Lesson Plan - Get It!
Watch this clip from the 2002 film Treasure Planet:
The adventure in the movie begins with the discovery of a map, and all maps begin with a starting point.
The process of organizing your research paper will be like creating a map for your readers. Your introduction lets the readers know where they're headed, just like the characters in the movie know that they're heading for Treasure Planet!
This is the fifth of five lessons in the series, Research. If you missed a lesson or want a refresher, catch up in the right-hand sidebar under Related Lessons.
Once you have gathered your resources and taken notes on your topic, you are ready to organize your information into a research paper! You have to start with a clear introduction, which must include two important elements: a hook and a thesis statement.
You begin this paragraph with a hook.
- What is interesting about your topic?
- Why should someone care to find out the answer?
Your hook makes your reader want to continue reading your paper.
Check out this introduction:
"How would you feel if you encountered a rat almost three feet long? Smithsonian's Dr. Kristofer Helgen was overjoyed. The rat was discovered by Kris and other members of a BBC expedition team. The rat was in a remote volcano in Papua New Guinea. They named it the Bosavi woolly rat. The name came from the animal's thick fur and its home on Mount Bosavi"
(Stumbling upon a new species of giant, woolly rat, by Devin Reese, Smithsonian TTJunior).
This hook grabs the reader's attention by asking an interesting question.
Here is another example of an introduction to consider:
"I'm green with envy. I'm so angry I'm seeing red. I'm feeling really blue today. We definitely tend to link colors with emotions. There's been plenty of psychological and social research on how specific colors actually influence our moods and actions"
(How do colors affect our moods?, by Ask Smithsonian, Smithsonian TTJunior).
This hook uses familiar expressions to lead up to the interesting research topic of a color's influence on a person's mood.
After you have hooked your reader, you have to introduce your research topic. You do this by writing a thesis statement. Watch this video by Andrew that explains how to construct a thesis statement: How to write a thesis for beginners:
Here is an example thesis statement for a research paper:
In order to rebuild the rapidly-decreasing population of bees, we need to help raise awareness of the problem, create bee-friendly landscaping, and invest in the production of RoboBees.
This thesis statement presents the problem of the rapidly-decreasing population of bees and offers three solutions to fix the problem.
Continue on to the Got It? section for some practice.