Before we discuss how to write then introduction section of a research article, we need to understand what the introduction section is. Just like every speech, every chapter, every article, every blog has a beginning to open the conversation, research articles also have an opening and that opening is called the Introduction or Background.
An article without an introduction section is like an ship without a compass. The compass shows the direction the ship will take to reach its destination. Similarly, the introduction section of the research article is a compass for your article, that shows the reader of the direction the article will take. However, you simply cannot start your introduction section with the direction it will take. You will have to use some logical sequence and structure to write your introduction. What should be your sequence?
THE STRUCTURE OF THE INTRODUCTION SECTION:
Your introduction section should have the following three points;
1- WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
By what you are doing we mean the basic background information and your subject or theme. Your readers should know what to expect and what this article is all about. Is this article about a disease? Or is it about a drug? Or is it about a social issue? The basic background part should bring some basic information about your topic and the subject. You should actually focus on what is already known to the general audience. For example, if you are writing a paper about the factors lead to John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the best approach would be to start with a little background about John F. Kennedy. This will bring the readers’ attention and will give them an idea what to expect.
2- WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
After this part is done, you should focus on the big why. The why actually shows the importance of your topic. Why is your topic important? Is there any problem associated with your topic or research question? This is the ideal place to explain your research question as well. You need to actually show the readers how big of a “why” is it. First you need to convince yourself the importance of your paper. If you cannot convince yourself why the topic is importance then how can you convince the readers and the journal?
Can you think of some consequences associated with your research question? This is the part of the introduction section, where you may bring this information.
3- HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?
The last thing you need to mention is your plan. What is your plan and strategy in this particular research article to address the research question and how do you plan to answer it? What kind of study design is that? This is the best time to tell the readers about your study design. This particular part usually is written in the past tense, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Look at the full introduction and analyze what approach will look better and attractive to the readers.
Some authors describe their search strategy here, while some just describe a little information on data collection. Remember, there is no universal approach, you need to use common sense and decide what approach suits better for your article.
The above mentioned three points are the key features of any introduction section of any kind of research article. Of course there is more about introduction writing, I cannot write everything because of the time constraints and I don’t want burn you out as well. However, if you just follow these three points of what, why, and how, you research article introduction will become a very good and strong research article.
Dr. Hassaan Tohid