When you learn that you have to write a research paper, the most possible first reaction is fear and the feeling of being lost. Most people simply don’t know where to start. Even when they finally sit down to do this task, they might find themselves staring at a blank page for hours without any ideas on how to proceed with the research. Don’t worry though, it is mostly a universal thing and exactly the reason why we decided to create this guide. As proven by experience, all you need to finally write your research is knowing how to start and a little push. And we are about to give you both.

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What You Need to Know Before Writing a Research Paper

Starting a research paper can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve written one or if you’re new to the process. Unfortunately or not, one of the most important elements to get right is the introduction. This part of your paper does a lot of heavy lifting. It gives context to your entire work and guides the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic you’re addressing. Here, you will need to specify the scope, context, and importance of your research.

🤔Why is it so important?

Without a well-crafted introduction, it will be hard for anyone to understand the purpose and direction of your paper. Your professors might feel lost or even disinterested. Therefore, spending time to create a solid introduction is vital for setting the tone and framework of your entire research. 

How to Begin a Research Paper: Introduction Essentials

So, what exactly does an introduction include? First, it provides an overview of the topic, narrowing it down to the specific focus of your paper. It also reviews prior research, showing off what’s already known and identifying gaps your study aims to fill. This context helps your professor and other researchers understand the background and relevance of your paper. Then, the introduction explains why your research matters, connecting it to broader issues or current debates to show its significance.

Writing a Research Paper: Steps to Begin

An effective introduction also includes a brief description of the methodology you used, lending credibility to your work. Finally, it culminates in a clear thesis statement that summarizes your main argument or findings, and it often includes an outline of what the reader can expect in the following sections.

However, to include all of these details, you need to do some preparations and research beforehand.

🤓Choosing a Topic

Before you begin writing your introduction, choose a topic that interests you. Your enthusiasm for the subject will make the work process more enjoyable and help you stay motivated. Start by thinking about what topics in your field catch your attention. Once you have a general idea, do a quick source search just to be sure there is enough information available. This might include looking through library databases or online resources. A good thing to do here is to narrow your topic to something specific and manageable. 

For example: 
❌instead of writing about “childhood diseases,”
✅focus on “the impact of childhood diabetes on school performance.”

🧑‍💻Preliminary Reading and Recordkeeping

Once you have settled on the topic, do some preliminary reading to get a broad understanding of your subject. Use index cards or a notebook to keep track of important information, such as quotes, statistics, and references (and don’t forget to include the sources you found those in). Proper recordkeeping will save you time later and help you avoid plagiarism. As you read, jot down any ideas or questions that come to mind. These notes will be useful when you start drafting your paper.

✍️Organizing Thoughts: Mind Map or Outline

To help keep yourself on track, create a mind map or an outline to group your ideas and plan the structure of your paper. A mind map is a visual representation of your ideas, showing how they connect. An outline is a more linear approach, listing your main points in the order you plan to address them. Both methods can help you see the bigger picture and make your paper flow logically from one point to the next. Besides, this outline will come in handy when you start writing the introduction (take our word for that).

How to Start a Research Paper: Writing Step-by-Step

Okay, let’s assume you already have all the necessary information to start writing your introduction. For your own sake, it’s better to break down the work process into manageable steps so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and won’t want to give up. Below, we will discuss each stage of the writing process more closely.

1. Introducing the topic

The first task of your introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s important. Begin with a hook that grabs attention—this could be a question or a fact related to your topic.

For instance:
If you’re writing about the environmental impact of cattle farming, you might start with, “Are cows responsible for climate change?” 

2. Providing the background

After introducing the topic, give some background information for context. It will help you narrow down your topic and show the reader the scope of your research. For an argumentative paper, you might discuss general background details. For an empirical paper, you’ll review previous research, summarizing key findings and noting any gaps your study aims to fill. This miniature literature review is needed for situating your research within the existing body of knowledge.

3. Pointing out the Research Problem

Next, clarify the specific problem your research addresses. In an argumentative paper, state the problem directly and highlight its importance. In an empirical paper, link the problem to the gaps or limitations identified in previous research. This proves the relevance of your study and sets up the foundation for your argument or hypothesis.

4. Specifying Objective(s)

Specify what you aim to achieve with your research. For an argumentative paper, this is typically your thesis statement—a clear, concise statement of your main argument. For an empirical paper, you’ll present your research question, and if applicable, your hypothesis. The objective should be straightforward and guide the direction of your paper.

5. Formulating a Thesis

If you are writing argumentative research, your thesis statement will be the central idea of your paper, summarizing the main point or argument you make. A strong thesis needs to be specific, focused, and relevant to the topic you are discussing. This statement will help keep your writing on track and provide a clear direction for you and your readers.

