep them inclined to your paper.

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  • If you are writing in a new discipline, you should always make sure to ask about conventions and expectations for introductions, just as you would for any other aspect of the essay. For example, while it may be acceptable to write a two-paragraph (or longer) introduction for your papers in some courses, instructors in other disciplines, such as those in some Government courses, may expect a shorter introduction that includes a preview of the argument that will follow.  
  • In some disciplines (Government, Economics, and others), it’s common to offer an overview in the introduction of what points you will make in your essay. In other disciplines, you will not be expected to provide this overview in your introduction.  
  • Avoid writing a very general opening sentence. While it may be true that “Since the dawn of time, people have been telling love stories,” it won’t help you explain what’s interesting about your topic.  
  • Avoid writing a “funnel” introduction in which you begin with a very broad statement about a topic and move to a narrow statement about that topic. Broad generalizations about a topic will not add to your readers’ understanding of your specific essay topic.  
  • Avoid beginning with a dictionary definition of a term or concept you will be writing about. If the concept is complicated or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to define it in detail later in your essay. If it’s not complicated, you can assume your readers already know the definition.  
  • Avoid offering too much detail in your introduction that a reader could better understand later in the paper.
  • picture_as_pdf Introductions

How to Write an Introduction For a Research Paper

Learn how to write a strong and efficient research paper introduction by following the suitable structure and avoiding typical errors.

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An introduction to any type of paper is sometimes misunderstood as the beginning; yet, an introduction is actually intended to present your chosen subject to the audience in a way that makes it more appealing and leaves your readers thirsty for more information. After the title and abstract, your audience will read the introduction, thus it’s critical to get off to a solid start.  

This article includes instructions on how to write an introduction for a research paper that engages the reader in your research. You can produce a strong opening for your research paper if you stick to the format and a few basic principles.

What is An Introduction To a Research Paper?

An introduction is the opening section of a research paper and the section that a reader is likely to read first, in which the objective and goals of the subsequent writing are stated. 

The introduction serves numerous purposes. It provides context for your research, explains your topic and objectives, and provides an outline of the work. A solid introduction will establish the tone for the remainder of your paper, enticing readers to continue reading through the methodology, findings, and discussion. 

Even though introductions are generally presented at the beginning of a document, we must distinguish an introduction from the beginning of your research. An introduction, as the name implies, is supposed to introduce your subject without extending it. All relevant information and facts should be placed in the body and conclusion, not the introduction.

Structure Of An Introduction

Before explaining how to write an introduction for a research paper , it’s necessary to comprehend a structure that will make your introduction stronger and more straightforward.

A Good Hook

A hook is one of the most effective research introduction openers. A hook’s objective is to stimulate the reader’s interest to read the research paper.  There are various approaches you may take to generate a strong hook:  startling facts, a question, a brief overview, or even a quotation. 

Broad Overview

Following an excellent hook, you should present a wide overview of your major issue and some background information on your research. If you’re unsure about how to begin an essay introduction, the best approach is to offer a basic explanation of your topic before delving into specific issues. Simply said, you should begin with general information and then narrow it down to your relevant topics.

After offering some background information regarding your research’s main topic, go on to give readers a better understanding of what you’ll be covering throughout your research. In this section of your introduction, you should swiftly clarify your important topics in the sequence in which they will be addressed later, gradually introducing your thesis statement. You can use some  The following are some critical questions to address in this section of your introduction: Who? What? Where? When? How? And why is that?

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement, which must be stated in the beginning clause of your research since your entire research revolves around it, is the most important component of your research.

A thesis statement presents your audience with a quick overview of the research’s main assertion. In the body section of your work, your key argument is what you will expose or debate about it. An excellent thesis statement is usually very succinct, accurate, explicit, clear, and focused. Typically, your thesis should be at the conclusion of your introductory paragraph/section.

Tips for Writing a Strong Introduction

Aside from the good structure, here are a few tips to make your introduction strong and accurate:

  • Keep in mind the aim of your research and make sure your introduction supports it.
  • Use an appealing and relevant hook that catches the reader’s attention right away.
  • Make it obvious to your readers what your stance is.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of your subject.
  • Provide your readers with a road map to help them understand what you will address throughout the research.
  • Be succinct – it is advised that your opening introduction consists of around 8-9 percent of the overall amount of words in your article (for example, 160 words for a 2000 words essay). 
  • Make a strong and unambiguous thesis statement.
  • Explain why the article is significant in 1-2 sentences.
  • Remember to keep it interesting.

Mistakes to Avoid in Your Introduction

Check out what not to do and what to avoid now that you know the structure and how to write an introduction for a research paper .

  • Lacking a feeling of direction or purpose.
  • Giving out too much.
  • Creating lengthy paragraphs.
  • Excessive or insufficient background, literature, and theory.
  • Including material that should be placed in the body and conclusion.
  • Not writing enough or writing excessively.
  • Using too many quotes.

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What is a "good" introduction?

Citing sources in the introduction, "introduction checklist" from: how to write a good scientific paper. chris a. mack. spie. 2018..

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This is where you describe briefly and clearly why you are writing the paper. The introduction supplies sufficient background information for the reader to understand and evaluate the experiment you did. It also supplies a rationale for the study.

  • Present the problem and the proposed solution
  • Presents nature and scope of the problem investigated
  • Reviews the pertinent literature to orient the reader
  • States the method of the experiment
  • State the principle results of the experiment

It is important to cite sources in the introduction section of your paper as evidence of the claims you are making. There are ways of citing sources in the text so that the reader can find the full reference in the literature cited section at the end of the paper, yet the flow of the reading is not badly interrupted. Below are some example of how this can be done:     "Smith (1983) found that N-fixing plants could be infected by several different species of Rhizobium."     "Walnut trees are known to be allelopathic (Smith 1949,  Bond et al. 1955, Jones and Green 1963)."     "Although the presence of Rhizobium normally increases the growth of legumes (Nguyen 1987), the opposite effect has been observed (Washington 1999)." Note that articles by one or two authors are always cited in the text using their last names. However, if there are more than two authors, the last name of the 1st author is given followed by the abbreviation et al. which is Latin for "and others". 

From:  https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/guides/imrad-reports-introductions

  • Indicate the field of the work, why this field is important, and what has already been done (with proper citations).
  • Indicate a gap, raise a research question, or challenge prior work in this territory.
  • Outline the purpose and announce the present research, clearly indicating what is novel and why it is significant.
  • Avoid: repeating the abstract; providing unnecessary background information; exaggerating the importance of the work; claiming novelty without a proper literature search. 
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How to write an introduction for a research paper

How to write a introduction for a research paper

Writing an introduction for a research paper can be one of the hardest parts of the writing process. How do you get started? In this post, we discuss the components of an introduction and explore strategies for writing one successfully.

What is an introduction?

The introduction to a research paper provides background information or context on the topic. It also includes the thesis statement and signposts that let the reader know what you will cover in the rest of the paper.

Depending on the type of research paper that you’re writing, you may also include a brief state of the field in your introduction. You might also put that in a separate section, called a literature review. Before you tackle writing your introduction, be sure to consult the assignment guidelines for your paper.

How to write an introduction

An introduction provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers need to know in order to understand the context. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

The opening section

Many papers begin with a hook: a short anecdote or scenario that draws the reader in and gives a hint of what the paper will cover. A hook allows you to capture your reader’s attention and provides an anchor for the context that you will provide in the bulk of the introduction.

Most of your introduction should be taken up with background information, but this doesn’t mean that you should fill your opening section with overly general statements. Instead, provide key pieces of information (like statistics) that a reader would need to know in order to understand your main argument.

The thesis statement

Towards the end of the introduction, you should state your thesis, preferably in the form of "I argue that..." or "This paper argues that..." or a similar phrase. Although it’s called a “thesis statement,” your thesis can be more than one sentence.

Finally, an introduction contains a brief outline or "signposts" of what the rest of the article will cover (also known as forecasting statements). You can use language like, “in what follows,” or “in the rest of the paper,” to signal that you are describing what you’ll do in the remainder of the paper.

Tips for writing an introduction

1. don’t rely on generalizations.

An introduction is not simply filler. It has a very specific function in a research paper: to provide context that leads up to a thesis statement.

You may be tempted to start your paper with generalizations like, “many people believe that...” or, “in our society...,” or a general dictionary definition, because you’re not sure what kind of context to provide. Instead, use specific facts like statistics or historical anecdotes to open your paper.

2. State your thesis directly

Once you’ve provided the appropriate, and specific, background information on your topic, you can move on to stating your thesis. As a rule of thumb, state your thesis as directly as possible. Use phrases like “I argue that..” to indicate that you are laying out your main argument.

3. Include signposts

A strong introduction includes clear signposts that outline what you will cover in the rest of the paper. You can signal this by using words like, “in what follows,” and by describing the steps that you will take to build your argument.

4. Situate your argument within the scholarly conversation

Some types of research papers require a separate literature review in which you explore what others have written about your topic.

Even if you’re not required to have a formal literature review, you should still include at least a paragraph in which you engage with the scholarly debate on your chosen subject. Be sure to include direct quotes from your sources . You can use BibGuru’s citation generator to create accurate in-text citations for your quotes.

This section can come directly before your thesis statement or directly after it. In the former case, your state of the field will function as additional context for your thesis.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to write an introduction for a research paper

A good introduction provides specific background information on your topic, sets up your thesis statement, and includes signposts for what you’ll cover in the rest of the paper.

An introduction should include context, a thesis statement, and signposts.

Do not include generalizations, apologies for not being an expert, or dictionary definitions in your introduction.

The length of your introduction depends on the overall length of your paper. For instance, an introduction for an 8-10 page paper will likely be anywhere from 1-3 pages.

You can choose to start an introduction with a hook, an important statistic, an historical anecdote, or another specific piece of background information.

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Are you working on a report and struggling to write an engaging introduction? Do you want to know how to hook your readers and make them want to read your entire report? To better understand the concept of report introduction writing, visit the following link;

Review Introduction in Complete Dissertation Examples Here

In this step-by-step guide, we'll teach you how to write a report introduction that will get your readers excited about what's to come. It is a skill; mastering it can be the difference between a good and bad report.

What is a Report?

A report is an academic document that contains data or findings from an investigation. Reports are usually used to communicate the results of a business project, scientific study, or research effort. Reports typically include a section of the executive summary, followed by sections that provide more detailed information.

Explore What is the Goal of Report Writing Here

The length and format of a report vary depending on its purpose and audience. For example, an annual report for shareholders will be very different from a scientific one. Ultimately, the goal of any report is to provide clear and concise information about a particular subject.

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Structure of a Report

The structure of a report is very important in report writing conventions. The structure of a report is as follows.

1. Introduction

The introduction is the first section of a report and sets the tone for the rest of the document. The main objective of an introduction is to introduce your topic and get your readers interested in what you have to say.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a short, concise overview of the findings or conclusions presented in a report. It's typically one or two paragraphs long and should be written last.

The body of a report contains all the detailed information about your topic. It can be divided into subsections if needed.

4. Conclusion

The conclusion wraps up the information presented in the body of the report and offers some final thoughts on the subject matter.

5. Appendices

Appendices are optional sections that contain additional information related to your topics, such as charts, graphs, tables, images, or data sets.

Role of Introduction in a Report

The purpose of an introduction in an academic report is to offer a clear, concise overview of the main points the report will address.

The introduction of a report is critical as it sets the stage for the rest of the report and provides your readers with a framework to understand your findings.

