How to write the Research Background and Motivation for your Thesis or Dissertation
- 24th November 2009 24/11/09
You know what you want to write about. You’ve got the chapters planned out. But now you have to justify your choice of research project by writing a “Research Background and Motivation” section. This usually comes in the introduction, although pieces of it may end up in your abstract. Actually – it’s not that difficult; this is because it should be personal, and personal writing is always easier to write than research.
Basically, what in your life has brought you to the point where you decided upon this specific research topic? What inspired you to study/get involved in this field? What major works motivated or interested you? What personal challenges or experiences have made this research emotionally charged and relevant. The more you can express your passion and dedication to your research, the stronger it will be.
Hopefully, you’re genuinely interested in what you’re doing and find the topic stimulating and useful. Just tell your readers why.
Of course it’s not all about you; it’s about your responses to related works – what did you read that you didn’t agree with? What problems do you see in the current state of research in the field or on the topic? What piques your interest that no one else has explored before?
The Research Background and Motivation section of your thesis or dissertation is basically a combination of A) the evolution of theory / thought / responses to a topic and B) your personal reaction / feelings / thoughts on the subject.
Tips for writing the Research Background and Motivation Section
1) This is basically your only chance to let your own personality and passion shine out. Establishing your personality, your confidence, and your enthusiasm for researching the topic will go a long way in establishing credibility and interest for what you have to say.
2) Let it be known that you know yourself. Casually reference or cite information. Not the boring stuff (which you may do later in the literature review) but the salient or surprising discoveries which revolutionized your thinking or understanding of the topic.
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- Manuscript Preparation
What is the Background of a Study and How Should it be Written?
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Table of Contents
The background of a study is one of the most important components of a research paper. The quality of the background determines whether the reader will be interested in the rest of the study. Thus, to ensure that the audience is invested in reading the entire research paper, it is important to write an appealing and effective background. So, what constitutes the background of a study, and how must it be written?
What is the background of a study?
The background of a study is the first section of the paper and establishes the context underlying the research. It contains the rationale, the key problem statement, and a brief overview of research questions that are addressed in the rest of the paper. The background forms the crux of the study because it introduces an unaware audience to the research and its importance in a clear and logical manner. At times, the background may even explore whether the study builds on or refutes findings from previous studies. Any relevant information that the readers need to know before delving into the paper should be made available to them in the background.
How is a background different from the introduction?
The introduction of your research paper is presented before the background. Let’s find out what factors differentiate the background from the introduction.
- The introduction only contains preliminary data about the research topic and does not state the purpose of the study. On the contrary, the background clarifies the importance of the study in detail.
- The introduction provides an overview of the research topic from a broader perspective, while the background provides a detailed understanding of the topic.
- The introduction should end with the mention of the research questions, aims, and objectives of the study. In contrast, the background follows no such format and only provides essential context to the study.
How should one write the background of a research paper?
The length and detail presented in the background varies for different research papers, depending on the complexity and novelty of the research topic. At times, a simple background suffices, even if the study is complex. Before writing and adding details in the background, take a note of these additional points:
- Start with a strong beginning: Begin the background by defining the research topic and then identify the target audience.
- Cover key components: Explain all theories, concepts, terms, and ideas that may feel unfamiliar to the target audience thoroughly.
- Take note of important prerequisites: Go through the relevant literature in detail. Take notes while reading and cite the sources.
- Maintain a balance: Make sure that the background is focused on important details, but also appeals to a broader audience.
- Include historical data: Current issues largely originate from historical events or findings. If the research borrows information from a historical context, add relevant data in the background.
- Explain novelty: If the research study or methodology is unique or novel, provide an explanation that helps to understand the research better.
- Increase engagement: To make the background engaging, build a story around the central theme of the research
Avoid these mistakes while writing the background:
- Ambiguity: Don’t be ambiguous. While writing, assume that the reader does not understand any intricate detail about your research.
- Unrelated themes: Steer clear from topics that are not related to the key aspects of your research topic.
- Poor organization: Do not place information without a structure. Make sure that the background reads in a chronological manner and organize the sub-sections so that it flows well.
