Delimitations refer to those characteristics that limit the scope and define the conceptual boundaries of your research. 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 topic.
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. For example, a delimitating statement could read, "Although many factors can be understood to impact the likelihood young people will vote, this study will focus on socioeconomic factors related to the need to work full-time while in school.
Examples of delimitating choices would be:. Review each of these decisions. Not only do you clearly establish what you intend to accomplish in your research, but you should also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. 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.
They are an accepted element of academic writing intended to keep the reader focused on the research problem by explicitly defining the conceptual boundaries and scope of your study. It addresses any critical questions in the reader's mind of, "Why the hell didn't the author examine this?
The Narrative Flow. Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :. Engaging the Reader. A research problem in the social sciences can come across as dry and uninteresting to anyone unfamiliar with the topic. Therefore, one of the goals of your introduction is to make readers want to read your paper. Here are several strategies you can use to grab the reader's attention:.
NOTE: It is important that you choose only one of the suggested strategies for engaging your readers. This avoids giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance and does not distract from the substance of your study. Freedman, Leora and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction. Department of Biology. Bates College; Introductions. University of North Carolina; Introductions.
Writing Center. Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an Introduction. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University. 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 terminology that readers may be unfamiliar with. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source because 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 or concept may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary. If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, use a subject specific dictionary or encyclopedia [e. A good database for obtaining definitive definitions of concepts or terms is Credo Reference.
Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper. Florida International University; Introductions. University of North Carolina. When Do I Begin? A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "Where should I begin? Therefore, it is 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 illustrates the study's overall importance. For example, a study that investigates 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 exports in Africa. If a research problem requires a substantial exploration of the historical context, do this in the literature review section. In your introduction, make note of this as part of the "roadmap" [see below] that you use to describe the organization of your paper. Always End with a Roadmap. The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a brief description of the rest of the paper [the "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect.
A roadmap is important because it helps the reader place the research problem within the context of their own perspectives about the topic. In addition, concluding your introduction with an explicit roadmap tells the reader that you have a clear understanding of the structural purpose of your paper. In this way, the roadmap acts as a type of promise to yourself and to your readers that you will follow a consistent and coherent approach to addressing the topic of inquiry.
Refer to it often to help keep your writing focused and organized. Cassuto, Leonard. The Introduction. Search this Guide Search. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper Offers detailed guidance on how to develop, organize, and write a college-level research paper in the social and behavioral sciences.
The Abstract Executive Summary 4. The Introduction The C. The Discussion Limitations of the Study 9. The Conclusion Appendices Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper. Are cows responsible for climate change?
A recent study RIVM, 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. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.
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. These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. 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:. 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.
Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Home Knowledge Base Research paper How to write a research paper introduction. How to write a research paper introduction Published on September 24, by Jack Caulfield.
What can proofreading do for your paper? Argumentative paper Empirical paper Argumentative paper introduction Are cows responsible for climate change? Empirical paper introduction The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls.
What should I include in a research paper introduction? When should I write my research paper introduction? Should I use a research question, hypothesis, or thesis statement? Is this article helpful? He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time. Other students also liked.
Developing strong research questions Research questions give your project a clear focus. They should be specific and feasible, but complex enough to merit a detailed answer. How to write a research paper conclusion The conclusion of a research paper restates the research problem, summarizes your arguments or findings, and discusses the implications.
How to format a research paper The formatting guidelines for a research paper differ by style guide.
Links and mentions are not endorsements. Translate to English. Accomplish more together. The Microsoft team. What is an introduction for a research paper? Introductions to research papers do a lot of work. Why is an introduction vital to a research paper? What should you include in an introduction for a research paper? These are: An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic.
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.
You can: Write your introduction last. While it can feel good to get your preface done quickly, you should write the rest of your paper first. Include a strong quotation or story upfront. You want your paper to be full of substance.