Learn More about What should Keep in Mind While Writing Introduction

It is important to remember that the introduction is not meant to be exhaustive; instead, its goal is to give the reader a basic understanding of what the report will cover.

It should state the overall purpose or goals of the report. It must provide a brief overview of the methods used to gather information and data for the report. Finally, the introduction should briefly touch on the key findings or takeaways from the report. By including these elements, you can ensure that your readers clearly understand your report's core.

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Characteristics of a well-written report introduction.

  • The introduction should convey the purpose of the report.
  • The introduction should provide an overview of the report's key points.
  • The introduction should clarify why the topic is necessary or relevant.
  • The introduction should define any key terms used in the report.
  • The introduction's purpose is to set the tone for the rest of the report.
  • The introduction should clarify what the reader can expect to find in the report.
  • The introduction should be well-organized and easy to follow.
  • The introduction should be no more than one or two paragraphs long.
  • The introduction must end with a clear statement of the report's thesis or main argument.

Components of a Well-Written Introduction

There are three parts to a well-written introduction:

  • The transition

The hook grabs the reader's attention with a brief report overview. The transition briefly explains how the hook relates to the rest of the report. The scope statement clearly and concisely states the report's leading authority.

Here's how to craft various parts of the introduction:

1. The Hook

The first part of a well-written introduction is the hook. The hook grabs the reader's attention and gives them a reason to keep reading. It can be a crucial statistic, important background information, and an overview of the topic in consideration.

2. The Transition

The second part of a well-written introduction is the transition. The transition connects the hook to the purpose of the report. In this part, write about what to expect from the report.

3. The Scope

A well-written introduction's third and final part describes the report's scope. You should briefly discuss the data collection methods, analysis, and results of the report.

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Steps of writing a report introduction, 1: introduce the topic of the report.

Present your report's topic and explain it briefly to familiarize the reader with the topic of the report. The concise way to introduce it is by explaining the background of the title and elaborating on the outcome.

 2. Summarize the Main Points Covered in the Report

In the second step, provide a summary of your key points, sections, results, and discussions of the report.

3. State the Purpose of the Report

Step 3 should describe the aim and purpose of your report. Use concise language and expressive verbs. Avoid jargon, ambiguities, and technical complexities early in your report.

4. Preview the Main Findings of the Report

In the final step of your report introduction, tell your readers what results you gained and what are the report's primary findings.

Template of the Report Introduction

You can follow this template to craft a concise and crisp introduction to your report.

"The purpose of this report is to (explain what the report will be about). This report will (give an overview of what the report will cover). The methodology used in this report is (explain how the report was created). The findings of this report are based on (describe what the report found). This report concludes with (give a summary of the report's conclusions)."

To conclude, writing a report introduction can make or break your complete report analysis. Therefore, the said recommendations must be followed to stand out in your report writing. 

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How to Write a Research Introduction

Last Updated: December 6, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,654,772 times.

The introduction to a research paper can be the most challenging part of the paper to write. The length of the introduction will vary depending on the type of research paper you are writing. An introduction should announce your topic, provide context and a rationale for your work, before stating your research questions and hypothesis. Well-written introductions set the tone for the paper, catch the reader's interest, and communicate the hypothesis or thesis statement.

Introducing the Topic of the Paper

Step 1 Announce your research topic.

  • In scientific papers this is sometimes known as an "inverted triangle", where you start with the broadest material at the start, before zooming in on the specifics. [2] X Research source
  • The sentence "Throughout the 20th century, our views of life on other planets have drastically changed" introduces a topic, but does so in broad terms.
  • It provides the reader with an indication of the content of the essay and encourages them to read on.

Step 2 Consider referring to key words.

  • For example, if you were writing a paper about the behaviour of mice when exposed to a particular substance, you would include the word "mice", and the scientific name of the relevant compound in the first sentences.
  • If you were writing a history paper about the impact of the First World War on gender relations in Britain, you should mention those key words in your first few lines.

Step 3 Define any key terms or concepts.

  • This is especially important if you are attempting to develop a new conceptualization that uses language and terminology your readers may be unfamiliar with.

Step 4 Introduce the topic through an anecdote or quotation.

  • If you use an anecdote ensure that is short and highly relevant for your research. It has to function in the same way as an alternative opening, namely to announce the topic of your research paper to your reader.
  • For example, if you were writing a sociology paper about re-offending rates among young offenders, you could include a brief story of one person whose story reflects and introduces your topic.
  • This kind of approach is generally not appropriate for the introduction to a natural or physical sciences research paper where the writing conventions are different.

Establishing the Context for Your Paper

Step 1 Include a brief literature review.

  • It is important to be concise in the introduction, so provide an overview on recent developments in the primary research rather than a lengthy discussion.
  • You can follow the "inverted triangle" principle to focus in from the broader themes to those to which you are making a direct contribution with your paper.
  • A strong literature review presents important background information to your own research and indicates the importance of the field.

Step 2 Use the literature to focus in on your contribution.

  • By making clear reference to existing work you can demonstrate explicitly the specific contribution you are making to move the field forward.
  • You can identify a gap in the existing scholarship and explain how you are addressing it and moving understanding forward.

Step 3 Elaborate on the rationale of your paper.

  • For example, if you are writing a scientific paper you could stress the merits of the experimental approach or models you have used.
  • Stress what is novel in your research and the significance of your new approach, but don't give too much detail in the introduction.
  • A stated rationale could be something like: "the study evaluates the previously unknown anti-inflammatory effects of a topical compound in order to evaluate its potential clinical uses".

Specifying Your Research Questions and Hypothesis

Step 1 State your research questions.

  • The research question or questions generally come towards the end of the introduction, and should be concise and closely focused.
  • The research question might recall some of the key words established in the first few sentences and the title of your paper.
  • An example of a research question could be "what were the consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the Mexican export economy?"
  • This could be honed further to be specific by referring to a particular element of the Free Trade Agreement and the impact on a particular industry in Mexico, such as clothing manufacture.
  • A good research question should shape a problem into a testable hypothesis.

Step 2 Indicate your hypothesis.

  • If possible try to avoid using the word "hypothesis" and rather make this implicit in your writing. This can make your writing appear less formulaic.
  • In a scientific paper, giving a clear one-sentence overview of your results and their relation to your hypothesis makes the information clear and accessible. [10] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source
  • An example of a hypothesis could be "mice deprived of food for the duration of the study were expected to become more lethargic than those fed normally".

Step 3 Outline the structure of your paper.

  • This is not always necessary and you should pay attention to the writing conventions in your discipline.
  • In a natural sciences paper, for example, there is a fairly rigid structure which you will be following.
  • A humanities or social science paper will most likely present more opportunities to deviate in how you structure your paper.

Research Introduction Help

write an introduction to a research report

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Use your research papers' outline to help you decide what information to include when writing an introduction. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
  • Consider drafting your introduction after you have already completed the rest of your research paper. Writing introductions last can help ensure that you don't leave out any major points. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

write an introduction to a research report

  • Avoid emotional or sensational introductions; these can create distrust in the reader. Thanks Helpful 50 Not Helpful 12
  • Generally avoid using personal pronouns in your introduction, such as "I," "me," "we," "us," "my," "mine," or "our." Thanks Helpful 31 Not Helpful 7
  • Don't overwhelm the reader with an over-abundance of information. Keep the introduction as concise as possible by saving specific details for the body of your paper. Thanks Helpful 24 Not Helpful 14

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Publish a Research Paper

  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185916
  • ↑ https://www.aresearchguide.com/inverted-pyramid-structure-in-writing.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/introduction
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html
  • ↑ https://dept.writing.wisc.edu/wac/writing-an-introduction-for-a-scientific-paper/
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
  • ↑ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178846/

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

To introduce your research paper, use the first 1-2 sentences to describe your general topic, such as “women in World War I.” Include and define keywords, such as “gender relations,” to show your reader where you’re going. Mention previous research into the topic with a phrase like, “Others have studied…”, then transition into what your contribution will be and why it’s necessary. Finally, state the questions that your paper will address and propose your “answer” to them as your thesis statement. For more information from our English Ph.D. co-author about how to craft a strong hypothesis and thesis, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Research Blog

How to write a research paper introduction (with examples).

write an introduction to a research report

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to learn more about research, check out this  Research Course .

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on crafting the perfect introduction for your research paper. In this blog, we’ll explore the crucial elements of a strong introduction, highlight common pitfalls to avoid, and provide practical tips to effectively set the stage for your study’s objectives and significance. 

Table of Contents

Lack of a clear thesis statement, lack of clear objectives and scope, failure to establish the research significance, insufficient background information, inadequate literature review, ignoring the research gap, overly technical language, poor organization and flow, neglecting the audience, the importance of a good introduction.

A strong introduction sets the tone for the entire paper, guiding the reader through the research journey. It provides context, establishes relevance, and ensures the reader understands the importance of the study.

Starting a research project is exciting, but getting the introduction right is key. It’s like opening the door to your study and inviting readers in. However, there are some common missteps that can trip you up along the way.

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Common mistakes to avoid.

A thesis statement is the central argument or claim that guides the entire research paper. It is a concise summary of the main point or claim of the paper and is typically found at the end of the introduction. A clear thesis statement helps to focus the research, provide direction, and inform the reader of the paper’s purpose. Expert reviewers may even skip the rest of the introduction (as they are well versed in the topic) and focus only on your thesis statement, so it’s vital to make sure it is perfect!

When a research introduction lacks a clear thesis statement, several issues can arise:

  • Ambiguity : Without a clear thesis, the reader may be confused about the paper’s purpose and the main argument. Do not talk in vague terms. Whenever possible, use terminology established in recent literature. Narrow down the key aspects of the association that you are investigating (the study sample, the outcome and predictor measures) as much as possible.
  • Lack of Focus : The paper can become unfocused and meander through unrelated topics, making it difficult for the reader to follow the argument. Do not try to have more than 1-2 main aims in a paper. Even if you have done supplementary analysis, it is better to say so in the discussion. As a rule of thumb, try to answer one major question only!
  • Weak Argumentation : A well-defined thesis provides a strong foundation for building arguments. Without it, the arguments may appear weak and unsupported.

Let's be more practical:

1- In this paper, I will discuss climate change.

  • Problem: This statement is too broad and vague. It does not provide a clear direction or specific argument.

2- This paper argues that climate change, measured by global average temperature change, is primarily driven by human activities, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, and proposes policy measures to mitigate its impact.(1)

  • Strengths: – Specificity : It clearly states that the paper will focus on human activities as the main drivers of climate change. – Argument : It presents a specific claim that the paper will argue. – Direction : It hints at the structure of the paper by mentioning policy measures.

If you would like to learn more about introductions and other aspects of clinical research, check out the Medical Research Course from the Match Guy here .

Powerful Tips:

  • Be Specific : Clearly define the main argument or claim. Avoid vague or broad statements.
  • Be Concise : Keep the thesis statement concise, ideally one to two sentences.
  • Provide Direction : Indicate the structure of the paper by hinting at the main points that will be discussed.
  • Revise as Needed : Be prepared to revise the thesis statement as your research progresses and your understanding deepens.

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A clear statement of objectives and scope is crucial in a research paper introduction because it outlines what the study aims to achieve and defines the boundaries within which the research will be conducted.

Example of Lacking Clear Objectives and Scope: This paper examines the impacts of climate change on agriculture.

  • Problem : This statement is too broad and vague. It does not specify what aspects of climate change or agriculture will be studied, nor does it define the geographical or temporal scope.

