How to Write an APA Research Paper
Psychology/neuroscience 201, v iew in pdf format.
An APA-style paper includes the following sections: title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and references. Your paper may also include one or more tables and/or figures. Different types of information about your study are addressed in each of the sections, as described below.
General formatting rules are as follows:
Do not put page breaks in between the introduction, method, results, and discussion sections.
The title page, abstract, references, table(s), and figure(s) should be on their own pages. The entire paper should be written in the past tense, in a 12-point font, double-spaced, and with one-inch margins all around.
(see sample on p. 41 of APA manual)
- Title should be between 10-12 words and should reflect content of paper (e.g., IV and DV).
- Title, your name, and Hamilton College are all double-spaced (no extra spaces)
- Create a page header using the “View header” function in MS Word. On the title page, the header should include the following: Flush left: Running head: THE RUNNING HEAD SHOULD BE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. The running head is a short title that appears at the top of pages of published articles. It should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation and spacing. (Note: on the title page, you actually write the words “Running head,” but these words do not appear on subsequent pages; just the actual running head does. If you make a section break between the title page and the rest of the paper you can make the header different for those two parts of the manuscript). Flush right, on same line: page number. Use the toolbox to insert a page number, so it will automatically number each page.
Abstract (labeled, centered, not bold)
No more than 120 words, one paragraph, block format (i.e., don’t indent), double-spaced.
- State topic, preferably in one sentence. Provide overview of method, results, and discussion.
(Do not label as “Introduction.” Title of paper goes at the top of the page—not bold)
The introduction of an APA-style paper is the most difficult to write. A good introduction will summarize, integrate, and critically evaluate the empirical knowledge in the relevant area(s) in a way that sets the stage for your study and why you conducted it. The introduction starts out broad (but not too broad!) and gets more focused toward the end. Here are some guidelines for constructing a good introduction:
- Don’t put your readers to sleep by beginning your paper with the time-worn sentence, “Past research has shown (blah blah blah)” They’ll be snoring within a paragraph! Try to draw your reader in by saying something interesting or thought-provoking right off the bat. Take a look at articles you’ve read. Which ones captured your attention right away? How did the authors accomplish this task? Which ones didn’t? Why not? See if you can use articles you liked as a model. One way to begin (but not the only way) is to provide an example or anecdote illustrative of your topic area.
- Although you won’t go into the details of your study and hypotheses until the end of the intro, you should foreshadow your study a bit at the end of the first paragraph by stating your purpose briefly, to give your reader a schema for all the information you will present next.
- Your intro should be a logical flow of ideas that leads up to your hypothesis. Try to organize it in terms of the ideas rather than who did what when. In other words, your intro shouldn’t read like a story of “Schmirdley did such-and-such in 1991. Then Gurglehoff did something-or-other in 1993. Then....(etc.)” First, brainstorm all of the ideas you think are necessary to include in your paper. Next, decide which ideas make sense to present first, second, third, and so forth, and think about how you want to transition between ideas. When an idea is complex, don’t be afraid to use a real-life example to clarify it for your reader. The introduction will end with a brief overview of your study and, finally, your specific hypotheses. The hypotheses should flow logically out of everything that’s been presented, so that the reader has the sense of, “Of course. This hypothesis makes complete sense, given all the other research that was presented.”
- When incorporating references into your intro, you do not necessarily need to describe every single study in complete detail, particularly if different studies use similar methodologies. Certainly you want to summarize briefly key articles, though, and point out differences in methods or findings of relevant studies when necessary. Don’t make one mistake typical of a novice APA-paper writer by stating overtly why you’re including a particular article (e.g., “This article is relevant to my study because…”). It should be obvious to the reader why you’re including a reference without your explicitly saying so. DO NOT quote from the articles, instead paraphrase by putting the information in your own words.
- Be careful about citing your sources (see APA manual). Make sure there is a one-to-one correspondence between the articles you’ve cited in your intro and the articles listed in your reference section.
- Remember that your audience is the broader scientific community, not the other students in your class or your professor. Therefore, you should assume they have a basic understanding of psychology, but you need to provide them with the complete information necessary for them to understand the research you are presenting.
Method (labeled, centered, bold)
The Method section of an APA-style paper is the most straightforward to write, but requires precision. Your goal is to describe the details of your study in such a way that another researcher could duplicate your methods exactly.
The Method section typically includes Participants, Materials and/or Apparatus, and Procedure sections. If the design is particularly complicated (multiple IVs in a factorial experiment, for example), you might also include a separate Design subsection or have a “Design and Procedure” section.
Note that in some studies (e.g., questionnaire studies in which there are many measures to describe but the procedure is brief), it may be more useful to present the Procedure section prior to the Materials section rather than after it.
Participants (labeled, flush left, bold)
Total number of participants (# women, # men), age range, mean and SD for age, racial/ethnic composition (if applicable), population type (e.g., college students). Remember to write numbers out when they begin a sentence.
- How were the participants recruited? (Don’t say “randomly” if it wasn’t random!) Were they compensated for their time in any way? (e.g., money, extra credit points)
- Write for a broad audience. Thus, do not write, “Students in Psych. 280...” Rather, write (for instance), “Students in a psychological statistics and research methods course at a small liberal arts college….”
- Try to avoid short, choppy sentences. Combine information into a longer sentence when possible.
Materials (labeled, flush left, bold)
Carefully describe any stimuli, questionnaires, and so forth. It is unnecessary to mention things such as the paper and pencil used to record the responses, the data recording sheet, the computer that ran the data analysis, the color of the computer, and so forth.
- If you included a questionnaire, you should describe it in detail. For instance, note how many items were on the questionnaire, what the response format was (e.g., a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree)), how many items were reverse-scored, whether the measure had subscales, and so forth. Provide a sample item or two for your reader.
- If you have created a new instrument, you should attach it as an Appendix.
- If you presented participants with various word lists to remember or stimuli to judge, you should describe those in detail here. Use subheadings to separate different types of stimuli if needed. If you are only describing questionnaires, you may call this section “Measures.”
