If you’re a curious person who always wants to everything about anything, then you’ll love writing research papers. As a writer who constantly works on different forms of content and different niches, I spend most of my time researching. In fact, that’s my favorite part of the entire process. I love that feeling I get when I research, learn more, find what I need, and use it to create unique content. As you’ve already figured by its name, a research paper requires a lot of curiosity and “detective work” as I like to call it. You can easily picture yourself as a detective (or even a journalist) who’s working on same big case or story.
Writing research paper for the very first time can be overwhelming, you’re nervous because you don’t want to make mistakes. Or maybe you’ve already worked on this type of paper before, but you want to know how to improve. I am going to help writing papers you out, regardless of your experience, by providing useful info and tips for writing a high-quality work. Let’s see how to write introduction and outline for a research paper (it’s easier than you think).
Research paper introduction
Research papers usually discuss serious topic or ideas, or the ones that are subjected to numerous debates. A writer i.e. you, has to a thorough research, find out as much as possible and combine previous and current research data on the topic. The paper should, also, include conflicting ideas or attitudes.
Let’s say your research paper is about global warming, besides info (previous and current studies and such) about this topic, it’s useful to write about two opposing views or mention that some people believe it is a hoax. That way, you are covering both sides of the issue and show how unbiased you are.
The research paper does not deal with writer’s opinion, it is not your job to write what you think about the subject and support your claim with evidence. Instead, it deals with facts!
You have probably dealt with this problem before – you want to start writing, but you can’t think of anything, ideas vanished entirely, and you don’t know how to formulate the introduction. That is a common concern, even among those who believe that introductions aren’t important in the first place.
The high-quality paper is the one wherein all parts, from the introduction to a conclusion, are well-structured. There are no “less important” parts of the text. So, how to create an introduction for a research paper?
Elements of the introduction
In order to create a bulletproof introduction, you should stick to the basic formula that consists of the following:
- Hook – the very beginning of your introduction, which is why it should be interesting in order to grab a reader’s attention. This is, basically, where readers already make the very first impression of your work and as you know, first impressions are everything. The hook for a research paper is typically longer than in a basic essay. The typical research paper is longer than some essay, which is why it needs a longer intro. To create the hook, you can use anecdotes, statistics, questions, quotes, anything you see fit for your topic.
- Research question – in most cases you’ll get the research question i.e. what exactly to research and create your paper about, but in other instances, you’ll have to do it on your own. Generally, research question should be concise, on the point, and inform the reader what to expect throughout your work.
- Thesis statement – it accounts for the last sentence or two of the introduction. The thesis statement in a research paper is equally important to those in ordinary essays. Not only they provide additional information to the reader, but also help you stay focused and avoid straying away from your topic. The thesis statement is, actually, an answer to the research question, so make sure it’s a good, constructive one.
Example: The history of medieval times in Europe and the Middle East was primarily characterized by armed conflict between Christians and Muslims. Christians called these conflicts the Crusades because they were fighting under the sign of the cross to save the holy lands of the Bible from being desecrated by non-Christians. However, the true reason for fighting for these lands was less than holy. What was the real reason behind Crusades? The underlying cause for Crusades was mainly a desire for economic gain that prompted the Christian leaders to send soldiers to fight in the Holy Land and efforts from the Church to, still, remain the biggest and undisputable authority.
Purple – hook
Blue – research question
Red – thesis statement
Whenever having to write a research introduction, keep in mind the diagram you see below.
Tips for introduction
Here are some useful things to consider when writing a research paper introduction:
- Although introductions of research papers can be somewhat longer than in regular essays, you should still try to keep it short. Don’t drag the introduction and take up half of a page or something. Rambling, lengthy introductions will quickly lose your reader’s interest. Plus, they are a sign of an unorganized thought
- Introduction isn’t a summarized version of the entire paper, it briefly introduces your work
- Never choose a thesis statement you can’t support with evidence
- Based on your research, include points or subtopics that you will delve into in the body of the paper
- Subtopics should be associated with the main subject and work to strengthen the importance and value of your thesis statement
- When writing the first draft, you can save the introduction for last (if you find it easier that way). By the time you finish the body and conclusion, you’ll get inspired and know what to include in the introductory part of your paper.
