When writing research paper, I am often stuck and spend a lot of time working on the introduction. Most of my time spent is staring at a blank page... The introduction takes me significantly longer to write than any other part of a paper.

How can I speed up the writing process for the introduction? I feel that once I can get a reasonable draft that I can iterate quickly, but if I just write nonsense, iterating isn't that useful.

My field is computer science/engineering.

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? First sentence of a research proposal (particularly the top few answers) – GoodDeeds Oct 12 '20 at 16:53
  • In general, the introduction is hard because you do not have a big picture of your area, and its significances. For example, some students are given very specific problem to work on. However, they do not know how this piece of problem/work relates to other areas or fits the overall picture of the area. – Prof. Santa Claus Oct 13 '20 at 1:41
  • There should be an author you can use as inspiration source. I am not telling you to copy. But in a way is what everyone does at start, providing that s/he has some writing skills. – Alchimista Oct 13 '20 at 12:50

Write it last.

I'm in CSE too. I always start my papers at Section 3: Methodology. Then I write subsequent sections, only interrupting to fill out bits of Section 2: Related Work whenever it becomes apparent that I need extra contextualization. I carry on until the Experimental Results section is complete.

At that stage, if time permits, I like to let the paper lie for a few days, and get busy with other tasks. On the backburner of my brain, ideas will form on how to frame the paper. That framing is represented in the paper by the trio of Abstract, Introduction, and Conclusions. Of these, I've found that it works best for me to write the Conclusions first (iterating over the main message of the paper, and how that message is evidenced by concrete results from Tables and Figures), and then write the Introduction such that it matches the Conclusion. Finish it off with the Abstract.

This is my process, and you mileage may vary, of course. But I've learned that if you write the Introduction of the paper first, it takes forever and the result will not be very good. You most likely need to change the Introduction anyway once you have written your Conclusions. So keep it for last.


The introduction should state what the state of the art is, what you are going to do, and why. If you have a viable idea for a paper, you have those elements. Just write them down.

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