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I am writing a scientific research paper on offshore drilling, and I don't have a clear idea of what to put as my first sentence. Please help!

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    What do you mean by "research paper" here? If you mean "paper for an undergraduate class", then I'm afraid your question is off-topic for this site. If you mean "paper to be submitted to a peer-reviewed academic journal", then it's on topic, but I'd expect that you would have read a large number of other papers on the subject, which would have given you a good idea of how papers in this field typically begin. – Nate Eldredge Feb 14 '15 at 18:27
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Of course nobody can tell you what you should write, especially without knowing exactly what you are trying to convey in the paper. But here's some general advice:

  1. It doesn't really matter. It sounds like you are investing the first sentence with some special significance, but it's not actually that important. You should try to write something useful, and avoid anything ridiculous (don't write "Since the dawn of history, offshore drilling has been humanity's greatest challenge"), but you don't need to attract readers with a particularly elegant or attention-getting opening. By the time someone gets to the first sentence, the title or abstract has already attracted their attention, and the opening sentence just isn't that crucial.

  2. You should look at some of your references and see what their opening sentences are like (pick one or two dozen to avoid having too small a sample size). This will give you a feeling for the different approaches people in your field take. If your choice fits in with these other papers, then you can be confident that it won't stand out as weird.

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