Because this article will help you write the best possible introduction for your scientific paper.
Here you get a 7-part step-by-step guide to writing introduction.
The steps are super easy to follow and will give your introduction the professionalism it needs. Nonetheless, you should drive your reader’s curiosity immeasurably from the very beginning.
When writing an introduction, you have the unique opportunity to give your scientific work originality, creativity and a unique style to miss.
At the end of the article I’ll tell you one more Secret tip, which will make writing the introduction for your term paper much easier for you. Promise! &
So stay attentive to the end of the article and use it as a checklist while writing the introduction for your term paper.
Why write an introduction at all?
The purpose of an introduction is to topic of your scientific work and create a certain feeling of professionalism in the reader interest for the following content. It should be clear why the investigation of your research topic from a scientific or practical perspective requires a great deal of attention relevance features.
The introduction is one of the three pillars of any scientific paper. It is the first part of the classic Introduction – main part – conclusion principle. Although this simple scheme sounds more like an outline for a school essay, it is the basic skeleton of texts even in the highest scientific circles.
You should definitely avoid retelling your table of contents when writing your introduction. Rather, what is needed here is the Argumentation to introduce your term paper. The introduction of your term paper should (just like the conclusion) be based in parts on a meta-level move. That means you write "about writing".
Explain your steps and justify it. This is what you do along your argumentation. Guide the reader along this argument structure:
- What is the current state of research on your topic?
- What is the problem?
- How to approach a solution?
- What value would this solution add?
tease little – argue concretely
Thereby you should try to stay as little as possible teaser, by this I mean to throw questions into the room and leave them open. Rather you should as concrete as possible and argue logically and closely to the literature (with appropriate references).
If you can say that your introduction no open questions Exist more about the following work. Then there’s not much standing in the way of a good grade.
But now let’s turn to the structure of your introduction. What steps are necessary to write a sensational introduction?
How should you start writing your introduction??
Start with a powerful quote #1
To immediately captivate readers, you need to shatter their expectations.
A lecturer usually reads dozens of term papers and theses, so how can you stand out with your academic work?
If you write an original introduction, your paper will get the attention it deserves.
In the course of an academic paper you have to follow certain rules and standards, but in the introduction you are allowed to soften them a bit. At least in one place, or even on one page, between the table of contents and the introduction.
Use a surprising element to grab your reader’s attention.
In this way, the student will not only read your work with greater interest, but will also remember it better, which can only have advantages for you and for the evaluation of your term paper.
I like to start my term papers with quotations, a little two-liner or an excerpt from a fictional book or movie. So to say something serves here not scientific as a loose and at the same time meaningful introduction.
The Purple Cow Principle
This approach is also known as the Purple Cow Principle, a classic from marketing literature by Seth Godin. The purple cow practically stands out in a herd of brown and white cows and is so unusual that all attention falls on her.
While we are on the subject of books:
Here you can find books that are really important for your studies.
Maybe you will find a suitable quote for your introduction..
With a non-scientific quotation, you can – if you want to – let your personal attitude resonate subliminally, although you remain completely objective in the course of the work. Or you stimulate the thinking of the reader by your quote an open question (Which is then answered by your introduction).
The quote should not necessarily be known by everyone for it to be something new to the reader. Repeating a quote from Albert Einstein for the twenty-second time will not win you any points.
The reader’s curiosity will help you make him or her eager to read the following pages of your paper. Because with your paper you help him to answer his open questions.
Examples of the right way to start your introduction
An example of a citation:
"The blockchain cannot be described just as a revolution. It is a tsunami-like phenomenon, slowly advancing and gradually enveloping everything along its way by the force of its progression."
In a term paper I examined the Pay-What-You-Want principle in relation to online content of publishers and newspapers. Before the formulated and factual introduction to my term paper, I then placed a picture and a descriptive text of a classic newspaper automaton:
© Public domain
Newspaper vending machines are the analog equivalent of online distribution models. You throw in coins on a trust basis and take out a newspaper. The automaton awakens memories or makes the reader smile. Besides, the originality of the newspaper vending machine in terms of the pay-what-you-want principle carries over a bit to the introduction.
I hope this example could clarify the principle I am getting at.
Be creative and think about how you can generate curiosity for the topic of your term paper.
But now we come to the actual introduction and text production of your scientific paper. Which elements should be on your to-do list when writing an introduction??
Introduce the context of your topic #2
Probably the most obvious reason to write an introduction in the first place: An introduction to your topic. Yet this simple step is often done wrong or even forgotten.
If your topic is very popular in the media, you do not need to start from scratch.
Don’t explain anything in your introduction that general education actually requires.
If, on the other hand, your paper deals with a topic that most people rarely come into contact with, you should make it clear to your reader.
Even a non-specialist reader should know after your introduction exactly what context your topic covers.
How can you implement these steps for your paper now?
Give the reader a short introduction, which puts the topic of your work into a social context Context provides. Do not get lost in empty phrases, but prove the relevance of the topic with Numbers or statistics.
A popular source for this is for example statista. No matter if it’s about user numbers or future predictions – here you can find serious survey values about all areas of society.
(Caution! There are supposed to be lecturers who are allergic to statista. Try to clarify this beforehand or refer to watertight sources such as the Federal Statistical Office.)
Name and explain core terms
Once you have placed your topic in a broader context, you can immediately become more precise. You can now distinguish it from related topics. Always make sure your language is careful and clear. The most important terms of your work should already be mentioned here. Especially the terms that will appear later in your research question (very important!).
You do not need to define them in detail, but they should not leave any question marks in the face of a non-specialist reader either.
Explain research motivation and relevance #3
Now that your topic has been made understandable to everyone, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Now you address the science and get into the research literature.
