Introduction Section of a Research Paper

by Eric Mosby - Date: 2010-11-08 - Word Count: 502 Share This!

Your introductions should not exceed more than two pages (typed, double spaced). See again the examples that are given in the writing portfolio package.

General intent

The purpose of an introduction is to basically present the reader with the rationale behind the work, with the intention of defending it. It places all your work in theoretical context, and enables the reader to go through it and appreciate your work.

Writing an introduction

The abstract is the only part of a research paper that is to be written without using paragraphs in order to separate major points. Approaches vary however for the studies the following approach can always produce an effective introduction.

- Describe the importance and the significance of your study - why do you think this was worth being done at the first place? Provide a broad relevant context.

- Defend the model - why have you used this particular organism or system? What are the advantages of it? You must comment on its suitability from a theoretical point of view as well as indicate practical reasons for using this particular system.

- Provide a rationale. State the specific hypothesis and objectives, as well as describe the reasoning that led you to select this particular thing.

- Very briefly describe the experimental design and how has it accomplished the stated objectives.

- Always use past tense except for when you are referring to establish facts as the paper will be submitted after all of the work is completed and compiled together.

- Organize all your ideas, highlighting one major point with each of your paragraph.

- Present all the background information only if it is needed in order to support a position.

- State the hypothesis or the objective precisely. Make sure you don't oversimplify it.

- As always take care of your spellings, clarity and appropriateness of sentences and phrases that you are writing.

Literature Cited

Please note down that in the introductory laboratory course, you are not at all required to document sources for all the information that you have extracted. One reason being, that the major source of your information is this website, and websites are never appropriate as primary sources. Secondly, it is a big problem for us to provide hundreds of students with equal access to potential reference materials. You may find sources outside as well and you may cite any articles that are provided to you by the instructor or any that you find yourself.

List all the literature cited in your term paper in alphabetical order using primary literature (original research articles that are authored by the original investigators). Be cautious and very careful about using websites as references - anyone can just put up any information that is not right on the website so you should never rely on websites as you might not know whether the information is valid or not. If you are citing an online journal, use the journal citation available (name, year, volume, and page numbers). Some of your papers might not require any references, and in that case you may simply state that, "no references were consulted."

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