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Tips on how to write and introduction for a report
A business report is always created to solve a problem. This could be something simple, such as finding a better way to organise the ordering of office stationery or a more complex problem, such as implementing a new multi-million pound computer system. And an important part of any report is the introduction. It is often the most read section and must inform the reader that the report contains something worth reading. This makes a great introduction essential, so follow the tips below to ensure you hit the mark every time!
Tip One – write it last – don’t write your introduction until you’ve completed your report. The introduction is a summary of what is contained in the report and you cannot summarise what is in the report until you have finished it.
Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It should allow the reader to quickly decide if the report is something that they wish to continue reading or not.
Tip Three – include all the relevant information – the introduction should answer the following questions:
- Why has the report been written? If you cannot answer this question then it’s likely that the report isn’t needed. However, this is highly unlikely to happen as most reports are commissioned to address a particular problem. Detail the problem and state why it’s significant to the business.
- Who commissioned the report? State who requested that the report be written in the first place – was it an individual, department, organisation or someone else.
- What is covered in the report? Detail the scope of the report and, if need be, say what is not covered too.
- How was the report carried out? Give details of what methods of assessment were used to investigate the problem.
Tip Four – don’t include jargon or abbreviations in your introduction – this is one of those rules that can be applied or disregarded depending on the intended readership. If the readers are familiar with technical jargon, then it’s fine to use it. For example, if you are writing the report for colleagues on a board of experienced engineers at a chemical engineering plant, you can be pretty certain that they will familiar with all the technical terms used. However, if there’s any chance that there are people reading the report who may not understand the jargon or abbreviations, don’t use them until you have had the chance to explain what they mean.
If you feel you need more help with report writing, we have the solution. Our report Writing course will teach you how to write professional reports every time. Request a Report Writing course prospectus today.
Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write an introduction for a research paper
How to write an introduction for a research paper
Beginnings are hard. Beginning a research paper is no exception. Many students—and pros—struggle with how to write an introduction for a research paper.
This short guide will describe the purpose of a research paper introduction and how to create a good one.
What is an introduction for a research paper?
Introductions to research papers do a lot of work.
It may seem obvious, but introductions are always placed at the beginning of a paper. They guide your reader from a general subject area to the narrow topic that your paper covers. They also explain your paper’s:
- Scope: The topic you’ll be covering
- Context: The background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in the context of an industry or the world
Your introduction will cover a lot of ground. However, it will only be half of a page to a few pages long. The length depends on the size of your paper as a whole. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper.
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Why is an introduction vital to a research paper?
The introduction to your research paper isn’t just important. It’s critical.
Your readers don’t know what your research paper is about from the title. That’s where your introduction comes in. A good introduction will:
- Help your reader understand your topic’s background
- Explain why your research paper is worth reading
- Offer a guide for navigating the rest of the piece
- Pique your reader’s interest
Without a clear introduction, your readers will struggle. They may feel confused when they start reading your paper. They might even give up entirely. Your introduction will ground them and prepare them for the in-depth research to come.
What should you include in an introduction for a research paper?
Research paper introductions are always unique. After all, research is original by definition. However, they often contain six essential items. These are:
- An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. Narrow the overview until you address your paper’s specific subject. Then, mention questions or concerns you had about the case. Note that you will address them in the publication.
- Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other conclusions on your topic. Include both older scholars and modern scholars. This background information shows that you are aware of prior research. It also introduces past findings to those who might not have that expertise.
- A rationale for your paper. Explain why your topic needs to be addressed right now. If applicable, connect it to current issues. Additionally, you can show a problem with former theories or reveal a gap in current research. No matter how you do it, a good rationale will interest your readers and demonstrate why they must read the rest of your paper.
- Describe the methodology you used. Recount your processes to make your paper more credible. Lay out your goal and the questions you will address. Reveal how you conducted research and describe how you measured results. Moreover, explain why you made key choices.
- A thesis statement. Your main introduction should end with a thesis statement. This statement summarizes the ideas that will run through your entire research article. It should be straightforward and clear.
- An outline. Introductions often conclude with an outline. Your layout should quickly review what you intend to cover in the following sections. Think of it as a roadmap, guiding your reader to the end of your paper.
