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Do We Need to Add Literature in the Introduction of a Research Paper? How Much?

Category : Research
Date : September 1, 2015

I have often read about this confusion about whether there should be any literature in the introduction of a research paper. If yes, then how much of it should be in introduction and in literature review. IT is a difficult question, but at the same time an interesting and good question to reply to. People may have very different views about it. The opinions do vary as there is no

Thumb Rule Surrounding It.

When I think over giving my response to this question, the most important thing I think we need to ponder over is the main purpose of including literature at that point of time. Ideally, you need to justify the requirement of literature in the beginning of the paper.

The Two Most Important Things to Consider Are:

The Introduction Must Define Its Purpose: The introduction in any research document is very important. It is basically the stage at which you need to highlight the main issue around which the paper is to work and argue why the issue requires thinking from the perspective that the paper wishes to follow. It has to explain the gap that the researcher has identified and talk about what in the area of study is not still clear and needs different or another way of thinking. The introduction should stress upon locate, focus and outline of the argument. Covering all these three arguments, the Introduction becomes complete in itself.

The introduction section is followed by the Literature work where the foundation or the building blocks of the research are highlighted or sometimes even the literature that one is set out to challenge.

It Must Be Catchy to Intrigue the Attention of the Reader: It is very important for the beginning of any research paper to catchy so that the reader is convinced, without any time wasted about the worthiness of the document and that it deserves a good read. What is important to take care is that a good introduction need not be too long else it becomes very draggy and mundane. Often we come across rules such as that the introduction must have a set number of four or five paragraphs. However, there is no reason to confine yourself to such blanked rules. I believe that the researcher should have the autonomy to write in a way that the introduction puts forward your cards on the table and clearly depicts what is come forth in the paper. Remember that the introduction in a research paper is to set the scene for the content further ahead and not open up the cards completely.

Also to take care is that besides not being very lengthy, the introduction is not loaded with difficult and challenging vocabulary as sometimes it may just challenge the patience of the reader. The whole article may just become difficult to absorb with a heavy vocabulary.

Lastly, remember to make the beginning as catchy as possible. There are various possibilities to have an interesting beginning. Using quotations, media items or other alternatives could be used to capture the attention of the reader. This isn’t necessary though, a well-crafted opening sentence and attractive beginning is good enough to keep the interest of the reader alive for the remaining part of the paper.

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