how to start an introduction for a report

Call us now on: +44 161 819 9912

how to start an introduction for a report

Business Training Training for your future...

how to start an introduction for a report

49 Years of Success Established in 1974

"Helping you gain . control of your career"

Tips on how to write and introduction for a report

A business report is always created to solve a problem. This could be something simple, such as finding a better way to organise the ordering of office stationery or a more complex problem, such as implementing a new multi-million pound computer system. And an important part of any report is the introduction. It is often the most read section and must inform the reader that the report contains something worth reading. This makes a great introduction essential, so follow the tips below to ensure you hit the mark every time!

Tip One – write it last – don’t write your introduction until you’ve completed your report. The introduction is a summary of what is contained in the report and you cannot summarise what is in the report until you have finished it.

Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It should allow the reader to quickly decide if the report is something that they wish to continue reading or not.

Tip Three – include all the relevant information – the introduction should answer the following questions:

Tip Four – don’t include jargon or abbreviations in your introduction – this is one of those rules that can be applied or disregarded depending on the intended readership. If the readers are familiar with technical jargon, then it’s fine to use it. For example, if you are writing the report for colleagues on a board of experienced engineers at a chemical engineering plant, you can be pretty certain that they will familiar with all the technical terms used. However, if there’s any chance that there are people reading the report who may not understand the jargon or abbreviations, don’t use them until you have had the chance to explain what they mean.

If you feel you need more help with report writing, we have the solution. Our report Writing course will teach you how to write professional reports every time. Request a Report Writing course prospectus today.

how to start an introduction for a report

How to Write an Introduction of a Report

James wiley.

Student at computer

The specific design of the introduction of your report will vary based on the type of paper you are writing, as well as the guidelines issued by your teacher. For example, introductions for a research paper sometimes are as long as two pages. For smaller papers an introduction is only supposed to be 4-5 sentences. In either case, there are several components and topics that should be addressed in your report, regardless of the structure your paper takes. Always consult the rubric your teacher hands out to make sure you are following the instructions and doing your introduction correctly.

Start with a general lead-in sentence

Start the introduction with a general lead-in sentence that draws the reader's attention and makes them want to find out more about what you are writing about.

Address the purpose of your report, and what it will cover. Go over all the main issues you have studied or researched, and consider how they pertain to the overall findings of the report.

Student in library

Discuss what the report seeks to accomplish, and what knowledge was already generally accepted about the subject matter. A good report should expand on already existing information.

Conclude with a strong thesis statement

Conclude the introduction with a strong thesis statement that conveys the main point of the report, and summarizes what all findings in the report indicate. The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction.

About the Author

James Wiley graduated from Providence College in 2009 as a double major in global studies and Spanish. Wiley's capstone thesis paper was published in the Providence College database. He has also competed in international script-writing competitions and coauthored a pilot which placed in the top 15 percent of international entries over the past year.

Related Articles

How to Write a School Project

How to Write a School Project

The Differences in a Research Report and Research Paper

The Differences in a Research Report and Research Paper

How to Start a Thesis Statement

How to Start a Thesis Statement

How to Format Acronyms in APA Style

How to Format Acronyms in APA Style

How to Address the State Attorney General in a Letter

How to Address the State Attorney General in a Letter

How to Make a Good Thesis Title

How to Make a Good Thesis Title

What Is a Preliminary Research Design?

What Is a Preliminary Research Design?

Define MLA Writing Format

Define MLA Writing Format

List of Abstract Qualities

List of Abstract Qualities

How to Write a Conclusion

How to Write a Conclusion

How to Write a Research Proposal for English Class

How to Write a Research Proposal for English Class

How to Write a Book Report in APA Format

How to Write a Book Report in APA Format

How to Format a Research Paper's Appendix in ASA

How to Format a Research Paper's Appendix in ASA

Credit Hours Needed for a Bachelor Degree

Credit Hours Needed for a Bachelor Degree

How to Make a Good Introduction Paragraph

How to Make a Good Introduction Paragraph

How to Write a 3rd Grade Report

How to Write a 3rd Grade Report

How to Write & Evaluate an Essay

How to Write & Evaluate an Essay

How to Critique a Dissertation

How to Critique a Dissertation

Steps in Writing a Report

Steps in Writing a Report

How to Properly Write Book Titles in a Report

How to Properly Write Book Titles in a Report

Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. Whether you’re studying times tables or applying to college, Classroom has the answers.

