The introduction is a very responsible part of the written paper since it further discloses the topic. Getting acquainted with the introduction allows you to get an idea of the author’s level of knowledge, skills, and skills. The requirements for introduction are uniform for any research paper. The introduction often confuses the preface to the work, which summarizes the content.
Unlike the preface introduction to the research paper have a clear structure, logic and includes the following sections:
- The relevance of the research;
- Object and subject of research;
- Territorial and chronological framework;
- Purpose and objectives;
- Research methods;
- Study of the topic;
- New in the study;
- Source base;
- The practical significance of the research.
Above, the listed elements of the introduction can conditionally divide into two parts. The first part is relevance, subject, object, purpose, and tasks; territorial and chronological frameworks necessarily formulated at the beginning of the work. This determines the research strategy and allows you to select information on the topic correctly. The remaining sections finally formulate after completion of studying the topic.
The Rationale for the Relevance of the Research
Its relevance should always determine the choice of topic. It is completely wrong to be guided by choice based on only literature on the topic. It is better to choose topics on which there is not just a sufficiently large list of literature, but interesting unresolved problems, various points of view. Such topics have a great degree of novelty and relevance – the primary criterion for assessing a research paper’s level.
Two factors determine relevance:
- The researcher is taking into account the practical needs of modern society. The practical relevance of the study is not determined only by chronological proximity to modern times. The researcher must clearly understand and motivate the knowledge needs of society on this issue. Relevance cannot be assessed only based on the contemporary political situation in the country and the world.
- Based on the degree of study. Any study must take into account the degree of analysis of the phenomena in question and historical processes. Only by taking into account the previous progress and results can knowledge continue.
Coverage of relevance should not be lengthy. It shall meet the following specific requirements. First, the researcher should briefly highlight the reasons for addressing this particular topic. Secondly, to explain what prevented adequate disclosure of the topic earlier. Also, the specificity and importance of the period under study. Or the problem in a general historical context can describe. There is their significance for the knowledge of specific historical processes.
The work’s relevance can be proved by its reasoning and by references to recognized authorities in this area. For example, “The need for such a study was pointed out by such researchers as…” Therefore, when working with literature, it is necessary to pay special attention to how the predecessors justified the relevance of work on a similar topic and the promising tasks they set for future researchers. If the student’s research is carried out as part of the department’s scientific work plan to which he is attached, this could be an additional essential criterion of relevance.
Definition of the Object and Subject of the Study
The need to determine the object and subject of study often consider by novice researchers only as formal requirements. An object is a specific process that creates a problematic situation and serves as a source of information necessary for the researcher.
The study’s subject is more specific and includes only those facts and aspects that the researcher selected to study in this work. The subject determines the work theme, which is indicated on the cover page as its name.
The study’s subject is always defined by three boundaries, time frames, territory, and the problem to which the research aimed. It is important to remember that the author himself chooses the subject of the study. You can take some global problem, but consider it on the example of a separate territory and at a limited time. On the contrary, you can take a not so extensive scientific problem but consider its development over a longer time or throughout the country.
The most common mistake of novice researchers in determining an object’s boundaries is the globality of topics. Practice shows that such works are often superficial and few independents. The novice author can delve into all the problems of the topic and elementary familiarity with sources and literature and is forced to follow the path of referencing other people’s conclusions or simply enumerating the actual side of events.
A narrow topic allows you to study the material in more depth and detail, and in such works, issues can consider a general historical background. Only in this case, elements of novelty may appear in the study, and the author gets the opportunity to introduce a new topic into the study.
Substantiation of the Territorial and Chronological Framework
The choice of the subject usually involves the definition of the territorial and chronological framework of work. However, it is not enough to specify dates. It is necessary to justify your choice and prove that the dates you select are decisive in developing the study subject. The upper and lower chronological boundaries are separately substantiated. They should not depend solely on the sources or interest available to the researcher author; the main criterion of choice is qualitative changes in the study’s subject.
The same applies to the territorial framework. Please explain the geographical terms and names you use. The territorial framework can reflect modern geographical and the administrative and political realities of the period under study. For example, you can take a particular city as a subject of study. Note that the borders of the city at different stages of the country’s development varied significantly. All this must be taken into account when writing the introduction section.
Setting the Research Objective and Objectives
The purpose of the study is to illuminate the subject of cognition comprehensively. It is formulated briefly and extremely accurate in terms of sense, expressing what the researcher intends to do. Historical reality cannot study in all diversity. Therefore, even at the beginning of the work, it is necessary to determine which particular scientific problem your study will aim at solving.
Any scientific research is carried out to overcome specific difficulties in knowing new phenomena, explain previously unknown facts, or reveal the insufficiency of old ways of explaining known facts. This difficulty manifested in problematic situations where existing scientific knowledge is insufficient to solve new cognitive problems. This situation most often arises from discovering new facts that do not fit into previous theoretical ideas.
