Course: psychology intro to research: writing a proposal introduction


Keep the following in mind:

  • Your introduction should be 2.5 – 3.5 pages long (double spaced).
  • Read the introduction in research papers or the example to understand the structure. 
  • Your intro should provide some brief review of existing research as it relates to your hypothesis/research question for the first few paragraphs.  It is a review of existing literature.  You will likely have many in-text citations.
  • The last paragraph of your introduction should include information about why your research question is important (remember, based on prior research – not an opinion statement) and should also include your hypothesis.
  • This is a rough draft, so do your best – but keep in mind I will give you feedback.  Full credit for this assignment is based on turning in a good first attempt, not on it being in it’s final format yet.


Writing the Proposal Introduction


The purpose of the introduction is to introduce your research question, discuss the literature that is pertinent to your question and provide your hypothesis.  To receive points for this section, you must include these three components and references that are properly cited in APA format whenever you discuss relevant literature.  Below is more detail (courtesy of regarding each of these components of the introduction.  

Opening statements: Define the problem broadly in plain English and then lead into the literature review (this is the “general” part of the introduction). Your opening statements should already be setting the stage for the story you are going to tell.

Literature review: Discusses literature (previous studies) relevant to your current study in a concise manner. Keep your story in mind as you organize your lit review and as you choose what literature to include. The following are tips when writing your literature review.

•  You should discuss studies that are directly related to your problem at hand and that logically lead to your own hypotheses.

•  You do not need to provide a complete historical overview nor provide literature that is peripheral to your own study.

•  Studies should be presented based on themes or concepts relevant to your research, not in a chronological format.

•  You should also consider what gap in the literature your own research fills. What hasn’t been examined? What does your work do that others have not?

Study overview: The literature review should lead directly into the last section of the introduction—your study overview. Your short overview should provide your hypotheses and briefly describe your method. The study overview functions as a transition to your methods section.

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