© 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. See disclaimer .

how to start an introduction for a report

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to write an introduction for a research paper

How to write an introduction for a research paper

Beginnings are hard. Beginning a research paper is no exception. Many students—and pros—struggle with how to write an introduction for a research paper.

This short guide will describe the purpose of a research paper introduction and how to create a good one.

a research paper being viewed on a Acer TravelMate B311 2-in-1 on desk with pad of paper.

What is an introduction for a research paper?

Introductions to research papers do a lot of work.

It may seem obvious, but introductions are always placed at the beginning of a paper. They guide your reader from a general subject area to the narrow topic that your paper covers. They also explain your paper’s:

Your introduction will cover a lot of ground. However, it will only be half of a page to a few pages long. The length depends on the size of your paper as a whole. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper.

Polish your grammar with Microsoft Editor Banner

Polish your grammar with Microsoft Editor

Test your writing with Editor's free grammar checker.

Why is an introduction vital to a research paper?

The introduction to your research paper isn’t just important. It’s critical.

Your readers don’t know what your research paper is about from the title. That’s where your introduction comes in. A good introduction will:

Without a clear introduction, your readers will struggle. They may feel confused when they start reading your paper. They might even give up entirely. Your introduction will ground them and prepare them for the in-depth research to come.

What should you include in an introduction for a research paper?

Research paper introductions are always unique. After all, research is original by definition. However, they often contain six essential items. These are:

These six items are emphasized more or less, depending on your field. For example, a physics research paper might emphasize methodology. An English journal article might highlight the overview.

Three tips for writing your introduction

We don’t just want you to learn how to write an introduction for a research paper. We want you to learn how to make it shine.

There are three things you can do that will make it easier to write a great introduction. You can:

Microsoft 365 Logo

Get started with Microsoft 365

It’s the Office you know, plus the tools to help you work better together, so you can get more done—anytime, anywhere.

Topics in this article

More articles like this one.

how to start an introduction for a report

When to use “who” or “which”

If you’re confused about when to use “who” or “which” in a sentence, explore this quick guide to improve your writing and grammar skills.

how to start an introduction for a report

What does hyperbole mean?

A hyperbole is a figure of speech or literary device that uses extreme exaggeration to emphasize a point or detail of a story. Find out how to use it to enhance your writing and better connect with readers.

how to start an introduction for a report

What are the parts of a sentence?

There are general rules for writing sentence structures, but you can break these rules correctly when you know how to use the parts of a sentence.

how to start an introduction for a report

Is writing by hand better for remembering information?

Typing on a computer or tablet might be a quicker way to take notes but writing with a pen and paper can be better for absorbing information. Learn about the benefits of writing things down by hand.

Everything you need to achieve more in less time

Get powerful productivity and security apps with Microsoft 365

LinkedIn Logo

Explore Other Categories

how to start an introduction for a report

Business Report Online Writing Class

The introducton to a business report prepares the reader for the rest of the business report, sets the tone, and has impact. Use the strategies explained in this blog in your business report writing to write introductions that will give your reports impact and make them successful in accomplishing your goals. The business report introduction should be short and to the point. It should not include details. You will develop the details for the body of the business report.

The business writing report tips that follow will help you write introductions that prepare the writer to read with understanding.

Good business writing is a skill you or your staff can learn.

how to start an introduction for a report

Learn by writing actual documents.

Receive detailed instructor feedback.

Courses customized to your skill level.

online grammar course with writing training


Basic Grammar and Writing Skills for Business

A single course that has both a review of English grammar and training in writing clear, quality business writing.

online classes on grammar

Basic Grammar for Business

This basic grammar course includes a thorough review of the important business English usage rules with pre- and post-testing to let you see how much basic grammar you are learning.

business writing classes

Business Writing Skills

You will learn all the best practices for writing any business document so it is clear and easy to understand.

