Although you don't have to draft your paper from beginning to end, drafting the introduction first is a good strategy. The general purpose of an introduction is to draw your audience into your topic and its significance, and present your thesis (argument, claim, or analysis). Part 1: Joining the Conversation. "Joining the conversation" means situating one's research within existing research and points of view. The Introduction for an academic research paper typically situates the topic and thesis within the larger scholarly debates about that topic. Find examples by looking at the introductions of some of the academic journal articles you've already read. Draft an introduction that summarizes and joins the conversation: What are the different perspectives, major themes, and key debates surrounding your topic? Consider using these templates for signaling that you are summarizing the conversation: Example 1 In discussions of X, one controversial issue has been your issue here. Example 2 When it comes to the topic of your topic here, most psychologists agree that your summary here. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of your question here. Part 2: Drafting your thesis. You may know that your thesis is the main point or central claim of your research paper, but your thesis should also respond to the scholarly conversation about the topic AND answer your research question in the form of a claim. This claim is the "thesis statement." Ask yourself: How does your thesis fit into the ideas of others that you have reviewed and synthesized? Which points do you agree or disagree with? Why? How? Move beyond a statement of what is already generally known about a topic. Your thesis statement should clarify the overall claim with an interpretation, analysis, or argument that you will forward in the rest of your paper. Return to your thesis as you draft. Revise and refine your thesis statement as your writing and thinking evolve. Visit us! Schedule a University Writing Center appointment for help with any aspect of the writing process.