Example with Clear Objectives and Scope: This study aims to investigate the effects of rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns on crop yields in the Midwest United States from 2000 to 2010. The objectives are to (1) assess the impact of temperature changes on corn and soybean yields, (2) analyze how variations in precipitation affect crop growth, and (3) identify adaptive strategies employed by farmers in the region.(2)

Powerful tips:

  • Be Specific : Clearly state what the study aims to achieve and avoid vague or broad statements.
  • Identify Key Areas : Outline the main areas or aspects that the research will focus on.
  • Set Boundaries : Define the geographical, temporal, and conceptual boundaries of the research.
  • List Objectives : Clearly articulate specific research objectives or questions that the study will address.
  • Stay Realistic : Ensure that the objectives and scope are achievable within the constraints of the research project.
  • Make it flow : Make sure you are not repeating the same concepts as the thesis statement, as these two sections are often presented back-to-back in the final paragraph of the introduction! Remember: the thesis statement is your hypothesis or question, and your objectives are ‘how’ you are going to test your thesis.

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This mistake can result in the research appearing trivial or irrelevant, diminishing its potential impact. When the significance of the research is not well-established, readers may struggle to understand the value of the study and why they should care about it.

Example of Failure to Establish Research Significance: This study investigates the effects of social media usage on sleep patterns among teenagers.

  • Problem : The significance of studying social media’s impact on sleep patterns is not explained. The reader may wonder why this research is important or what implications it has.

Example with Established Research Significance: This study investigates the effects of social media usage on sleep patterns among teenagers. Understanding this relationship is crucial because insufficient sleep is linked to numerous health issues, including decreased academic performance, heightened stress levels, and increased risk of mental health problems. With the pervasive use of social media among adolescents, identifying how it impacts sleep can inform strategies for promoting healthier habits and improving overall well-being in this vulnerable age group.(3)

  • Link to Broader Issues : Connect the research topic to broader issues or trends that highlight its relevance and importance.
  • Explain Practical Implications : Discuss the potential practical applications or benefits of the research findings.
  • Address Gaps in Knowledge : Identify gaps in the existing literature that the research aims to fill.
  • Highlight Potential Impact : Emphasize the potential impact of the research on the field, society, or specific populations.
  • Use Concrete Examples : Provide concrete examples or scenarios to illustrate the significance of the research.

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Insufficient background information in the introduction of a research paper refers to failing to provide enough context for the reader to understand the research problem and its significance. Background information sets the stage for the research by offering necessary details about the topic, relevant theories, previous studies, and key terms.

This may lead to:

  • Reader Confusion : Without adequate context, readers may struggle to understand the research question, its importance, and how it fits into the broader field of study.
  • Weak Justification : Insufficient background can undermine the rationale for the research, making it difficult to justify why the study is necessary or valuable.
  • Misinterpretation : Lack of context can lead to misinterpretation of the research objectives, methods, and findings.

Example of Insufficient Background Information: In recent years, many researchers have studied the effects of social media on teenagers. This paper explores the relationship between social media use and anxiety among teenagers.

  • Problem : This introduction lacks specific details about the previous research, the theoretical framework, and key terms. It does not provide enough context for the reader to understand why the study is important.

Example of Adequate Background Information: Social media platforms have become an integral part of teenagers’ daily lives, with studies showing that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and 45% are online almost constantly. Previous research has linked excessive social media use to various mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship remain unclear. This paper explores the impact of social media use on anxiety levels among teenagers, focusing on the roles of social comparison and cyberbullying.(4)

If you would like to learn more about manuscript writing, check out the Comprehensive Research Course from the Match Guy here .

  • Review Relevant Literature : Summarize key studies and theories related to your topic.
  • Provide Context : Explain the broader context of your research problem.
  • Define Key Terms : Ensure that any specialized terms or concepts are clearly defined.
  • Identify the Research Gap : Highlight what is not yet known or understood about your topic.
  • Be Concise : Provide enough information to set the stage without overwhelming the reader with details.

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This mistake can occur when the literature review is too brief, lacks depth, omits key studies, or fails to critically analyze previous work. An inadequate literature review can undermine the foundation of the research by failing to provide the necessary context and justification for the study.

Inadequate Literature Review: There has been some research on the relationship between exercise and mental health. This paper will investigate this relationship further.

  • Problem : This review is too general and does not provide sufficient detail about the existing research or how it informs the current study.

Example with Adequate Literature Review: Research has consistently shown that regular physical activity has positive effects on mental health. For example, a study by Gujral et al. (2019) demonstrated that aerobic exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Similarly, Smith and Lee (2020) found that strength training also contributes to improved mood and reduced stress levels. However, much of the existing research has focused on adult populations, with relatively few studies examining these effects in adolescents. Additionally, the specific types of exercise that are most beneficial for different mental health outcomes have not been thoroughly investigated. This study aims to explore the effects of various types of exercise on the mental health of high school students, thereby addressing these gaps in the literature.(5-6)

  • Be Comprehensive : Review a broad range of studies related to the research topic to provide a thorough context.
  • Be Specific : Cite specific studies, including their methodologies, findings, and relevance to the current research.
  • Be Critical : Analyze and evaluate the existing research, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and gaps.
  • Be Structured : Organize the literature review logically, grouping studies by themes or findings to create a coherent narrative.
  • Be Relevant : Focus on the most relevant studies that directly relate to the research question and objectives.

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Ignoring the research gap in a research paper introduction means failing to identify and articulate what specific aspect of the topic has not been explored or adequately addressed in existing literature. The research gap is a critical component because it justifies the necessity and originality of the study. Without highlighting this gap, the research may appear redundant or lacking in significance.

How huge is this mistake?

  • Lack of Justification : The study may not appear necessary or relevant, diminishing its perceived value.
  • Redundancy : The research may seem to duplicate existing studies, offering no new insights or contributions to the field. Even if you are using methodology similar to previous studies, it is important to note why you are doing so e.g., few studies have used that specific methodology, and you would like to validate it in your sample population!
  • Reader Disinterest : Readers may lose interest if they do not see the unique contribution or purpose of the research.

Example of Ignoring the Research Gap: Many studies have examined the effects of exercise on mental health. This paper looks at the relationship between physical activity and depression.

  • Problem : This introduction does not specify what aspect of the relationship between physical activity and depression has not been studied, failing to highlight the unique contribution of the research.

Example of Identifying the Research Gap: Numerous studies have demonstrated the general benefits of physical activity on mental health, particularly its role in alleviating symptoms of depression. However, there is limited research on how different types of exercise (e.g., aerobic vs. anaerobic) specifically impact depression levels among various age groups. This study investigates the differential effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on depression in young adults, aiming to fill this gap in the literature.(6)

  • Conduct a Thorough Literature Review : Understand the current state of research in your field to identify what has been studied and where gaps exist.
  • Be Specific : Clearly articulate what specific aspect has not been covered in existing studies.
  • Link to Your Study : Explain how your research will address this gap and contribute to the field.
  • Use Evidence : Support your identification of the gap with references to previous studies.
  • Emphasize Significance : Highlight why filling this gap is important for advancing knowledge or practical applications.

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Overly technical language refers to the excessive use of jargon, complex terms, and highly specialized language that may be difficult for readers, especially those not familiar with the field, to understand. While technical language is sometimes necessary in academic writing, overusing it in the introduction can create several problems:

  • Reader Alienation : Readers may find the text intimidating or inaccessible, leading to disengagement.
  • Lack of Clarity : The main points and significance of the research can become obscured by complex terminology.
  • Reduced Impact : The research may fail to communicate its importance effectively if readers struggle to understand the introduction.

Example of Overly Technical Language: The present study examines the metacognitive strategies employed by individuals in the domain of second language acquisition, specifically focusing on the interaction between declarative and procedural memory systems in the process of syntactic parsing.

  • Problem : This sentence is loaded with jargon (“metacognitive strategies,” “second language acquisition,” “declarative and procedural memory systems,” “syntactic parsing”), which can be overwhelming and confusing for readers not familiar with these terms.

Example with Simplified Language: This study looks at the thinking strategies people use when learning a second language. It focuses on how different types of memory, such as the knowledge of facts and the skills for doing things, help in understanding sentence structures.(7)

  • Know Your Audience : Tailor the language to the intended audience, ensuring it is accessible to both specialists and non-specialists.
  • Define Term s: When technical terms are necessary, provide clear definitions or explanations.
  • Use Analogies : Simplify complex concepts using analogies or examples that are easy to understand.
  • Avoid Jargon : Limit the use of jargon and specialized terms, especially in the introduction.
  • Seek Feedback : Ask peers or non-experts to read the introduction and provide feedback on clarity and accessibility.

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Poor organization and flow in a research paper introduction refer to a lack of logical structure and coherence that makes the introduction difficult to follow. This can occur when ideas are presented in a haphazard manner, transitions between sections are weak or non-existent, and the overall narrative is disjointed. A well-organized introduction should smoothly guide the reader from the general context to the specific objectives of the study.

Example of Poor Organization and Flow: “Climate change affects agriculture in various ways. Many studies have looked at the impact on crop yields. This paper will discuss the economic implications of these changes. Climate models predict increased variability in weather patterns, which will affect water availability. Researchers have found that higher temperatures reduce the growing season for many crops.”

  • Problem : The ideas are presented in a scattered manner without clear connections. The mention of economic implications seems out of place, and there are abrupt shifts between topics.

Example with Good Organization and Flow: Climate change poses significant challenges to agriculture by altering weather patterns, impacting crop yields, and affecting water availability. Numerous studies have shown that increased temperatures can shorten the growing season for many crops, leading to reduced yields. Additionally, climate models predict increased variability in weather patterns, which complicates water management for farmers. These changes not only affect food production but also have substantial economic implications for agricultural communities. This paper will examine the economic impacts of climate-induced changes in agriculture, focusing on crop yield variability and water resource management.(1)

  • Create an Outline : Before writing, outline the main points you want to cover in the introduction.
  • Think in terms of an inverted triangle : Begin broadly to introduce basic concepts related to your topic. As you progress through the introduction, you can introduce more and more specific topics until you have enough information to justify your thesis statement
  • Use Transitional Phrases : Employ transitional phrases and sentences to connect ideas and sections smoothly.
  • Follow a Logical Sequence : Present information in a logical order, moving from general context to specific objectives.
  • Maintain Focus : Stay focused on the main topic and avoid introducing unrelated ideas.
  • Revise for Coherence : Review and revise the introduction to ensure that it flows well and that each part contributes to the overall narrative.

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  • Interview Preparation

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Neglecting the audience refers to failing to consider the background, knowledge level, and interests of the intended readers when writing the introduction of a research paper. This mistake can manifest in several ways, such as using overly technical language for a general audience, providing insufficient background information for readers unfamiliar with the topic, or failing to engage the readers’ interest.

Example of Neglecting the Audience: For experts in genomic sequencing, this study explores the epigenetic modifications resulting from CRISPR-Cas9 interventions, focusing on the methylation patterns and histone modifications observed in gene-edited cells.

  • Problem : This introduction assumes a high level of expertise in genomic sequencing and epigenetics, which may alienate readers without this background.