These six items are emphasized more or less, depending on your field. For example, a physics research paper might emphasize methodology. An English journal article might highlight the overview.
Three tips for writing your introduction
We don’t just want you to learn how to write an introduction for a research paper. We want you to learn how to make it shine.
There are three things you can do that will make it easier to write a great introduction. You can:
- Write your introduction last. An introduction summarizes all of the things you’ve learned from your research. While it can feel good to get your preface done quickly, you should write the rest of your paper first. Then, you’ll find it easy to create a clear overview.
- Include a strong quotation or story upfront. You want your paper to be full of substance. But that doesn’t mean it should feel boring or flat. Add a relevant quotation or surprising anecdote to the beginning of your introduction. This technique will pique the interest of your reader and leave them wanting more.
- Be concise. Research papers cover complex topics. To help your readers, try to write as clearly as possible. Use concise sentences. Check for confusing grammar or syntax . Read your introduction out loud to catch awkward phrases. Before you finish your paper, be sure to proofread, too. Mistakes can seem unprofessional.
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How to Write an Introduction of a Report
The specific design of the introduction of your report will vary based on the type of paper you are writing, as well as the guidelines issued by your teacher. For example, introductions for a research paper sometimes are as long as two pages. For smaller papers an introduction is only supposed to be 4-5 sentences. In either case, there are several components and topics that should be addressed in your report, regardless of the structure your paper takes. Always consult the rubric your teacher hands out to make sure you are following the instructions and doing your introduction correctly.
Start the introduction with a general lead-in sentence that draws the reader's attention and makes them want to find out more about what you are writing about.
Address the purpose of your report, and what it will cover. Go over all the main issues you have studied or researched, and consider how they pertain to the overall findings of the report.
Discuss what the report seeks to accomplish, and what knowledge was already generally accepted about the subject matter. A good report should expand on already existing information.
Conclude the introduction with a strong thesis statement that conveys the main point of the report, and summarizes what all findings in the report indicate. The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction.
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About the Author
James Wiley graduated from Providence College in 2009 as a double major in global studies and Spanish. Wiley's capstone thesis paper was published in the Providence College database. He has also competed in international script-writing competitions and coauthored a pilot which placed in the top 15 percent of international entries over the past year.
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The introducton to a business report prepares the reader for the rest of the business report, sets the tone, and has impact. Use the strategies explained in this blog in your business report writing to write introductions that will give your reports impact and make them successful in accomplishing your goals. The business report introduction should be short and to the point. It should not include details. You will develop the details for the body of the business report.
The business writing report tips that follow will help you write introductions that prepare the writer to read with understanding.
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Business Report Writing Tip 1:
Write the context or history
To prepare the reader for the rest of the business report, state the following at the beginning of the report:
- The context — Why is the reader receiving this now?
- The history — What has led up to the present report?
In your business report writing, include enough to ensure the reader knows the context or history. The reader may not recall significant facts, or the business report may find its way to people who have less understanding of the background. The introduction prepares the reader for the contents of the business report by bringing the reader to the point where the report is relevant.
Limit the introduction to the context or history. Do not include detail about the business report yet. That belongs in the body. Keep the introduction as short as possible.
Business Report Writing Tip 2:
Write the purpose of the report.
After you explain the context or history in your business report writing, describe the purpose of this report. How does it fit into that context or history? It probably will contribute to the history or lead to a resolution. Explain how it fits into the context.
Business Report Writing Tip 3:
Write conclusions and recommendations if your report contains them.
Readers normally want to know the conclusions to the business report right away, in an easily read format. If your business report describes conclusions, state the conclusions after the context, history, and purpose. Similarly, if your business report writing contains recommendations, state the recommendations briefly in the business report introduction. Then explain them in greater detail in the report.
If your readers may not accept your conclusions or recommendations easily, you may decide to present the conclusions or recommendations after presenting the case or evidence in the body of the business report writing.
For more detail about placing the conclusions and recommendations at the beginning in business report writing, click here .
Business Report Writing Tip 4:
Write the next activities involving the report
Explain what will be done with the business report and what the next actions will be. Include as much detail as you have available at the time you write the report.