- Take a notebook and write down different ideas to make an interesting, yet professional introduction. Separate good ideas from the bad ones, think of your research question and thesis statement. Now, connect those ideas with sentences
- Be precise, your introductions should be precise and specific and discuss only the idea you’ve researched and plan to elaborate further, don’t stray away from the topic and write about stuff that you won’t even mention in the body.
Research paper outline
Now that you know how to start your research paper, you’re probably wondering how to keep going. Be sure that you have found a worthy research paper topic before passing to the next level. Just like with essays, the outline is everything. It’s a formula you use to write about any topic and still get a well-structured paper that your professor will love.
The general outline for research paper consists of the following:
- Introduction (explained above)
- Body – the central part of the paper and includes context or general information about the subject, existing arguments, detailed research. Here you can also include your argument, but only if a professor specifies it when sending out assignments. As mentioned above, research papers are usually concerned with facts, not opinions
- Conclusion – summary of main points, why the subject matters
Example: Here’s how the general outline would look if were writing about Shakespeare:
- Body – Shakespeare’s early life, marriage, works, later years
- Early life, family, marriage to Anne Hathaway, references to his marriage in poems he wrote
- Shakespeare’s works: tragedies, comedies, histories, sonnets, other poems
- Later years: last two plays, retired to Stratford, death, burial, epitaph on this tombstone
It is important to bear in mind that every new idea, in this case, an aspect of Shakespeare’s life and work, requires a separate paragraph.
To simplify, use the following diagram when you have to work on a research paper.
The purpose of a research paper outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before the writing process commences. Since I’ve already shown how to write the introduction, it’s time to give a few pointers for the body and conclusion of your work. So, here we go:
- Assume that your reader isn’t familiar with the topic and start with basic info first. Imagine you’re reading a paper for a five-year-old. Give background, historical context, etc. You don’t have to go into the tiniest details, mentioning something useful, memorable will do the trick too
- It’s useful to research and include opinions of other, respected historical figures about your topic. For example, what other authors had to say about Shakespeare
- Don’t forget about conflicting views e.g. some people didn’t like Shakespeare and thought he was a fraud, it’s useful to mention that as well. Regardless of the topic, there are always pro- and anti- opinions, mention both sides
- Only include information you can support with reliable and trustworthy evidence. Don’t use Wikipedia, blogs and such, go for journals, books, respected websites, it all depends on the topic of course
- Give credit where credit is due, don’t forget to cite your sources
- The overall tone of your paper should be formal, don’t be scared to demonstrate your vast vocabulary skills
- Avoid wordiness, sentences should be concise. Every word you use should only contribute to the overall meaning of a sentence. Don’t use “fluff” just meet the word count
- When writing conclusions, briefly mention the most important arguments or research, explain the importance of the subject and what we can learn from it.
Writing a research paper may seem like a mission impossible if you’ve never had the opportunity to work on such an assignment. But, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Always make sure you follow an outline and you’ll stay on the right track. Picture yourself as a detective or journalist who’s in the search for the truth. Why don’t you try writing your own paper about Shakespeare, now? Good luck!
An essay gives you the chance to demonstrate and explore a particular subject to convince the reader that you can present a logical essay. A well-written essay requires a good knowledge about the topic, meaning that you need to do extensive research on the topic. It is necessary to find evidence that will support your essay claim to convince the reader’s. Leadership being a broad topic gives the writer the opportunity to explore many ideas. A good essay needs to start with an introduction, the introductory paragraph needs to address what is to be covered in the essay, in this case, its leadership.
Essay on leadership at times may require the writer to reflect on how he has demonstrated some of the leadership traits in the past. The writer needs to organize his thoughts before deciding what to write. Even if you have not worked in any organization, you can talk about your experience at the family level or as part of a volunteer group when reflecting about your leadership experiences. Once you identify the area of focus, you can start organizing the essay according to the essay standards with the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. It is important to develop an essay outline that will guide you when writing the essay.
How to start
A professional essay introduction needs to presents the topic to be discussed using descriptive words that will attract the reader’s attention within the first sentence. To develop a good essay on leadership, using your personal experience will grab the reader’s attention, alternatively, you can start with a hook by mentioning a great leader from history who has inspired many people.