Writing the background for a research paper should not be a daunting task. But directions to go about it can always help. At Elsevier Author Services we provide essential insights on how to write a high quality, appealing, and logically structured paper for publication, beginning with a robust background. For further queries, contact our experts now!
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Teaching and Researching Motivation
1 School of Languages and Culture, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin, China
2 Department of Maritime, Hebei Jiaotong Vocational & Technical College, Shijiazhuang, China
The third edition of Teaching and Researching Motivation offers newly-updated and extended coverage of motivation research and pedagogical practice. As in the 2001 and 2011 editions, the text provides comprehensive insights into motivation research and teaching. However, the current edition, as in the authors' words, is “not so much a revised version as a newly written book that has the same authors, the same title and the same structure as the previous one” (Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2021 , p. x). It reflects the dramatic changes in the field of motivation research and examines how theoretical insights can be used in everyday teaching practice.
The monograph comprises four parts. Part I, “What is Motivation?”, consists of four chapters. The first chapter pertains to the complex meaning of the term “motivation” and summarizes the key challenges of theorizing motivation. Appealing to us in this chapter is that the authors put a stronger emphasis on understanding motivation in relation to learning LOTEs (languages other than English) and in relation to individual multilingualism. It is altogether fitting and proper for them to hold this belief since the world is becoming more diversified in terms of multilingualism. Chapter 2 offers a historical overview of the most influential cognitive motivation theories. In the new edition, social cultural factors impacting students' motivation are elaborated in more detail. Chapter 3 presents a historical overview of theories of L2 motivation. Drawing on insights from L2 research and psychology, Dörnyei and Ushioda articulate nine interrelated conditions for the motivating capacity of future L2 self-image. With a focus on the L2 Motivation Self System theory, Chapter 4 also critically examines other new theoretical approaches emerged in the field of L2 motivation over the past decade. Finally, it highlights two new perspectives: a focus on L2 learner engagement and “small lens” approaches.
Part II, “Motivation and Language Teaching,” includes three chapters on issues related to the relation between motivation and language teaching. Chapter 5 explores the extent to which theoretical and research insights can lead to practical recommendations for motivating the students in and outside of the language classroom. Based on this principle, it presents instructive approaches to motivating language learners. It also eloquently holds that motivational self-regulation and learner autonomy are two potent energizers which will have a lasing impact beyond the classroom. Chapter 6, “Motivation in Context,” deals with the “dark side” of motivation, “demotivation.” It argues that focused interventions can have significant positive outcomes and help counteract demotivation and facilitate remotivation within second language acquisition (SLA). The last chapter in this part is of special interest as it explores the relationship between language teacher and learner motivation, highlighting possible self theory (exploring conceptual change in language teachers). As a Chinese idiom goes, teaching benefits teachers and students alike. The same is true of language teacher motivation. It argues that teachers' passion and enthusiasm facilitate their teaching and enhance students' learning; and vice versa.
Important and of significance is how to do research so that it can facilitate teaching. Part III, “Researching Motivation,” includes two chapters on issues related to primary, data-based motivation research. Chapter 8 covers the unique characteristics, challenges and research strategies that are specific to the empirical study of language learning motivation. An outstanding contribution of this chapter is that four insightful principles of designing L2 motivation studies are proposed. Followed up on an overview of the most useful methods in this field in the past, Chapter 9 examines two new research initiatives: adopting a complex dynamic system approach and researching unconscious motivation, which will hold particular promise for the future.
Part IV, “Resources and Further Information” is informative and inspiring. In Chapter 10, the authors judiciously remark that particular aspects and context of L2 learning as well as multilingual communication should be focused in the future after further elaborating the interdisciplinary nature and challenge of L2 motivation research. The last chapter contains lists of key sources and resources on motivation such as relevant journals and latest valuable collections, database, discussion groups, and networks. What is of particular value is key scholars of L2 language motivation research, as well as useful tools and measures for researching motivation.
This monograph is a thought-provoking book. Firstly, this new edition reflects the latest research advancement, providing the language teachers and researchers with insights into cultivating motivation. In terms of theoretical paradigm, the L2 Motivation Self System (L2MSS) introduces a holistic approach exploring the combined and interactive operation of a number of different factors in relation to L2 motivation rather than the traditional cause-effect relation between isolated variables. Two recent motivational paradigms originate in L2MSS: directed motivational currents and long-term motivation , focusing on not only what generates language learning motivation but also on what can sustain motivation long enough. In terms of research method, integration of quantitative and qualitative method (e.g., questionnaire + interview ) has almost become a new trend in the L2 motivation field.