Example business report writing introduction:
We have decided to focus on quality to bring our products up the level we all want them to be. To accomplish our goal, we need to reduce errors. Our part-time PERL programmer doesn’t have the time to devote to our projects while going to school.
One solution is to hire a dedicated PERL programmer for our technical services staff. This report explores the pros and cons of requesting a new position. .
This introduction is strong. It very clearly explains the context for the business report and provides history about the problem. Then it introduces the content to be addressed in the report writing. Notice that the introduction doesn’t provide details about the context. The writer wanted to get to the point.
Business Report Writing Tip 5:
The introduction must be self-contained
In your business report writing, write introductions that are self-contained so that the reader does not have to refer to another business report or recall earlier conversations to be prepared for reading this report. The dates and references to meetings in the example below will help the reader remember the request without searching through files.
Example Introduction in Business Report Writing
On July 15, Assistant Manager Jane Reynolds requested suggestions on possible ways of expanding our creative department while keeping our costs as low as possible. At a meeting on July 17, our staff members discussed her request. This report explains five suggestions we believe will expand our creative department and keep costs low.
First, developing an . . .
The context, history, and content of the message are clear. When Jane reads the report, she’ll know what this report is in reference to. Jane can then spend time evaluating the suggestions rather than trying to figure out why she received the report.
Business Report Writing Tip 6:
Use the reader’s words in the introduction
If the business report is in response to a request, use the reader’s words in the introduction. Summarize or quote the requestor’s requirements in the introduction. Summarizing the requirements in the reader’s words shows the reader you are complying with the request. If the reader had more than one part to the request, list each part that you are fulfilling using the reader’s words.
Look again at the introduction to a business report on suggestions for expanding the creative department.
The request asked for suggestions to accomplish two goals: expand the creative department and keep costs as low as possible. The introduction states that the business report will address both goals by explaining five suggestions.
Now look at an introduction that does not use the reader’s words.
Poor Example Introduction in Business Report Writing
This report explains a plan for improving our creative department and cutting expenses.
A “plan” is not the same as “suggestions.” “Improving” is not the same as “expanding,” and “cutting expenses” is not the same as “keeping costs as low as possible.” Changing the reader’s words will create confusion and will not fulfill the request correctly.
A strong introduction to a business report briefly explains the context, history, and content of the report. It prepares the reader for the information that will follow and demonstrates that the writer is fulfilling the requirements for the report.
Business Report Writing Tip 7:
List each request you are fulfilling using the reader’s words
If the reader included more than one part in the request, list each part that you are fulfilling using the reader’s words. The reader may have had four questions, or two questions and a suggestion, or other such combination of parts in the correspondence to you. In your introduction to the business report, follow the organization the reader used and repeat the key words in the questions, suggestions, or other content. Create a list at the beginning of the business report so you show the reader you are responding to every point of interest to the reader. Then, in the body of the business report, repeat the same statements as headings so the reader sees the correspondence between his or her request, your introduction, and the body.
This is the reader’s request to the writer:
We’re concerned that eventually the state EPA may say something about how the de-icing fluids are running off of the tarmacs. Let’s try to hold that off. Give me a report on what we are doing about the fluids, where they seem to be going, the likely state EPA response when we report to them about where they’re going, and some alternative means of disposing of the fluids if we’re required to do so.
Barton Airport currently allows de-icing fluids to run off of the tarmacs onto the areas of grass bordering the tarmacs. We will be producing a report to the state EPA in another month describing the current status of disposal of the de-icing fluids. This report contains descriptions of
- What we are doing about the fluids
- Where they seem to be going
- The likely state EPA response when we report to them about where they’re going
- Three alternative means of disposing of the fluids if we’re required to do so
The introduction to the report uses the identical wording in the reader’s request, presented in the same order, bulleted out to be clear.
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Reports in English
Many students, particularly science and business students, will at some time be expected to write a report.
Your report should have the following sections:
1. Preliminaries Title page Abstract Contents 2. Main text Introduction Methodology Findings/Results Discussion Conclusion 3. End matter References Appendices
Before you start the main part of your report, there should be a title page. The title page should contain information to enable your lecturer and departmental office to identify exactly what the piece of work is. It should include your name and course; the title of the assignment and any references; the lecturer it is for etc. Check with your department for clear information. A report should also normally include an abstract and a contents page. The abstract should give some background information, clearly state the principal purpose of the report, give some information about the methodology used, state the most important results and the conclusion. See: Functions - Writing an abstract . The contents page will give page numbers for the main sections.
