Different editors have different ideas about what an introduction should do and what it should look like. But here are three paragraphs that should give you most of what you need to satisfy most of them.

  1. Write a paragraph about the WORLD that your research is about. What is going on in society that your research tries to better understand? DO NOT write about your research. Just describe the world as it exists independently of, but relevant to, your research. E.g., “The Internet has changed the way citizens engage with their governments.”
  2. Write a paragraph about the SCIENCE that informs your research. Tell your reader about the underlying consensus or constitutive controversy that supports thinking in your field. Here, again, DO NOT write about yourself or your own research. Write about what has come before you. E.g., “It is well established that the technologies people use to communicate have profound effects on their sense of self.”
  3. Write a paragraph about your PAPER. E.g., “This paper shows that social media is eliding the subject of governmentality in Western democracies.” followed by a couple of sentences about your methods, two or three that summarise your analysis, and a couple more that suggest the main implications. The basic structure should be: “This paper shows that … It is based on … The data suggests … This has important consequences for …” (Remember not to write more than 200 words altogether.)