5 Examples of a Research Paper Introduction

In this article, you’ll get free examples of a research paper introduction.

First things first, though: What is a research paper introduction?

Well, a research paper introduction isn’t the most exciting part of the writing process, but it’s important.

This is where you hook your reader, whether that reader is another student or an actual professor with hundreds of papers to read through every day.

If you can get someone engaged in your introduction, they’ll be much more likely to stick around until the end of your essay, which means that you’ll have more chances to convince them that your research topic was worth the time it took to write and study it!

Examples of a Research Paper Introduction


Example 1 – Start with a story

Humans are storytellers. It’s how we make sense of the world and share our experiences with others. So it’s no surprise that beginning a research paper with a story can engage your reader and leave them wanting more. Here is an example of an engaging introduction that starts with a story:

Here is an example of a research paper introduction about handling fear with gratitude and awareness.

One day, while walking down the street in New York City, I was pulled into an alley by a man wearing all black who threatened to kill me if I didn’t give him my purse. Needless to say, I gave him my purse and ran home as fast as I could without looking back. For days after this event, I found myself on edge when walking alone at night, always thinking about what would have happened if he had caught up to me. If I had done something differently? If I wasn’t so quick? And then one morning, as I went out for coffee, I noticed there were police officers stationed outside of every building – they were there to protect us. Suddenly, my fear turned into gratitude and appreciation for those officers’ dedication. That experience taught me that sometimes the best way to handle fear is through gratitude and awareness.

Example 2 – Tell your research paper introduction like a Movie Trailer

In a movie trailer, the goal is to give the viewer just enough information to pique their interest without giving away too much of the plot.

In a research paper introduction, the goal is similar: give your reader enough background information to understand your thesis without getting bogged down in too much detail.

Here is an example of what that might look like for someone writing about how social media and technology have affected relationships:

Social media has dramatically changed our society and the way we interact with each other. From Facebook stalking old flames to Tinder swiping left and right, social media seems to have infiltrated every facet of modern life. And while there are many arguments on both sides as to whether or not these changes are good or bad, one thing is certain- they are here to stay. But while the repercussions of social media may be debatable, it cannot be denied that it has had a profound effect on our love lives.

Example 3 – Use an anecdote

Anecdotes are stories that can help you introduce yourself, explain your interest in a topic, or make a point. When used effectively, they can be very powerful.

An anecdote could show how what is being studied has affected someone personally. It might also be helpful to use an anecdote if the research was done on a personal level, such as interviewing friends and family about their experiences with something like sleep apnea.

In addition to creating interesting reading material for your audience, anecdotes have the potential to humanize your research paper topics that may otherwise seem clinical and boring.

The following example introduces one woman’s experience living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It also introduces some key points for future readers to understand:

COPD affects one’s ability to breathe, quality of life deteriorates over time, and there is no cure. It causes wheezing, which causes coughing. Some people who live with COPD cough up blood and phlegm because their airways are so irritated. However, many people cope well and continue to lead fulfilling lives. For this reason, it is important not to allow oneself to become isolated from friends and family while dealing with COPD.

Example 4 – Introduce your research paper with simple questions

You can also start with a simple question that leads to more complex questions and, ultimately, your thesis statement.

Here is an example of how to introduce the research topic: What are the effects of tax policy on economic growth?

Firstly, this question can be broken down into smaller questions like What is tax policy? and What are the different types of taxes?

From there, you can develop a research question like What is the relationship between tax policy and economic growth? and finally your thesis statement. If your research question is broad in scope, it’s often best to focus on one aspect for the purposes of clarity and simplicity.

In this case, it may make sense to narrow your focus by asking: What effect does state-level taxation have on economic growth?

The following example shows how to use these same steps to craft questions for a research paper introduction to the U.S. income tax system:

Start by asking the questions: what is the relationship between changing income tax rates over time and changes in real GDP per capita? How do federal marginal income tax rates affect taxpayers’ choices between taking home pay or using paychecks to invest in stocks? How do taxpayers respond when they’re subject to higher marginal tax rates as their incomes increase? How do individuals react when they live in states with lower or higher than average state marginal income tax rates (e.g., Oregon vs. Mississippi)?

Asking these questions will help you generate potential thesis statements such as Changes in marginal income tax rates alter taxpayer behavior, or When faced with high state marginal income tax rates, taxpayers choose not to take home pay.

Example 5 – Start in an Interesting Place

A research paper’s introductory paragraph can also start in a place that is or is not directly related to the topic.

For example, if you are writing about music and you want to begin with a famous quote from John Lennon, it would be relevant as long as it has something to do with music and its effects on people.

You could write, John Lennon once said ‘I believe life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.’

Though he may have been talking about life in general, this quote aptly describes how people experience music. It is part of our lives and touches us deeply. Music elicits memories, emotions, thoughts, and experiences we never knew we had.

It accompanies us through all parts of our lives–from our childhoods to our adulthoods–and becomes intertwined with who we are at any given time. The rest of the paper will delve into this idea in more detail.

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