Business Report Writing Tip 1:

Write the context or history

To prepare the reader for the rest of the business report, state the following at the beginning of the report:

In your business report writing, include enough to ensure the reader knows the context or history. The reader may not recall significant facts, or the business report may find its way to people who have less understanding of the background. The introduction prepares the reader for the contents of the business report by bringing the reader to the point where the report is relevant.

Limit the introduction to the context or history. Do not include detail about the business report yet. That belongs in the body. Keep the introduction as short as possible.

Business Report Writing Tip 2:

Write the purpose of the report.

After you explain the context or history in your business report writing, describe the purpose of this report. How does it fit into that context or history? It probably will contribute to the history or lead to a resolution. Explain how it fits into the context.

Business Report Writing Tip 3:

Write conclusions and recommendations if your report contains them.

Readers normally want to know the conclusions to the business report right away, in an easily read format. If your business report describes conclusions, state the conclusions after the context, history, and purpose. Similarly, if your business report writing contains recommendations, state the recommendations briefly in the business report introduction. Then explain them in greater detail in the report.

If your readers may not accept your conclusions or recommendations easily, you may decide to present the conclusions or recommendations after presenting the case or evidence in the body of the business report writing.

For more detail about placing the conclusions and recommendations at the beginning in business report writing, click here .

Business Report Writing Tip 4:

Write the next activities involving the report

Explain what will be done with the business report and what the next actions will be. Include as much detail as you have available at the time you write the report.

Example business report writing introduction:

We have decided to focus on quality to bring our products up the level we all want them to be. To accomplish our goal, we need to reduce errors. Our part-time PERL programmer doesn’t have the time to devote to our projects while going to school.

One solution is to hire a dedicated PERL programmer for our technical services staff. This report explores the pros and cons of requesting a new position. .

This introduction is strong. It very clearly explains the context for the business report and provides history about the problem. Then it introduces the content to be addressed in the report writing. Notice that the introduction doesn’t provide details about the context. The writer wanted to get to the point.

Business Report Writing Tip 5:

The introduction must be self-contained

In your business report writing, write introductions that are self-contained so that the reader does not have to refer to another business report or recall earlier conversations to be prepared for reading this report. The dates and references to meetings in the example below will help the reader remember the request without searching through files.

Example Introduction in Business Report Writing

On July 15, Assistant Manager Jane Reynolds requested suggestions on possible ways of expanding our creative department while keeping our costs as low as possible. At a meeting on July 17, our staff members discussed her request. This report explains five suggestions we believe will expand our creative department and keep costs low.

First, developing an . . .

The context, history, and content of the message are clear. When Jane reads the report, she’ll know what this report is in reference to. Jane can then spend time evaluating the suggestions rather than trying to figure out why she received the report.

Business Report Writing Tip 6:

Use the reader’s words in the introduction

If the business report is in response to a request, use the reader’s words in the introduction. Summarize or quote the requestor’s requirements in the introduction. Summarizing the requirements in the reader’s words shows the reader you are complying with the request. If the reader had more than one part to the request, list each part that you are fulfilling using the reader’s words.

Look again at the introduction to a business report on suggestions for expanding the creative department.

The request asked for suggestions to accomplish two goals: expand the creative department and keep costs as low as possible. The introduction states that the business report will address both goals by explaining five suggestions.

Now look at an introduction that does not use the reader’s words.

Poor Example Introduction in Business Report Writing

This report explains a plan for improving our creative department and cutting expenses.

A “plan” is not the same as “suggestions.” “Improving” is not the same as “expanding,” and “cutting expenses” is not the same as “keeping costs as low as possible.” Changing the reader’s words will create confusion and will not fulfill the request correctly.

A strong introduction to a business report briefly explains the context, history, and content of the report. It prepares the reader for the information that will follow and demonstrates that the writer is fulfilling the requirements for the report.

Business Report Writing Tip 7:

List each request you are fulfilling using the reader’s words

If the reader included more than one part in the request, list each part that you are fulfilling using the reader’s words. The reader may have had four questions, or two questions and a suggestion, or other such combination of parts in the correspondence to you. In your introduction to the business report, follow the organization the reader used and repeat the key words in the questions, suggestions, or other content. Create a list at the beginning of the business report so you show the reader you are responding to every point of interest to the reader. Then, in the body of the business report, repeat the same statements as headings so the reader sees the correspondence between his or her request, your introduction, and the body.

