7.5 Introduction

At the top of page three, start your introduction with the title of your paper centered and in bold text. The text of your introduction should then start on the next line, aligned to the left, with the start of each new paragraph indented by one tab key. Text should be double-spaced.

An introduction states the purpose of your research and gets the reader interested in your study. This section outlines the literature and includes a statement of the central purpose of your research.

Questions that will help you develop your introduction:

  • What is the central research question or problem under investigation?
  • What does the literature say about this area of research?
  • How does the present study contribute to the literature in this area?
  • If your study is quantitative in nature – What are the main hypotheses?

Start your introduction with a very general statement that establishes the area that your study relates to. For example:

“Pain is a fundamental fact of life” (Symbaluk et al., 1997, p. 258).

Continue narrowing the focus until you have described the problem under investigation and located it in the relevant literature. Also, make sure you write in the present tense throughout the introduction unless you are referring to what other researchers have found or done in their studies. For example:

“People are constantly faced with minor aches and pains due to overexertion, headaches, dental problems, and other conditions. . . An important question concerns the conditions that regulate endurance of pain. . . Research in the social psychology of pain has demonstrated that social modeling can be used to increase (or decrease) pain tolerance (e.g., Craig, 1986). Extrinsic reinforcers (e.g., monetary incentives) have also been shown to increase people’s endurance of a painful event (Cabanac, 1986). . .” (Symbaluk et al., 1997, p. 258).

Finally, describe how your study contributes to the literature and note the main objective of your research. For example:

“Research concerned with social modeling and its effects on pain behaviour is well established, but few studies have focused on pain mediators. The primary goal of the present study is to assess whether the effects of social modeling on pain endurance are mediated by self-efficacy expectancies, by pain perception, or by both of these processes” (Symbaluk et al., 1997, p. 258).

If your study is quantitative in nature, be sure to state your hypotheses as precisely as you can and relate them back to the earlier literature. For example:

… consistent with Cabanac’s (1986) early research, the present study predicts that people who are paid $2.00 per 20 seconds, will endure isometric sitting longer than participants who receive $1.00 or no payment in the control condition.

Introduction Checklist

❏ Follows the abstract

❏ Begins with the title in bold and centered at the top of page 3

❏ Double-spaced

❏ Indented new paragraphs

❏ Format conforms to an hour-glass shape


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Navigating an Undergraduate Degree in the Social Sciences by Diane Symbaluk, Robyn Hall, and Geneve Champoux is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.