Example with Audience Consideration: CRISPR-Cas9 is a groundbreaking tool in genetic research that allows scientists to edit DNA with precision. However, altering genes can lead to unexpected changes in how genes are expressed, known as epigenetic modifications. This study investigates these changes by looking at specific markers on DNA, such as methylation patterns, and how they affect gene activity in cells that have been edited using CRISPR-Cas9. Our goal is to understand the broader implications of gene editing on cellular functions, which is crucial for advancing medical research and treatments.(8)

  • Identify the Audience : Determine who the intended readers are (e.g., experts, students, general public) and tailor the language and content accordingly. Read papers from the journals you are considering for submission. Professional editors curate the language used in these papers and are a great starting point to identify the level of expertise of your audience!
  • Simplify Language : Use clear and straightforward language, avoiding jargon and technical terms unless they are necessary and well-explained.
  • Provide Background Information : Include sufficient background information to help readers understand the context and significance of the research.
  • Engage the Reader : Start with an engaging introduction that highlights the relevance and importance of the research topic.
  • Anticipate Questions : Consider what questions or concerns the audience might have and address them in the introduction

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By following these guidelines and avoiding common pitfalls, you can create an introduction that not only grabs the attention of your readers but also sets the stage for a compelling and impactful research paper.

Final Tips:

  • Revise and refine your introduction multiple times to ensure clarity and coherence.
  • Seek feedback from peers, mentors, or advisors to identify areas for improvement.
  • Keep your audience in mind and tailor your language and content to their needs and interests.
  • Stay focused on your research objectives and ensure that every part of your introduction contributes to achieving them.
  • Be confident in the significance of your research and its potential impact on your field or community.

Let your introduction be more than just words on a page. It’s a doorway to understanding. To help you along, we’ve created a practical course on writing and publishing research projects. It’s 100% risk-free, with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Try it out now by clicking here .

Wishing you success on your research journey!

Marina Ramzy Mourid, Hamza Ibad, MBBS

Dr. Ibad graduated from the Aga Khan University Medical College and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Johns Hopkins in the Department of Radiology (Musculoskeletal Division). Dr. Ibad’s research and clinical interests include deep-learning applications for automated image interpretation, osteoarthritis, and sarcopenia-related health outcomes.

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About thematchguy, become a researcher in the united states, interested in learning more about literature search with examples from published literature, the comprehensive research course, the systematic review course, the medical statistics course, how to find research positions in the us.

1. Abbass K, Qasim MZ, Song H, Murshed M, Mahmood H, Younis I. A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 2022;29(28):42539-42559. doi:10.1007/s11356-022-19718-6

2. Cai X, Wang D, Laurent R. Impact of climate change on crop yield: a case study of rainfed corn in central illinois. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. 2009;48(9):1868-1881. doi:10.1175/2009JAMC1880.1

3. Van Den Eijnden RJJM, Geurts SM, Ter Bogt TFM, Van Der Rijst VG, Koning IM. Social media use and adolescents’ sleep: a longitudinal study on the protective role of parental rules regarding internet use before sleep. IJERPH. 2021;18(3):1346. doi:10.3390/ijerph18031346

4. Schmitt, M. (2021). Effects of social media and technology on adolescents: What the evidence is showing and what we can do about it. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, 38(1), 51-59.

5. Gujral S, Aizenstein H, Reynolds CF, Butters MA, Erickson KI. Exercise effects on depression: Possible neural mechanisms. General Hospital Psychiatry. 2017;49:2-10. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2017.04.012

6. Smith PJ, Merwin RM. The role of exercise in management of mental health disorders: an integrative review. Annu Rev Med. 2021;72(1):45-62. doi:10.1146/annurev-med-060619-022943

7. Sun Q, Zhang LJ. Understanding learners’ metacognitive experiences in learning to write in English as a foreign language: A structural equation modeling approach. Front Psychol. 2022;13:986301. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.986301

8. Kolanu ND. Crispr–cas9 gene editing: curing genetic diseases by inherited epigenetic modifications. Glob Med Genet. 2024;11(01):113-122. doi:10.1055/s-0044-1785234

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Research Method

Home » Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Table of Contents

Research Report

Research Report

Definition:

Research Report is a written document that presents the results of a research project or study, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions, in a clear and objective manner.

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the findings of the research to the intended audience, which could be other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public.

Components of Research Report

Components of Research Report are as follows:

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for the research report and provides a brief overview of the research question or problem being investigated. It should include a clear statement of the purpose of the study and its significance or relevance to the field of research. It may also provide background information or a literature review to help contextualize the research.

Literature Review

The literature review provides a critical analysis and synthesis of the existing research and scholarship relevant to the research question or problem. It should identify the gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the literature and show how the current study addresses these issues. The literature review also establishes the theoretical framework or conceptual model that guides the research.

Methodology

The methodology section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It should include information on the sample or participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. The methodology should be clear and detailed enough to allow other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and objective manner. It should provide a detailed description of the data and statistics used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis. Tables, graphs, and figures may be included to help visualize the data and illustrate the key findings.

The discussion section interprets the results of the study and explains their significance or relevance to the research question or problem. It should also compare the current findings with those of previous studies and identify the implications for future research or practice. The discussion should be based on the results presented in the previous section and should avoid speculation or unfounded conclusions.

The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the study and restates the main argument or thesis presented in the introduction. It should also provide a brief overview of the contributions of the study to the field of research and the implications for practice or policy.

The references section lists all the sources cited in the research report, following a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.

The appendices section includes any additional material, such as data tables, figures, or instruments used in the study, that could not be included in the main text due to space limitations.

Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report are as follows:

Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree, although it can also be written by researchers or scholars in other fields.

Research Paper

Research paper is a type of research report. A research paper is a document that presents the results of a research study or investigation. Research papers can be written in a variety of fields, including science, social science, humanities, and business. They typically follow a standard format that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.

Technical Report

A technical report is a detailed report that provides information about a specific technical or scientific problem or project. Technical reports are often used in engineering, science, and other technical fields to document research and development work.

Progress Report

A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers.

Feasibility Report

A feasibility report assesses the feasibility of a proposed project or plan, providing an analysis of the potential risks, benefits, and costs associated with the project. Feasibility reports are often used in business, engineering, and other fields to determine the viability of a project before it is undertaken.

Field Report

A field report documents observations and findings from fieldwork, which is research conducted in the natural environment or setting. Field reports are often used in anthropology, ecology, and other social and natural sciences.

Experimental Report

An experimental report documents the results of a scientific experiment, including the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions. Experimental reports are often used in biology, chemistry, and other sciences to communicate the results of laboratory experiments.

Case Study Report

A case study report provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case or situation, often used in psychology, social work, and other fields to document and understand complex cases or phenomena.

Literature Review Report

A literature review report synthesizes and summarizes existing research on a specific topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Literature review reports are often used in social sciences, education, and other fields to identify gaps in the literature and guide future research.

Research Report Example

Following is a Research Report Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance among High School Students

This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students. The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The findings indicate that there is a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students. The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers, as they highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities.

Introduction:

Social media has become an integral part of the lives of high school students. With the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, students can connect with friends, share photos and videos, and engage in discussions on a range of topics. While social media offers many benefits, concerns have been raised about its impact on academic performance. Many studies have found a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance among high school students (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012).

Given the growing importance of social media in the lives of high school students, it is important to investigate its impact on academic performance. This study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students.

Methodology:

The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The questionnaire was developed based on previous studies and was designed to measure the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as academic performance.

The participants were selected using a convenience sampling technique, and the survey questionnaire was distributed in the classroom during regular school hours. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis.

The findings indicate that the majority of high school students use social media platforms on a daily basis, with Facebook being the most popular platform. The results also show a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students.

Discussion:

The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. The negative correlation between social media use and academic performance suggests that strategies should be put in place to help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. For example, educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the negative impact of social media on academic performance among high school students. The findings highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms by which social media use affects academic performance and to develop effective strategies for addressing this issue.

Limitations:

One limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling, which limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Future studies should use random sampling techniques to increase the representativeness of the sample. Another limitation is the use of self-reported measures, which may be subject to social desirability bias. Future studies could use objective measures of social media use and academic performance, such as tracking software and school records.

Implications:

The findings of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. Educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. For example, teachers could use social media platforms to share relevant educational resources and facilitate online discussions. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. They could also engage in open communication with their children to understand their social media use and its impact on their academic performance. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students. For example, schools could implement social media policies that restrict access during class time and encourage responsible use.

References:

  • Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245.
  • Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 8(1), 1-19.
  • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), 652-657.
  • Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2013). Facebook and texting made me do it: Media-induced task-switching while studying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 948-958.

Note*: Above mention, Example is just a sample for the students’ guide. Do not directly copy and paste as your College or University assignment. Kindly do some research and Write your own.

Applications of Research Report

Research reports have many applications, including:

  • Communicating research findings: The primary application of a research report is to communicate the results of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public. The report serves as a way to share new knowledge, insights, and discoveries with others in the field.
  • Informing policy and practice : Research reports can inform policy and practice by providing evidence-based recommendations for decision-makers. For example, a research report on the effectiveness of a new drug could inform regulatory agencies in their decision-making process.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research in a particular area. Other researchers may use the findings and methodology of a report to develop new research questions or to build on existing research.
  • Evaluating programs and interventions : Research reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions in achieving their intended outcomes. For example, a research report on a new educational program could provide evidence of its impact on student performance.
  • Demonstrating impact : Research reports can be used to demonstrate the impact of research funding or to evaluate the success of research projects. By presenting the findings and outcomes of a study, research reports can show the value of research to funders and stakeholders.
  • Enhancing professional development : Research reports can be used to enhance professional development by providing a source of information and learning for researchers and practitioners in a particular field. For example, a research report on a new teaching methodology could provide insights and ideas for educators to incorporate into their own practice.

How to write Research Report

Here are some steps you can follow to write a research report:

  • Identify the research question: The first step in writing a research report is to identify your research question. This will help you focus your research and organize your findings.
  • Conduct research : Once you have identified your research question, you will need to conduct research to gather relevant data and information. This can involve conducting experiments, reviewing literature, or analyzing data.
  • Organize your findings: Once you have gathered all of your data, you will need to organize your findings in a way that is clear and understandable. This can involve creating tables, graphs, or charts to illustrate your results.
  • Write the report: Once you have organized your findings, you can begin writing the report. Start with an introduction that provides background information and explains the purpose of your research. Next, provide a detailed description of your research methods and findings. Finally, summarize your results and draw conclusions based on your findings.
  • Proofread and edit: After you have written your report, be sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure that your report is well-organized and easy to read.
  • Include a reference list: Be sure to include a list of references that you used in your research. This will give credit to your sources and allow readers to further explore the topic if they choose.
  • Format your report: Finally, format your report according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or organization. This may include formatting requirements for headings, margins, fonts, and spacing.

Purpose of Research Report

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a specific audience, such as peers in the same field, stakeholders, or the general public. The report provides a detailed description of the research methods, findings, and conclusions.

Some common purposes of a research report include:

  • Sharing knowledge: A research report allows researchers to share their findings and knowledge with others in their field. This helps to advance the field and improve the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Identifying trends: A research report can identify trends and patterns in data, which can help guide future research and inform decision-making.
  • Addressing problems: A research report can provide insights into problems or issues and suggest solutions or recommendations for addressing them.
  • Evaluating programs or interventions : A research report can evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions, which can inform decision-making about whether to continue, modify, or discontinue them.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies.

When to Write Research Report

A research report should be written after completing the research study. This includes collecting data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on the findings. Once the research is complete, the report should be written in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

In academic settings, research reports are often required as part of coursework or as part of a thesis or dissertation. In this case, the report should be written according to the guidelines provided by the instructor or institution.

