The publisher Wiley has lots of useful resources for researchers, educators and professionals, including a blog by Patrick O’Connor on how to perfect the introduction to your research article. Below is an edited excerpt, printed with permission from Wiley.

The introduction is an important part of a research article. It gives you the opportunity to convince your reader that the study you have conducted is new, addresses an important question for the field, and is needed at the present time.

‘Follow these six steps’

So, how do you write an introduction that successfully conveys the novelty, significance, and relevance of your research? How do you select, order, and present your evidence effectively? Research from the field of Applied Linguistics has identified six important stages to crafting your argument.

1. Present the context or background to your study, claiming its importance to the field and to the interests of the journal’s readers.

2. Lay a foundation of information already known by presenting findings of other researchers on aspects of the problem you addressed.

3. Highlight a gap in the existing work, showing a need for extension of the work, or creating a research ‘niche’ that your study fills.

4. Depending on your research field and the journal’s conventions: state the purpose/objectives of your study; outline the main activity of the paper or study; or summarise the findings of the study.

5. Highlight a positive value or benefit of carrying out the study (this is optional).

6. Include a ‘map’ of how the rest of the article is organised (necessary for some research fields only; look at other articles in your target journal).

Content originally published by Wiley, and edited for the Society for the Study of Addiction website by Natalie Davies. The SSA is very grateful for the opportunity from Wiley to share this useful resource with its readership.

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