2. The main text
The main body consists of several paragraphs of ideas, data and argument. Each section develops a subdivision of the report purpose. The introduction gives background knowledge that supports the reason for writing the report and an organisation statement. The methodology section gives details of how the information in the report was obtained. Findings and results give the data that has been collected, while the discussion argues that the results lead to the clearly expressed conclusion. The sections are linked in order to connect the ideas. The purpose of the report must be made clear and the reader must be able to follow its development.
The introduction consists of three parts:
- It should include a short review of the literature to provide a background to your report and to attract the reader's attention. It may include a definition of terms in the context of the report, etc.
- It should try to explain why you are writing the report. You need to establish a gap in current knowledge.
- It should also include a statement of the specific subdivisions of the topic and/or indication of how the topic is going to be tackled in order to specifically address the question.
It should introduce the central idea or the main purpose of the writing. See: Functions - Writing Introductions
The methodology section gives details of how the information in the report was obtained. It may give details of the materials and procedures used. In any kind of experimental report, details of the people involved will need to be included. See: Functions - Writing Research Methods
The findings and results give the data that has been collected. This may be shown in the form of tables, graphs or diagrams. In all cases, reference must be made to the location of the information, the main details of the data and any comments on this. See: Functions - Writing Research Results
The main purpose of the discussion is to show that the results lead clearly to the conclusion being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these results. See: Functions - Writing Research Discussions
V. The conclusion.
The conclusion includes the writer's final points.
- It should recall the issues raised in the introduction and draw together the points made in the results and discussion
- and come to a clear conclusion.
It should clearly signal to the reader that the report is finished and leave a clear impression that the purpose of the report has been achieved. See: Functions - Writing Conclusions
3. End Matter
At the end of the report, there should be a list of references. This should give full information about the materials that you have used in the report. See Writing a list of references for more information on the reference list. The appendices may contain full details of data collected.
The introduction is certainly the most read section of any deliverable, and it largely determines the attitude of the reader/reviewer will have toward the work. Therefore, it is probably the most delicate part of the writing of a report.
Unfortunately, many people (even very experienced ones) seem to have difficulties at writing a good introduction. For some, it is a daunting task.
In this short article, I present a very simple method for writing a good introductory chapter. Actually, the core of this method was taught to me many years ago by Krzysztof Apt. At that time, it surprised me in its simplicity and efficiency. In ten years, I have been happily applying it to all introductions I have written.
Of course, I am not the first one coming up with such a recipe: a necessarily incomplete list of links to articles about scientific writing is reported in the last section.
An Introduction should contain the following three parts:
In addition there can be the following optional ingredients:
There are many resources on the matter. In particular there is an excellent website maintained by Toby Walsh with loads of links on on scientific writing, on presenting scientific articles, etc. http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~tw/phd/
My favourite links:
- How to have your abstract rejected, by Mary-Claire van Leunen and Richard Lipton. http://www.acm.org/sigplan/conferences/author-info/vanLeunenLipton.html
- Author Information for ACM SIGPLAN Conferences http://www.acm.org/sigplan/conferences/author-info/
Other links I found:
- How NOT to write a paper. by Oded Goldreich. http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~oded/writing.html
- How to Write A Paper in Scientific Journal Style and Format, by Greg Anderson. http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWtoc.html
- How to Write a Scientific Paper, by E. Robert Schulman http://members.verizon.net/~vze3fs8i/air/airpaper.html .
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Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions
Table of contents.
Reports are descriptive pieces of writing that are expected to give the reader a comprehensive overview of a specific topic. It should provide a better understanding to your readers. And as with any piece of writing, introductions are significant. If you’re unsure how to write a report introduction , you’ve found the perfect article to help you.
Carefully crafted introductions should be concise, clear, and honest. The initial section of your introduction should give your reader a quick overview of the report . In this article, we’ll talk about how you can do exactly just that.
What is a Report?
