Based in Denver, CO, Agile Ideation collects the thoughts and experiences of Ed Schaefer. His posts explore agile and devops related topics as he works to maximize team effectiveness and minimize waste through continuous learning, coaching and empowering teams.

Research Paper - Introductions

The Introduction to a research paper generally has a similar structure regardless of the topic.  Examine the academically authoritative sources you have in your bibliography.  In the Introduction you should see

  1. A discussion of the topical area of the study
  2. A discussion of the background for the study.  Often other research is sited in this section of the paper.
  3. A thesis statement; a problem statement; the objective of the paper
  4. A discussion of the organization of the rest of the paper, especially how it is structured to meet the goals in item three.

Do you see this structure in the research papers you have examined?  Is it easier to understand those papers where this is done well?  What does this mean regarding how you will write your research paper?  Please use an ACM/IEEE Conference paper for your work.  Post a link to the paper used for your analysis of these questions.


This does seem to be the general structure of the introduction for most papers, though how closely they follow it or how specific each of the components is really depends on the paper and the authors. In the paper I reference, for example, the last paragraph before the thesis does technically lay out the structure for the rest of the paper, but it uses different language than the specific paragraphs in the paper do.

A well written introduction does give the reader a guide through the rest of the paper. When writing research papers I may start with a rough introduction to help keep the content of the paper on track. Once the paper is written I think it is worthwhile to go back to the introduction and make changes or re-write so it better matches the final structure and content of the paper. One thing I need to keep in mind about introductions, after reading those of other papers, is that you don't need to present your entire argument or individual very specific aspects of the argument, but simply an overview of the objective of the paper and how it is going to get there.


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