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Advice for Students: 10 Steps Toward Better Research

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Some people like to start broad and work their way into a research topic. This reaches those people who want to know the broad appeal of your work. If you're writing a paper on the importance of comics, you could assert the importance of comic books since the s.

If you want to discuss the role of farmers in the American Revolution, you can make a blanket statement about the complex causes of the revolutionary movement.

This is how most people begin their research papers. They don't want to make their subject seem too obscure, so they write about larger points before jumping head first into their topic. And make sure that everyone can agree with your broad statement.

You don't want to have your readership criticizing your argument from the beginning. You need to build a certain degree of trust. By all means, avoid the "Throughout history" or "In modern society" types of opening lines. These are so overused that they have become hackneyed, and they will damage your credibility as a writer before your reader has looked at another word.

Review what else has been written on your topic. One of the best ways to begin a paper is to tell your audience what else exists. If you are writing on the role of farmers during the American Revolution, begin by discussing those works that directly or tangentially discuss the subject.

Then explain how your work adds to the conversation or does something differently. This will answer that nagging question in your readers' minds - why do I need to read this research paper? We've all seen those individuals who begin papers or speeches by quoting Webster's Dictionary. It is hackneyed most of the time because the speaker or author defines a common word that most people know.

If your topic is more obscure or the audience knows nothing about it, you might need to start by establishing a baseline of knowledge. But don't go for the standard "Webster's Dictionary defines philately as See if you can make your opening line attention-grabbing or intriguing.

Begin with a true story. This works well for history papers in particular. A story about an individual family that attacked a quartered British soldier in the middle of the night for eating all of their bread would be a suitable story for a paper on the role of farmers in the early American Revolution. By setting up this story at the beginning, you'd be able to return to it periodically over the course of your paper to illustrate points and to re-assert your thesis statement.

Understand what is conventional for your field. You can begin with broad analytical statements or with a story for most fields, but in some it is less appropriate and helpful than others. While historians can make use of both broad claims and stories, biologists might not be able to. If a biologist wanted to write a paper on the photosynthesis process in celery stalks, they might not want to begin with a story - especially not a hypothetical one.

It would just seem silly. In short, know your audience. Who will read this paper? Will they enjoy the way you began your story? If you aren't sure about how to start your essay, have a look at some published works in your subject. They'll be a lot fancier than your paper needs to be, but they can give you a sense of that subject's conventions. Write your first draft. During this draft, you will answer your primary question with your thesis statement and then systematically support that statement with evidence acquired during your research phase.

Write a complete rough draft before you start editing. It is easier to get all of your thoughts out on the paper especially if you have a solid outline to follow and then go back and edit. It will disrupt your thought process. Some writers find it helpful to write the body of the text and then return and write the introduction and conclusion. This gives them a better sense of what exactly they want to argue.

You must always edit spelling, grammar, and content personally. Be aware of homonyms. They are the primary type of word missed by spellcheck. Make sure you cite work correctly. Check with your professor to find what kind of style you should use. They each use a different method of citation. Be sure to give the author credit. If you've ever read a research paper that had you head-bobbing after the first sentence, then you know how important the introductory paragraph is. You have a limited amount of time to grab your reader and pull her in, so don't make her yawn in the first sentence.

The best introductions start in a way that creates a connection between the reader's interest or experience and the research and conclusions you intend to present. In a paper that deals with a particularly specialized topic or a term your audience is unlikely to be familiar with, you can start your introduction by defining a central word or phrase.

Do not use this if a definition will not add useful information. Starting an essay with a dictionary definition of a common word, for example, is a cliched and shallow practice that you should avoid. Instead, give a definition while hinting at the angle, focus or thesis of your paper. This method eases the reader into the substance of your paper by providing a memorable and relevant story or a quotation from a well-known person or work. Pick something that is engaging in its own right, but that also creates a connection to your research paper's central thesis.

You may draw, for example, from a legend or myth that seeks to answer the same question you did or share the experience of a famed researcher in your field. A dictionary of quotations can help you find quotations related to your topic. Every paper has a story to tell, starting with.

The intro is typically the "hook" to read the rest of the paper, so you have to provide a birds-eye view that draws the reader in without drowning them in details. The thing that separates a good intro from a bad one is knowing where that right level of detail is, so you're not either totally vacuous or mired in details. Getting this right is an art and depends on your field, your results, the problem, and your understanding of the target audience. I was recently forwarded what I think is a guide full of excellent advice, Writing Tips for Ph.

Students by John Cochrane. In it, Cochrane has a brief section of advice on the introduction:. The introduction should start with what you do in this paper, the major contribution. You must explain that contribution so that people can understand it. Do not start with a long motivation of how important the issue is to public policy. Start with your central contribution.

This just reiterates the point both Oldboy and Suresh made that the introduction should clearly state what the paper is about, and also some more detailed advice about avoiding generic intro. I have an article for this, you can check it out: Making concrete analogies and big pictures. Start writing the body paragraphs then use the basic ideas of all of them and then create an introduction and concluding paragraphs!

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count. Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered. How to write a strong introduction into a research paper? Here's a bit of meta-advice on this point. One major way I've learned how to improve introductions is by thinking hard about negative referee reports.


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Five Different Ways to Start an Introduction for a Research Paper By Benjamin Twist ; Updated June 27, If you've ever read a research paper that had you head-bobbing after the first sentence, then you know how important the introductory paragraph is.

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Finding a topic and doing the research may be half the battle, but putting words to paper or starting an introduction often proves to be an intimidating task. If done correctly, an introduction is a simple and effective way to write the entire paper quickly.

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May 14,  · 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. The first few sentences should act as an indication 78%(). This is very area specific. I'll start with the caveat that I write papers in computer science, so YMMV. The way I think about introductions (which is not to say they are GOOD introductions) is that they tell the story of the paper in brief.

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Many people do not know exactly how to start off research papers in whatever topic they are writing on. As such, they need help in starting a research paper. Basically, if you need to know how to start a research paper, you have to start by knowing how to write the first sentences. Research Paper Quizlet. Spring STUDY. The best way to remember the correct spelling of a word and its proper usage is to. use a dictionary, look it up,and see the word in context. When writing a research paper, the point of .