This is the reader’s request to the writer:

We’re concerned that eventually the state EPA may say something about how the de-icing fluids are running off of the tarmacs. Let’s try to hold that off. Give me a report on what we are doing about the fluids, where they seem to be going, the likely state EPA response when we report to them about where they’re going, and some alternative means of disposing of the fluids if we’re required to do so.

Barton Airport currently allows de-icing fluids to run off of the tarmacs onto the areas of grass bordering the tarmacs. We will be producing a report to the state EPA in another month describing the current status of disposal of the de-icing fluids. This report contains descriptions of

The introduction to the report uses the identical wording in the reader’s request, presented in the same order, bulleted out to be clear.

Privacy Overview

Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features.

Performance cookies are used to understand and analyze the key performance indexes of the website which helps in delivering a better user experience for the visitors.

Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions

Table of contents.

Reports are descriptive pieces of writing that are expected to give the reader a comprehensive overview of a specific topic. It should provide a better understanding to your readers. And as with any piece of writing, introductions are significant. If you’re unsure  how to write a report introduction , you’ve found the perfect article to help you.

Carefully crafted introductions should be concise, clear, and honest. The initial section of your introduction should give your reader a quick overview of the report . In this article, we’ll talk about how you can do exactly just that.

A MacBook Air next to an open notebook, glasses, a phone, and a pencil case.

Exclusive Free Trial Offer

Outwrite your competitors with unique , relevant , and engaging content.

What is a Report?

A report is a document that presents an overview of the information gathered by an individual or group for a specific purpose. It also states the methods done to collect that information. Reports are closely similar to a business paper or a case study.

Schools, universities, and organizations often use reports to provide an overview of different programs or explain new organizational structures’ pros and cons. They generally present data more professionally and visually appealingly. It can make use of charts or graphs to help organize data.

Different Types of Reports

Reports can be categorized into different types based on their purpose, objectives, or target audience. Here are some of the most common types of reports:

Academic Reports

Academic reports present the research results and provide a scholarly summary of the findings. They should be concise, properly cited, and documented. These can also measure the learning progress made by students.

Scientific Reports

In contrast to academic reports, a scientific report is more in-depth and professional. It is a more cumulative report, which includes data measured with comprehensive analysis.

This report focuses on the technical aspects of the subject. It is essential to define the problem and research method for a scientific report.

Business Reports

Several businesses base their strategies on business reports. They can be written by management or specific departments and divided into categories. A business report can contain the following:

How to Write a Report Introduction

Introductions for each type of report should be structured differently and follow different patterns. The steps listed below are general strategies for how to write a good introduction for a report.

1. Limit it to a few lines

Report introductions are generally 500-100 words long. This is longer than how you would typically write introductions to essays. The length of the introduction will depend mainly on the overall length of your report.

2. Make it interesting.

Start with a sentence starter that draws the reader’s attention and makes them want to learn more about your report. You can start stating the problem you’re trying to solve. Or you can state essential and trivial information that your report has gathered.

3. State your main points

Your introduction should describe what your report will cover. Consider the main themes you have studied or researched and how they relate to the overall findings in the report.

Think about what the report aims to accomplish and what knowledge was already widely accepted about the subject matter. An excellent report should build on existing information.

4. End with a thesis statement

Conclude your introduction with a strong thesis statement that expresses the report’s main point and summarizes all findings. This should be written as the last sentence of the opening.

What Should a Report Include?

Different institutions may require various report formats. Here are some general sections that a report usually includes.

1. Title page

Reports often use a title page to keep things organized. The title page can include the authors’ names and the report submission date. It may also include additional information, such as a grant or project number.

2. Table of contents

The table of contents helps readers in navigating the page directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing faster navigation.

3. Page numbering

Page numbering is necessary if you are writing a longer report. By placing page numbers, you can ensure they are in order if there are errors or misprints.

4. Headings and subheadings

Reports are usually divided into sections, separated by headings and subheadings, so viewers can browse and scan quickly.