The writer can sue her experiences. The introduction needs to grab the reader’s attention the paragraph should contain three to four sentence introducing the topic. An essay introduction needs to include a thesis statement. A thesis statement is one sentence that describes leadership.
Example of introduction:
“Leadership is a common term that is easy to describe but can be difficult to implement, leaders can be found everywhere including our families, among friends, at work or within the community. To be a good leader, one needs to possess certain characteristics, which I have come to learn through experience. Having experienced one of the worst catastrophes, I discovered what it meant to be a leader. Having been left alone at home with my younger siblings when the floods swept our house, I realized that as a leader I need to make allot of sacrifices to ensure that everyone is safe.”
How to write the body
The body paragraphs of an essay contain three main paragraphs, with each section elaborating on the topic. The body paragraph contains examples and evidence to justify the essay claim. When describing the main points of the essay the points should be given a new paragraph. At the beginning of each paragraph the reader need to be able to relate it with previous paragraphs; therefore, transitional words will help to enable the essay flow.
Each body paragraph needs to have a topic sentence that links the program to the main theme of the essay. Each of the body paragraphs needs to present a different argument about leadership and evidence to support why the topic is of interest. The first body section should contain strong argument supported by examples, which should be at least five sentences long.
A good essay body needs to use anecdotes that will boost the argument. For example, if the thesis sentence emphasizes on qualities of a good leader the essay body needs to provide example of some of the important traits of leaders and how it impacts on the organization. In the body paragraphs, use the information gathered during research to justify some of the leadership qualities .The body paragraphs need to have transition sentences for the readers to easily connect the essay ideas. The information gathered and some of the leadership experiences can help develops the body of the essay.
Example of body paragraphs:
First body paragraph
“There are many different leadership styles, despite the different leadership approaches, leaders are common characteristics. One of the most important features of a good leader is being prepared to leader. A good leader needs to have adequate experience and knowledge to have confidence in leading people. It is not surprising to find many people who are in leadership, but are not prepared to take active role in leading people.”
Second body paragraph
“Being prepared to be a leader requires a set of skills, the best leaders are those who embrace open communication and encourage feedbacks. Leaders need to communicate effectively for everyone to understand what is expected of him. A good leader needs to be patient and thinks through before making any decision. To be a good leader means to think analytically by reviewing the whole situation before making any conclusions. It is equally important for leaders to build trust among his followers, this will enable them to feel part of the team.”
Third body paragraph
“A leader requires more skill than just communication, a good leader is one that is open minded, meaning that he is open to change. This is one of the most difficult characteristics leaders want to adopt. Most leaders feel that they have adequate knowledge hence they know everything. Accepting changes for some people would mean being incompetent. However, an effective leader needs to embrace changes to avoid resistance among the subordinates.”
How to conclude
Conclusion if the last paragraph in an essay, meaning this is the last chance for you to convince the reader about the topic. A good conclusion should rephrase the thesis statement at the same time summarize the main essay points that supported the essay claim .The conclusion ties up the whole essay, therefore, it should reinforce the thesis statement, but not introduce any new ideas that were not part of the main points discussed in the essay. Since the conclusion presents the final remarks, the author needs to persuade the target audience why the issues need their attention .Therefore persuasive language needs to be applied in the concluding paragraphs to have resounding ideas that will give the readers something to think about after reading the essay.
Example of conclusion for a laws of life essay:
“There are many characteristics that make a good leader. However, leaders who succeed unique exhibit characteristics like having a positive outlook towards the situation and being open minded. A good leader needs to have good communication skills and should exercise patience before making any decisions. Leadership is about being ready to lead people by taking appropriate action.”
Example of Outline
- Hook: overview of leadership and your leadership experience
- Thesis statement
First body paragraph
- Discussing leadership: qualities of a good leader
Second body paragraph
- Characteristics of a good leader
- Having experience and knowledge to have confidence in leading people
Third body paragraph
- Being open minded
- Having good communication skills
- Rephrasing of thesis statement to call for action
- Summary of qualities of a good leader