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Your introduction should state the problem you are going to address. It will likely pose the research question as well. This is sometimes referred to as identifying a gap in the disciplinary knowledge. Briefly discuss what the discipline (your audience) already knows about the subject. Background information such as summaries of current practices within the field, histories, and/or theories that help your reader “get up to speed” on the problem should go here.
Briefly explain how you will fill this gap in the knowledge. State the principle results of the study and the principle conclusions. What did you do to get to this conclusion? The rest of the paper will discuss your findings and add to the information. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does your clearly identify the problem or state the research question and its answer?
2. Does it tell your reader why you will be discussing it?
3. Do you establish why your audience should listen to you?
This is an expanded discussion of what the discipline (your audience) already knows. This may include more developed discussions of definitions, histories, and/or theories. It may also make connections between similar research and display any contradictions that you found. It establishes for your reader that you understand the topic and that your contribution is valuable. The object of this portion of the paper is to explain the research thoroughly enough to allow your audience to understand the material without having to do any additional reading.