5. Citations

The report guidelines can tell you what format is best if you are citing information from a different source. A typical citation format for reports is the American Psychological Association format.

6. Works cited page

At the end of the report, you should include a bibliography with credits and legal information for other sources where you obtained information.

The purpose of a report is to inform an audience about a particular issue or study. It can provide an opportunity for public engagement and feedback or discussion on new or existing information.

Your introduction is an essential part of any report. It contains a brief glimpse into the main points your report will be discussing. Remember to limit it to a few lines and state your main points clearly. Now you know  how to write a report introduction, you’re ready to try writing one yourself!

Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

Abir Ghenaiet LinkedIn

Explore All Hook Writing Articles

Guide to writing an interesting expository essay introduction.

A good expository essay begins with an introduction that piques the interest of the reader. The expository essay introduction is…

Discover the Top Creative Story Introduction Examples

Are you an aspiring author dreaming of becoming the likes of Stephen King or Suzanne Collins? Would you like to…

Creative and Powerful Sentence Starters for Essays

It can’t be said enough, first impressions matter. And it goes the same for essays because your starter sentences will…

Most Important Parts of an Essay Introduction

The introduction is often one of the most important sections in a paper. It creates a sense of what the…

7 Effective Ways to Start a Sentence

There are different ways to start a sentence and convey your message effectively to the readers. Being aware of the…

Six Social Media Hooks to Boost Engagement

To get the most out of your marketing strategy, you should consider using social media hooks to improve your engagement…

COVID-19 Update: Our services are available as usual.Hire the best Singapore assignment writers to work for you, so you can ensure highest grades ! Order now

Singapore Assignment Help

Assignment Writing resources

How to write an introduction for a report.

Some would characterize it as a guidebook of a report, some would say that an introduction is a map of a report and even some define it as a list of information that is presented throughout the report. Whatever you would say it, but the properties of an introduction remain the same.

It must significantly present the purpose of a report, consist of important information and terms and shed light on the finding of the report. It requires many efforts to make it a perfect. This is why many students find difficulties while writing an introduction of report writing.

How to write an introduction for a report

You may also encounter with the same situation, staring at the ceiling for long hours or looking at the computer screen but nothing worth coming in mind to nail down a perfect introduction of your report paper.

For such situations, Essay writers at have proposed some simplest tips that will make the introduction of report easier.

Before we move on how to write an introduction of a report, let’s first discuss what report is?

What is a report?

A report is a self-explanatory paper that provides information about a specific event or subject. It is a summary of a finding and recommendation about a particular problem or issue arises in a specific subject or event.

Reports writing assignments are given to the students to assess what they have from books and coursework and to enhance their skills which will be helpful in the future at the workplace.

Catch your reader’s attention with an impressive report introduction paragraph:

An introduction is work as a starter of your meal. Throughout the introduction of the report, writer tries to present the information in such a way that will give a perfect overview of the report.

Start the report paper with an engaging and alarming style of language to grab the reader’s attention.

Tips to write a perfect report writing introduction:

Some students believe in writing with a hook sentence or quotation. While others think that normal breakdown is a more effective way to write an introduction.

If you feeling problem in composing an introduction to a report paper then follow the below tips as the research report introduction example. Here are the top 5 tips to understand How to Write a Report Writing introduction.

Hire a Professional Essay & Assignment Writer for completing your Academic Assessments

Native Singapore Writers Team

Buy high-quality essays & assignment writing as per particular university, high school or college by Singapore Writers

Give an overview of the arguments you going to present in body part:.

After presenting the thesis statement, you need to define how you going to establish the arguments without explaining them deeply. To make it more intriguing present some figures and data in it.

Write down the introduction of a report: 

Once you have understood everything, write down the introduction of the report paper. Start the introduction part with a broad and general statement, a ‘hook statement’ and gradually narrow it down to a powerful thesis statement. If you don’t know how to write an introduction for a project report, here is the structure to write a report introduction:

Above presented is a guideline to write an introduction of a report writing. This is a general way to write an introduction but remember there is no hard and fast rule to write an introduction of the report. You have to fulfill all requirements of the report and modify the structure accordingly.

