While the introduction for a literature review may seem like an afterthought compared to the body of your work, a good introduction can help you present yourself in the best possible light to your readers.
A strong introduction can also set the tone for your paper, so you want to make sure it’s well-written and effective at what it does.
How to write a Strong Introduction for Your Literature Review Paper
1) Know your audience
Before you start writing, it’s important to understand who your audience is and what they’re looking for.
That way, you can tailor your introduction to meet their needs.
It’ll also help you write in an authoritative voice that doesn’t sound like you’re trying too hard. Understanding your audience boils down to understanding the goals of the person reading your work.
They might be hoping to find out more about your study area or find a source with statistics on related topics.
On the other hand, they might just want to know if there are any flaws in one of the studies that influenced your work. Find out what people are looking for before you create an introduction so you can give them what they need from the beginning.
2) Give an overview of the Literature Review
The introduction should give an overview of the essay or study, and explain why the literature review is important.
It should provide readers with enough background to understand why you’re writing about that particular topic.
The purpose of your review may be related to an academic assignment, or it could be required as part of an informational text.
For example, if you’re reviewing research on nursing home abuse, you might explain that while statistics show that nursing homes are safer than hospitals when it comes to falls and pressure ulcers, many residents still have concerns about their safety.
You might then talk about how this relates to some of the major themes in nursing, such as autonomy and dignity.
3) Explain how you will approach the topic
Your introduction should also include information about what’s going to happen in the body of your paper.
Give an overview of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, with an explicit discussion of methods, data sources, and research questions.
If there are any unique features or contributions of your study that are worth highlighting, now is the time to mention them.
The goal is not just to show readers why they might want to read on but also to provide them with enough context so that they can make an informed decision as soon as they start reading the paper itself.
4) Structure your introduction to match the rest of your paper
Don’t worry about structuring each paragraph perfectly; instead, structure each paragraph so that it matches the style and organization of the rest of your paper.
To get started, you might outline each paragraph first and see where you end up.
The introduction to your literature review paper shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought. After all, it’s the first thing anyone reads and has a big impact on their impression of your work.
Make sure yours has everything it needs to stand out!
5) Use an interesting lead sentence to grab attention
Your introduction sets the tone for your paper and provides readers with key information about what’s coming next.
Take time to think about what you want readers to know before they get into the meat of your work, and use a compelling lead sentence that grabs their attention. You can cite statistics or examples to reinforce points in your opening paragraphs, but remember that the introduction isn’t the place for detailed descriptions of those materials.
Make sure you keep it short and sweet—less is more here!
Writing a strong introductory Paragraph for Your Literature Review: Final Words
Ultimately, you want the introduction to set the tone for your work and give readers the most important information they need to make an informed decision. Therefore, you should spend some time crafting your introduction to reflect the overall focus of your paper.
Include an overview of the content, how you will explore the topic, and what you plan to accomplish.
However, don’t forget that your introduction must also be engaging while providing readers with critical information about the entire paper. Spend some time thinking about what you want people to know about your work, and find a way to write an effective lead sentence that captures their attention.
A brief explanation of what’s happening in the body of your paper is always necessary, but try not to overwhelm them with too much detail at once.