Secondly, Dörnyei and Ushioda provide ideas for theoretical and empirical research by reviewing studies made by them and other researchers. Although a great deal of knowledge has been accumulated, Dörnyei and Ushioda particularly point out two under-explored topics: unconscious motivation and language learner engagement. They also recommend two cutting-edge approaches: “small lens” approaches (actual cognitive process in the mastery of an L2) and complex dynamic systems approach.
Lastly, it is a valuable guide for L2 teachers and researchers. Chapter 5 presents strategies and approaches to motivating language learners such as promoting student engagement and applying technology. Particularly, the up-to-date and rich selection of empirical studies in Chapter 9 are vivid illustration of the research methods, showing language teachers templates of doing research by teaching. The research interests of important scholars listed in Chapter 11 allow language teachers and researchers to follow the current significant research areas on L2 motivation.
Nevertheless, there are still some aspects for this book to be improved in the next edition. First, readers may hope to find a detailed discussion of the social cultural factors impacting teachers' motivation. Second, the key researchers listed in Chapter 11 are mainly in the English world. Had the authors included more key researchers in the non-English world, it would have been more insightful.
All in all, with this new edition, Dörnyei and Ushioda make a very important contribution to our radically new understanding of teaching and researching motivation. As a clear and comprehensive theory-driven account of motivation, this volume can be applied in many different ways. It can be used as a reference book for teachers and/or researchers to review and reflect on motivation teaching and research practice. In addition, it is also of significance in pre-service and in-service teacher education programme. Graduates in applied linguistics, education and psychology can gain plenty of insights from the research findings and additional information offered in this volume. Therefore, this volume is an invaluable resource for teachers and researchers alike.
YY: drafts and revision. HZ: revision and supervision. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.
This opinion was supported by the Project of Teaching Reform at Tianjin University of Technology (Grant No: KG20-08).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.
- Dörnyei Z., Ushioda E. (2021). Teaching and Researching Motivation . London: Taylor and Francis. [ Google Scholar ]
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Scientific papers are for sharing your own original research work with other scientists or for reviewing the research conducted by others. As such, they are critical to the evolution of modern science, in which the work of one scientist builds upon that of others. To reach their goal, papers must aim to inform, not impress. They must be highly readable — that is, clear, accurate, and concise. They are more likely to be cited by other scientists if they are helpful rather than cryptic or self-centered.
Scientific papers typically have two audiences: first, the referees, who help the journal editor decide whether a paper is suitable for publication; and second, the journal readers themselves, who may be more or less knowledgeable about the topic addressed in the paper. To be accepted by referees and cited by readers, papers must do more than simply present a chronological account of the research work. Rather, they must convince their audience that the research presented is important, valid, and relevant to other scientists in the same field. To this end, they must emphasize both the motivation for the work and the outcome of it, and they must include just enough evidence to establish the validity of this outcome.
Papers that report experimental work are often structured chronologically in five sections: first, Introduction ; then Materials and Methods , Results , and Discussion (together, these three sections make up the paper's body); and finally, Conclusion .
- The Introduction section clarifies the motivation for the work presented and prepares readers for the structure of the paper.
- The Materials and Methods section provides sufficient detail for other scientists to reproduce the experiments presented in the paper. In some journals, this information is placed in an appendix, because it is not what most readers want to know first.
- The Results and Discussion sections present and discuss the research results, respectively. They are often usefully combined into one section, however, because readers can seldom make sense of results alone without accompanying interpretation — they need to be told what the results mean.
- The Conclusion section presents the outcome of the work by interpreting the findings at a higher level of abstraction than the Discussion and by relating these findings to the motivation stated in the Introduction .
(Papers reporting something other than experiments, such as a new method or technology, typically have different sections in their body, but they include the same Introduction and Conclusion sections as described above.)