Apparatus (labeled, flush left, bold)
Include an apparatus section if you used specialized equipment for your study (e.g., the eye tracking machine) and need to describe it in detail.
Procedure (labeled, flush left, bold)
What did participants do, and in what order? When you list a control variable (e.g., “Participants all sat two feet from the experimenter.”), explain WHY you did what you did. In other words, what nuisance variable were you controlling for? Your procedure should be as brief and concise as possible. Read through it. Did you repeat yourself anywhere? If so, how can you rearrange things to avoid redundancy? You may either write the instructions to the participants verbatim or paraphrase, whichever you deem more appropriate. Don’t forget to include brief statements about informed consent and debriefing.
Results (labeled, centered, bold)
In this section, describe how you analyzed the data and what you found. If your data analyses were complex, feel free to break this section down into labeled subsections, perhaps one section for each hypothesis.
- Include a section for descriptive statistics
- List what type of analysis or test you conducted to test each hypothesis.
- Refer to your Statistics textbook for the proper way to report results in APA style. A t-test, for example, is reported in the following format: t (18) = 3.57, p < .001, where 18 is the number of degrees of freedom (N – 2 for an independent-groups t test). For a correlation: r (32) = -.52, p < .001, where 32 is the number of degrees of freedom (N – 2 for a correlation). For a one-way ANOVA: F (2, 18) = 7.00, p < .001, where 2 represents the between and 18 represents df within Remember that if a finding has a p value greater than .05, it is “nonsignificant,” not “insignificant.” For nonsignificant findings, still provide the exact p values. For correlations, be sure to report the r 2 value as an assessment of the strength of the finding, to show what proportion of variability is shared by the two variables you’re correlating. For t- tests and ANOVAs, report eta 2 .
- Report exact p values to two or three decimal places (e.g., p = .042; see p. 114 of APA manual). However, for p-values less than .001, simply put p < .001.
- Following the presentation of all the statistics and numbers, be sure to state the nature of your finding(s) in words and whether or not they support your hypothesis (e.g., “As predicted …”). This information can typically be presented in a sentence or two following the numbers (within the same paragraph). Also, be sure to include the relevant means and SDs.
- It may be useful to include a table or figure to represent your results visually. Be sure to refer to these in your paper (e.g., “As illustrated in Figure 1…”). Remember that you may present a set of findings either as a table or as a figure, but not as both. Make sure that your text is not redundant with your tables/figures. For instance, if you present a table of means and standard deviations, you do not need to also report these in the text. However, if you use a figure to represent your results, you may wish to report means and standard deviations in the text, as these may not always be precisely ascertained by examining the figure. Do describe the trends shown in the figure.
- Do not spend any time interpreting or explaining the results; save that for the Discussion section.
Discussion (labeled, centered, bold)
The goal of the discussion section is to interpret your findings and place them in the broader context of the literature in the area. A discussion section is like the reverse of the introduction, in that you begin with the specifics and work toward the more general (funnel out). Some points to consider:
- Begin with a brief restatement of your main findings (using words, not numbers). Did they support the hypothesis or not? If not, why not, do you think? Were there any surprising or interesting findings? How do your findings tie into the existing literature on the topic, or extend previous research? What do the results say about the broader behavior under investigation? Bring back some of the literature you discussed in the Introduction, and show how your results fit in (or don’t fit in, as the case may be). If you have surprising findings, you might discuss other theories that can help to explain the findings. Begin with the assumption that your results are valid, and explain why they might differ from others in the literature.
- What are the limitations of the study? If your findings differ from those of other researchers, or if you did not get statistically significant results, don’t spend pages and pages detailing what might have gone wrong with your study, but do provide one or two suggestions. Perhaps these could be incorporated into the future research section, below.
- What additional questions were generated from this study? What further research should be conducted on the topic? What gaps are there in the current body of research? Whenever you present an idea for a future research study, be sure to explain why you think that particular study should be conducted. What new knowledge would be gained from it? Don’t just say, “I think it would be interesting to re-run the study on a different college campus” or “It would be better to run the study again with more participants.” Really put some thought into what extensions of the research might be interesting/informative, and why.
- What are the theoretical and/or practical implications of your findings? How do these results relate to larger issues of human thoughts, feelings, and behavior? Give your readers “the big picture.” Try to answer the question, “So what?
Final paragraph: Be sure to sum up your paper with a final concluding statement. Don’t just trail off with an idea for a future study. End on a positive note by reminding your reader why your study was important and what it added to the literature.
References (labeled, centered, not bold)
Provide an alphabetical listing of the references (alphabetize by last name of first author). Double-space all, with no extra spaces between references. The second line of each reference should be indented (this is called a hanging indent and is easily accomplished using the ruler in Microsoft Word). See the APA manual for how to format references correctly.
Examples of references to journal articles start on p. 198 of the manual, and examples of references to books and book chapters start on pp. 202. Digital object identifiers (DOIs) are now included for electronic sources (see pp. 187-192 of APA manual to learn more).
Journal article example: [Note that only the first letter of the first word of the article title is capitalized; the journal name and volume are italicized. If the journal name had multiple words, each of the major words would be capitalized.]
Ebner-Priemer, U. W., & Trull, T. J. (2009). Ecological momentary assessment of mood disorders and mood dysregulation. Psychological Assessment, 21, 463-475. doi:10.1037/a0017075
Book chapter example: [Note that only the first letter of the first word of both the chapter title and book title are capitalized.]
Stephan, W. G. (1985). Intergroup relations. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (3 rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 599-658). New York: Random House.
Book example: Gray, P. (2010). Psychology (6 th ed.). New York: Worth
Table There are various formats for tables, depending upon the information you wish to include. See the APA manual. Be sure to provide a table number and table title (the latter is italicized). Tables can be single or double-spaced.
