How To Start A Good Research Paper: 4 Great Suggestions

Those who read students’ research papers know at a glance whether they deserve an A. To be more precise, it is the first introductory paragraph (sometimes even the first sentence) that makes a certain impression on the reader and engages them in—or discourages them from—reading your paper till the end. The sentences that precede your thesis statement should contain a hook, an attention grabber. You might have encountered some interesting facts, quotes, or statistics concerning your topic while doing your research. It’s a great idea to share them with others right from the start. Here are some suggestions on how to make your opening paragraph catchy and memorable.

  1. Use the funnel method.
  2. You might have heard about this method during physics class. However, it’s absolutely applicable to writing an introduction. To put this method into practice, you’ll need to begin with general information on your topic (imagine the funnel mouth). Then step by step you’ll become more specific and narrow your ideas to a thesis. This way you’ll give your readers background information, explain what your paper will be about, and define the idea you’re going to prove or argue against.

  3. Open with a quote or anecdote.
  4. Quote somebody well known in your field or refer to their work. It can be a disputable statement that invites discussion. The citation should be relevant to the topic and connected with the thesis. An anecdote, especially unexpected, will immediately catch the reader’s attention and make your paper more personal. Make sure your funny story is appropriate for the point you’re trying to make.

  5. Give the definition.
  6. If your topic deals with a term that might be unfamiliar to your readers, make it clear for them. It’s reasonable to give its definition in the introduction, especially when this term is a key idea. However, avoid giving the fixed definition which your reader can easily look up in the dictionary. It will be more interesting to offer your own explanation of that word in the context of your research. Be original.

  7. Set up a contrast.
  8. Doubt a conventional view or theory, or compare two people or events. You can also try to find a surprising connection between two seemingly incompatible things. If your opinion on a certain problem differs from the received wisdom, state that and provide a couple of facts you’ve established. Don’t say everything at once. Your aim is to arouse the reader’s interest; they will read the main bulk of the evidence after the introduction.