A report is a document that presents an overview of the information gathered by an individual or group for a specific purpose. It also states the methods done to collect that information. Reports are closely similar to a business paper or a case study.
Schools, universities, and organizations often use reports to provide an overview of different programs or explain new organizational structures’ pros and cons. They generally present data more professionally and visually appealingly. It can make use of charts or graphs to help organize data.
Different Types of Reports
Reports can be categorized into different types based on their purpose, objectives, or target audience. Here are some of the most common types of reports:
Academic reports present the research results and provide a scholarly summary of the findings. They should be concise, properly cited, and documented. These can also measure the learning progress made by students.
- Book reports
- Critique papers
- Movie analysis
- Research papers
In contrast to academic reports, a scientific report is more in-depth and professional. It is a more cumulative report, which includes data measured with comprehensive analysis.
This report focuses on the technical aspects of the subject. It is essential to define the problem and research method for a scientific report.
- Case studies
- Technical notes
Several businesses base their strategies on business reports. They can be written by management or specific departments and divided into categories. A business report can contain the following:
- Detailed information on the company
- Key company statistics and trends
- Diagrams and charts depicting each section
How to Write a Report Introduction
Introductions for each type of report should be structured differently and follow different patterns. The steps listed below are general strategies for how to write a good introduction for a report.
1. Limit it to a few lines
Report introductions are generally 500-100 words long. This is longer than how you would typically write introductions to essays. The length of the introduction will depend mainly on the overall length of your report.
2. Make it interesting.
Start with a sentence starter that draws the reader’s attention and makes them want to learn more about your report. You can start stating the problem you’re trying to solve. Or you can state essential and trivial information that your report has gathered.
3. State your main points
Your introduction should describe what your report will cover. Consider the main themes you have studied or researched and how they relate to the overall findings in the report.
Think about what the report aims to accomplish and what knowledge was already widely accepted about the subject matter. An excellent report should build on existing information.
4. End with a thesis statement
Conclude your introduction with a strong thesis statement that expresses the report’s main point and summarizes all findings. This should be written as the last sentence of the opening.
What Should a Report Include?
Different institutions may require various report formats. Here are some general sections that a report usually includes.
1. Title page
Reports often use a title page to keep things organized. The title page can include the authors’ names and the report submission date. It may also include additional information, such as a grant or project number.
2. Table of contents
The table of contents helps readers in navigating the page directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing faster navigation.
3. Page numbering
Page numbering is necessary if you are writing a longer report. By placing page numbers, you can ensure they are in order if there are errors or misprints.
4. Headings and subheadings
Reports are usually divided into sections, separated by headings and subheadings, so viewers can browse and scan quickly.
The report guidelines can tell you what format is best if you are citing information from a different source. A typical citation format for reports is the American Psychological Association format.
6. Works cited page
At the end of the report, you should include a bibliography with credits and legal information for other sources where you obtained information.
The purpose of a report is to inform an audience about a particular issue or study. It can provide an opportunity for public engagement and feedback or discussion on new or existing information.
Your introduction is an essential part of any report. It contains a brief glimpse into the main points your report will be discussing. Remember to limit it to a few lines and state your main points clearly. Now you know how to write a report introduction, you’re ready to try writing one yourself!
Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.
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Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It
Introduction · discuss the importance or significance of the research or problem to be reported · define the purpose of the report · outline the
What should you include in an introduction for a research paper? · An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. · Prior
Conclude the introduction with a strong thesis statement that conveys the main point of the report, and summarizes what all findings in the report indicate. The
How to Write Clear Introductions in Business Report Writing · Write the context or history · Write the purpose of the report. · Write conclusions and
Together we explore how to write an Introduction. Your students will learn the best techniques to enhance their writing skills.
The main body consists of several paragraphs of ideas, data and argument. Each section develops a subdivision of the report purpose. The introduction gives
1. Background. In this part you have to make clear what the context is. Ideally, you should give an idea of the state-of-the art of the field the report is
Often a letter is attached to a report to officially introduce the report to the
An introduction is the first paragraph of your paper. The goal of your introduction is to let your reader know the topic of the paper and what points will be
How to Write a Report Introduction · 1. Limit it to a few lines · 2. Make it interesting. · 3. State your main points · 4. End with a thesis statement.