Research and College Career

Topics: Research, Critical thinking, Writing Pages: 18 (5909 words) Published: November 3, 2014
Introductions usually have three parts:

presentation of the problem or the research inquiry
purpose and focus of the current paper
summary or overview of the writer’s position or arguments
As you can see, a thoughtfully written introduction can provide a blueprint for the entire research paper.

In the first part of the introduction, the presentation of the problem, or the research inquiry, state the problem or express it so that the question is implied. Then, sketch the background on the problem and review the literature on it to give your readers a context to show them how your research inquiry fits into the conversation currently ongoing in your subject area. You may tell why this problem has been a problem, why previous attempts have failed to solve it, or why you think this particular slant or angle to the problem is important. You can also mention what benefits are to be gained from solving this problem or exploring this topic from your perspective.

In the second part of the introduction, state your purpose and focus. Here, you may even present your actual thesis. Sometimes your purpose statement can take the place of the thesis by letting your reader know your intentions. Some writers like to delay presenting their thesis, especially if their readers may not be ready to accept it.

The third part, the summary or overview of the paper, briefly leads readers through the discussion, forecasting the main ideas and giving readers a blueprint for the paper.

This example of a well-organized introduction provides such a blueprint.

Example of an Introduction

Entrepreneurial Marketing: The Critical Difference

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, John A. Welsh and Jerry F. White remind us that "a small business is not a little big business." An entrepreneur is not a multinational conglomerate but a profit-seeking individual. To survive, he must have a different outlook and must apply different principles to his endeavors than does the president of a large or even medium-sized corporation. Not only does the scale of small and big businesses differ but small businesses also suffer from what the Harvard Business Review article calls "resource poverty." This is a problem and opportunity that requires an entirely different approach to marketing. Where large ad budgets are not necessary or feasible, where expensive ad production squanders limited capital, where every marketing dollar must do the work of two dollars, if not five dollars or even ten, where a person’s company, capital, and material well-being are all on the line—that is, where guerrilla marketing can save the day and secure the bottom line. (Levinson, 1984, p. 9)

In this example, the first sentence gives us the general academic conversation that this article will join. Sentence 2 narrows the discussion slightly to the entrepreneur. Sentence 3 explains why the entrepreneur and the small business are different and suggests the research question: How does the entrepreneur with his business principles differ from the corporate CEO and "big business" principles? Sentence 4 again places the discussion here within the academic conversation about entrepreneurs and slants the subject to "resource poverty." Sentence 5 suggests why this issue is significant and even hints that perhaps it hasn’t been covered sufficiently. The author is defining his "research space," where his research will fit in the conversation. The last and longest sentence succinctly summarizes the areas covered in this article and presents the thesis statement ". . . that is, where guerrilla marketing can save the day and secure the bottom line."

As an aside, notice that the title of our example has two parts. Readers use such academic titles to select articles and to get a quick sense of what an article is about. Academic titles can state the research question, summarize the thesis or purpose, or be written as a two-part title with a colon. As in this example, the...
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