Bonus Tips for report introduction writing 

Stuck with a lot of homework assignments and feeling stressed ? Take professional academic assistance & Get 100% Plagiarism free papers

Create a rough draft of the introduction and edit it at the end of the final design..

Now you have well-understood how to write an effective introduction of the report assignment. In case you face any further trouble while writing an introduction, seek help from expert academic writers at

Still having a problem crafting an impressive report introduction? here is here with a perfect solution:

If you are still confused to write an introduction part of the report paper then put your worries aside with the help of Custom Assignment Writing services at We have provided many sample report introduction example to the students. We have over 3000+ writers in our team selected from various disciplines introduction of project report sample. They are working hard to provide superior quality report writing help to Singaporean students. Thus, they ensure the 100% original assignment paper that will enable you higher academic grades.

Author Bio:

how to start an introduction for a report

I am an academic writer since 2003 and associated with Singapore Assignment Help. I have expertise in making dissertation proposal. Till now i helped more than 2000 Singaporean and Malaysian Students in completing their masters dissertations thesis and other academic papers.

Academic Awareness

Dissertation topics, dissertation writing guide, education in singapore, essay topics.

how to start an introduction for a report

Research Paper Writing Guide

Homework writing tips, how to guides, research topics, essay writing guide.

5 Easy Ways to Write an Irresistible Introduction

Dan Shewan

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

So begins J.D. Salinger’s iconic novel, Catcher in the Rye , arguably one of the finest opening sentences of any American novel ever written.

How to write great introductions

I’m not here to talk Salinger or the writing life or the greats of 20th century American literature. This is a marketing blog, not a book club.

I am, however, going to talk about introductions, and how to write them well.

We hear a great deal of talk about the importance of headlines , but much less is said about the value of a great introduction. Sure, you need a tempting headline to catch your reader’s eye, but without a strong, compelling introduction, the best headline ever written won’t save you.

In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the many different ways you can open a blog post, article, interview, white paper – pretty much anything with words. This is by no means a comprehensive or definitive list; there are almost as many ways to introduce your writing as there are ways to write. There are, however, some general techniques that lend themselves well to marketing copy that can be extraordinarily effective.

Introduction #1: The Quote

I chose to open this post with a quote not because I’m a fan of Catcher in the Rye . Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Catcher fan (despite my personal appreciation for Salinger’s immense literary talent and commitment to being a hardcore recluse ).

How to write introductions JD Salinger quote

True dat. Image via XXY Magazine .

The real reason I chose to open with that quote is because introductory quotes are a lazy but highly effective way of grabbing your reader’s attention without doing any real work – especially when the quote in question has a negative or otherwise memorable tone, as Salinger’s (or rather, his protagonist Holden Caulfield’s) does.

Before you’ve even read the quote in its entirety, you’re already wondering what was so lousy about the quoted individual’s life, or what “all that David Copperfield crap” really means and why the person being quoted doesn’t really feel like going into it.

Why Is This Type of Introduction So Effective?

Before we get into why this technique is so effective, it’s worth mentioning that opening with a quote only works well if the quote itself is interesting. There’s no point using a quote as your introduction if it’s something boring or predictable.

How to write introductions avoid using obvious quotes

Aside from the quote itself, which should ideally be as attention-grabbing as possible, the fact that quotation marks are used indicates – obviously – that a specific individual said those words. It may not sound like it, but this can be very enticing to the reader, encouraging them to read on to see who said it. This is especially true if the quote is controversial or contrarian .

Let’s say you’re writing a piece about the potential impact of artificial intelligence on human society. Sure, you could open with a bland, generic introduction about how AI and technology have revolutionized the world as we know it, but you could also let someone else do the talking for you.

“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”

How to write introductions Elon Musk MIT AeroAstro 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in conversation at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014. Image via MIT .

The quote above is one of many such memorable insights offered by technologist Elon Musk about the potentially existential threat posed by AI . Yes, it’s a little sensationalist – Musk certainly knows how to leverage provocative language to great effect – but it’s also a lot more interesting than most of the introductions I’ve read in articles on the topic. (Note that this particular quote was not used as an introduction in any piece I’ve found or read on the topic, and is used solely for illustrative purposes.)