Although the above structure reflects the progression of most research projects, effective papers typically break the chronology in at least three ways to present their content in the order in which the audience will most likely want to read it. First and foremost, they summarize the motivation for, and the outcome of, the work in an abstract, located before the Introduction . In a sense, they reveal the beginning and end of the story — briefly — before providing the full story. Second, they move the more detailed, less important parts of the body to the end of the paper in one or more appendices so that these parts do not stand in the readers' way. Finally, they structure the content in the body in theorem-proof fashion, stating first what readers must remember (for example, as the first sentence of a paragraph) and then presenting evidence to support this statement.
- First, provide some context to orient those readers who are less familiar with your topic and to establish the importance of your work.
- Second, state the need for your work, as an opposition between what the scientific community currently has and what it wants.
- Third, indicate what you have done in an effort to address the need (this is the task).
- Finally, preview the remainder of the paper to mentally prepare readers for its structure, in the object of the document.
Context and need
At the beginning of the Introduction section, the context and need work together as a funnel: They start broad and progressively narrow down to the issue addressed in the paper. To spark interest among your audience — referees and journal readers alike — provide a compelling motivation for the work presented in your paper: The fact that a phenomenon has never been studied before is not, in and of itself, a reason to study that phenomenon.
Write the context in a way that appeals to a broad range of readers and leads into the need. Do not include context for the sake of including context: Rather, provide only what will help readers better understand the need and, especially, its importance. Consider anchoring the context in time, using phrases such as recently , in the past 10 years , or since the early 1990s . You may also want to anchor your context in space (either geographically or within a given research field).
Convey the need for the work as an opposition between actual and desired situations. Start by stating the actual situation (what we have) as a direct continuation of the context. If you feel you must explain recent achievements in much detail — say, in more than one or two paragraphs — consider moving the details to a section titled State of the art (or something similar) after the Introduction , but do provide a brief idea of the actual situation in the Introduction . Next, state the desired situation (what we want). Emphasize the contrast between the actual and desired situations with such words as but , however, or unfortunately .
One elegant way to express the desired part of the need is to combine it with the task in a single sentence. This sentence expresses first the objective, then the action undertaken to reach this objective, thus creating a strong and elegant connection between need and task. Here are three examples of such a combination:
To confirm this assumption , we studied the effects of a range of inhibitors of connexin channels . . . on . . .
To assess whether such multiple-coil sensors perform better than single-signal ones , we tested two of them — the DuoPXK and the GEMM3 — in a field where . . . To form a better view of the global distribution and infectiousness of this pathogen , we examined 1645 postmetamorphic and adult amphibians collected from 27 countries between 1984 and 2006 for the presence of . . .
Task and object
An Introduction is usually clearer and more logical when it separates what the authors have done (the task) from what the paper itself attempts or covers (the object of the document). In other words, the task clarifies your contribution as a scientist, whereas the object of the document prepares readers for the structure of the paper, thus allowing focused or selective reading.
For the task,
- use whoever did the work (normally, you and your colleagues) as the subject of the sentence: we or perhaps the authors;
- use a verb expressing a research action: measured , calculated , etc.;
- set that verb in the past tense.
The three examples below are well-formed tasks.
To confirm this assumption, we studied the effects of a range of inhibitors of connexin channels, such as the connexin mimetic peptides Gap26 and Gap27 and anti-peptide antibodies, on calcium signaling in cardiac cells and HeLa cells expressing connexins.
During controlled experiments, we investigated the influence of the HMP boundary conditions on liver flows.
To tackle this problem, we developed a new software verification technique called oblivious hashing, which calculates the hash values based on the actual execution of the program.
The list below provides examples of verbs that express research actions:
For the object of the document,
- use the document itself as the subject of the sentence: this paper , this letter , etc.;
- use a verb expressing a communication action: presents , summarizes , etc.;
- set the verb in the present tense.
The three examples below are suitable objects of the document for the three tasks shown above, respectively.
This paper clarifies the role of CxHc on calcium oscillations in neonatal cardiac myocytes and calcium transients induced by ATP in HL-cells originated from cardiac atrium and in HeLa cells expressing connexin 43 or 26. This paper presents the flow effects induced by increasing the hepatic-artery pressure and by obstructing the vena cava inferior. This paper discusses the theory behind oblivious hashing and shows how this approach can be applied for local software tamper resistance and remote code authentication.