6. Giving a Brief Overview of the Paper

Finally, provide a brief overview of the structure of your future paper. This helps readers understand what to expect and how your argument or analysis will unfold. In a paper with a standard structure, like “introduction, methods, results, discussion,” this step may be brief. For papers with a less predictable format, give a concise outline of the main sections and what each will cover. This sort of map helps to work with your paper and follow your reasoning.

Research Paper Introduction Paragraph Examples

You know the steps of how to write a good introduction for a research paper but you still need to figure out what it may look like? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find examples of well-structured introductions that include everything from the topic to background and objectives. Besides, you can take any existing text and run it through our research paper summarizer to make it more manageable.

Argumentative Paper: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Are social media platforms contributing to the mental health crisis among teenagers? The rise of social media has been accompanied by a significant increase in mental health issues, particularly among adolescents. Over the past decade, studies have shown a disturbing trend: teenagers who spend more time on social media are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. This paper seeks to explore the extent to which social media usage contributes to these issues and to propose potential solutions.

While the positive aspects of social media, such as connectivity and information sharing, are well-documented, the negative impacts are often overlooked. Previous research indicates a correlation between heavy social media use and increased rates of mental health issues. However, there is a gap in understanding the causal relationship and the specific mechanisms through which social media affects mental health.

This paper argues that excessive social media use significantly exacerbates mental health problems among teenagers. The objective is to investigate how social media influences mental health, focusing on factors such as cyberbullying, social comparison, and the pressure to maintain an idealized online persona. By examining these aspects, the paper aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the issue and suggest practical interventions.

This paper will first review existing literature on the impact of social media on mental health, then analyze the data collected from surveys and studies, and finally propose strategies to mitigate the negative effects of social media on teenagers.
Empirical Paper: The The Effects of Climate Change on Agricultural Productivity

Is climate change threatening global food security? The increasing variability in climate patterns poses a significant risk to agricultural productivity worldwide. With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, understanding the impact of climate change on agriculture is crucial for ensuring food security. This study aims to investigate the specific effects of climate change on crop yields and to identify adaptive strategies for farmers.

Climate change has led to more frequent and severe weather events, such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves, which directly impact crop production. Previous research has highlighted the vulnerability of different crops to these changes, but there is a need for more localized studies that consider regional variations in climate and agricultural practices.

This research addresses the gap by focusing on the Midwest region of the United States, a critical area for corn and soybean production. The study seeks to quantify the impact of climate variables on crop yields and to explore how farmers can adapt to these changes. The research question guiding this study is: How do changes in temperature and precipitation patterns affect corn and soybean yields in the Midwest?

The study will employ a combination of historical yield data analysis and climate modeling to answer this question. It is hypothesized that increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns will lead to reduced yields, but that certain adaptive measures can mitigate these effects.

This paper will begin by reviewing the literature on climate change and agriculture, then present the methodology and results of the data analysis, and finally discuss the implications for policy and practice, providing recommendations for farmers and policymakers.


Writing a research paper may seem disheartening (and it sometimes really is), but with the right approach and a clear plan, you can navigate the process smoothly. Choose the topic that fascinates you and put your mind towards hard work. Remember, the key to a successful research paper is starting with confidence and clarity. Now that you have our guide, it’s time to take the first step and begin writing your research paper with self-assurance and determination.


How do you start an introduction for a research paper?

Starting an introduction for a research paper, you need to present a broad overview of the topic to capture the reader’s interest. Begin with a general statement about the field of study or the specific issue at hand, and then narrow it down to the specific focus of your research. This gives the reading audience a glimpse into the importance of your study and provides the research problem you aim to address.

What is a good starting sentence for a research paper?

A good starting sentence for a research paper should grab the reader’s attention and provide a clear sense of the topic. It can be a compelling fact or a question related to your research.

For example, “The development of renewable energy sources is transforming the global energy landscape and presenting new challenges for sustainability.”

What are the 3 parts of an introduction in research paper?

The three parts of an introduction in a research paper are the opening statement, the context or background, and the thesis statement. The opening statement draws the reader’s attention, the context provides background information and relevance, and the thesis statement outlines the main argument or objective of the research.

What is a hook sentence for a research paper?

A hook sentence for a research paper is a compelling opening line designed to capture the reader’s interest and make them want to read more. It can be a surprising fact, a thought-provoking question, a relevant quote, or a brief anecdote related to the research topic.

For example, “Over 8 million tons of plastic waste enter our oceans each year, endangering marine life and ecosystems.”

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