In other settings, such as in industry or government, research reports may be required to inform decision-making or to comply with regulatory requirements. In these cases, the report should be written as soon as possible after the research is completed in order to inform decision-making in a timely manner.

Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the expectations of the audience, and any regulatory requirements that need to be met. However, it is important to complete the report in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

Characteristics of Research Report

There are several characteristics of a research report that distinguish it from other types of writing. These characteristics include:

  • Objective: A research report should be written in an objective and unbiased manner. It should present the facts and findings of the research study without any personal opinions or biases.
  • Systematic: A research report should be written in a systematic manner. It should follow a clear and logical structure, and the information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
  • Detailed: A research report should be detailed and comprehensive. It should provide a thorough description of the research methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research report should be accurate and based on sound research methods. The findings and conclusions should be supported by data and evidence.
  • Organized: A research report should be well-organized. It should include headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the report and understand the main points.
  • Clear and concise: A research report should be written in clear and concise language. The information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand, and unnecessary jargon should be avoided.
  • Citations and references: A research report should include citations and references to support the findings and conclusions. This helps to give credit to other researchers and to provide readers with the opportunity to further explore the topic.

Advantages of Research Report

Research reports have several advantages, including:

  • Communicating research findings: Research reports allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public. This helps to disseminate knowledge and advance the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Providing evidence for decision-making : Research reports can provide evidence to inform decision-making, such as in the case of policy-making, program planning, or product development. The findings and conclusions can help guide decisions and improve outcomes.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research on a particular topic. Other researchers can build on the findings and conclusions of the report, which can lead to further discoveries and advancements in the field.
  • Demonstrating expertise: Research reports can demonstrate the expertise of the researchers and their ability to conduct rigorous and high-quality research. This can be important for securing funding, promotions, and other professional opportunities.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies. Producing a high-quality research report can help ensure compliance with these requirements.

Limitations of Research Report

Despite their advantages, research reports also have some limitations, including:

  • Time-consuming: Conducting research and writing a report can be a time-consuming process, particularly for large-scale studies. This can limit the frequency and speed of producing research reports.
  • Expensive: Conducting research and producing a report can be expensive, particularly for studies that require specialized equipment, personnel, or data. This can limit the scope and feasibility of some research studies.
  • Limited generalizability: Research studies often focus on a specific population or context, which can limit the generalizability of the findings to other populations or contexts.
  • Potential bias : Researchers may have biases or conflicts of interest that can influence the findings and conclusions of the research study. Additionally, participants may also have biases or may not be representative of the larger population, which can limit the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Accessibility: Research reports may be written in technical or academic language, which can limit their accessibility to a wider audience. Additionally, some research may be behind paywalls or require specialized access, which can limit the ability of others to read and use the findings.

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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write an introduction for a research paper

How to write an introduction for a research paper

Beginnings are hard. Beginning a research paper is no exception. Many students—and pros—struggle with how to write an introduction for a research paper.

This short guide will describe the purpose of a research paper introduction and how to create a good one.

a research paper being viewed on a Acer TravelMate B311 2-in-1 on desk with pad of paper.

What is an introduction for a research paper?

Introductions to research papers do a lot of work.

It may seem obvious, but introductions are always placed at the beginning of a paper. They guide your reader from a general subject area to the narrow topic that your paper covers. They also explain your paper’s:

  • Scope: The topic you’ll be covering
  • Context: The background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in the context of an industry or the world

Your introduction will cover a lot of ground. However, it will only be half of a page to a few pages long. The length depends on the size of your paper as a whole. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper.

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Why is an introduction vital to a research paper?

The introduction to your research paper isn’t just important. It’s critical.

Your readers don’t know what your research paper is about from the title. That’s where your introduction comes in. A good introduction will:

  • Help your reader understand your topic’s background
  • Explain why your research paper is worth reading
  • Offer a guide for navigating the rest of the piece
  • Pique your reader’s interest

Without a clear introduction, your readers will struggle. They may feel confused when they start reading your paper. They might even give up entirely. Your introduction will ground them and prepare them for the in-depth research to come.

What should you include in an introduction for a research paper?

Research paper introductions are always unique. After all, research is original by definition. However, they often contain six essential items. These are:

  • An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. Narrow the overview until you address your paper’s specific subject. Then, mention questions or concerns you had about the case. Note that you will address them in the publication.
  • Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other conclusions on your topic. Include both older scholars and modern scholars. This background information shows that you are aware of prior research. It also introduces past findings to those who might not have that expertise.
  • A rationale for your paper. Explain why your topic needs to be addressed right now. If applicable, connect it to current issues. Additionally, you can show a problem with former theories or reveal a gap in current research. No matter how you do it, a good rationale will interest your readers and demonstrate why they must read the rest of your paper.
  • Describe the methodology you used. Recount your processes to make your paper more credible. Lay out your goal and the questions you will address. Reveal how you conducted research and describe how you measured results. Moreover, explain why you made key choices.
  • A thesis statement. Your main introduction should end with a thesis statement. This statement summarizes the ideas that will run through your entire research article. It should be straightforward and clear.
  • An outline. Introductions often conclude with an outline. Your layout should quickly review what you intend to cover in the following sections. Think of it as a roadmap, guiding your reader to the end of your paper.

These six items are emphasized more or less, depending on your field. For example, a physics research paper might emphasize methodology. An English journal article might highlight the overview.

Three tips for writing your introduction

We don’t just want you to learn how to write an introduction for a research paper. We want you to learn how to make it shine.

There are three things you can do that will make it easier to write a great introduction. You can:

  • Write your introduction last. An introduction summarizes all of the things you’ve learned from your research. While it can feel good to get your preface done quickly, you should write the rest of your paper first. Then, you’ll find it easy to create a clear overview.
  • Include a strong quotation or story upfront. You want your paper to be full of substance. But that doesn’t mean it should feel boring or flat. Add a relevant quotation or surprising anecdote to the beginning of your introduction. This technique will pique the interest of your reader and leave them wanting more.
  • Be concise. Research papers cover complex topics. To help your readers, try to write as clearly as possible. Use concise sentences. Check for confusing grammar or syntax . Read your introduction out loud to catch awkward phrases. Before you finish your paper, be sure to proofread, too. Mistakes can seem unprofessional.

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How To Write A Report Introduction: An Academic Guide

By Laura Brown on 27th July 2023

You are definitely here to learn how to write an introduction to a report. So let’s answer it directly!

Well, an effective introduction of a report should succinctly introduce the topic, state the purpose and scope of the report, and provide a brief overview of the key points to be discussed . A report introduction should capture the reader’s interest and set the tone for the rest of the document.

This could be the summary of what should be included in a report introduction and how you can write it. But this summary is not enough to understand completely how you are going to start your report.

Since you are here, you must have got an academic report to tackle. Well, let’s start by talking about something that’s often overlooked but absolutely crucial – the introduction! Trust us, nailing the introduction can make a world of difference to your entire report.

Your report introduction is like the friendly handshake you offer to your readers. It sets the tone, gives an overview of what’s to come, and entices them to stick around for the good stuff. A well-crafted intro not only impresses your readers but also shows off your writing chops and analytical skills.

So, let’s dive into the world of introductions and make your reports shine right from the very start! Get ready to captivate your audience and make your mark in the educational realm. Let’s go!

How To Write A Report Introduction: An Academic Guide

1. First, Understand The Purpose Of Your Report

To embark on successful academic writing , it’s crucial to grasp the essence of your report’s purpose. Reports come in various types, including essays, research papers, case studies, and many more! Each type requires a tailored approach to crafting a report introduction that captivates your readers.

Once you have identified the type of report you have got to prepare, the second most important thing is to understand why you have been given this report. What is the purpose, and what could be the possible outcome of completing this report.

2. Analyse The Target Audience

Audience engagement is a critical aspect of your report! Let’s shine a spotlight on your readers, who are the real heroes, and explore the art of tailoring your report introduction to captivate them.

It is really essential to consider the readers’ background and knowledge. Are they seasoned professors, fellow students, or professionals in a specific field? Understanding their perspectives helps you strike the perfect balance of technicality and simplicity in your introduction.

Crafting an introduction that speaks directly to your audience is the key. Inject enthusiasm, sprinkle relatable examples, and address their pain points . Use audience-savvy techniques, ensuring your introduction resonates with readers and leaves them eager to explore your entire report.

So, let’s dive in and charm your audience with an introduction they won’t forget! Let’s get started with how to write a report introduction!

3. Elements of a Strong Introduction

Before we head directly into how to start a report introduction, we need to understand some basic elements of the introduction of a report. A well-crafted introduction not only piques the interest of the readers but also sets the tone for the entire document. To achieve this, it should incorporate the following essential elements:

• Opening Hook or Attention-Grabber

The first few sentences of your introduction should captivate the reader’s attention and compel them to delve further into your report. An opening hook can take various forms, such as a thought-provoking question, a compelling statistic, a vivid anecdote, or a relevant and surprising fact.

• Contextualising the Report’s Topic

Following the attention-grabber, it is essential to provide the necessary context for your report’s topic. This contextualisation allows readers to grasp the background, relevance, and significance of the subject under investigation. Incorporate relevant historical, theoretical, or practical information to situate the report within its broader academic or real-world context.

• Thesis Statement or Main Objective

The thesis statement, often positioned at the end of the opening paragraph of the report introduction, concisely articulates the main objective or central argument of your report. It should be clear, specific, and focused, guiding readers on what they can expect to explore further in the document. A strong thesis statement sets the direction for the entire report, providing a roadmap for readers to navigate the subsequent sections with a clear understanding of the primary purpose.

• Overview of Report Structure and Sections

To facilitate navigation and comprehension, it is crucial to provide readers with an overview of the report’s structure and its key sections. This section-by-section outline acts as a guide, giving readers a glimpse of the organisation and flow of the report.

By skillfully incorporating these elements, your introduction will establish a strong groundwork for your report, fostering engagement and understanding throughout its entirety. Now we can move on with your actual question, how to write an introduction for an academic report! After reading this guide, if you still find anything difficult, you can always contact our report writing service for 24/7 assistance.

4. Crafting the Opening Hook

The art of crafting an engaging opening hook lies in its ability to seize the reader’s attention from the outset. Anecdotes and real-life examples breathe life into the report , making complex topics relatable and captivating for your readers. As you go on to illustrate the practical implications of the subject matter, your readers can immediately connect with the content. It will allow you to foster a sense of curiosity to explore further.

In addition to anecdotes, you should incorporate relevant statistics or data. It infuses credibility and significance into the introduction. Numbers possess a persuasive power, shedding light on the magnitude of an issue and underscoring the urgency of the report’s focus. Thought-provoking questions, on the other hand, spark introspection and stimulate critical thinking. Coupled with compelling quotes, they entice readers to contemplate the broader implications of the subject matter.

An effective opening hook in the report introduction, whether through anecdotes, statistics, or questions, sets the stage for an intellectually stimulating journey through the report’s core ideas. By capturing your reader’s imagination, the introduction paves the way for a rewarding exploration of the report’s findings and insights.

Since, students often search for how to write an introduction for a report example, here is one for you. The opening of the introduction could be like this:

In the age of digital interconnectedness, social media platforms have revolutionised the way we communicate, share information, and interact with others. The allure of virtual networks, however, comes hand in hand with growing concerns about their impact on mental health. As these platforms become an integral part of our daily lives, it is crucial to examine the intricate relationship between social media usage and its potential consequences on individuals’ psychological well-being, a pressing issue that forms the focal point of this academic report.