The list below provides examples of verbs that express communication actions:
Even the most logical structure is of little use if readers do not see and understand it as they progress through a paper. Thus, as you organize the body of your paper into sections and perhaps subsections, remember to prepare your readers for the structure ahead at all levels. You already do so for the overall structure of the body (the sections) in the object of the document at the end of the Introduction . You can similarly prepare your readers for an upcoming division into subsections by introducing a global paragraph between the heading of a section and the heading of its first subsection. This paragraph can contain any information relating to the section as a whole rather than particular subsections, but it should at least announce the subsections, whether explicitly or implicitly. An explicit preview would be phrased much like the object of the document: "This section first . . . , then . . . , and finally . . . "
Although papers can be organized into sections in many ways, those reporting experimental work typically include Materials and Methods , Results , and Discussion in their body. In any case, the paragraphs in these sections should begin with a topic sentence to prepare readers for their contents, allow selective reading, and — ideally — get a message across.
Materials and methods
Results and discussion.
When reporting and discussing your results, do not force your readers to go through everything you went through in chronological order. Instead, state the message of each paragraph upfront: Convey in the first sentence what you want readers to remember from the paragraph as a whole. Focus on what happened, not on the fact that you observed it. Then develop your message in the remainder of the paragraph, including only that information you think you need to convince your audience.
At the end of your Conclusion , consider including perspectives — that is, an idea of what could or should still be done in relation to the issue addressed in the paper. If you include perspectives, clarify whether you are referring to firm plans for yourself and your colleagues ("In the coming months, we will . . . ") or to an invitation to readers ("One remaining question is . . . ").
If your paper includes a well-structured Introduction and an effective abstract, you need not repeat any of the Introduction in the Conclusion . In particular, do not restate what you have done or what the paper does. Instead, focus on what you have found and, especially, on what your findings mean. Do not be afraid to write a short Conclusion section: If you can conclude in just a few sentences given the rich discussion in the body of the paper, then do so. (In other words, resist the temptation to repeat material from the Introduction just to make the Conclusio n longer under the false belief that a longer Conclusion will seem more impressive.)
Typically, readers are primarily interested in the information presented in a paper's Introduction and Conclusion sections. Primarily, they want to know the motivation for the work presented and the outcome of this work. Then (and only then) the most specialized among them might want to know the details of the work. Thus, an effective abstract focuses on motivation and outcome; in doing so, it parallels the paper's Introduction and Conclusion .
Accordingly, you can think of an abstract as having two distinct parts — motivation and outcome — even if it is typeset as a single paragraph. For the first part, follow the same structure as the Introduction section of the paper: State the context, the need, the task, and the object of the document. For the second part, mention your findings (the what ) and, especially, your conclusion (the so what — that is, the interpretation of your findings); if appropriate, end with perspectives, as in the Conclusion section of your paper.
Although the structure of the abstract parallels the Introduction and Conclusion sections, it differs from these sections in the audience it addresses. The abstract is read by many different readers, from the most specialized to the least specialized among the target audience. In a sense, it should be the least specialized part of the paper. Any scientist reading it should be able to understand why the work was carried out and why it is important (context and need), what the authors did (task) and what the paper reports about this work (object of the document), what the authors found (findings), what these findings mean (the conclusion), and possibly what the next steps are (perspectives). In contrast, the full paper is typically read by specialists only; its Introduction and Conclusion are more detailed (that is, longer and more specialized) than the abstract.
An effective abstract stands on its own — it can be understood fully even when made available without the full paper. To this end, avoid referring to figures or the bibliography in the abstract. Also, introduce any acronyms the first time you use them in the abstract (if needed), and do so again in the full paper (see Mechanics: Using abbreviations ).
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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)
The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.
The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.
The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your research topic
- Capture reader interest
- Summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Define your specific research problem and problem statement
- Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.
Table of Contents
What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, what are the parts of introduction in the research, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.
The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader
- Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
- Context: Background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted
The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:
- It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
- It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
- It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
- It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.
A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2
- What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
- What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
- What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.