It’s worth noting that this technique can be a little tricky or unorthodox within the context of established journalistic conventions. As anyone who’s ever worked with me as an editor could tell you, I’m a stickler for the correct attribution of quotes, which demands that, in most cases, the person being quoted should be identified after the first complete sentence. If we follow this convention (which we should, unless we have a very good reason not to), our example quote from Musk (with additions italicized) would read:

“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Elon Musk said during an interview at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014 . “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”

How to write introductions let's summon demons childrens book cover threadless

Don’t mess around with artificial intelligence or arcane demonic rituals. Image via Threadless .

Unfortunately, if we (correctly) identify Elon Musk as the quoted individual after the first complete sentence, this introductory technique loses most, if not all, of its impact.

Notice how Salinger’s opening quote from Catcher in the Rye is a single sentence? This allowed me to include it without worrying about correctly attributing the quote as I would have if I’d used Musk’s quote as my intro. If in doubt, talk to your editor – they’ll thank you for it later.

Introduction #2: The Statistic or Fun Fact

Did you know that the first American movie to show a toilet being flushed on-screen was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 psychological horror classic, Psycho ?

How to write introductions Psycho shower scene

TFW the water’s too hot

Everybody loves trivia, and even if you’re a hardcore Hitchcock fan, you might not have known the fun fact above.

This technique is another powerfully effective way to grab your reader’s attention from the outset. It’s also one of the most commonly used introductions in a lot of marketing writing. This makes sense; it establishes the general topic of the piece in a fun way and offers the reader something snappy and memorable.

However, the real reason using facts or statistics as an introduction works is because it pushes our emotional buttons .

When it comes to content, whether a 500-word blog post or a 4,000-word long-form journalistic feature , some emotional triggers are more effective than others. In particular, there’s a scientific principle known as the von Restorff effect (named for the German pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff who first wrote of the phenomena in the early 1930s) which states that people tend to remember unusual things much more effectively than routine, expected things.

How to write introductions fight or flight response caveman illustration

How it feels reading bad articles

This is an extension of our natural survival instincts; our brains are wired to perceive strange or unusual things as potential threats, making them much more memorable as whatever strange thing we’re fixated on might kill us. It’s also why, if you don’t take much else away from this post, I can practically guarantee that you’ll remember the Psycho toilet-flushing fact, which you can and should use to impress your friends at your next get-together at the pub.

Here at WordStream, we use this technique a great deal, and not only in introductions. To this day, I still remember that you’re 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad – a fact I first included in a post for the WordStream blog back in 2014 . Admittedly, I had to look up the publication date of that post, but I didn’t need to double-check the statistic itself because it’s just that memorable.

How to write introductions more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad

Something to consider next time you despair about your display conversion rates. Image via NBC Los Angeles .

Take care, however, to select your facts and statistics carefully. In the banner ad example above, this stat isn’t just memorable because of the staggering odds against you clicking on a banner ad, but because it’s framed within the context of surviving a plane crash – a particularly striking hypothetical scenario, and one that aligns closely with the survival instincts I mentioned earlier. Merely tossing in a statistic about how many daily active users Facebook has, for example, will not have the same effect. Just as you should think carefully about the quotes you use in your introductions, choose your statistics with similar care.

Introduction #3: The Classical Narrative

In May of 1940, as war raged across Europe, a squad of infantrymen belonging to the famous Manchester Regiment encroached upon the village of l’Epinette in northern France.

Both German and Allied forces sought to capture the strategically located village, and the Manchester Regiment came under heavy fire from the Nazi soldiers. The squadron eventually managed to pin down the Nazis with suppressing fire, and as the German soldiers took cover behind the low wall of a farmhouse, one of the Germans cried out. His commanding officer glanced over at the dying soldier, believing him to be shot, only to see a long, feathered arrow protruding from the man’s chest.

How to write introductions Captain "Mad Jack" Churchill

The man, the legend, Captain “Mad Jack” Churchill. Image via Dirk de Klein/History of Sorts .