5. Providing Context for the Report

A well-contextualised introduction is paramount to the comprehension of the matter of the report. You should first delve into the background and history of the topic to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of its evolution over time. This historical perspective lays the groundwork for appreciating the report’s relevance in the present context.

Moreover, describing the current relevance and significance of the topic bridges the gap between theory and practice. It highlights the practical implications and real-world applications, enticing readers to explore further. In addition to how to write a report introduction, it is essential to address the previous research or related studies to showcase the existing body of knowledge and identify gaps that the current report aims to fill.

By combining historical context, present-day relevance, and existing research, the introduction forges a clear pathway for readers to navigate through the report’s findings, enriching their understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.

Let’s have a look at an example from the sample report introduction:

The exponential rise of social media has transformed the dynamics of social interactions, communication, and information dissemination, transcending geographical boundaries. With billions of users actively engaging on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, the implications on mental health have garnered significant attention from researchers, health professionals, and society at large. This report endeavours to delve into the multifaceted impacts of social media on mental health, analysing its effects on emotional well-being, self-esteem, and psychological distress.

6. Formulating a Clear Thesis Statement

As we go on to learn how to write an introduction of a report, we should know about the thesis statement. A strong thesis statement is like the backbone of your whole work. It’s the core purpose and focus of what you are doing. When you define the main objective and scope in your thesis, it gives your readers a sneak peek into what you are trying to achieve.

To make it effective, keep the thesis concise and specific. Avoid any vagueness or ambiguity . This will help sharpen the direction of the report and guide your readers to understand the main argument better.

When your thesis aligns with the objectives of your report, everything flows more smoothly. It acts as a navigational tool, guiding you and your readers through all the details and helping everyone grasp the subject matter better. So, get ready to make your report shine with a killer thesis statement!

Let’s have an example of a thesis statement from the introduction of a report:

This report aims to explore the complexities of the relationship between social media usage and mental health, considering both positive and negative aspects. By synthesising existing research, psychological theories, and empirical evidence, we seek to shed light on the various mechanisms through which social media can influence mental health outcomes. Ultimately, this examination underscores the importance of promoting digital well-being and fostering responsible social media use for individuals of all ages.

7. Outlining the Report Structure

An effectively outlined report structure serves as a roadmap for readers. It gives readers a clear and organised overview of what’s inside. First off, listing the major sections or points give them a quick glimpse of how it’s all laid out.

And here’s the trick: a brief description of each section helps readers know what to expect. That way, they can read with focus and easily find what they need later.

When you highlight the logical progression of the report, it keeps everything flowing smoothly. Each section builds upon the previous ones, creating a cohesive narrative. This way, readers can get a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Putting it all together, a well-structured report becomes a valuable guide for your readers. It leads them through all the details and ensures a rewarding and informed reading experience.

Do’s & Don’ts of How to Make a Report Introduction

Use a formal and professional tone Use vague language or jargon
Keep the introduction concise and focused Introducing information not in the report
Review and revise the introduction as needed Overuse of complex sentences or excessive adjectives

Concluding on How to Write a Good Introduction for a Report

A strong introduction forms the backbone of your report, as it plays a pivotal role in engaging readers and guiding their journey through the study’s contents. By recapitulating the significance of a well-crafted introduction, we underscore how it captivates readers from the outset, fostering their interest and curiosity.

The introduction sets the tone for the entire report, shaping readers’ perceptions and expectations. As this guide highlights the key elements for creating an effective introduction and how to start writing a report introduction, we encourage students to apply these principles to their own reports. By doing so, they can elevate the impact of their work, leaving a lasting impression on their readers.

We hope that this guide will help you through the introduction process. You can further go on to read how to write a conclusion for a report , so that you can create an excellent report for you.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.

Sacred Heart University Library

Organizing Academic Research Papers: 4. The Introduction

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Executive Summary
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tertiary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • How to Manage Group Projects
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Essays
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Acknowledgements

The introduction serves the purpose of leading the reader from a general subject area to a particular field of research. It establishes the context of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the hypothesis, question, or research problem, briefly explaining your rationale, methodological approach, highlighting the potential outcomes your study can reveal, and describing the remaining structure of the paper.

Key Elements of the Research Proposal. Prepared under the direction of the Superintendent and by the 2010 Curriculum Design and Writing Team. Baltimore County Public Schools.

Importance of a Good Introduction

Think of the introduction as a mental road map that must answer for the reader these four questions:

  • What was I studying?
  • Why was this topic important to investigate?
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study?
  • How will this study advance our knowledge?

A well-written introduction is important because, quite simply, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions about the logic of your argument, your writing style, the overall quality of your research, and, ultimately, the validity of your findings and conclusions. A vague, disorganized, or error-filled introduction will create a negative impression, whereas, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of your analytical skills, your writing style, and your research approach.

Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

Structure and Writing Style

I. Structure and Approach

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions for the reader:

  • What is this?
  • Why am I reading it?
  • What do you want me to think about / consider doing / react to?

Think of the structure of the introduction as an inverted triangle of information. Organize the information so as to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale and, whenever possible, the potential outcomes your study can reveal.

These are general phases associated with writing an introduction:

  • Highlighting the importance of the topic, and/or
  • Making general statements about the topic, and/or
  • Presenting an overview on current research on the subject.
  • Opposing an existing assumption, and/or
  • Revealing a gap in existing research, and/or
  • Formulating a research question or problem, and/or
  • Continuing a disciplinary tradition.
  • Stating the intent of your study,
  • Outlining the key characteristics of your study,
  • Describing important results, and
  • Giving a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

NOTE: Even though the introduction is the first main section of a research paper, it is often useful to finish the introduction very late in the writing process because the structure of the paper, the reporting and analysis of results, and the conclusion will have been completed and it ensures that your introduction matches the overall structure of your paper.

II.  Delimitations of the Study

Delimitations refer to those characteristics that limit the scope and define the conceptual boundaries of your study . This is determined by the conscious exclusionary and inclusionary decisions you make about how to investigate the research problem. In other words, not only should you tell the reader what it is you are studying and why, but you must also acknowledge why you rejected alternative approaches that could have been used to examine the research problem.

Obviously, the first limiting step was the choice of research problem itself. However, implicit are other, related problems that could have been chosen but were rejected. These should be noted in the conclusion of your introduction.

Examples of delimitating choices would be:

  • The key aims and objectives of your study,
  • The research questions that you address,
  • The variables of interest [i.e., the various factors and features of the phenomenon being studied],
  • The method(s) of investigation, and
  • Any relevant alternative theoretical frameworks that could have been adopted.

Review each of these decisions. You need to not only clearly establish what you intend to accomplish, but to also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. In the latter case, your exclusionary decisions should be based upon criteria stated as, "not interesting"; "not directly relevant"; “too problematic because..."; "not feasible," and the like. Make this reasoning explicit!

NOTE: Delimitations refer to the initial choices made about the broader, overall design of your study and should not be confused with documenting the limitations of your study discovered after the research has been completed.

III. The Narrative Flow

Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :

  • Your introduction should clearly identify the subject area of interest . A simple strategy to follow is to use key words from your title in the first few sentences of the introduction. This will help focus the introduction on the topic at the appropriate level and ensures that you get to the primary subject matter quickly without losing focus, or discussing information that is too general.
  • Establish context by providing a brief and balanced review of the pertinent published literature that is available on the subject. The key is to summarize for the reader what is known about the specific research problem before you did your analysis. This part of your introduction should not represent a comprehensive literature review but consists of a general review of the important, foundational research literature (with citations) that lays a foundation for understanding key elements of the research problem. See the drop-down tab for "Background Information" for types of contexts.
  • Clearly state the hypothesis that you investigated . When you are first learning to write in this format it is okay, and actually preferable, to use a past statement like, "The purpose of this study was to...." or "We investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the...."
  • Why did you choose this kind of research study or design? Provide a clear statement of the rationale for your approach to the problem studied. This will usually follow your statement of purpose in the last paragraph of the introduction.

IV. Engaging the Reader

The overarching goal of your introduction is to make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should grab your reader's attention. Strategies for doing this can be to:

  • Open with a compelling story,
  • Include a strong quotation or a vivid, perhaps unexpected anecdote,
  • Pose a provocative or thought-provoking question,
  • Describe a puzzling scenario or incongruity, or
  • Cite a stirring example or case study that illustrates why the research problem is important.

NOTE:   Only choose one strategy for engaging your readers; avoid giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance.

Freedman, Leora  and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions . University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction . The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Introductions . The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Resources for Writers: Introduction Strategies . Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an Introduction . Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick; Writing Your Introduction. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University.

Writing Tip

Avoid the "Dictionary" Introduction

Giving the dictionary definition of words related to the research problem may appear appropriate because it is important to define specific words or phrases with which readers may be unfamiliar. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source. It doesn't take into account the context of your topic and doesn't offer particularly detailed information. Also, placed in the context of a particular discipline, a term may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary. If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, try to find one that is from subject specific dictionaries or encyclopedias [e.g., if you are a sociology student, search for dictionaries of sociology].

Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper . Florida International University; Introductions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

Another Writing Tip

When Do I Begin?

A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "where should I begin?" An equally important question to ask yourself is, "When do I begin?" Research problems in the social sciences rarely rest in isolation from the history of the issue being investigated. It is, therefore, important to lay a foundation for understanding the historical context underpinning the research problem. However, this information should be brief and succinct and begin at a point in time that best informs the reader of study's overall importance. For example, a study about coffee cultivation and export in West Africa as a key stimulus for local economic growth needs to describe the beginning of exporting coffee in the region and establishing why economic growth is important. You do not need to give a long historical explanation about coffee exportation in Africa. If a research problem demands a substantial exploration of historical context, do this in the literature review section; note in the introduction as part of your "roadmap" [see below] that you covering this in the literature review.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Always End with a Roadmap

The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a description of the rest of the paper [a "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect.

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Maximizing efficiency: the research paper outline template

Blueprint for academic discovery: a research paper outline template

writer

Lindi Chattree is a standout writer specializing in health sciences. Her extensive knowledge, backed by a Master's in Public Health, enables her to produce deeply researched and engaging papers. As an English paper writer, Sophia's work aids modern students in coping with complex health topics

A good research proposal is more than an application — it's a precise strategy that directs the study process. This paper is essential for financing, permission, and inquiry feasibility. A good proposal demands a profound grasp of the issue, a clear statement of the research's relevance, and a demonstration of how it will advance knowledge.

This research paper outline template helps scholars organize proposals. It includes and presents all the required aspects of a complete proposal. Researchers may customize the template to cover all critical components of their study, from research proposal literature review to methodology. This section will explore the question “What is a research proposal,” its major components, and its relevance. Understanding what constitutes a great proposal helps researchers write documents that fulfill academic and funding body criteria.

Grasping the essentials and framework of a research proposal

The research proposal structure outlines the proposed research and provides a thorough strategy for doing it. The researcher uses it as a guide to complete the investigation. This part of the research paper outline template discusses the essential components of a research proposal and their usefulness in creating a complete document. 

Research proposals usually have an introduction, literature review, research proposal methodology, expected outcomes, and conclusion. The proposal structure organizes the study by starting with a general introduction and narrowing it down to specific research topics and techniques. The organization should be simple so readers can grasp the researcher's goals and methods. Clarity is essential in convincing reviewers of the study's usefulness and practicality, which typically determines whether the proposal is approved.

