Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
Writing the Introduction for a Quantitative Study
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
The introduction provides the reader with background information on the research topic. In several sentences it describes what is known about the topic, gaps to be filled, and its importance. From the outset, the introduction asserts the importance of the study clear through a concise statement of purpose (Milardo, 2015). The introduction establishes the foundation for the study (Annesley, 2010d) and helps readers to understand it. It critically reviews and analyzes the outcomes of published studies to justify the researcher’s study, develop a theoretical framework, and validate the study’s questions/hypotheses and methodology. The introduction has four components:
Figure 7.2 identifies three stages in writing the introduction (Derntl, 2014).
Fig. 7.2 Three stages in writing the introduction for a quantitative study
Generally speaking, the introduction should be fewer than two double-spaced pages (El-Serag, 2006). Make it concise by crafting a well-defined rationale that focuses on the purpose of the study and the research questions/hypotheses, as this is the best way to “walk readers through” your reasoning. A “script” for generating the first draft of an introduction to a quantitative research article is:
· We hypothesized that …
· We tested the hypothesis that …
· We asked whether …
· To answer this question, …
· This prompted us to investigate whether …
· To resolve this apparent difference …
· We solved this problem by …
· The purpose of our study was … (Annesley (2010d, p. 708).
Note that this is a way to get started; you’ll need to rewrite the introduction so that it flows and does not sound formulaic.
Activity 7.4: Evaluating the Introduction to a Quantitative Manuscript
Use these questions to evaluate the introduction section of a quantitative manuscript:
· Is there is a clear and unambiguous question or problem statement?
· Is there a brief summary of what is already known on the topic?
· Are key terms defined, using authoritative sources?
· Is there a clear and unambiguous thesis statement (main message)
· Has the importance of the paper been made clear (relevance or significance)? (Fahy, 2008, p. 115).