Add a relevant quotation or surprising anecdote to the beginning of your introduction. You can also think of the Introduction as the section that points out the gap in knowledge that the rest of the paper will fill, or the section in which you define and claim your territory within the broad area of research. The other job the Introduction should do is to give some background information and set the context. You can do this by describing the research problem you considered or the research question you asked in the main body of the paper, you will offer the solution to the problem or the answer to the question and by briefly reviewing any other solutions or approaches that have been tried in the past.
Now that you have given the background and set the context, the last part of the Introduction should specify the objectives of the experiment or analysis of the study described in the paper. This concluding part of the Introduction should include specific details or the exact question s to be answered later in the paper. Write a strong introduction section — Make a great first impression. Make a great first impression with your manuscript.
Try this course for free with R Upskill Membership. The 4-step approach to writing the Introduction section. Provide background information and set the context. This initial part of the Introduction prepares the readers for more detailed and specific information that is given later.
The first couple of sentences are typically broad. Below are some examples:. At the same time, the introductory statement should not be too broad: note that in the examples above, the Introduction did not begin by talking about agriculture, cancer, or batteries in general, but by mentioning organic matter in soil, the role of bacteria, and lithium ion batteries. Once the first sentence has introduced the broad field, the next sentence can point to the specific area within that broad field.
As you may have noticed, the papers in the examples mentioned above introduced the subfield by mentioning 1 remission of some types cancer following accidental infection by Streptococcus pyogenes , 2 organic matter in soil as a source of nutrients for plants and of energy for microorganisms, and 3 imaging techniques to visualize the 3-dimensional structure of the materials and components of batteries on nanoscale.
Does your publication goal seem near yet too far? Introduce the specific topic of your research and explain why it is important. As you can see from the above examples, the authors are moving toward presenting the specific topic of their research. So now in the following part, you can bring in some statistics to show the importance of the topic or the seriousness of the problem. Here are some examples:. Another way to emphasize the importance of the research topic is to highlight the possible benefits from solving the problem or from finding an answer to the question: possible savings, greater production, longer-lasting devices, and so on.
This approach emphasizes the positive. For example, instead of saying that X dollars are lost because of malaria every year, say that X dollars can be saved annually if malaria is prevented, or X millions litres of water can be saved by dispensing with irrigation, or X person-hours can be saved in the form of avoided illnesses because of improved air quality or reduced pollution.
Mention past attempts to solve the research problem or to answer the research question. As mentioned earlier, a formal review of literature is out of place in the Introduction section of a research paper; however, it is appropriate to indicate any earlier relevant research and clarify how your research differs from those attempts.
The differences can be simple: you may have repeated the same set of experiments but with a different organism, or elaborated involving perhaps more sophisticated or advanced analytical instruments the study with a much larger and diverse sample, or a widely different geographical setting.
Here are two examples:. Conclude the Introduction by mentioning the specific objectives of your research. The earlier paragraphs should lead logically to specific objectives of your study. Note that this part of the Introduction gives specific details: for instance, the earlier part of the Introduction may mention the importance of controlling malaria whereas the concluding part will specify what methods of control were used and how they were evaluated.
At the same time, avoid too much detail because those belong to the Materials and Methods section of the paper. If, for example, your research was about finding the right proportions of two metals in an alloy and you tested ten different proportions, you do not have to list all the ten proportions: it is enough to say that the proportions varied from to Here are two more examples:.
There are different ways of constructing the objectives. Using questions 2 , hypotheses, and infinitives are the more common constructions both examples in the previous paragraph use infinitives , each of which is illustrated below with some fictitious text:.
H1: Career stages influence work values. H2: Career stages influence the level of job satisfaction. H3: Career stages do not influence organizational commitment. Using infinitives. Compared to two other sections of a typical research paper, namely Methods and Results, Introduction and Discussion are more difficult to write. However, the 4-step approach described in this article should ease the task. You can write it, or at least revise it, after you have written the rest of the paper: this will make the Introduction not only easier to write but also more compelling.
To learn in more detail the guidelines to write a great Introduction section, check out this course: How to write a strong introduction for your research paper. Detailing the writing of scientific manuscripts: paragraphs. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia 2 : e21—e Boxman R and Boxman E. Communicating Science: a practical guide for engineers and physical scientists , pp.
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