Introductions to research papers

Introductions to scientific research papers differ from those in articles in certain respects:

■ In papers, the introduction is direct and to the point. It is therefore somewhat shorter than in an article, maybe only one paragraph long.

■ In some papers, the introduction is actually a named section of the paper. It follows the title, and in this case it is itself entitled 'Introduction'.

■ It may have additional paragraphs containing a review of the literature and any pertinent background information. Even though it is a section, you should still be brief.

■ Although you need to capture the reader's interest as in an article introduction, you should avoid anecdotes and illustrations. You need to

* tell the reader what the paper is about

* say what the paper contains and says

* explain why what it says is important and worth reading

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