Figure If you have more than one figure, each one gets its own page. Use a sans serif font, such as Helvetica, for any text within your figure. Be sure to label your x- and y-axes clearly, and make sure you’ve noted the units of measurement of the DV. Underneath the figure provide a label and brief caption (e.g., “Figure 1. Mean evaluation of job applicant qualifications as a function of applicant attractiveness level”). The figure caption typically includes the IVs/predictor variables and the DV. Include error bars in your bar graphs, and note what the bars represent in the figure caption: Error bars represent one standard error above and below the mean.
In-Text Citations: (see pp. 174-179 of APA manual) When citing sources in your paper, you need to include the authors’ names and publication date.
You should use the following formats:
- When including the citation as part of the sentence, use AND: “According to Jones and Smith (2003), the…”
- When the citation appears in parentheses, use “&”: “Studies have shown that priming can affect actual motor behavior (Jones & Smith, 2003; Klein, Bailey, & Hammer, 1999).” The studies appearing in parentheses should be ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name, and should be separated by semicolons.
- If you are quoting directly (which you should avoid), you also need to include the page number.
- For sources with three or more authors, once you have listed all the authors’ names, you may write “et al.” on subsequent mentions. For example: “Klein et al. (1999) found that….” For sources with two authors, both authors must be included every time the source is cited. When a source has six or more authors, the first author’s last name and “et al.” are used every time the source is cited (including the first time).
“Secondary source” is the term used to describe material that is cited in another source. If in his article entitled “Behavioral Study of Obedience” (1963), Stanley Milgram makes reference to the ideas of Snow (presented above), Snow (1961) is the primary source, and Milgram (1963) is the secondary source.
Try to avoid using secondary sources in your papers; in other words, try to find the primary source and read it before citing it in your own work. If you must use a secondary source, however, you should cite it in the following way:
Snow (as cited in Milgram, 1963) argued that, historically, the cause of most criminal acts... The reference for the Milgram article (but not the Snow reference) should then appear in the reference list at the end of your paper.
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APA 7: Sample Paper
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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on August 23, 2022.
The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.
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Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:
- Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
- Double-space all text, including headings.
- Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
- Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
- Include a page number on every page.
Let an expert format your paper
Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:
- Margins, line spacing, and indentation
- Font and headings
- Running head and page numbering
Table of contents
How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.
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References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).
Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?
Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.
- Student paper: Word | Google Docs
- Professional paper: Word | Google Docs
In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .
A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .
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APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.
Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .
The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.
Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .
For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .
The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).
The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.
Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.
APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.
Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.
The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.
Creating APA Style references
Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .
Formatting the reference page
Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.
Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.
Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).
Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.
Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).
Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.
The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.
Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.
APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:
- Times New Roman (12pt.)
- Arial (11pt.)
- Calibri (11pt.)
- Georgia (11pt.)
The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.
To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.
APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.
Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, August 23). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)
The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.
The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.
The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your research topic
- Capture reader interest
- Summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Define your specific research problem and problem statement
- Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.
Table of Contents
What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, what are the parts of introduction in the research, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.
The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader
- Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
- Context: Background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted
The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:
- It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
- It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
- It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
- It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.
A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2
- What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
- What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
- What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.
How to write a research paper introduction?
The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.
The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:
- Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
- Describe the background of the topic
- Present an overview of current research on the topic
Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.
- Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
- Formulate the research question
Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.
- State the purpose of your study
- Highlight the key characteristics of your study
- Describe important results
- Highlight the novelty of the study.
- Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.
Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.
The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.
The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.
When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper
Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.
The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.
Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4
- Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
- Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
- Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
- Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.
To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further.
1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.
2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.
3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.
4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.
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BHS 2400 - Research Methods in Social Sciences: APA Style - 7th Edition
- Journal Articles
- Test Reviews
- Book Sections
- Government Resources
- Personal Interview
- Web Resources
- APA 7 - Direct Quotations
- APA Formatting Guidelines
- Annotated Bibliographies
- Reading and Organizing
- Annotated Bibliography
- Literature Review
- Formatting your Paper
American Psychological Association's APA Style 7th Edition is widely used by students and researchers in the social and behavioral sciences.
APA Reference Examples
- APA Common Reference Examples APA's common reference examples.
- Sample APA Student and Professional papers Purdue OWL has provided both student and professional paper samples. The "track changes" features is used to make comments in the margins that explain the formatting and directions for writing an APA paper.
Research Citation Management
For more information, see the Zotero Research Guide .
A Step-by-Step Guide for APA Style Student Papers
Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of 7th Edition APA Style
- Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style "This tutorial is designed for writers new to APA Style. Learn the basics of seventh edition APA Style, including paper elements, format, and organization; academic writing style; grammar and usage; bias-free language; mechanics of style; tables and figures; in-text citations, paraphrasing, and quotations; and reference list format and order."
APA 7th Edition Changes
Credit: Scribbr (2019)
Intro - 0:00
1. citing sources - 0:25 , 2. inclusive & bias-free language - 2:01 , 3. apa paper format - 2:52 , 4. mechanics of style - 3:56 , 5. when to start using the apa 7th edition - 4:11, formatting the reference page.
Credit: Scribbr (2020)
Intro to the reference page - 00:00
Font, line spacing, margins - 00:35 , creating references - 1:16 , hanging indent - 1:59 , annotated bibliography - 2:43, reference list.
Arrange references alphabetically by the author's last name.
Double space the entire reference list.
Begin each entry on the left margin and indent a 1/2 inch from the second line onwards.
- Hanging indent in Google Docs
- Hanging indent in Microsoft Word
- Hanging indent in Word Online
See APA Publication Manual 7th Edition , pages 39-40 .
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How to Write a Research Paper in APA Format
14 Apr 2022
✒️What is APA?
📑General Requirements for APA Format
Margin requirements, title page components, running heads, table of contents, reference page.
✍️Guides for Writing in APA Format
How to Use References in APA
Rules for abbreviations, how to use numbers in apa, rules for punctuation.
- Usage of Graphics in APA Format
Becoming academically successful is not easy. To accurately and academically write about research results, you have to get acquainted with the rules of formatting a research paper, or you can pay for a custom research paper according to all APA formatting rules.
