Regardless of the introduction you use, the introductory paragraph in a research paper should explain what you are trying to prove in a cogent thesis statement. Before you get to the thesis statement, you can hook your readers with an introduction that grabs their attention. Use the first few sentences of your introductory paragraph to set a tone for the paper and get readers interested in what you have to say.


An anecdote is a story. If you are writing a research paper on private health care versus subsidized health care, include a story about a person who has had challenges receiving proper health services. Create anticipation so the reader as will wonder what ultimately happens to the person. As you lay out your argument, the reader can take a position based on the example. In some instances, the information may be easier to understand if the reader can relate various points of your argument to the anecdote at the beginning of the paper.

Unexpected Fact

Introduce your paper with an interesting or unexpected fact that will surprise your reader. For your paper about health care, you can use a fact about the cost of health care in the U.S., or the number of Americans who are uninsured. These facts will consist of large numbers that will engage the reader. After grabbing your readers’ attention, lay out your argument on how policies can curb the cost of health care or improve coverage for the uninsured.

Controversial statement

If the topic you are writing about is already controversial, jump right into your argument. After you have done extensive research for your paper, you will be aware of the arguments regarding your subject. Start out with one of those controversial positions. For your research paper on health care, a controversial introduction may make a statement about insurance companies and their role in the health care debate.


There are times when people before us have said something better than we ever could. Use such a quote as the basis for the introduction to your research paper. Or, you can use a quote that summarizes one side of the argument. When you quote someone, be sure to use proper notation so that readers won’t be misled into thinking the quote is your own. In the example of the health care research paper, you could use a quote from a politician to get attention.


Use humor to get your reader’s attention. You can use a combination of humor with the anecdote in your introduction, as well. Be careful: for topics of a personal nature, humor to one person may be offensive to someone else, and readers who view the health care issue as a debate based on class or politics may find a political joke offensive. Keep in mind that if the reader does not find you funny, they won’t continue reading.

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