How to Write a Term Paper Introduction

How to Write a Term Paper Introduction

Knowing how to write a term paper introduction is another vital part of the term paper writing process. A term paper is a considerably long research paper that students write over an academic term and it usually accounts for a larger percentage of their grade. Usually, this paper is due at the end of an academic term or semester. A term paper introduction can be defined as the first paragraph of this paper. The introduction of a term paper should attract the attention of the readers and inform them about the content of the term paper. Generally, writing an engaging and effective introduction for a term paper is very important because it makes writing a successful term paper easy.

Why you need to know how to write a term paper introduction

Considering the crucial role of a term paper introduction, many students find writing a good term paper introduction challenging. However, you need to not just inform readers about your work’s rationale but also justify the reasons that make your work important part of the research in a particular field through the introduction.

You need to know how to write a good introduction for your term paper because:

  • The introductory paragraph gives you an opportunity to give readers a good first impression. It is your chance to grab the interest of your readers and give them the urge to keep reading. Thus, an imaginative, thoughtful introduction persuades readers that your ideas are worth reading about.
  • A good introduction identifies the topic that your paper will be addressing. It indicates the importance of the topic while signaling the tone and approach that you will take as you handle the topic.
  • A good introductory paragraph provides a roadmap for the readers. It alerts them on what they should expect while reading your paper.

How to write a term paper introduction step by step

Step 1: Start your introduction with a hook

A hook is usually the first sentence of an introduction that draws the attention of the readers. This sentence should grab the interest of the readers. There are different ways of grabbing the attention of your readers through a hook.

They include:

  • Using a definition: Instead of presenting dictionary definitions, come up with unique but correct definitions.


“Business means more than simply exchanging goods and services for funds.

  • Paraphrase or quote: Include a quote that is relevant to the background information, topic or thesis statement. Avoid quotes that are over-used or you can put your spin to old clichés.


“Time flies.” This is an old saying whose truth I never expected to be as literal as it was to me…

  • Striking fact: You can use striking facts to impress and surprise your readers. Be careful because if you use facts that are commonly known, they will make readers lose interest in your paper.


Out of three million people who sustain injuries every year during recreational activities or sports, only 25 percent of them are taken to emergency rooms in hospitals for treatment.

  • Question: You can use a question that you intend to answer in your paper. A question can garner the attention of your readers immediately especially if it does not have a too obscure or an immediately obvious answer.


Why is dental care not freely accessible to everyone?

  • Interesting anecdote or incident that relates to your topic: You can use something that you have experienced or observed personally that you can use in demonstrating what makes the topic interesting so that it can interest your readers.


“Studying slavery in the history of America makes one understand the impact that it had on families and how lives were governed during the slavery era. Sometimes, people do not discuss the impact of slavery on education but one might pause and ask, did slaves go to school and did their children receive education that is entitled to the American children?…”

Step 2: Include background information

Providing background information is very important because it creates a scene for your term paper. You cannot claim to know how to write a term paper introduction if you do not know how to include relevant background information in your introduction. Background information creates a context for your paper while showing readers how the paper fits in the previous studies in your field. To present background information, you can include paragraphs whose information is based on historical narratives from the previous research on the topic or subject. However, make sure that the background information that you provide is relevant to the perspective of your term paper.

Step 3: State the importance of your term paper

Remember that the introduction should tell readers about the rationale behind your research. It should show whether your research builds upon the previous studies or improving previous studies whose results may have been unclear. While showing the importance of your research, indicate how you will fill the gap by stating your objectives as well as the methodology. Tell readers about the impact that you expect your term paper to have by probably stating your hypothesis.

Step 4: State your thesis statement

A thesis statement should be the last sentence of an introduction. This should present your argument. It should tell readers the approach that you will take while addressing the topic. Additionally, your thesis statement should state your conclusion to the topic, problem or question that prompted you to write the term paper.


“There should be a federal law that requires schools in the district to disclose saturated fats’ amounts in their lunches”

A thesis statement for a term paper should be narrow and specific. It should present a single main idea which can be developed, proven and disputed through research. Perhaps, stating a thesis statement is one of the most important aspects of writing a term paper introduction because this is the most important sentence in the entire term paper. It presents the controlling idea of a term paper.

Step 5: Tell readers about the assumptions and limitations of your study

During research, you may have made assumptions or encountered limitations. These can make your term paper weak but they are common in almost all studies. Although this is optional, stating assumptions and limitations in the introduction gives your term paper credibility.

Term paper introduction samples

Example 1

“A weasel is a wild animal. Who can tell what this animal thinks? This animal sleeps in underground dens. It has a tail that is draped over the nose. Sometimes, the animal stays in the den for up to two days. Past studies have shown that while outside, the weasel stalks mice, rabbits, birds and muskrats killing them in numbers that exceed what it can eat while warm and usually dragging their carcasses home. This animal obeys its instinct and it usually bites the prey at their neck, splitting jugular vein or crutching their brain at the skull’s base. This term paper will explore the features that adapt this animal to its unique lifestyle.”


This introduction sample starts by introducing the topic and then a question that captures the attention of the reader follows. This is followed by background information about the topic which is the Weasel. The introduction states the findings of the past studies which indicate the importance of the term paper as indicated in the thesis statement. This sample introduction ends by giving readers a hint on what the term paper will do or present.

Example 2

“In most American cities, teenagers have involved themselves in gangs over the past five years. These teen gangs have committed many violent crimes. People outside these gangs and gang members have been the victims of their crimes. Many people are afraid of traveling to places where the activities of these gangs are common in the cities. To end the activities of these gangs, combined efforts of different people will be required. Supervised and excellent after-school programs as well as creation of more jobs for teens and establishing healthy relationships in families will help in ending the current social crisis.”


This is a good example of a term paper introduction to use as a practical guide as you try to master the steps of a guide on how to write a term paper introduction. It starts with a surprising fact that many people especially parents may not be aware of. This is followed by background information as well as information that shows the importance of this term paper in the second, third sentences. The fourth sentence links the information presented to a thesis statement which is presented in the last sentence.

Bonus tips on how to write a term paper introduction

  • Keep your introduction short because a rambling and long introduction will put your readers off.
  • Include a clear thesis statement at the end of your thesis statement to tell readers what your term paper intends to accomplish.
  • Write the introduction last when you know what you are introducing.

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