The introduction of your term paper is often the first thing the reader sees of your paper. That’s why you shouldn’t just write it down quickly, but make it an exciting chapter. What are the things that absolutely belong in the introduction? And which mistakes of many students you should avoid at all costs?
This post on the topic "Introduction term paper" is article 4 in the series "Writing a term paper – The ultimate guide".
I don’t know about you, but for me the deadline of a term paper always came too early. Just before the deadline, heaps of things had to be done, formatting had to be done, and of course, the introduction of the term paper had to be done somehow as well.
Instead, you can create a top introduction with relatively manageable effort. Your examiner will be happy about that.
Before going into the details of the introduction, look at the whole outline of the paper first.
Introduction term paper: why it is so important?
With many of my fellow students, I often had the impression that the introduction did not really seem important to them. You then simply put a few sentences together. They then also only half fit the rest of the work and the conclusion.
However, a good introduction is very important! Why?
Because it comes before the rest of your paper. Often the examiner does not start reading the introduction, but skims the whole paper first.
The introduction is also there to get the reader’s interest. Even if it seems strange to you that someone could actually read your work out of interest: Your goal should be to write excitingly.
You are sure to know the books or magazine articles that make a great impression at first sight: The title fits exactly to the topic of your work and you think that you have found a super source here. But as soon as you start reading, you’re about to fall asleep.
And this is exactly how you do not want your introduction to be.
When should I write the introduction?
In your introduction, every sentence must fit, since you usually have very little space. Finally, there is a whole series of points to be made. But you can only formulate so precisely if you really know your topic very well.
And you can only do that when you are almost finished writing your term paper. So don’t make the mistake of trying to formulate a perfect introduction at the very beginning of the writing process! This only costs time unnecessarily. In the further course you will have to rewrite it very often.
It still doesn’t hurt to have a rough draft of the introduction at the beginning. But you rather write it for yourself. This way you can keep your next steps in mind and make sure that you are on the right track when writing the main part of your paper.
How long should the introduction be??
That depends naturally strongly on your work. If you are writing a small term paper, then one page is usually sufficient. This is then also given by the lecturer.
The more extensive your paper, the more detailed your introduction needs to be. After all, you want to cover all the necessary points in it. As a rule of thumb, 10 percent of the total volume of the paper is often mentioned.
What all belongs in the introduction
The introduction of your term paper must treat contentwise a whole quantity. This includes:
- The "leading" of the reader to the topic
- The brief introduction of the theories, methods and data you used
- A short summary of the outline
Lead your reader to the topic
Before your reader picks up your paper, he is not an expert in the topic of the paper. You on the other hand already.
You should be at least after writing.
At the very beginning of your paper, you should try to build suspense right away. This is exactly what is important in scientific work. Try to convince the reader to read on right away.
For this purpose, you can expand a little on the topic and then narrow down your topic further and further.
You might want to mention some current events or new developments in science.
You have to bring the reader to the topic.
The first sentences of your paper
One way to start is to mention a recent event, for example. Maybe there was a news report that fits to your topic?
For example, if your topic is "Corporate Social Responsibility", your first sentence could be:
"Customers’ great trust in ABC AG has completely collapsed following revelations about the board’s company-funded luxury trips."
Maybe there is a big discussion in the scientific literature about your topic. Then you can, for example.
What is the "Why of your paper?
The question of the "why" of the paper is also particularly important. Why did you choose this topic and this problem in the first place, or why does it make sense to work on it??
Why is your work important in the scientific context?? And why it can also have relevance to topics outside of science?
Maybe it is also part of the requirements of your paper to formulate a direct question, i.e. a specific question that you want to answer in your seminar paper.
Explain in the introduction exactly what you are going to do
As soon as you have defined exactly what your term paper is about, you outline what exactly will happen on the next pages of your term paper. Here you also briefly discuss the outline of your paper.
If your main body starts with the chapter on the current state of research, then you can summarize it again to the point in the introduction. Afterwards, you explain how your research question ties in with the current state of research.
Which theses do you want to check in your paper?? And how are they connected to the existing literature?
Mention and briefly explain the theories and methods you used. Even if you use certain data, you can show this in the introduction.
You can also briefly introduce the most important literature in the introduction . If it is appropriate and you have some space, you can also criticize the existing literature.
At the end of the introduction, the reader should know why you are dealing with this topic and what goal you are pursuing in your term paper in the first place. In addition, it should be clear how you are going to proceed.
After reading the introduction your reader should really want to read on. And yes, this also applies to topics like "Slugs in the Alps" or "How many pins fit into a haystack". So – Make an effort.
Maybe it is a good idea to mention the most important results of your term paper in the introduction. But remember: You want to keep the tension high.
For the introduction of a term paper you have some leeway
Please do not copy all the points exactly as I have written them down here. This post also does not mean that you may not include other points in the introduction.
However, you must never forget the really important points! Again, the standard is your lecturer or professor. But use the chance to show already in the introduction that you have really dealt with your topic in depth.
Write comprehensibly and in such a way that the reader can understand your argumentation.
Introduction term paper – An important chapter
The introduction is often underestimated. It directly follows the table of contents of the term paper. It is very important, because for a normal reader it is the first part of the paper he reads. Here it is decided whether he really deals with your work in more detail, or puts it aside again.
I’ve picked out a few more links for you here that also deal with the introduction of a term paper:
So it’s worth putting some effort into the introduction as well.
How to continue with your term paper you will find out here soon with new articles. Stay tuned!