Please write up your introduction in the following five paragraphs, and do not make use of subheadings.

  1. Practical phenomenon / problem

    • Establish the importance of the area of interest and the phenomenon
    • Mention your research question indirectly
      • do not explicitly formulate your problem statement, e.g., “therefore, the following problem statement is formulated: […]”
      • instead, define your problem statement indirectly: “therefore, it is crucial to study the drivers affecting […]". This is much more engaging!
      • Revisit the tips for refining your research question!
  2. Why to study it?

    • Motivate your research question
    • Start with something like “Studying [ xyz ] is crucial to […]” or “The […] is worth studying because”
    • Typical motivations include (a) economic factors (e.g., the music streaming business generates XX bn. EUR in revenue), (b) huge social or political implications, or (c) evidence that top management is worried about it. See also how to make your pitch.
  3. What we know

    • Indicate in general terms what has been done in this area.
    • Start with something like “My research relates to extant literature… (in at least three ways): First, […]” / “My research contributes to two literature streams: […]".
    • Check the detailed tips for your literature review here.
  4. What we don’t know

    • Identify important gaps, inconsistencies, and/or controversies in the relevant literature
    • Provide a concise statement of the manuscript’s purpose(s) and the contributions the manuscript makes to the literature
    • Start with something like… “Our research extends extant research by…” / “Therefore, as a first contribution, we […]”
    • Check the detailed tips for your literature review here.
  5. What you will do

    • Describe which data you will use, and which methods you will use to study your research question.
    • Then, describe the flow of the next sections (“In what follows, we first review the extant literature on […]. Subsequently, we […]")

Can’t find the words to say what you want? Find a “blueprint” paper closely related to your subtantive or methodological interest in a good journal to learn “how to say things”, or check out our writing tips.