APA style papers is used worldwide for formatting and referencing sources used in research papers. APA formatting guidelines allow authors to efficiently organize their arguments and properly credit secondary literature to avoid plagiarism. Furthermore, the APA style improves readers' comprehension as its consistency allows them to focus on the paper's contents instead of its presentation. The APA style guidelines are updated according to feedback from researchers and educational stakeholders. The APA style guidelines provide authors with a credible and well-recognized format, which makes their papers well-organized and easy to read.
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What is APA?
A set of guidelines when writing a piece of literature makes the organization of arguments easier and enables better readability. The APA style has been created by the American Psychological Association as a language to be used in research papers and higher education. An APA research paper is formatted according to an expected standard, and sources are cited correctly to avoid plagiarism.
The APA research paper format allows writers to be consistent with their writing, which increases efficiency concerning research and organizing arguments.
Using APA in-text citations and references in the bibliography can prevent writers from accidental plagiarism. Besides enabling the organization of ideas and preventing plagiarism, using APA provides writers with credibility as the use of APA style proves that one can 'speak' the language of academia. Following the APA style provides writers with a predictable format to organize their ideas and provides readers with easier comprehension. Knowing how to use APA format is also key. In addition, you can always get a research paper written for you.
The latest APA style in use is the 7th Edition, published in 2020. Several changes were made in this edition to make the format easier to use for educational stakeholders. Some of the pertinent changes include alterations to formatting and citations. The 7th edition has recommended different cover pages for professionals and students. Student papers also do not require a running head in the current edition, and professional papers' running head does not require the label "running head".
Furthermore, level three, four, and five headings have been modified. The recent edition is also more lenient concerning font choices, and a variety of fonts are acceptable, given one is used consistently throughout the paper. Several changes have been made to the reference list and the APA format citation. Writers must follow the guidelines of the latest APA style unless specified otherwise. If students encounter difficulties with this type of writing, they usually use the help of research paper services .
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General Requirements for APA Format
Given that the APA style is usually used in the literature about the scientific field, the authors must remain concise and precise. Professional language is key, and the main ideas should be written clearly. Authors should avoid irrelevant details. Overall, the length of APA-style papers should be kept to the minimum while encompassing the author's ideas.
APA formatting rules call for papers to be typed on a standard-sized paper of 8.5 inches times 11 inches. The text in the paper should be double-spaced with a one-inch margin on all four sides. The font used should be easily readable; however, 12-point Times New Roman is generally used. Students are to follow these standard guidelines unless specifically informed otherwise by their professors.
The 7th edition calls for a different APA title page research paper format for students and professionals. A student paper will include the title of the paper, the author's name, institutional affiliation, course name, and number, the instructor's name, and the assignment's due date. The title should be centered and in boldface and should be one or two lines long. The title can contain uppercase and lowercase letters. The title should be concise, and writers should avoid using irrelevant words or abbreviations. Like the rest of the paper, the title page should be double-spaced. In a professional paper, the title should be followed by the institutional affiliation with the research's location. These papers also include an author's note, which is divided into several paragraphs. The first paragraph consists of the authors' name and ORCID ID (omitted if the author(s) do not have an ORCID ID). Any deaths of authors or changes in affiliation are written in the second paragraph, and the third paragraph includes any acknowledgments and disclosures. Student papers do not require an author's note.
Running heads are not required for student papers. However, professional papers include a running head. The “running head” label has been omitted in the APA’s 7th edition A running head is flush left of the paper and should not exceed more than 50 characters, including spacing and punctuation. Furthermore, the running head is in all uppercase. The header has the page number flush right in both types of papers.
The table of contents is an important part of an academic paper as it provides readers with a roadmap for the paper. Adding a table of content is not compulsory in APA, but is recommended for lengthier papers. The table of contents should be in the same font and double-spaced such as the paper.
The table of contents should begin with a centered heading of "Table of Contents" in boldface at the top of the page.
All main headings are flushed to the left, and subheadings are indented by five spaces. Lower-level headings can also be included, but they should be additionally indented. All headings should be in the title case, and dotted lines should be included between the headings and their page number for easier readability. The table of contents will include all pages, including preliminary and supplementary, and should not exceed two pages. The table of contents makes the paper easier to navigate through, which in turn allows the readers to focus on the content of the paper, one of the key purposes of using APA style.
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A solid outline forms the foundation of a well-organized paper. An APA paper is divided into three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction provides background for the paper and contains the thesis statement. In the body, the writer presents the main points that support the thesis statement . The conclusion summarizes the points made in the body and justifies how the paper supports the thesis statement. The references list follows the conclusion. For research papers, an abstract should also be added before the introduction. All research papers may not follow this exact outline, but this outline serves as a general guideline.
The abstract is written after the title page. Although generally overlooked, the abstract serves as a pivotal part of any well-written research paper. The purpose of an abstract is to provide the readers with a summary of the research paper. Being the first thing the reader sets their sight upon in the research paper, the abstract should inform the reader what the research paper is about and what they can expect. An abstract is a single paragraph in block format.
Moreover, the abstract is written on its page titled "abstract," which is centered. Given that the abstract is required to be 150 to 250 words, each sentence should be packed with information for maximum impact. The information in the abstract should be structured according to the paper . writers should ensure that the abstract is succinct yet well-organized and packed with information.
An APA-style paper broadly consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. This part of the paper contains indented paragraphs.
The introduction is written after the paper's title, which is centered at the top of the page. The introduction paragraph is not labeled. According to Hamilton (n.d.), the introduction of an APA-style paper is one of the most difficult components to write.
The purpose of the introduction is to provide writers with a critical overview and summary of empirical knowledge to define why the researchers chose to conduct the study.
The first line of the introduction is crucial as it can either cause the readers to continue reading the paper or otherwise. Therefore, the first line should "hook" the readers by being something interesting and thought-provoking. The introduction begins by broadly exploring the topic area and further narrows toward the hypothesis or thesis statement. References may be used in the introduction of research papers. Nevertheless, the use of direct quotes should be avoided. The introduction 'introduces' the paper to the readers and contains the hypothesis or thesis statement, making it critical for the paper.