The correct formulation and clarity of new problems are often no less important than their solution. In essence, it is precisely the choice of the problem, if not the whole, that to a considerable extent determines the research strategy in general and the direction of the research search in particular. It is no coincidence that to formulate a research problem is to show the ability to separate the main thing from the secondary, to find out what is already known and what is still unknown to science about the subject of research.
The purpose, title of the work, and the study’s subject must correspond to each other. Objectives indicate ways and means to achieve the goal. It is through solving problems that a common goal is achieved. Tasks should formulate as carefully as possible since the description of their solution should contain the contents of the chapters of the research work. Typically, there are three to five tasks that should not be overly narrow or wide-ranging. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that tasks do not repeat each other.
When setting research tasks, there should be no task to confirm or refute any previously obtained results, leading to the wrong or limited path. For the research, the task fills existing gaps or continues the intended study lines and allows new results to attract new sources and use new approaches and study methods.
Often, novice researchers, not understanding the purpose of this section of the introduction, set as tasks they need to “read the literature on the topic,” “get acquainted with the main problems of the topic,” “study the sources.” That’s wrong. Properly formulated tasks should help the researcher select information on the topic from sources and literature.
It should be recalled that the introduction is being finalized in the last place, so it is not necessary to indicate the tasks that were set at the first stage of the work, but then for some reason, they could not be solved. In this case, this task should be removed from the introduction. Together with the supervisor, it is mandatory to adjust the goals and, if the unresolved task was of fundamental importance, change the name of the work.
Any science is rid of ideology’s dictatorship and the rigid imposed framework of methodology at the present stage. However, it does not follow that the importance of the study’s methodological basis has lost its relevance and value. Any scientific activity always involves using cognition methods, and the scientist inevitably bases it on specific concepts of cognition and methodological approaches in the study of reality.
All this must be reflected in the introduction. Any historical study uses a set of both general scientific and specific methods. General scientists include methods used in various fields of knowledge, and they reflect the logic of thinking. A set of methods is necessary for the systematization, processing, and analysis of specific data at the stage of reconstruction of the studied reality. Therefore, there is a large number of specific scientific methods used in science.
The choice of specific methods is determined when formulating research tasks. If you set one of the tasks of analyzing changes in a subject or comparing a studied phenomenon with others, you can not do without using synchronous analysis. If you intend to distinguish the development stages of the subject or study social structures, this cannot be done without a topological method. When studying cultural, ethnic, or other social processes, systemic analysis is usually required.
The same section explains how to apply methods. For example, a description of the experimental conditions. It should be washed that it cannot be limited to simply enumerating the allegedly used methods. You must specify how, for what, and how you will use certain methods. If you compare some processes, then the criteria for comparison must be determined, with the justification of their materiality to achieve the goal. Therefore, the choice of specific methods of research should be made at the initial stage of work. This section should not be overly extensive. The main goal is to introduce the reader to the methodology’s essence for conducting the study.
This section of the introduction’s main task is to analyze the history of the topic, copyright concepts, and predecessors’ points of view. The most common error when writing this section is a simple enumeration of the researcher’s works.
Studying the topic is a review of a problem. In general, the analysis allows you to identify the degree of the previous study of the study’s subject, determine the existing problems, unresolved and controversial issues, and the validity of the methods used. It should be remembered that when analyzing the works of your predecessors, you should first of all be interested not so much in the specific facts expressed by them as in the position, points of view, and method of work of particular researchers.
An important place in the analysis is the assessment of scientific results obtained by individual researchers. When evaluating predecessors’ work, it is necessary to study how sources were involved in learning how critically and correctly the author conducted their analysis.
It is based on the analysis of the degree of study of the topic that the author concludes his research’s novelty. The scientific novelty about research is a sign that gives the author the right to use the concept of “for the first time” to characterize the study results. The concept of “for the first time” in science means the absence of such results before publication. Novelty does not indicate at all that all your work from beginning to end should consist of no previously formulated provisions, description of unknown facts that were not in scientific circulation.
The research paper’s specifics are that “it is based on studying facts recorded in the sources. Without attracting sources, there can be no scientific research. Therefore, the essential stage in the study structure is the formation of its information base.
In this section of the introduction, it is necessary not just to list the sources used but to give their characteristics. Practice shows that quite often, students do not understand the difference between references and literary information. A source is a medium of information about the past, created directly during the participant’s study period. In the introduction, only the sources used by the author on the topic are analyzed.
The Practical Relevance of the Study Results
Here you can use the results of the study. The results obtained and the place of their intended use should be specified. For example, the possibility of attracting research materials during a student study, educational work in school. The testing of the results involves an indication of how the author himself used the work. First of all, we are talking about speaking at scientific conferences: the conference’s name, the date and place of the conference, the full name of the report are given. The author’s publications on the topic of the study are also indicated.