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How to write an Introduction - UMass Lowell

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How to Write an Introduction
Writingthe FirstParagraphof an Introduction
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Steps in this tutorial
1) State the goals of this tutorial2) What is an introduction3) How to write an introduction4) Outline of an introduction5) The opening paragraph of an introduction6) Detailed outline of the opening paragraph
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Goal
To explain what an introduction isTo outline the basic parts of an introductionTo present one format you can use to write an introductionTo show you how to writeavery first paragraph for an introduction
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Objectives
By the end of this tutorial you should be able toArticulate what an introduction isKnow the general parts of an introductionKnow why the first paragraph is important, and how it guides the rest of the introductionDrafta first paragraph for your introduction
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What is an Introduction?
An introduction may be many different things, depending on the type of writing you are doingIn an empirical paper—a proposal or research paper—an introduction does three things:Introduces your topicReviews the literature of your topicStates your hypotheses or research questions
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What is an Introduction?
Students often ask: What is the difference between an introduction and a literature review?Answer: The literature review ispartof your introductionIt is likely to be the largest, most important part
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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How do you write an introduction?
Introductions to research papers in psychology have many formatsIn this tutorial you will learnone formatAs you go on in research writing, you may modify, change, or completely ignore this formatOr, your instructor may ask you to use a different formatThe purpose of presenting this one format is to give you a general starting point
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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The Outline of an Introduction
Here is a very broad outline. The slides that follow show how to write the opening paragraph. The other sections are covered in a different tutorialI. Opening paragraphII. Review of the literatureIII. Summary paragraph and statement of hypotheses or research questions
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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The Opening Paragraph
This is a key paragraphIt lets the reader know what to expectIt gives the reader a general roadmap for your paperIt may mention papers you will review in more detail laterFor a very long paper it may be more than one paragraph
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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The opening paragraph
Includes 5 basic pieces of information, usually in this order:A statement of the general topicA general statement about what the literature has foundA statement about what the literature is missing or where there is an unanswered questionThe aim of the studyA general statement of the study approach
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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The opening paragraph-Example
For a study about child development, parenting and cultureParenting style is a well established influence on child development (Bornstein, 2003). Research indicates that different parenting styles are generally predictive of academic and emotional adaptation in children (Steinberg,Elmen& Mounts, 1989) . However, some research has suggested that the influence of parenting style may vary across cultures and by immigration status (Frankel &Roer-Bornstein, 1982). The aim of the current study was to examine how parenting style among first-generation immigrants from the African diaspora influenced child development. The study examined parenting style and child outcomes within a community ofSomalianimmigrants in the Northeastern United States.
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Opening paragraph-First Sentence
A statement of the generaltopic:Parenting style is a well established influence on child development (Bornstein, 2003).NoteThe statement is general, but not too generalit is not a sweeping statementThe statement is empirical—it is a statement of research findingsNot an opinionThe statement includes a citationThis citation may be reviewed in more detail later in the paper
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Opening paragraph-Second Sentence
A statement about what the literature hasfoundResearch indicates that different parenting styles are generally predictive of academic and emotional adaptation in children (Steinberg,Elmen& Mounts, 1989) .This is more specific than your first statementIt introduces the reader to the specific area you are interested inParenting style and academic and emotional outcomes in childrenIt includes a citationWhich you will review in more detail later in the introduction
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Opening Paragraph-Third Sentence
A statement about what the literature is missing or where there is an unansweredquestionHowever, some research has suggested that the influence of parenting style may vary across cultures and by immigration status (Frankel &Roer-Bornstein, 1982).NoteThis statement is a contrast with the previous statementIt says not all parenting styles lead to the same outcomeIt introduces the idea that there is a an unanswered question to be exploredIt includes a citationWhich will be reviewed in more detail later in the paper
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Opening Paragraph-Fourth Sentence
The aim of thestudyThe aim of the current study was to examine how parenting style among first-generation immigrants from the African diaspora influenced child development.This tells the reader generally what your study is aboutIt should be a study that responds to the question you identified in the previous sentenceBecause the study is completed, it is a statement in the past tenseFor a proposal the statement would be in the future tense
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Opening Paragraph-Fifth Sentence
A general statement of the studyapproachThe study examined parenting style and child outcomes within a community ofSomalianimmigrants in the Northeastern United States.This tells the reader just a little about your sample and methodNot too muchEnough so that the reader understands why you review certain types of articles
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Summary
This tutorial presented the definition and purpose of an introduction for an empirical paper or proposalIt presentedone formatfor writing an introductionIt focused on writing the very first paragraph of an introductionIt gave a detailed step by step account of how to write the first paragraph of an introduction
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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How to write an Introduction - UMass Lowell