Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Research question | Materials & Methods | Results | Discussion | Conclusion

In this blog, we look at how to write the introduction paragraph of a research paper. We will go through a few introduction paragraph examples and understand how to construct a great introduction paragraph for your research paper.

1. What is the purpose of the introduction paragraph?

Introduction example

The opening paragraph is the first paragraph of your research paper. The opening paragraph is where you want to attract your readers and draw them into your paper. This typically occupies one or two paragraphs. The introduction section must provide necessary background knowledge, so that the readers can understand the motivation behind your experiments and appreciate your findings. After reading your introductory paragraph, the reader should  be familiar with the main idea of your paper and understand why your topic is important.

2. What are the 5 parts of an introduction paragraph?

The introduction paragraph of a research paper should typically contain the following components.

  • Hook
  • A broad introduction to the field
  • The specific topic of study
  • Problem definition
  • Importance of your work
  • Benefits of conducting research

3. Hooks

3.1. What is a Hook?

Hook in introduction

The opening paragraph typically should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers. This is called a hook.  The idea is to hook your reader and reel them in. Just like using hooks with bait to capture a fish in a pond. These are statements designed to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more of your paper.

3.2. How to Write a Hook?

One thing to bear in your mind is that most people reading your paper will have some background knowledge about the topic. So you have to find a way to say things that people already know in a slightly different and interesting manner. The trick is to use statistics, facts,  quotations, and questions to make things interesting to the readers. These are called hooks.

Hooks ideas for introduction passage

3.3. Hook Examples

Now, let’s look at some examples of hooks.

3.3.1. Hook Example #1

Here is an opening statement. Here we are trying to establish that breast cancer is a pretty bad disease. This statement is not very punchy. It is pretty bland and doesn’t convey the seriousness of the situation.

Now, Let’s use some statistics and rewrite the statement. Look at this statement now, the readers will instantly understand how deadly breast cancer is, because you are using numbers to put things into perspective. This will get the reader’s attention straight away, and they will be keen to read more of your paper to find out if you are proposing something to fix this terrible situation.

3.3.2. Hook Example #2

Here is another example. Here is an opening statement about global warming. There is nothing new here. Most people know that global warming is bad.

Now, let’s frame this as a question with some facts and numbers. How about this? This sounds way much better because it conveys the urgency of the situation. 

4. Introduction Paragraph Examples

Let’s look at some examples of introduction paragraphs. The examples we have chosen are quite short, so that it is easy for you to understand. We have chosen examples from different fields and of different formats. 

4.1 Example #1 (Social sciences paper)

Here is an introduction paragraph example from a social sciences research paper, and it is about AI, which stands for artificial intelligence. We are providing a broad overview of the topic in the first couple of lines. We are talking about the popularity of the AI, and the recent advancements that has happened in the field.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has received considerable attention in recent years due to its application in various fields such as manufacturing, healthcare, security, etc. In recent years, methods have been proposed to produce sufficiently intelligent software capable of reprogramming. Such production presents a number of challenges as AI may threaten human employment in the future. The development of new programmes will facilitate a better understanding of just how far AI can go.

_ Broad overview _ Narrowdown topic _ Problem definition _ Importance of topic

Then, we move on to the problem definition. The problem is about AI threatening the human employment in the future by taking up all the jobs. Then, in the next statement we are talking about the importance of exploring the issue, so that we can understand how far AI will impact our lives in the future.

You can see that this passage ticks all the boxes, there is relevant background information, a clear definition of the problem, and information about the importance of conducting research on this topic.

4.2 Example #2 (Business & Marketing paper)

This introduction passage example is from a marketing and business paper. In this example, we are using a lot of numbers to establish why it is important and timely to conduct research in this domain. We are telling the readers that there are millions of Asians living in UK and their numbers are increasing every year. They have this huge spending power and not many researchers have looked into how and where they spend their money. So, the time has come to explore this market.  A lot of interesting data and facts are provided to the readers. And, that is the reason why this is such a good introduction.

Approximately 60.5 million Asians lived in the United Kingdom in 2022, and this will grow at a rate of approximately 13.19% over the next five years[1]. The purchasing power of this demographic is expected to reach over $2.26 trillion by 2025[2]. This market is a growing and relatively unexplored segment in the marketing literature. Researchers and practitioners should therefore be interested in the increasing importance of this market and the potential it holds for businesses.

_ Hook _ Problem definition _ Importance/timeliness of topic

4.3 Example #3 (Medicine paper)

Here is an introduction paragraph example from a medicine paper. We are starting the passage with a hook by providing an interesting statistic about obesity. After starting with a broad statement, we are narrowing down the topic. We are dropping a hint that our paper is to do with vitamin d and obesity. With the next statement, we are establishing the importance of the topic. We are saying that a lot of people are dying due to obesity, and vitamin D is causing a lot of health issues, so we must do something about it.

Obesity is a worldwide disease. In 2020, more than 2 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. There is a general consensus in the research community that there is a strong association between obesity and Vitamin D. This represents an important and timely topic because obesity is currently fifth greater risk of mortality, and Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with variety of diseases. Better understanding of this link will greatly aid medicalpractitioners in effective treatment of obese patients.

_ Hook _ Problem definition _ Importance/timeliness of topic _ Benefits of conducting research

Then, in the final statement of the intro paragraph, we explain how conducting research in this field will benefit the community. In our case, doctors will be able to prescribe better treatment options for obese patients. This is a well written introduction paragraph that nicely introduces the main idea of your paper and tells the readers why your topic is important.

4.4 Example #4 (Engineering paper)

Here is another introduction paragraph example from an engineering paper.  Here, we are starting  the passage with the problem definition itself. We are saying that it is challenging to perform measurements on a complex system, because there are so many different things you have to consider. Then, we emphasis the popularity of the topic by saying that there is an active research community investigating  this issue at the moment. Then, we finish off the passage by explaining the benefits we will enjoy if we manage to solve this problem. And, we have listed all the applications that will benefit from this research.

Obtaining an accurate measurement of a complex system is a challenging task, as it can make it difficult to account for all of the variables that may affect the measurement. Research in this area is of great interest and with a very active research community. Obtaining an accurate measurement is useful for a number of applications, including modelling and forecasting, quality control, and data analysis.

_ Problem definition _ Importance/popularity of the topic _ Benefits of conducting research

5. Frequently Asked Questions

The opening paragraph of the introduction should be one or two paragraphs long. The entire introduction section comprising the opening paragraph, literature review, and research questions should be around 10% to 15% of the total length of the research paper.

Please do not cram your introduction with large amounts of text. Don’t treat your readers as if they don’t know anything. Most people who are reading your paper will have some knowledge about the field. Be selective and decide what is important for your readers.

If you have a super long introduction, then it means that you don’t have a lot to say about the actual research you have done. Most reviewers won’t like this, and your paper is likely to be rejected. So, keep it short and sweet.

(1) Make sure you use scientific jargon that is relevant to your field in your text. Scientific jargon are technical terms specific to your discipline. Using scientific jargon has two advantages, number one, you are using the language used by your peers in your field, and number two, it makes your text significantly shorter.

(2) Don’t delve on the broad topic for too long in your introduction. Try to narrow down to the specific topic as soon as possible. The readers are less interested in the general area of research. They want to quickly learn what is the specific topic of your research.

(3) Introduction paragraph is the best place to introduce notations and technical definitions. This can include symbols, characters, terminologies, abbreviations, acronyms etc. Notations and definitions can help you to express very large names and numbers in a form that is easy to understand to your readers.

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