The body contains the main points of the paper. In the case of a scientific research paper , the body will begin with the Method. All main headings of the body should be centered and in boldface. Albeit the Method section is quite straightforward, it must be precise and comprehensive to ensure that any other researcher can replicate the method used in the research paper exactly. The Method section can further be divided into Participants, Materials (and/or Apparatus), and Procedure sections. These sections will be labeled in boldface and flush left. Following the method section will be the Results section. This section contains the methods used to analyze the data and the results obtained. Researchers may also use tables and graphs to visually present the data to improve comprehension. The next section is the Discussion in which the researcher(s) interpret and compare the data with existing literature on the topic. The Discussion section can be deemed as the opposite of the introduction concerning how it is organized. That is, it begins with specific information and further broadens. Limitations and scope for further research may be included in this section. The concluding paragraph of the study reiterates the need for the study and how it has added to existing literature. The above-mentioned outline for a research paper is for mainly scientific fields; APA format is used in several types of papers and should be outlined accordingly.
The APA format reference page contains a detailed list of information regarding the sources used throughout the paper. This section begins on a new page titled "References," which is centered and on top of the page. The first line of the reference is flush left with the rest of the lines indented. The references are arranged alphabetically and are double-spaced. Books and journal titles are italicized, and the punctuation and capitalization used in the source are retained even if they are not standard. The format of the references should follow the guidelines outlined in the latest edition of the APA format. The reference page is of utmost importance as it credits the sources used in the paper; if the sources are improperly credited or not credited at all, the author of the research paper loses credibility and risks plagiarism.
The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used referencing system to help you achieve these objectives. When it comes to writing research papers , the references section of a Wikipedia page is one of the most valuable resources. However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to find and format a large number of references. For students who need to present their research papers in APA format, an online paper writing service like PapersOwl can be an invaluable asset. They can provide help with the research, citing, and overall formatting of the paper.
Guides for Writing in APA Format
APA referencing can be divided into two components: reference list and in-text citation. The core elements of an APA citation format are author rules, date rules, title rules, publisher rules, and the "Retrieved from…URL" if the source is found online. The reference begins with the author's last name followed by a comma and then his or her initials. Commas are used to separate multiple authors, and an ampersand is used before the last author's name. If the source contains authors with the same surname and initial, their names should be added next to their initials in square brackets. Following the authors' name, the date when the source was published is written. In case the date is missing, "n.d." is written. The format of the title of the source differs depending on what is being referenced. For example, good titles for research papers require proper nouns and the first word to be capitalized. The periodical title is italicized and written with normal capitalization. The volume number follows the title. Subsequently, the page numbers that were accessed in the article are mentioned. In Publisher rules, if the location of the publisher is in the US, the name of the city and the two-letter state code is written. Otherwise, the name of the city and the country are written for publishers located outside of the US. Following the correct format for the APA reference page is requisite.
Besides the above-mentioned rules, APA 7th edition has introduced a few more guidelines on how to write a paper in proper APA format. In case a source contains more than 20 authors, the names of the authors after the 19th author should be replaced by an ellipsis followed by the name of the last author. Furthermore, entries that include DOI do not require the label “DOI:.” The phrase “Retrieved from” when citing online sources should only be used if the retrieval date is also stated. Writers must use the latest updates in the APA paper format to remain current with their formatting.
The APA in-text citations are used within the paper. The APA style utilizes the “author-date” method, that is, the author’s last name is followed by a comma, and then the year the source was published is written in parenthesis. An in-text citation is used when information from a source is paraphrased or directly quoted. In-text citations are imperative for properly crediting sources and avoiding plagiarism.
If you are looking for APA papers for sale , PapersOwl is the perfect platform for you. We offer high-quality research papers in APA format written by highly qualified writers. Our papers meet all formatting requirements and are checked for plagiarism before delivery. So you can be confident that the paper you get is original and meets the highest academic standards.
Know how to structure your paper
- 12-point Times New Roman
- 0" between paragraphs
- 1" margin all around
- double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
- 0.5" first line of a paragraph
PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.
In a research paper in APA format, abbreviations should be used sparingly. Excessive use of abbreviations can make the comprehension of the paper difficult for the reader, which is the opposite of what one aims to achieve when writing a research paper. If an abbreviation will be used less than three times in the paper, it is better to expand it each time. If abbreviations are to be used, periods are not required between each alphabet. For unfamiliar abbreviations, spell them out the first time it is used, and for abbreviations present in the dictionary, spelling them out is not essential. For units of measurement, the abbreviation may be used when next to a number but should be spelled out if being used by itself. Abbreviations should be used judiciously in an APA-style research paper to ensure that they do not impede easy comprehension.
In APA, the golden rule for using numbers is to write out numbers less than 10 in text and leave numbers above as is, for example:
However, some exceptions apply, such as the number can be left as it is in tables, in case of measurements, when displaying a math equation, or when mentioning time and age. It is better to write numbers out in text when starting a sentence with a number, in the case of a fraction, or when using a commonly used phrase or word. Overall, the purpose of these guidelines when using numbers is to enhance comprehension and maintain consistency.
To see an example, check an APA citation generator free by PapersOwl.
In APA style, general rules for punctuation are applicable. Writers should keep some pertinent guidelines in mind. One space is applicable after most punctuation marks. Moreover, the Oxford comma should be used in APA style format. No space should be placed after em dashes or applied on either side of an en dash. In most cases, the APA style follows universal punctuation and grammar rules.
Usage of Graphics (Photos, Tables, and Figures) in APA Format
Graphics in APA should be numbered according to how they appear in the paper. Additionally, the graphic should provide new information and not reinstate what has already been written. When using tables, the information should be:
12pt font and single or double-spaced.
The spacing should be consistent across all tables.
All headings should be centered, and information should be left-aligned (indented if more than one line).