How to write a research paper introduction?
The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.
The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:
- Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
- Describe the background of the topic
- Present an overview of current research on the topic
Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.
- Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
- Formulate the research question
Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.
- State the purpose of your study
- Highlight the key characteristics of your study
- Describe important results
- Highlight the novelty of the study.
- Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.
Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.
The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.
The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.
When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper
Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.
The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.
Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4
- Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
- Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
- Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
- Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.
To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further.
1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.
2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.
3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.
4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.
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- How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates
How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates
Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on June 13, 2023.
A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.
The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:
- Research design
While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.
Table of contents
Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.
Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .
In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.
Research proposal length
The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.
One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.
Download our research proposal template
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Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.
- Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
- Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”
Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:
- The proposed title of your project
- Your supervisor’s name
- Your institution and department
The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.
Your introduction should:
- Introduce your topic
- Give necessary background and context
- Outline your problem statement and research questions
To guide your introduction , include information about:
- Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
- How much is already known about the topic
- What is missing from this current knowledge
- What new insights your research will contribute
- Why you believe this research is worth doing
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As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.
In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:
- Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
- Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
- Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship
Following the literature review, restate your main objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.
To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.
For example, your results might have implications for:
- Improving best practices
- Informing policymaking decisions
- Strengthening a theory or model
- Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
- Creating a basis for future research
Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .
Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.
Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.
Download our research schedule template
If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.
Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:
- Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
- Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
- Source : how did you calculate the amount?
To determine your budget, think about:
- Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
- Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
- Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?
If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
- Sampling methods
- Simple random sampling
- Stratified sampling
- Cluster sampling
- Likert scales
- Null hypothesis
- Statistical power
- Probability distribution
- Effect size
- Poisson distribution
- Optimism bias
- Cognitive bias
- Implicit bias
- Hawthorne effect
- Anchoring bias
- Explicit bias
Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .
Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.
I will compare …
A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.
Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.
A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.
A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.
A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.
All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.
Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.
Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.
The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.
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Research proposal: motivation and background, motivation for your research.
2. background, 3. research questions.
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Free Motivation Research Paper Example
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Workplace , Employee , Motivation , Management , Employment , Organization , Business , Job
It is evident that most employers in today’s business setting would love to have their employees motivated and ready to work. However, most of the personnel do not know how to motivate their employees. Additionally, most of the employers do not know what motivates their employees. It should thus be noted that business firms could be more efficient if the staff members had a devoted interest in the future of the business. This means that for a company to be successful, there are specific needs that have to be met so that the employer-employee relationship works successfully. This paper examines the different concepts of motivation in terms of theories, how the motivation theories are relevant in the workplace and how the various employees can implement the various theories so as to ensure that the personnel are motivated and happy. For employers, there are three vital theories that they have to consider. These theories include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Aristotle’s seven causes, Herzberg’s two-factor theory and different other types of motivation. All of these theories are vital in that employer have to deal with different types of people. Additionally, employees are in different stages of motivation meaning that employers have to use different techniques to motivate their employees. In terms of motivation, there are two specific types of motivation. These include