The introduction paragraph in psychology research papers sets the tone for the rest of the paper, and they’re generally one of the most important parts of your writing.
A powerful introduction paragraph should be short but informative, enticing your reader to read more, while also setting up the rest of your paper and what’s to come next.
Here are 7 examples of effective introduction paragraphs in psychology research papers that you can incorporate into your own writing.
Example 1: A straightforward introduction paragraph
This type of introductory paragraph is perfect if you want to dive right into what you’re discussing without wasting any time.
It’s simple and easy to understand, giving readers just enough information before moving on to the body of your essay.
Here is an example of this type of introductory paragraph in a psychology research essay:
The psychological differences between people who work night shifts and those who work during daylight hours have been studied since the 1940s. Researchers believe that these individuals often experience sleep disorders, physical health problems, mood changes, fatigue, and cognitive deficits. In contrast, daytime workers seem to maintain better levels of both physical and mental well-being. There has been little research on the reasons behind these observed differences, but there is evidence that suggests exposure to light might play a role.
Example 2: Reflective introductory paragraph
This reflective introductory paragraph draws upon personal experiences to hook readers and make them relate to the topic.
It also provides useful background information about the issue being discussed so that readers know where it comes from, which may or may not help them form their opinion about it.
An example of this reflective introductory paragraph would be as follows:
When I was seventeen years old, I used to babysit my two younger siblings every day after school until our parents got home from work. To keep myself entertained, I watched TV in the living room with my siblings – completely neglecting my homework in the process. My grades suffered as a result; eventually, my teachers contacted my parents and let them know that I needed to start turning things around academically or else it would affect me later on down the road. At first, I thought nothing of it and continued to put off my studies in favor of watching TV with my siblings. Eventually, though, I realized that maybe I had been doing something wrong all along when it came to studying because now that I was trying harder than ever before, everything seemed to be coming easier than before.
Example 3: An introduction paragraph analysing different viewpoints
This introductory paragraph analyzes different viewpoints, letting readers know that they won’t necessarily agree with the author and inviting them to find out why.
This type of intro lets your reader see the different sides of an argument and encourages open discussion, making it great for sparking debate.
Here is an example of this type of intro in a psychology paper:
Many psychologists disagree over whether intelligence is inherited or acquired through education. Some experts argue that intelligence is largely determined by genetics, whereas others say intelligence can only be developed through extensive education programs. The genetic view of intelligence is supported by the fact that IQ scores tend to be hereditary and that adopted children tend to take on the IQ score of their adoptive parents. Furthermore, even though it is true that intellectual stimulation can increase a child’s IQ, some research shows that this type of environment does not guarantee higher IQ scores.
Example 4: An introduction paragraph posing a question for the reader
This type of introductory paragraph poses a question that your reader will be eager to answer. It also introduces the major theme of your paper, and it’s also a great way to get readers engaged with your writing.
Here is an example of this type of introduction paragraph in a psychology research paper:
How much do we really know about the human mind? Do thoughts and memories shape who we are? If I asked you what you ate for breakfast this morning, could you remember? Or what about yesterday, or last week? You may be able to remember one detail, such as the color of your toast, but the rest is probably a blur. Why is it that we can’t remember most of what happens in our lives? The truth is that there is still a lot to learn about how memory works and how it shapes who we are. Most would agree that understanding how memory works could lead to an understanding of who we are as individuals.
Example 5: An introduction paragraph that Invites the reader
This introductory paragraph is a call to action that gets the reader motivated to read more. It gives insight into the paper and makes the argument clear.
This type of intro invites your reader to explore this new knowledge and form his/her own opinion about it.
Here is an example of this type of introduction paragraph in a psychology essay :
Do we possess free will? What if I told you that there is no evidence that humans have free will, despite what we might think? Can anything change this fact? In the following essay, I’ll try to show you that what we feel is called free will is actually just a product of chemistry and biology.
Example 6: Opening a door
This type of intro opens up a whole new world for the reader.
It tells the story of how you came to this conclusion or idea and sets up your point for your reader so he/she understands where you’re coming from. Basically, it opens up a door so people want to come inside to hear more!
Here is an example of this type of intro in a psychology research paper:
As I opened my front door and stepped outside, I looked up at the sun shining brightly in the sky. Immediately, my eyes were overwhelmed by the brightness. As I squinted to shield myself from its light, everything seemed blurry and hard to make out. I should bring my sunglasses, I thought before turning back around and going back inside. I don’t need to wear sunglasses, I reassured myself. But after a few minutes of sitting in the sunshine, I had to admit that the glare was making it difficult for me to see. Slowly, I reached for my glasses and slipped them on. Instantly, all became crisp and clear once again.
Example 7: Beginning with a quote
Sometimes the introduction paragraph of a research paper can start with a quote to add another layer of depth to your intro.
It lets you summarize someone else’s thoughts and offer another perspective on the topic, which then allows you to introduce your topic from their perspective instead of just yours.
Here is an example of this type of intro in a psychology academic paper:
It has been said that every man kills the thing he loves. With these famous words, Oscar Wilde laid bare the nature of love. Love sometimes means sacrificing oneself for the other person—especially when they are too selfish to sacrifice themselves. And yet, self-sacrifice doesn’t always bring happiness; it brings guilt instead. Is it possible to find joy without pain? To love without loss? That is one question Oscar Wilde grapples with in his short story The Happy Prince. There are many ways to interpret this tale but one way might be through Freudian theory. In Freudian theory, love stems from sexual desire, the fulfillment of which results in pleasure. The release of sexual tension causes conflict within the mind due to differing emotions such as anger and regret and hostility towards objects that represent parental figures such as parents or society who regulate sexuality.