How To Start A Research Paper: Opening Paragraph Examples

The opening paragraph of any essay, article, or research paper sets the tone for the rest of the document. It is the doorway to your research. You need to pay special attention to the introductory paragraph without gushing on one extreme, and boring on the other. Your opening paragraph should state the topic of your research, why you bothered with it, and the scope and limitations of the paper. Remember, being thorough with your research can pay dividends later when you are writing your dissertation.

Here are a few steps and a couple of examples of good opening paragraphs:

  1. Start with some background information. A preparation for what is to come next. Stating the topic right away is not a good idea. Example: “Winston Churchill termed the Dunkirk rescue “a miracle of deliverance.” Over 300,000 Allied troops were safely removed from the port of Dunkirk and sent to England due to the efforts of British Citizens.”
  2. Bring your reader to the statement of your topic by the end of the first paragraph of the introduction. Example: “Going to the library to read used to be a common activity about 15 years ago. People have stopped visiting the libraries and have replaced it with surfing the Internet. The vast amount of information present on the web is at once good and bad. Good, because the information one needs is a click away. Bad, because the most one can achieve from skimming through articles and websites is sketchy knowledge. Is technology destroying the habit of deep reading? “
  3. In the following paragraphs, clearly state the objective of your research. This makes it easy for the reader to read your paper in the right perspective. Mention the various points you are going to be making through the body of your paper.
  4. Tip: To avoid missing any important points, write the introduction after you are done with the body and discussion sections of your research paper.

  5. Write about your research methodology in a few words.
  6. Introduce the reader to the conventions used and adapted. This is the place where you also mention the limitations of your study. Do not worry about it. Every study has its share of limitations.

The most important part of writing a good introduction is to keep it concise, complete, and interesting. Not all the organizing and structuring in the world can replace the craft of a seamlessly flowing piece of writing.

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