In the case of photographs, they should be black and white. Moreover, if adapted or reproduced information is used, it should be cited.
Formats such as APA serve as an essential element in the field of academia. A set of guidelines that are recognized worldwide relieves the effort required to format a paper for the authors and improves readability for readers. Furthermore, knowing how to start a research paper and how to format an APA paper allows researchers to properly credit secondary sources to avoid plagiarism. The APA research paper guidelines are comprehensive and cover all parts of a research paper, ensuring that all papers follow a standard pattern, which improves consistency and predictability. You can always buy a research paper from our trustworthy writing service.
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APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction
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Who Should Use APA Style?
APA style is used by social science disciplines such as communication studies, economics, education, psychology, and sociology; it is also used by business and nursing.
What is APA Style?
APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.
In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
- In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation .
- In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
- APA 7th ed. Sample Paper
- APA Style Paper template (Microsoft Word)
You might find the American Psychological Association's page of Handouts and Guides helpful, notably
- APA 7th. ed. Journal Article Reference Checklist
- APA 7th. ed. Student Paper Checklist
APA Style Guide (7th Edition)
Four Elements of a Reference
A reference generally has these four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each element answers a question and is listed in your citation in the following order:
- author : Who is responsible for this work?
- date : When was this work published?
- title : What is the work called?
- source : Where can I retrieve this work?
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Home » Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and Examples
Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and Examples
Table of Contents
Research Paper Introduction
Research paper introduction is the first section of a research paper that provides an overview of the study, its purpose, and the research question (s) or hypothesis (es) being investigated. It typically includes background information about the topic, a review of previous research in the field, and a statement of the research objectives. The introduction is intended to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the research problem, why it is important, and how the study will contribute to existing knowledge in the field. It also sets the tone for the rest of the paper and helps to establish the author’s credibility and expertise on the subject.
How to Write Research Paper Introduction
Writing an introduction for a research paper can be challenging because it sets the tone for the entire paper. Here are some steps to follow to help you write an effective research paper introduction:
- Start with a hook : Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement, a question, or a surprising fact that will make the reader interested in reading further.
- Provide background information: After the hook, provide background information on the topic. This information should give the reader a general idea of what the topic is about and why it is important.
- State the research problem: Clearly state the research problem or question that the paper addresses. This should be done in a concise and straightforward manner.
- State the research objectives: After stating the research problem, clearly state the research objectives. This will give the reader an idea of what the paper aims to achieve.
- Provide a brief overview of the paper: At the end of the introduction, provide a brief overview of the paper. This should include a summary of the main points that will be discussed in the paper.
- Revise and refine: Finally, revise and refine your introduction to ensure that it is clear, concise, and engaging.
Structure of Research Paper Introduction
The following is a typical structure for a research paper introduction:
- Background Information: This section provides an overview of the topic of the research paper, including relevant background information and any previous research that has been done on the topic. It helps to give the reader a sense of the context for the study.
- Problem Statement: This section identifies the specific problem or issue that the research paper is addressing. It should be clear and concise, and it should articulate the gap in knowledge that the study aims to fill.
- Research Question/Hypothesis : This section states the research question or hypothesis that the study aims to answer. It should be specific and focused, and it should clearly connect to the problem statement.
- Significance of the Study: This section explains why the research is important and what the potential implications of the study are. It should highlight the contribution that the research makes to the field.
- Methodology: This section describes the research methods that were used to conduct the study. It should be detailed enough to allow the reader to understand how the study was conducted and to evaluate the validity of the results.
- Organization of the Paper : This section provides a brief overview of the structure of the research paper. It should give the reader a sense of what to expect in each section of the paper.
Research Paper Introduction Examples
Research Paper Introduction Examples could be:
Example 1: In recent years, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly prevalent in various industries, including healthcare. AI algorithms are being developed to assist with medical diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and patient monitoring. However, as the use of AI in healthcare grows, ethical concerns regarding privacy, bias, and accountability have emerged. This paper aims to explore the ethical implications of AI in healthcare and propose recommendations for addressing these concerns.
Example 2: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has resulted in rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and other environmental impacts. In this paper, we will review the scientific evidence on climate change, discuss the potential consequences of inaction, and propose solutions for mitigating its effects.
Example 3: The rise of social media has transformed the way we communicate and interact with each other. While social media platforms offer many benefits, including increased connectivity and access to information, they also present numerous challenges. In this paper, we will examine the impact of social media on mental health, privacy, and democracy, and propose solutions for addressing these issues.
Example 4: The use of renewable energy sources has become increasingly important in the face of climate change and environmental degradation. While renewable energy technologies offer many benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy independence, they also present numerous challenges. In this paper, we will assess the current state of renewable energy technology, discuss the economic and political barriers to its adoption, and propose solutions for promoting the widespread use of renewable energy.
Purpose of Research Paper Introduction
The introduction section of a research paper serves several important purposes, including:
- Providing context: The introduction should give readers a general understanding of the topic, including its background, significance, and relevance to the field.
- Presenting the research question or problem: The introduction should clearly state the research question or problem that the paper aims to address. This helps readers understand the purpose of the study and what the author hopes to accomplish.
- Reviewing the literature: The introduction should summarize the current state of knowledge on the topic, highlighting the gaps and limitations in existing research. This shows readers why the study is important and necessary.
- Outlining the scope and objectives of the study: The introduction should describe the scope and objectives of the study, including what aspects of the topic will be covered, what data will be collected, and what methods will be used.
- Previewing the main findings and conclusions : The introduction should provide a brief overview of the main findings and conclusions that the study will present. This helps readers anticipate what they can expect to learn from the paper.
When to Write Research Paper Introduction
The introduction of a research paper is typically written after the research has been conducted and the data has been analyzed. This is because the introduction should provide an overview of the research problem, the purpose of the study, and the research questions or hypotheses that will be investigated.
Once you have a clear understanding of the research problem and the questions that you want to explore, you can begin to write the introduction. It’s important to keep in mind that the introduction should be written in a way that engages the reader and provides a clear rationale for the study. It should also provide context for the research by reviewing relevant literature and explaining how the study fits into the larger field of research.
