How to Start a Research Paper


The beginning of an assignment is always the most difficult part. When starting to work on an essay, the introduction should not be the first thing you write. To begin, in order for your paper to be good, extensive research should be conducted. Only then will you be able to extract and introduce the main points of your work to your readers. A good introduction will also include your personal opinion of the problem, making the writing process easier overall.

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a type of writing in which the author conducts an independent investigation and describes the results of that investigation. Furthermore, one must identify the subject’s weaknesses and strengths and evaluate them accordingly.

A good way to start a research paper introduction is to introduce your reader to the topic by telling them what you’re going to write about. Then, include an intriguing fact or some surprising statistical data so that your reader is enticed and continues to read your research paper. Consider your essay introduction to be an advertisement for a product you want to sell—if your advertisement is poor, your sales will suffer. The same is true for a poor introduction; if it does not pique readers’ interest, they may abandon your paper.

The beginning of an assignment is always the most difficult part. Following the correct steps is critical whether you are writing a small resume education section or a full-fledged research paper. When starting to work on an essay, the introduction should not be the first thing you write.

Introduction Paragraph Outline

Present Your Essay Topic

The topic of every essay serves as its foundation. What you write should always be a reflection of your subject. Simply begin your introduction by informing your readers, in simple and understandable language, about the topic of your research paper. However, we recommend that you include a “trigger” when introducing the topic of your paper. A personal reference or a story related to the essay topic are both good ways to connect plain text to people’s emotions. So, feel free to write as if you were speaking to a friend.

The best way to begin your introduction is to write a broad topic presentation, then gradually narrow it down to what you want to focus on specifically. It will help readers understand your topic by putting it into context. When writing your research paper, include your thoughts on the topic in the introduction. This makes your topic sound more personal, and it is likely to become more important to your audience as a result.

Provide Background Information and Context

Because you are expected to have done extensive research, the topic you begin writing about is likely very familiar to you. What about your readers, though? The amount of context is mostly determined by what your audience already knows—but let’s focus on a wider range of readers to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Consider yourself a member of your audience. Take a look at the information you provided in the introduction. Is this adequate? Is it leaving any gaps or unanswered questions in your research? Your job as a writer is to provide the perfect background to your topic, giving readers just enough information to grasp your topic and fully enjoy your research paper. Another extreme you should avoid is providing too much context, which will make the audience bored right from the start. Write your essay in the style of a story that you would enjoy reading, rather than an academic research paper.

Explain the Importance of Your Research

There is no doubt that you are an expert in your field as a result of extensive research. What about your readers, though? In the introduction, you should highlight the scope of your research and describe the work you have completed. This will also help your readers understand that your ideas are supported by other scholars, and that you have included their perspectives in your paper.

Make sure to discuss all of the works you’ve read in order to persuade readers of your knowledge. To avoid overwhelming the audience, simply use the names you are referencing, or their most important works, in your introduction. To avoid academic plagiarism, you must also cite all of your sources.

Make Your Rationale Work

The most important part of your paper’s introduction is the rationale. Explain to readers the reasoning behind your research paper—doing so ensures that they will continue reading and appreciate your topic. In the introduction, explain how your paper fits into all of the previous research in that field; this shows your audience the importance of your essay and the role your research plays in the field as a whole.

Show the Significance of Your Research

You, and only you, understand the significance of your research. The following step in your introduction is to demonstrate to your audience how important it is. Include the basic and most important literature that you use to support your ideas. This demonstrates to the readers your strong analytical skills, writing abilities, and ability to sort through information to deliver the most important points for your paper. Finally, in the introduction, explain why your research is important to the field, society, the entire world, and, most importantly, the readers. When a person can relate to an idea, it is almost always a given that your argument will be persuasive and successful.

Make Sure Your Thesis Is Clear

A research paper introduction supports its thesis statement with primary sources and data. The thesis statement of a research paper is very similar to the thesis statement of an essay or other non-research assignment. The distinction is that in a research thesis, you gather evidence from credible sources to support your point of view on a topic. Regardless of how you support your ideas with sources, the thesis idea in your introduction should be original and your own, as it reflects the way you think.

Here is a quick checklist for writing a thesis statement:

  • Keep in mind that the thesis is your argument. Make sure it comes across as assertive.
  • Create two to three different versions of your thesis and select the best one.
  • Share your thesis with a third party to get a fresh perspective.
  • Talk about your thesis with others; they might have some good ideas as well.
  • It should be mentioned in your introduction and reiterated in your conclusion.

Research Paper Title Page

MLA Title Page

Here are some pointers from our writing team on how to format your MLA title page for your research paper:

  • The title page should be double spaced, and the text should be centered.
  • Fill in the blanks with the name of your university or college.
  • Skip about one-third of the way down the page and type your research paper title—include a subtitle if applicable.
  • Skip a few lines down and type your name, course name and number, instructor name, and paper due date.

APA Title Page

  • Include a running head in the header of your page:
  • Use the label “Running head:” then type your shortened title (ALL IN UPPERCASE LETTERS) and align everything to the left.
  • Put the page number in the same header, but align it to the right and start with page number 1.
  • The header should be one inch from the top. Some teachers agree that 1/2 inch is acceptable.
  • Put the title of your paper in the upper half of the page, centering it. All of the important words in your title should have their first letter capitalized.
  • Double-space the name of your university below your name.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations on the completion of your research paper! Answer these questions to avoid making careless errors.

  • Are your quotations, paraphrases, and summaries correct?
  • Are all of your citations correct?
  • Is your format the one your instructor has specified?
  • Are all of the concepts defined and understandable to the average reader?
  • Is your “hook” strong enough to pique the reader’s interest?
  • Is your introduction structured in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow?
  • Does your introduction provide a clear picture of what your paper is about?

And here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • Avoid homonyms such as lie (to recline)/lie (to tell a lie), mean (average)/mean (unpleasant), kind (type)/kind (caring), and so on.
  • Use proper direct quotations, spaces, and punctuation.
  • Don’t forget to check for and correct punctuation and sentence structure errors.
  • Use caution when using commas, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences.

Research Paper Introduction Example

Now that you’ve got a good idea of how to start a research paper, let’s look at some examples. They will assist you in understanding how all of the rules presented above work in practice.

Research Paper Introduction Example: Should Parents Be Held Accountable for Their Children’s Criminal Acts?

Recently, youth gang-related attacks have become more common, with some even resulting in deaths, such as the murder of a college student in Suburbs East. Such occurrences have caused many people to wonder about the source of such violent actions, with the parents of such adolescents bearing a large portion of the blame. In any case, one has to wonder whether the parents should be punished for their children’s misbehavior.

Some people believe that parents should be held accountable for their children’s criminal acts because parents are primarily responsible for their children’s education and upbringing, and frequently influence their children’s actions and behavior until they are mature and independent. This is due to the fact that they are almost always the ones who raise their children after birth. As a result, it is believed that parents begin to influence their children’s ethical range at a young age, and that the way parents act and their personalities have a significant impact on one’s ethics (Gratz, 169).


This logic can hold parents accountable for their children’s actions if they do something wrong later in life — because it is assumed that they did not raise their child properly. Furthermore, there is an argument that children are virtually completely controlled by their parents because they want to please their parents and will thus listen to whatever they are told to do or how they are told to behave (Michael, Andrew and Michael, 4). As a result, many people believe that parents should always be blamed for their children’s criminal acts, because they believe they have the power to warn and control them.