Today, this section covers the question, "What is the purpose of a research report outline?". The objective is to showcase the relevance and effect of the planned study strategically, not only to organize thoughts and ideas. A well-structured proposal outline explains what the researcher will accomplish, why it's significant, and how it will progress the discipline. This focus on substance and impact makes the research proposal a crucial document in the researcher's portfolio for obtaining funding and clearance for the project.

Getting ready to craft a research proposal

Successful research proposals require preparation. It requires choosing a research topic proposal example, conducting background research, and creating a solid outline. These procedures are essential to building the proposal. The researcher makes a practical and meaningful study by carefully selecting an important and doable topic. Background research deepens comprehension of the issue, which is crucial for writing a compelling story around the research question or hypothesis.

Writing a research proposal requires a thorough literature review. This stage is crucial because it informs the researcher of current field knowledge and identifies gaps that the proposed study may address. A good literature review example for a research proposal shows the researcher's expertise and ability to assess and synthesize material critically. This part supports the research topic and places the proposal in the context of existing intellectual discourse, stressing the study's potential to advance knowledge.

Composing the introduction section of a research proposal

The beginning of a research proposal is crucial. It establishes the tone of the text and gives reviewers the initial impression. An excellent beginning must explain the topic, interest the reader, demonstrate the research's value, and briefly state its aims and goals. This research paper outline template section helps researchers write engaging and informative beginnings.

A good research proposal introduction should smoothly transition to the research questions or hypotheses. Hypotheses form the basis of the proposal and influence its future sections. SMART goals are explicit, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Remember, the introduction of a proposal should describe the research problem. The researcher ensures that the scope of the study and the objectives are clear and feasible by stating these factors. 

Key elements for the introduction

  • A clear statement of the research problem:
  • Begin with a compelling statement that identifies the research problem.
  • Emphasize the significance of the problem and its worthiness for investigation.
  • Overview of the current research landscape:
  • Provide a concise summary of existing research related to the topic.
  • Highlight gaps in the current study and how your proposal aims to address them.
  • Articulation of research questions or hypotheses:
  • Clearly state the research questions or hypotheses.
  • Ensure these are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

The introduction of a proposal will engage and enlighten the reader while covering these crucial features, creating the groundwork for the rest of the proposal.

A look into research proposals

The literature review is fundamental to every proposal outline. It shows the researcher's knowledge of the issue, justifies the planned study, and places it in the current body of scholarly work. A successful research paper outline template literature review must be detailed and critical, noting prior research's successes and weaknesses.

In a literature review example for the proposal outline, the researcher should seek academic journal articles, books, and other scholarly information related to the study topic. This method entails gathering and critically assessing data to see if it supports or contradicts the researcher's study. To offer a full background outline for the planned research, each item of literature should be assessed for relevance, dependability, and field contribution.

Thematic or chronological structuring of the literature review depends on the topic and research scope. This structure creates a consistent narrative that takes the reader from field development to contemporary understanding.

Guidelines for reviewing literature

A literature review is essential to research. It requires a thorough review of academic literature to understand what is known, the key concepts and techniques, and the current issues and conflicts. To answer "What is the purpose of a research report outline?", remember that it organizes the report's structure and flow. A successful literature review includes these steps:

  • Define your research question: Your literature review should state its purpose. It helps restrict the scope and focus on important literature.
  • Search for relevant literature: Search JSTOR, PubMed, Google Scholar, and other academic databases for relevant papers, books, and other scholarly materials. Use appropriate keywords and phrases.
  • Evaluate sources: Check source relevancy and dependability. Check the publishing date for current information. To establish legitimacy, consider journal influence and author qualifications.
  • Organize selected literature: Group the books to improve comprehension and review structure. It might be by technique, topic, or order.
  • Take detailed notes: Take detailed notes with bibliographic citations when reading. Write summaries of key ideas, methods, and research proposal conclusion.
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps: Examine the literature for recurring themes or arguments and areas of research gap or controversy. It will guide your research.
  • Write the review: Synthesize the literature, not merely summarize it. Emphasize how each book enhances comprehension.
  • Cite sources appropriately: Credit the original writers with correct references. It prevents plagiarism and credits other researchers.
  • Review and revise: Review your initial draft to verify it makes sense and covers all key texts. Edit your text to clarify your points and increase its quality.

By following these steps, you can create a thorough and insightful literature review that provides a solid foundation for your research. This will also help you develop a clear hypothesis outline, ensuring that your study is well-directed and grounded in a strong theoretical framework.

Structuring your literature review

A well-organized literature review is essential to academic study. It offers a full overview of existing information and identifies gaps. This section discusses how to organize and deliver a literature review that synthesizes pertinent findings and establishes the groundwork for future study. 

Organizing strategies

  • Thematic: Group literature by themes or topics.
  • Chronological: Arrange by publication date to show progression.
  • Methodological: Organize by study methods used.
  • Theoretical: Sort by theoretical frameworks applied.
  • Geographical: Categorize by geographic focus.

Presentation strategies

  • Narrative flow: Maintain a clear, logical progression.
  • Critical analysis: Critically analyze sources, noting strengths and weaknesses.
  • Subheadings: Use subheadings to enhance readability.
  • Tables and figures: Employ visual aids to summarize and compare data.
  • Highlight gaps: Point out missing elements and contradictions.

The role of writing services in literature reviews

Writing services like Write My Paper help students and researchers write well-structured literature reviews and offer expert coaching for academic writing.

Such services include research paper format for students. Write My Paper might organize the review's topical, chronological, methodological, theoretical, or geographical framework. This arrangement guarantees that the literature review satisfies academic standards and lets readers follow research and ideas.

Approaching research: Methodology in a research proposal

The methodology section of a research proposal describes the study plan, data collection, and analytic methodologies. This component of the research proposal template shows the researcher's understanding of existing methodologies and the approach's viability and rigor.

The researcher should explain the study design — qualitative, quantitative, or mixed — before presenting the technique. The study objectives and data needed should support this option. Next, describe data gathering methods, including surveys, interviews, experiments, and observations. Explain each approach and justify its suitability for the study aims.

This systematic technique in the proposal outline helps researchers write thorough, convincing, and academically sound proposals. The document's sections build on each other to convey the researcher's vision and the study's potential contributions to knowledge.

Anticipated outcomes and discussion in a research proposal

In a research proposal’s predicted findings and research proposal discussion section, researchers forecast their study's results and explore potential field implications. A prediction in the research proposal example helps reviewers grasp the research's prospective relevance and effect.

When preparing a research report or proposal, the researcher should structure the document thoughtfully to enhance clarity and coherence. One key question often arises: "What are the main structural elements that need to be included in a skeleton outline?" Understanding this can significantly streamline the organization process. Researchers should also include a range of possible outcomes, from most likely to least likely, and highlight how each might contribute to current understanding.

Beyond predicted outcomes, examine further ramifications. It should also discuss study limitations and how they may impact the interpretation of findings. Transparency boosts the research proposal's credibility and sets reasonable study effect expectations. 

Crafting the conclusion for a research proposal

The conclusion of a proposal outline highlights the document's principal elements and emphasizes the study's value and viability. In this last section of the research paper outline template, the researcher should briefly summarize the research questions, methods, and predicted results, highlighting how the study will advance knowledge and fill gaps in the area.

The conclusion of a proposal should include a summary and a forceful point that sells the plan. It should highlight the unique study technique, relevant issues, and potential consequences of the findings. This conclusion should also include the research's academic and practical merits and explain how the findings may lead to additional research or advances in the subject. Moreover, if you need additional help, writing services can help to manage research paper setup and craft the conclusion, which is crucial for readability and coherence.

Structuring your research proposal

A proposal outline needs proper formatting to improve readability and professionalism. This portion of the research paper outline template includes standard formatting guidelines, norms, and academic institution or journal criteria.

Standard research proposal formatting includes utilizing a legible, professional font (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial), a 12-point font size, and proper margins and space. The text should be aligned to the left margin and separated into paragraphs using spaces. Researchers should arrange material with headings and subheadings to help reviewers navigate the document.

This article provides valuable info about a research proposal to help researchers write convincing study proposals. From presenting the study and methodology to forecasting results and addressing consequences, each template component has a unique function.

How long should a research proposal typically be?

The length of a research proposal depends on the criteria of the academic institution or funding organization. Proposals are usually 2000–5000 words. However, they must follow the requirements.

What is the primary purpose of a research proposal?

A research proposal defines a study's strategy and methods, obtains clearance from necessary authorities, and raises money. It shows the study's significance and feasibility by demonstrating how it will add to knowledge.

What should be included in the methodology section of a research proposal?

The methodology section should explain the research strategy, data gathering, and analysis. This component of the research proposal template should show how the research questions will be answered and how the study's goals will be met.

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Probllama: Ollama Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2024-37032) – Overview and Mitigations

Wiz Research discovered CVE-2024-37032, an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in the open-source AI Infrastructure project Ollama.

write an introduction to a research report

Introduction & Overview 

Ollama is one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models, with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub . Inspired by Docker, Ollama aims to simplify the process of packaging and deploying AI models. 

Wiz Research discovered an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Ollama: CVE-2024-37032, dubbed “Probllama.” This security issue was responsibly disclosed to Ollama’s maintainers and has since been mitigated. Ollama users are encouraged to upgrade their Ollama installation to version 0.1.34 or newer. 

Our research indicates that, as of June 10, there are a large number of Ollama instances running a vulnerable version that are exposed to the internet. In this blog post, we will detail what we found and how we found it, as well as mitigation techniques and preventative measures organizations can take moving forward.  

AI Security Takeaways 

Taken as a whole – and in light of the Wiz Research team’s ongoing focus on the risk inherent to AI systems – our findings underscore the fact that AI security measure s have been largely sidelined in favor of focusing on the transformative power of this technology, and its potential to revolutionize the way business gets done.  

Organizations are rapidly adopting a variety of new AI tools and infrastructure in an attempt to hone their competitive edge. These tools are often at an early stage of development and lack standardized security features, such as authentication. Additionally, due to their young code base, it is relatively easier to find critical software vulnerabilities, making them perfect targets for potential threat actors. This is a recurring theme in our discoveries – see prior Wiz Research work on AI-as-a-service-providers Hugging Face and Replicate , as well as our State of AI in the Cloud report and last year’s discovery of 38TB of data that was accidentally leaked by AI researchers.  

Over the past year, multiple remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities were identified in inference servers, including TorchServe, Ray Anyscale, and Ollama. These vulnerabilities could allow attackers to take over self-hosted AI inference servers, steal or modify AI models, and compromise AI applications.  

The critical issue is not just the vulnerabilities themselves but the inherent lack of authentication support in these new tools. If exposed to the internet, any attacker can connect to them, steal or modify the AI models, or even execute remote code as a built-in feature (as seen with TorchServe and Ray Anyscale ). The lack of authentication support means these tools should never be exposed externally without protective middleware, such as a reverse proxy with authentication. Despite this, when scanning the internet for exposed Ollama servers, our scan revealed over 1,000 exposed instances hosting numerous AI models, including private models not listed in the Ollama public repository, highlighting a significant security gap. 

CROC Talks: RCE Vulnerability in Ollama explained

RCE Vulnerability in Ollama explained

write an introduction to a research report

Mitigation & detection 

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must send specially crafted HTTP requests to the Ollama API server. In the default Linux installation , the API server binds to localhost, which reduces remote exploitation risk significantly. However, in docker deployments ( ollama/ollama ), the API server is publicly exposed , and therefore could be exploited remotely. 