Advantages of Research Paper Introduction
The introduction of a research paper has several advantages, including:
- Establishing the purpose of the research: The introduction provides an overview of the research problem, question, or hypothesis, and the objectives of the study. This helps to clarify the purpose of the research and provide a roadmap for the reader to follow.
- Providing background information: The introduction also provides background information on the topic, including a review of relevant literature and research. This helps the reader understand the context of the study and how it fits into the broader field of research.
- Demonstrating the significance of the research: The introduction also explains why the research is important and relevant. This helps the reader understand the value of the study and why it is worth reading.
- Setting expectations: The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the paper and prepares the reader for what is to come. This helps the reader understand what to expect and how to approach the paper.
- Grabbing the reader’s attention: A well-written introduction can grab the reader’s attention and make them interested in reading further. This is important because it can help to keep the reader engaged and motivated to read the rest of the paper.
- Creating a strong first impression: The introduction is the first part of the research paper that the reader will see, and it can create a strong first impression. A well-written introduction can make the reader more likely to take the research seriously and view it as credible.
- Establishing the author’s credibility: The introduction can also establish the author’s credibility as a researcher. By providing a clear and thorough overview of the research problem and relevant literature, the author can demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in the field.
- Providing a structure for the paper: The introduction can also provide a structure for the rest of the paper. By outlining the main sections and sub-sections of the paper, the introduction can help the reader navigate the paper and find the information they are looking for.
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How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
- Purpose of intro
- Key elements
- Writing an effective intro
- Step-by-step guide
- Research intro checklist
- Introduction formats
- Good and bad examples
An introductory paragraph is vital for any academic paper. It allows you to show reviewers why your research topic is worth reading about. In this article, we will explore the tips to make a good introduction paragraph. You’ll get a step-by-step tutorial on writing your paper’s informative yet laconic intro.
What is the purpose of an introduction?
The purpose of a research paper intro is to provide an overview and context for the study being conducted. A research paper engages the reader, establishes the importance of the research topic, and outlines the study’s objectives and scope.
The paper intro also presents the question or hypothesis and summarizes relevant background characteristics and existing literature.
An effective introduction helps the reader understand the significance and relevance of the research paper and sets the stage for the subsequent sections. The introduction captures the reader’s attention and creates a foundation for understanding the research and its contributions.
The key elements of a scientific paper introduction
The introduction of your research paper should include several key elements, including the problem statement, hypothesis/thesis/research question, purpose, and background.
Let’s explore each of these parts of the research paper intro in detail:
- Problem Statement : identifies the specific issue or gap in knowledge that the research paper aims to address. It highlights the problem’s relevance, significance, and potential impact on the field of study. The problem statement sets the stage for the research by clearly stating the project or research gap.
- Hypothesis / Thesis / Research Question : a paper hypothesis predicts the relationship between variables, a thesis statement presents the main argument or claim, and a research question seeks to put a specific aspect on a research paper.
- Purpose: describes the overall objective or goal the research paper aims to achieve. It outlines the researcher’s intention and provides a clear direction for the investigation. The purpose statement typically explains why the research is being conducted and what the researcher hopes to accomplish by the end of the study.
- Background : provides the necessary context and information to familiarize readers with the research paper. It presents a concise review of the relevant literature, previous studies, and theoretical frameworks that have shaped the understanding of the problem.
Shortly, the introduction section of a research paper combines these key elements to introduce the problem, state the hypothesis/thesis/research question, define the paper’s purpose, and provide the background necessary for readers to understand the significance and context of the study.
How to write an effective intro?
To start an introduction for a research paper, consider the following steps:
- Hook the reader : begin with a compelling opening sentence or a thought-provoking statement that grabs the reader’s attention. This could be an interesting fact, a relevant anecdote, or a surprising statistic related to your research paper.
- Provide background information : offer a brief overview of the paper and its significance in the field. This helps to improve the structure of an introduction and demonstrate why it is important to investigate the point further in a paper.
- State the problem : clearly articulate the problem statement or research gap your study aims to address. Explain the specific issue or gap in knowledge that your research paper seeks to explore, emphasizing its relevance and potential impact.
- Present the research question/hypothesis/thesis : formulate a concise and focused research question, hypothesis, or thesis statement in the intro that guides your scientific paper. This sets the direction for your research and provides a clear focus for the reader.
- Outline the purpose and objectives : explain the overall purpose of your research paper and the specific objectives you aim to achieve. This helps readers understand why your study is being conducted and what you hope to accomplish.
- Preview the structure : briefly introduce the organization and structure of your research paper. Mention the main sections or components that will be covered, giving readers a sense of what to expect as they continue reading the paper.
Remember, the intro should be concise and engaging, providing a clear roadmap for your research and capturing the reader’s interest from the very beginning. There are different ways to start a research paper, and you can pick the intro that suits you best.
Writing an introduction to a research paper: key steps
Here’s a short guide on getting you started with an introduction:
- Start with an attention-grabbing opening : begin your intro with a captivating statement, a relevant quote, a surprising fact, or an intriguing anecdote. This will engage the reader’s interest and make them curious about your research paper.
- Provide background information : write a brief overview of the research topic to provide context and establish the importance of the subject matter. Discuss key concepts, definitions, or historical background relevant to your study. This section should help the reader understand the broader context of your research paper.
- State the research problem or gap : clearly define the specific problem or research gap your study aims to address. Explain why this problem is significant and deserving of investigation. This helps the reader understand the purpose and relevance of your research paper.
- Present your research question or thesis statement : formulate a clear and concise research question, hypothesis, or thesis statement that serves as the central focus of your study. This statement should guide your research paper and articulate your introduction format.
- Outline the structure of the paper : write a brief preview of your research paper’s main sections and organization. This helps the reader understand the flow of your paper and what to expect in each section. Provide a roadmap by mentioning the key points or arguments discussed in subsequent sections.