Why is it important and significant to approach the topic of your work from a scientific perspective??
The research motivation does not mean that you want to get a good grade or that you have always found the topic interesting. Rather, this section of the introduction asks for an explanation of why your thesis has a Gain insight and thus be able to contribute to research.
The "motivation" can of course be broken down as far as you like. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in a term paper, however, the following could be your motivation:
You want to deepen the contents taught in the seminar with regard to an open question.
The same motivation can also apply to a bachelor’s thesis or master’s thesis. Maybe you even link Practical experience with a scientific concept. Now that’s a research motivation!
It is especially true for you if you are writing your thesis in a company or working as a student trainee.
In the second instance, you should have the research motivation of course content Justify your research by describing an existing research problem or identifying a research gap.
Get the complete solution to writing an outstanding term paper now:
Identify research gap #4
A step that is closely related to motivation within an introduction revolves around the Research gap. You have probably heard of this before. But what actually is a research gap? To answer this question, it would certainly need a blogpost of its own.
For your introduction, you should ask yourself this question:
Which aspects of my topic have already been researched? By whom? Which not?
If you have diligently researched and read the current research literature, you can actually use this approach to identify a research gap.
In order to be able to argue well-founded here, you must already have deeply in the reading stuck. But you are only at the beginning of your scientific work…
How to balance this imbalance, you will find out in my secret tip at the end of the article.
Not every term paper has to be able to close a research gap, that would not be possible at all. However, if you mention a potential research gap in the context of your topic, that’s a huge plus.
Theses, on the other hand, should always address a research gap or problem.
A bachelor’s or master’s thesis will always be a successful project if it is able to fill a research gap, at least provisionally.
Determine the goal of your work #5
At this point you should express what exactly you want to achieve with your thesis. You want to close the previously identified research gap as best you can. You can do this by specific research questions Define your research question and answer it in the course of your work.
This part of your introduction is probably the most important step by far. The success of your work stands and falls with the research questions. You can read about how to formulate a brilliant research question on my blog. Here, too, you will get a step-by-step guide with all the tricks of the trade for setting up such a question.
At this point I’ll give you two hot tips that will help you right away:
- A research question should never be answerable with "yes" or "no".
- Use the interrogative word "how" for your research question.
In most cases, 1 to 2 research questions are quite sufficient, depending on the size of the paper. If you are working empirically, hypotheses can also be formulated in addition to the research questions. As a rule, you do not do this in the introduction, but in the main part of your scientific work.
With the help of your research results you can confirm or reject them. This methodology is particularly useful for studies based on a questionnaire or an experiment.
But before we go beyond the scope here, let’s move on to the next step, the description of your method.
Describe the procedure of your research #6
The introduction writing of your term paper or bachelor thesis should definitely consider this point as well: The description of your method.
Examples of scientific methods are as follows:
Surveys, experiments, data analysis, content analysis, literature reviews, interviews, etc…
If you are using an empirical methodology, give a basic explanation of the purpose of your study or data analysis. A detailed description of your approach follows separately in the body of your paper.
Is your scientific work limited to Theoretical discussion with a topic, this is no problem at all. For example, you can use the methodology of a literature research or analyze and extend an existing model, which is of great importance in your subject area.
If you want to work particularly cleanly, you can even conduct a systematic literature review, which is a well-recognized research method.
Now you have almost completed your introduction. The only thing missing is a final step.
Outline the structure of your paper #7
Last but not least, you give the reader a roadmap so that he or she can inwardly prepare for the following pages. In concise words you explain the Work steps, which you will do in the following chapters.
There is also a table of contents, but at the end of the introduction you can once again describe your work structure your thoughts. For you and the reader alike.
You can easily name the individual chapters and their numbering. However, linguistically the small section should not be a monotonous enumeration. Rather, orient yourself to the argumentation that should make up your work.
Usually 2-3 sentences are sufficient for this small section at the end of the introduction.
How much text should I write in my introduction?
For term papers1 page or about 10 percent of the entire paper.
In the case of a Bachelor thesis of ca. 30 pages in length, it usually boils down to 2 pages.
For a Master thesis you can let off steam on 3 pages.
These are only guidelines and you should of course use as much text as you need to complete all the steps learned above. However, if you deviate too much from the recommendation, you should check whether you are not anticipating too much in your main part.
Should I use quotes in an introduction?
I keep reading introductions that feel like a literature review. At one point or another, it may make sense to use indirect quotations. For example, if you identify your research gap. Finally, you have to mention here what others have already written about your topic.
So, mention the absolute most important names of the research field in which your paper is about. But nothing more.
Your introduction is not a literature review!
Always remember that an introduction moves very little on the content level. Rather, it is a description of how you work (keyword: meta-level).
The gamechanger secret tip for writing an introduction
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Hopefully you haven’t written the introduction yet, because here comes an insider tip that changes everything:
Write your introduction last.
Start your paper with the main body and don’t write your introduction until the end. This way you can make sure that your introduction fits your work and your results one hundred percent.
A lot can change in the course of a scientific paper, so wait with the introduction writing until the rest is completed. This tip has proven to be enormously useful.
However, if you need some kind of guide, think about writing an expose. But that’s a whole other site again…
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It was a lot to read, but now you know the drill. At least as far as the introduction is concerned. So your term paper or thesis can come.
If you have any questions, feel free to write them as comments below this post. Also check out my shribe! YouTube channel, there are fantastic tutorial videos on all topics related to writing.
If you want to get more inspiration for writing your introduction, I have a gift for you! This way you can get started right away and produce text.
You can download the free PDF "The 30 best phrases for a sensational introduction" here: