How to start a research paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Getting started on a research paper is arguably the most challenging part. Before you start, you have so many questions, thoughts, and doubts. This causes many students to delay their writing – not willfully, just because they simply don't know how to start a research paper. It might be due to experience (or lack thereof), writer's block, or simply not knowing which topic to choose.

Many students in this predicament seek support from professional writers, even if this is just for help with an introduction to a research paper to get them going. In this article at, we'll discuss how to begin a research paper and how to write a research paper introduction.

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7 Steps on How to Begin a Research Paper Easily

Before we go over how to start writing a research paper, you need to know that it all begins before any writing is done. It starts with thoughts and ideas and moves on to outlines before the actual writing begins. Here are seven steps on how to begin:

  1. Read through all of the paper guidelines. Professors and teachers are very clear about what they want and how they want it to look. They will usually provide you with guidelines. You will need to work hard on the style and content. They might, for example, say you need to write in APA format, but they won't tell you how to start a research paper in APA style.
  2. After reading the guidance, you need to choose your research paper topic. This is where many students struggle because they seek the best topic possible, and it becomes impossible to decide. The topic will be set up in your introduction and is the theme of your thesis statement. There are many resources online to help you decide on a topic. Here are some ideas:
    • Choose something that is interesting both to you and others
    • Make sure it's a feasible topic
    • Make sure it's not too broad so that you have lots of sources but are not overwhelmed with too much to write about
    • Seek approval from the professor once you've decided. Usually, professors will be more than happy to discuss your topic with you.
  3. Carry out your research – find examples and facts. Finding reliable information is the most exhausting part of coming up with a thesis statement. You need to be clear that your thesis statement is relevant and that there are sources out there to support it. You don't have to have the wording right just yet.
  4. Create an outline for your research paper. With the first steps done, it's time to do an outline. This is an essential step as it helps you get your ideas down without thinking of the language and style (this comes in the writing part). When you create an outline, you plan and organize your main ideas. You should include what you would reference and think about how the paragraphs flow from each other.
  5. Finalize your thesis. Make this detailed and strong and something that will keep you on track when writing. Remember everything you write needs to be relevant to this statement.
    Before finalizing your thesis, formulate and brainstorm several different ones and make sure you have a clear hypothesis. Doing this is vital as it allows your audience to understand and evaluate your work.
  6. Make your introduction brilliant. Writing your opening paragraph is often frustrating and time-consuming so much so that many people go back to it and re-write it after they've drafted their entire paper! However, if you have prepared well and written a decent outline, it will be much easier. You'll already have your thesis, background research, and research question, so you only need an attention-grabbing hook to draw in the readers and organize it into a great paragraph.
  7. Write the research paper – it's surprising to many that our seventh (and final) step is to actually write the research paper. There are so many things to do before you write, but if you do them, the writing comes easier and quicker. Finally, be sure to use a research paper editor to review your work. This professional can help ensure that all sources are cited and referenced correctly and that the paper meets all of the style and format guidelines requirements. Writing the research paper may be the final step, but it is one of the most important.

What is a Research Paper Introduction?

The introduction is a key component of a research paper. It sets the scene, introduces your topic, and grabs your reader's attention so that they want to read the whole paper. The research paper writer will introduce their topic, the research purpose, and their thesis. Having a perfect introduction is crucial. The rest of the paper will follow suit when the opening lines are impressive.

A poorly written introduction could lose your readers if you do not include one. They wouldn't know why you're writing the paer, nor its purpose. When writing an academic paper, the order is valued. If everyone wrote in their own format, distinguishing excellence would be very difficult.

A research paper introduction has key elements to it. These form your research paper's backbone. You have the hypothesis, "hook," and thesis statement. Your hypothesis describes the idea you are trying to persuade your audience to believe or not. In your introduction, you can state the hypothesis and show that you support or oppose it. After such an introduction, the rest of your paper will explain the research findings, supported by your evidence.

Introduction Paragraph Outline

A decent research paper introduction will follow a specific structure. You'll need to mention certain things, each with its own goal. In general, this is what you should include:

  • Start with a general sentence to introduce your topic and its background.
  • The next two sentences should talk about the related issue and focus on the exact question and research point of your research paper thesis.
  • The final sentences in the introduction should state your research paper's writing purpose. It should summarize the entire paper in a single sentence.

The thesis needs to highlight the topic and the problem to be discussed. Your readers should be kept engaged with this thought in their minds as they're reading. It shouldn't be confusing or easy to forget.

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Introduction Writing Tips for Students

Given the importance of the introduction in a research paper, it's not surprising that many students worry about theirs. If you're struggling with it, here are some more writing tips.

  1. Ensure the introduction is on point and doesn't contain any "fluff."
  2. Choose your words and phrases carefully.
  3. Use a catchy and relevant hook. Make this engaging. It could contain an interesting or surprising fact, significant and unique background information, an anecdote, or statistics. Ultimately, the hook has anything that entices your audience and grabs their attention.
  4. In the main body, you will elaborate on the key points made in the introduction, where you will present and analyze research to support your thesis statement.

Research Paper Introduction Example

If you've never written a research paper, you might like to look for examples of a good introduction paragraph. Here is one on the topic of climate change that shows how to start a research paper intro well:

How to start a research paper example

The Example "Hook"

In this example, the hook is the question, "Are cows the cause of global warming?" It's bold and somewhat radical, which means the reader is more likely to be drawn in to read more. This sort of hook is the best way to start a research paper introduction. There are other good ways to start a research paper, and the hook could also be a bold statement, an interesting statistic or fact, or a quick anecdote.

The Example Background information

After catching the reader's attention, the writer provides context and narrows down the topic. Here is only relevant background information without getting too deep:

How to start a research paper examples

This background information provides a great introduction paragraph for the research paper; it is interesting but not too detailed.

The Example Research Problem

In this example, the research problem is clarified by the following sentences:


Though efforts are underway to mitigate such emissions, there is a reluctance amongst policymakers to deal with the large scale of this problem.

This clearly emphasizes the importance and originality of the paper's argument.

The Example Thesis Statement

As you can see, the thesis statement in this research paper is presented clearly in the sentence:


This essay argues the government in the Netherlands must subsidize and stimulate livestock farmers – particularly cattle farmers – so they can transition to the more sustainable activity of vegetable farming.

It states the writer's position directly and clearly but doesn't provide arguments for it yet.

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The Example Paper Overview

The final part of this introduction is dedicated to a short overview of what the body of the paper will contain:


Firstly, it will establish how the current measures in place to mitigate the problem are inadequate. Then it will discuss the numerous advantages of the proposed results. Finally, it will address any potential objections in terms of economic grounds.

It is concise and direct so that the reader knows what to expect.

Concluding thoughts on starting your research paper

Now you know how to start an introduction to a research paper and what your introductory paragraph should look like, you're ready to begin crafting your paper. Follow the processes in this article, and you'll produce something certainly worth reading. If you lack the time or skills to complete your writing assignment, you can always buy research papers from PapersOwl. Good luck!

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