The introduction section is the first section that readers will look at in an academic research paper. So the aim is to make it as convincing to the reader as possible, as this section will impact the decision a reader makes to continue reading your work. This section typically includes five main elements.
Present your research work and convince the reader that the work is important.
The first task is to introduce your research topic and why it is important. So it is crucial to provide a strong introductory paragraph that will hook your readers to continue. You can start with general information about the topic, and then gradually zoom in to your micro area of interest. Guide your audience with information about the important aspects of the work, while maintaining clarity and conciseness.
Present your background.
Here you should aim to explore the general background of the research area, where you review all the related prior works, and how your work supplements to the existing literature. Remember to include only the key ideas from prior work, and how they compare to your work.
Discuss your main research problem, or research gap.
Once you have discussed the background and provided a brief review of related works, here you discuss the research you have identified from the related works you have presented. This is your main research problem, so be sure to explicitly mention this in an explicit and clear manner.
Explicitly list down your research objectives.
After you have finished discussing your research problem, naturally, the next step is to explain how your research work fits in. This is done by listing your research objectives, and how they satisfy the gaps mentioned in your problem statement. You can also briefly discuss your methodology and the steps you will take to tackle your research objective.
Provide an outline of the remainder of your paper.
Here you briefly describe what is presented in each of the remaining sections of your paper. The present tense is typically used here. The aim is to give your readers a quick layout of the paper so they would easily follow along while they are reading it.
Some final tips.
Be sure to be as clear and straightforward as possible, but also provide strong convincing sentences to hook your readers to continue reading your work. Also, although this is the first section in your paper, you do not necessarily have to write it first. You can always come back to this section and write it after writing other sections, e.g., the methodology and results sections. This way, you would write it after you have an overall idea about the entire paper, and this would help to encompass all of your key ideas and include them in the introduction section. You can always come back to this section and modify/update it whenever you realize that there are key ideas that are in the paper, but are also important to include in the introduction. Finally, another important and final step is to have a professional proofreader or editor inspect the paper for any underlying grammatical errors and to check for clarity and conciseness to ensure it is easy to read and ready for publication.