non-financial motivation and financial motivation. Employers have to comprehend how to motivate their employees by using both the financial and non-financial motivation techniques. Currently, most of the employees do not only need financial motivation so that they feel valued in any business setting. Both the financial and non-financial motivation techniques have to be executed strategically so that the best results are achieved in the business. One of the most vital questions that one has to consider is why do employers take time to motivate their employees. This is to extend their existence in the workplace and increasing their organizational commitment. If the employees do not have organizational commitment, then they do not have the incentives to excel in their jobs. If the employees of any organization leave their jobs, then it is the organization that loses the most as it suffers from the loss of knowledge and the individual experiences that the employees have. Additionally, the mass exodus of employees translates to financial losses as the employees may be hired in competing firms of the organization. All of the problems that arise due to the exodus can be solved by using proper motivation techniques. The employees have to be kept involved in the organization and committed. Employees have to be motivated because of two vital reasons. One of the reasons is to ensure that they achieve their own personal goals. Ramlall (2004) argues that the second reason is to guarantee that they enable the organization to achieve its goals. It is thus imperative for managers to comprehend the concepts of motivation so that they are able to understand the actions that they have to take in order to motivate the employees. The more the employees are motivated, the more likely that the organization achieves its goals and objectives. According to Maslow, individuals are motivated to fulfill their own needs. In his hierarchical setup, every individual begins at the bottom of the pyramid and works his way to the top. When the individual has achieved the basic needs, they move to the next level of the pyramid until all their needs are met. The base of the pyramid contains the physiological needs that one has to meet in order to survive. The needs include food, clothing sleep and shelter. The next level is the security needs. One has to feel safe in any working condition, and if employees do not feel safe in their workplaces, then they may leave the organization. The safety of the workplace also guarantees the employees to work at optimum levels. The next stage is the affiliation. Employees want to feel loved in any place that they work. Once an employee does not feel loved, and then the input that they are providing the organization feels useless. After the stage of affiliation, it is the self-esteem. Once an employee’s feels threatened whether it was the job promotion that they are not getting, then they have a tendency to reduce their work input. Once the employee has achieved the level of self-actualization, then the work output is maximized. This is because the employee has nothing to lose, and all the personal goals have been met or achieved. There are numerous methods that can be used to motivate employees. Managers can remove most of the job controls. Some of the job controls tend to hinder the employees. Another method that managers can use if to increase the worker accountability of their own work. Through minimum supervision, the workers can be able to pace themselves as they know that they have the responsibility to complete the jobs that they have been assigned to. This method can also be fortified by the provision of greater job freedom. The job freedom can also be increased through the use of additional authority to the employees. Once the job that the employees are performing starts becoming easy to them, then it is up to the manager to ensure that higher job descriptions are introduced. Tasks that are a little bit more difficult to perform can be added to employees who have the required experience to work on the job. Additionally, the increase in the tasks that the employees perform can also be rewarded with an increase in the salary that the employees are getting. For the individuals who do not consider the use of rewards such as money, and then the manager can create a post so that the individual has a job title of his own. Managers can also learn the different motivation factors such as intrinsic motivation, the extrinsic motivation and interjected motivation. According to Lam et al. (2001) when the employees have the desire to perform certain tasks, and they are not able to complete them, they tend to feel a certain urge of guilt and failure. This motivates them to want and achieve that task regardless of how they feel. Sometimes the employees just want to prove that they can complete certain tasks. Managers have to comprehend these kinds of workers and ensure that the proper strategies of motivation re-implemented (Porter and Lawler,1968). Where employees love the idea so financial motivation, the manager can introduce the profit sharing programs. This means that employees are able to share in the profit that the organization gets. This is normally best done in the service industry. In hotels, the waiters have to share the profit that they make. This makes them work extra hard as they know that the reward that they get is based on the quantity of work that they put in. In a nutshell, the concept of motivation as employed by managers entails the need to keep employers working without constant nagging and close supervision. As such, employee motivation does not occur spontaneously nor in isolation. Instead, it calls for the understanding of various factors that are likely to motivate employees towards the attainment of organizational goals and objectives. Managers need to comprehend well with various factors that motivate the organizational personnel. This will offer a comprehensive platform that makes manager to become better managers. Many at times, intrinsic factors are likely to motivate employees to devote more time and efforts on the work allocated to them. For this reason, extrinsic factors such as punishment or threats may not motivate organizational personnel. Extrinsic factors prompt organizational personnel to work for the sole intent of satisfying the managers. In the long run, work will only be done, regardless of whether it is done appropriately or not. In conclusion, the role of managers entails the need keep employees working without use of force or coercion. Motivation allows people to work willingly, which enhances their productivity.
Ramlall, S. (2004). A Review of Employee Motivation Theories and Their Implications For Employee Retention within Organizations. The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 5(1/2), 52-63. LaLopa, J. M. (1997). Commitment and Turnover in Resort Jobs. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, 21(2), 11-26. Lam, T., Baum, T. & Pine, R. (2001). Study of Managerial Job Satisfaction in Hong Kong’s Chinese Restaurants. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 13(1), 35-42. Ramlall, S. (2004). A Review of Employee Motivation Theories and Their Implications For Employee Retention within Organizations. The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 5(1/2), 52-63. Porter, L. & Lawler, E. (1968). Managerial Attitudes and Performance. Illinois: Irwin
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