By following these steps, you can create an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and sets the stage for the rest of your research paper, clearly understanding your study’s problem, purpose, and structure.
Writing a checklist for a proper college paper introduction
Here’s a short writing checklist for a research paper intro:
- Attention-grabbing opening:
- Does the research paper introduction example start with a compelling statement, relevant quote, surprising fact, or intriguing anecdote?
- Is the opening engaging enough to capture readers’ attention and make them curious about the research paper?
- Background information:
- Have you provided a concise overview of the research topic, including relevant definitions, concepts, or historical context?
- Does the background information help the reader understand the broader context and importance of the subject matter?
- Clear problem statement:
- Have you clearly stated the specific problem or research gap that your study aims to address?
- Does a research introduction have a well-defined, strong, and significant problem statement?
- Research question or thesis statement:
- Have you presented a clear and concise research question, hypothesis, or thesis statement that guides your paper?
- Does the research question or thesis statement align with the problem statement and set the direction for your research paper?
- Structure and organization:
- Did you write a brief overview of the structure and organization of the research paper?
- Does the introduction outline the main sections or components covered in the paper?
- Coherence and flow:
- Is the intro logically organized? Does it have smooth transitions between ideas and paragraphs?
- Does the intro flow smoothly from the opening to the problem statement, research question, and purpose?
- Conciseness and clarity:
- Have you kept the introduction concise, avoiding unnecessary details or tangents?
- Is the language clear, avoiding jargon or overly technical terms that may confuse the reader?
- Relevance and significance:
- Have you clearly explained the relevance and significance of the research topic and the paper’s potential impact?
- Does the introduction effectively communicate why your research is important and worth exploring?
This checklist will help you to review your research essay introduction to ensure it effectively grabs the reader’s attention, provides necessary background information, states the problem clearly, presents a focused research question or thesis statement, outlines the structure of the paper, and maintains coherence and clarity throughout.
Types of intro formats
Different academic disciplines may follow specific formatting styles for research introduction, such as MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago, ASA (American Sociological Association), and AMA (American Medical Association).
To write an introduction paragraph, you should understand the differences between the most common academic formats for your future paper.
MLA (Modern Language Association):
- Primarily used in humanities, literature, and arts disciplines.
- Features in-text citations using the author-page format (e.g., “Smith 45”).
APA (American Psychological Association):
- Commonly used in social sciences, psychology, and education.
- Utilizes in-text citations with the author-date format (e.g., “Smith, 2019”).
- Often used in history, humanities, and some social sciences.
- Offers two styles: the notes-bibliography system and the author-date system.
- Includes a bibliography page to list all sources used.
ASA (American Sociological Association):
- Primarily used in sociology and related social sciences.
- Utilizes in-text citations with the author-date format (e.g., “Smith 2019”).
AMA (American Medical Association):
- Commonly used in medical, health, and biological sciences.
- Features in-text citations with a superscript number (e.g., “Smith^1”).
- Emphasizes accuracy and consistency in citation style.
All formatting styles mean a set of rules and guidelines for citing sources, formatting headings, page layout, and referencing. It’s important to consult the specific style guide or manual associated with your field of study before you write.
These might include guidelines provided by your institution to ensure proper paper formatting and adherence of a research introduction to the chosen style.
Research introduction sample
Now that you know how the idea goes in the introduction of a research paper, let’s see the practical examples of good and bad introductions and discuss their differences.
Title: “Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Analysis”
Climate change is a pressing global issue that has far-reaching consequences for our planet. Its effects on various ecosystems, particularly biodiversity loss, have attracted significant attention from researchers and policymakers alike.
This research paper aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of climate change on biodiversity, focusing on key regions and species vulnerable to these changes. By examining the latest scientific literature, empirical studies, and expert opinions, we will explore the complex interplay between climate change and biodiversity loss, shed light on the underlying mechanisms, and propose potential mitigation strategies.
Understanding these dynamics is crucial for developing effective conservation strategies and promoting sustainable practices that will help preserve our planet’s invaluable natural heritage.
Title: “Climate Change and Biodiversity”
Climate change and biodiversity are two important topics that have received considerable attention recently. Climate change refers to the long-term alteration of temperature and precipitation patterns, while biodiversity encompasses the variety of life forms found on Earth.
In this research paper, we will discuss the impact of climate change on biodiversity and explore various examples and case studies. The paper will also highlight the significance of addressing this issue and present potential solutions.
By delving into this subject, we aim to contribute to the existing body of knowledge and raise awareness about the importance of protecting biodiversity in climate change.
To begin an introduction paragraph, don’t provide too much background or theory at once. Remember to arrange your thoughts concisely while keeping the important information for the paper body.
A good intro should answer the four basic questions:
- What was I studying?
- Why was this topic important to investigate?
- What did we know about this topic before I did this study?
- How will this study advance our knowledge?
Remember that you might not get a second chance to create a positive first impression. That’s why it’s equally important to keep your paper laconic and to end an introduction paragraph with a call to action to read your research paper.
- Writing a Research Paper
- Research Paper Title
- Research Paper Sources
- Research Paper Problem Statement
- Research Paper Thesis Statement
- Hypothesis for a Research Paper
- Research Question
- Research Paper Outline
- Research Paper Summary
- Research Paper Prospectus
- Research Paper Proposal
- Research Paper Format
- Research Paper Styles
- AMA Style Research Paper
- MLA Style Research Paper
- Chicago Style Research Paper
- APA Style Research Paper
- Research Paper Structure
- Research Paper Cover Page
- Research Paper Abstract
- Research Paper Introduction
- Research Paper Body Paragraph
- Research Paper Literature Review
- Research Paper Background
- Research Paper Methods Section
- Research Paper Results Section
- Research Paper Discussion Section
- Research Paper Conclusion
- Research Paper Appendix
- Research Paper Bibliography
- APA Reference Page
- Annotated Bibliography
- Bibliography vs Works Cited vs References Page
- Research Paper Types
- What is Qualitative Research
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