Wiz customers can use the pre-built query and advisory in the Wiz Threat Center to search for vulnerable instances in their environment. 

Explanation and Technical Description 

Why research ollama .

Our research team makes an active effort to contribute to the security of AI services, tooling, and infrastructure, and we also use AI in our research work. 

For a different project, we looked to leverage a large-context AI model. Luckily, around that time, Gradient released their Llama3 version which has a context of 1m tokens .  

Being one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub , Ollama seemed to be the simplest way to self-host that model 😊. 

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 Ollama Architecture 

Ollama consists of two main components: a client and a server. The server exposes multiple APIs to perform core functions, such as pulling a model from the registry, generating a prediction for a given prompt, etc. The client is what the user interacts with (i.e. the front-end), which could be, for example, a CLI (command-line interface). 

While experimenting with Ollama, our team found a critical security vulnerability in an Ollama server. Due to insufficient input validation, it is possible to exploit a Path Traversal vulnerability to arbitrarily overwrite files on the server. This can be further exploited into a full Remote Code Execution as we demonstrate below. 

This issue is extremely severe in Docker installations, as the server runs with root privileges and listens on 0.0.0.0 by default – which enables remote exploitation of this vulnerability. 

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It is important to mention that Ollama does not support authentication out-of-the-box. It is generally recommended to deploy Ollama behind a reverse-proxy to enforce authentication, if the user decides to expose its installation. In practice, our research indicates that there are a large number of installations exposed to the internet without any sort of authentication. 

The Vulnerability: Arbitrary File Write via Path Traversal 

Ollama’s HTTP server exposes multiple API endpoints that perform various actions.  

write an introduction to a research report

One of the endpoints, /api/pull , can be used to download a model from an Ollama registry. 

By default, models are downloaded from Ollama’s official registry ( registry.ollama.com ), however, it is also possible to fetch models from private registries.

write an introduction to a research report

While Ollama's official registry can be considered "trusted," anyone can set up their own registry and host models on it. As researchers, we were interested in this attack surface – are private registries being blindly trusted? What damage could a malicious private registry cause? 

What we found is that when pulling a model from a private registry (by querying the http://[victim]:11434/api/pull API endpoint), it is possible to supply a malicious manifest file that contains a path traversal payload in the digest field. 

The digest field of a given layer should be equal to the hash of the layer. Among other things, the digest of the layer is also used to store the model file on the disk:  

/root/.ollama/models/blobs/sha256-04778965089b91318ad61d0995b7e44fad4b9a9f4e049d7be90932bf8812e828

However, we found that the digest field was used without proper validation, resulting in path traversal when attempting to store it on the filesystem. This issue can be exploited to corrupt arbitrary files on the system. 

Achieving Arbitrary File Read 

By exploiting the previous issue, we can plant an additional malicious manifest file on the server (e.g /root/.ollama/models/manifests/%ATTACKER_IP%/library/manifest/latest ), which effectively registers a new model to the server. We found out that if our model’s manifest contains a traversal payload for the digest of one of its layers, when attempting to push this model to a remote registry via the http://[victim]:11434/api/push endpoint, the server will leak the content of the file specified in the digest field. 

write an introduction to a research report

Finally, Remote Code Execution 

As we mentioned previously, it is possible to exploit the Arbitrary File Write vulnerability to corrupt certain files in the system. In Docker installations, it is pretty straightforward to exploit it and achieve Remote Code Execution , as the server runs with root privileges. 

The simplest way we thought of achieving remote-code-execution would be to corrupt ld.so configuration files, specifically /etc/ld.so.preload . This file contains a whitespace - separated list of shared libraries that should be loaded whenever a new process starts. Using our Arbitrary File Write exploit-primitive, we plant our payload as a shared library on the filesystem ( /root/bad.so ) and then we corrupt etc/ld.so.preload to include it. Finally, we query the /api/chat endpoint on the Ollama API Server, which subsequently creates a new process and thus loads our payload! 

Regarding exploitation of instances which do not run with root privileges - we do have a strategy for exploitation that leverages our /Arbitrary File Read primitive. However, it will be left as an exercise for the reader 😊 

Conclusions 

 CVE-2024-37032 is an easy-to-exploit remote code execution that affects modern AI infrastructure. Despite the codebase being relatively new and written in modern programming languages, classic vulnerabilities such as Path Traversal remain an issue. 

Security teams should update their Ollama instances to the latest version to mitigate this vulnerability. Furthermore, it is recommended not to expose Ollama to the internet unless it is protected by some sort of authentication mechanism, such a reverse-proxy. 

Responsible disclosure timeline 

We responsibly disclosed this vulnerability to Ollama’s development team in May 2024. Ollama promptly investigated and addressed the issue while keeping us updated. 

May 5, 2024 – Wiz Research reported the issue to Ollama.

May 5, 2024 – Ollama acknowledged the receipt of the report. 

May 5, 2024 – Ollama notified Wiz Research that they committed a fix to GitHub. 

May 8, 2024 – Ollama released a patched version. 

June 24, 2024 – Wiz Research published a blog about the issue. 

Ollama committed a fix in about 4 hours after receiving our initial report, demonstrating an impressive response time and commitment to their product security. 

Continue reading

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IMAGES

  1. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper Step-by-Step?

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  2. How to Write A Perfect Research Paper Introduction

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  3. 😀 Research report introduction. Introduction to Research. 2019-03-05

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  4. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction in 4 Steps

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  5. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction: Tips & Examples

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  6. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

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VIDEO

  1. How to write introduction for your research paper

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  5. HOW TO WRITE THE INTRODUCTION

  6. Introduction to Research for Beginners

COMMENTS

  1. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  2. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

    Define your specific research problem and problem statement. Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study. Give an overview of the paper's structure. The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper.

  3. Writing a Research Paper Introduction (with 3 Examples)

    This paragraph should both attract the reader's attention and give them the necessary information about the paper. In any academic paper, the introduction paragraph constitutes 10% of the paper's total word count. For example, if you are preparing a 3,000-word paper, your introduction paragraph should consist of approximately 300 words.

  4. Research Paper Introduction

    Research paper introduction is the first section of a research paper that provides an overview of the study, its purpose, and the research question (s) or hypothesis (es) being investigated. It typically includes background information about the topic, a review of previous research in the field, and a statement of the research objectives.

  5. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction in 4 Steps

    Steps to write a research paper introduction. By following the steps below, you can learn how to write an introduction for a research paper that helps readers "shake hands" with your topic. In each step, thinking about the answers to key questions can help you reach your readers. 1. Get your readers' attention

  6. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

    After you've done some extra polishing, I suggest a simple test for the introductory section. As an experiment, chop off the first few paragraphs. Let the paper begin on, say, paragraph 2 or even page 2. If you don't lose much, or actually gain in clarity and pace, then you've got a problem. There are two solutions.

  7. How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

    When writing your research paper introduction, there are several key elements you should include to ensure it is comprehensive and informative. A hook or attention-grabbing statement to capture the reader's interest. It can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote that relates to your research topic.

  8. Introductions

    In general, your introductions should contain the following elements: When you're writing an essay, it's helpful to think about what your reader needs to know in order to follow your argument. Your introduction should include enough information so that readers can understand the context for your thesis. For example, if you are analyzing ...

  9. How to Write an Introduction For a Research Paper

    Be succinct - it is advised that your opening introduction consists of around 8-9 percent of the overall amount of words in your article (for example, 160 words for a 2000 words essay). Make a strong and unambiguous thesis statement. Explain why the article is significant in 1-2 sentences. Remember to keep it interesting.

  10. Research Guides: Writing a Scientific Paper: INTRODUCTION

    The introduction supplies sufficient background information for the reader to understand and evaluate the experiment you did. It also supplies a rationale for the study. Goals: Present the problem and the proposed solution. Presents nature and scope of the problem investigated. Reviews the pertinent literature to orient the reader.

  11. How to write an introduction for a research paper

    3. Include signposts. A strong introduction includes clear signposts that outline what you will cover in the rest of the paper. You can signal this by using words like, "in what follows," and by describing the steps that you will take to build your argument. 4. Situate your argument within the scholarly conversation.

  12. How to Write a Report Introduction: A Step-By-Step Guide

    1: Introduce the Topic of the Report. Present your report's topic and explain it briefly to familiarize the reader with the topic of the report. The concise way to introduce it is by explaining the background of the title and elaborating on the outcome. 2. Summarize the Main Points Covered in the Report.

  13. How to Write a Research Introduction: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    Download Article. 1. Announce your research topic. You can start your introduction with a few sentences which announce the topic of your paper and give an indication of the kind of research questions you will be asking. This is a good way to introduce your readers to your topic and pique their interest.

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    Stay focused on your research objectives and ensure that every part of your introduction contributes to achieving them. Be confident in the significance of your research and its potential impact on your field or community. Let your introduction be more than just words on a page. It's a doorway to understanding.

  15. Research Report

    Thesis. Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master's or Doctoral degree, although it ...

  16. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction in 4 Steps

    Hannah Skaggs. Hannah, a writer and editor since 2017, specializes in clear and concise academic and business writing. She has mentored countless scholars and companies in writing authoritative and engaging content. A great research paper introduction starts with a catchy hook and ends with a road map for the research. At every step, QuillBot ...

  17. PDF How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

    Know that for a longer report, your introduction might be more than one paragraph (see sample below). Procedure. Before you write, consider the following: 1. Choose a research topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. For instance, a topic could be abandoned gas wells in Adams County, Colorado. 2.

  18. How to write an introduction for a research paper

    Start with a general overview of your topic. Narrow the overview until you address your paper's specific subject. Then, mention questions or concerns you had about the case. Note that you will address them in the publication. Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other conclusions on your topic.

  19. How To Write A Report Introduction With Examples

    Well, an effective introduction of a report should succinctly introduce the topic, state the purpose and scope of the report, and provide a brief overview of the key points to be discussed. A report introduction should capture the reader's interest and set the tone for the rest of the document. This could be the summary of what should be ...

  20. PDF How to Write an Effective Research REport

    Abstract. This guide for writers of research reports consists of practical suggestions for writing a report that is clear, concise, readable, and understandable. It includes suggestions for terminology and notation and for writing each section of the report—introduction, method, results, and discussion. Much of the guide consists of ...

  21. (PDF) How to Write an Introduction for Research

    The key thing is. to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas. Step 2: Describe the background. This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is ...

  22. Organizing Academic Research Papers: 4. The Introduction

    The introduction serves the purpose of leading the reader from a general subject area to a particular field of research. It establishes the context of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the hypothesis, question, or research problem, briefly explaining your rationale ...

  23. Maximizing efficiency: the research paper outline template

    An excellent beginning must explain the topic, interest the reader, demonstrate the research's value, and briefly state its aims and goals. This research paper outline template section helps researchers write engaging and informative beginnings. A good research proposal introduction should smoothly transition to the research questions or ...

  24. Probllama: Ollama Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2024-37032

    Introduction & Overview Ollama is one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models, with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub.Inspired by Docker, Ollama aims to simplify the process of packaging and deploying AI models. Wiz Research discovered an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Ollama: CVE-2024-37032, dubbed ...

  25. Political Typology Quiz

    ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

  26. Cisco Industrial IoT Products and Solutions

    AI-ready networking solutions to connect, protect, and automate your industrial operations.