The Nazi soldier had been killed by the improbably yet fantastically named John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, also known as “Mad Captain Jack” Churchill, the only soldier known to have carried a longbow – and an authentic claymore sword – into battle during World War II. Churchill held a deep appreciation of his Scottish heritage, and when asked why he carried such a large, antiquated weapon into battle, Churchill respectfully replied that, in his opinion, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”

As much as I’d love to tell you more about Mad Jack Churchill – and unbelievably, there’s plenty more to tell – I used this tale as an example of how employing a classical narrative in your introductions can be extraordinarily powerful. Granted, this particular example as I’ve presented it isn’t technically a true narrative; it has a beginning (the approach of the Manchester Regiment upon l’Epinette) and rising action (Churchill killing a Nazi soldier with a bow and arrow), but it lacks a real ending. Still, hopefully you see what I’m getting at with this example.

Simply put, traditional stories work so well as introductions because, as human beings, we’re hardwired to respond to stories. Far from mere entertainment, stories served humanity for millennia as cautionary tales and a means of survival, and even today, with all our technology and knowledge, a good story told well is still one of the most gripping forms of entertainment we know.

How to write introductions oral storytelling illustration

Original artwork by Elena Stebakova

Just as a good novel draws you in from the outset and keeps you reading, using a traditional narrative as an introduction offers all of the same benefits to your piece. This technique allows you to introduce one or more characters – in our example, Mad Jack Churchill – before moving on to the dramatic rise that every good story has. This grabs the reader’s attention immediately, and if done well, can serve as an almost irresistible hook for the rest of the piece.

Introduction #4: The Question

If you had to, would you rather fight a single, horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?

How to write introductions would you rather fight horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses

Image via Flipline Studios

Asking questions can be a powerfully effective technique in introductions. It poses a hypothetical scenario to the reader and invites them to imagine their response and relate their own lived experience to the material that follows. From the outset of your piece, you’re engaging the reader by asking them to apply their own judgment or opinion to the topic at hand – in our example, preferential combat with an improbably large duck or a small army of improbably tiny horses.

Posing questions to your readers in your introduction is an effective technique precisely because you’re inviting your reader to think about a highly specific scenario. This technique is similar to the use of statistics or facts in introductions; by asking questions of your audience, you’re providing them with a potentially memorable situation and inviting them to consider their perspective on the issue. For example, I’d personally rather fight 100 duck-sized horses than a single, menacing horse-sized duck.

How to write introductions clickbait question examples

I don’t know, maybe? Image via TED/Ganesh Pai .

However, this technique is not without its pitfalls. Firstly, this method has been thoroughly exploited by thousands of clickbait publishers as a lazy way to entice people to click through from a question-based headline to an inevitably disappointing article. Whether the question is posed in the headline or the introduction, many people are understandably fatigued by and wary of questions in content .

Secondly, there’s the problem of structure. In my waterfowl combat example above, there’s no “correct” answer. This means the question is virtually impossible to conclusively answer, which can lead to disappointment in your reader, especially if you pose a question that they expect the rest of the piece to answer. This blog post about conversion rates is a great example. Larry asks a question of the reader in the headline, and the rest of the article answers and supports that question with data and logical, scientific reasoning. Now imagine if he had asked the question yet failed to answer. How would this make you feel as a reader?

Introduction #5: Setting the Scene

By 2017, the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand.

Although this introduction could aptly describe our current geopolitical nightmare, it’s actually the introductory text from Paul Michael Glaser’s 1987 cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s disturbingly prescient short story, The Running Man (which King wrote under his Richard Bachman pseudonym, before you hardcore King fans yell at me).

This technique is known as setting the scene, and it can be a highly effective way of drawing your reader into your piece. (If you’re interested, David Hogan’s 1996 action movie Barb Wire also came surprisingly close with its speculative take on what a dystopian 2017 might look like.)

This introductory technique is similar to the narrative example, in that the writer sets the stage for not only what is happening at the outset of the piece, but for what the reader can expect to follow. This method can be incredibly powerful when dealing with emerging topics or subjects with strong newsworthy elements.

Editorially, this technique offers many benefits to the writer. It allows you to choose and establish a clearly defined position on an issue, and enables you to quickly assume a contrarian stance on contentious topics. It also allows you to manipulate the emotions of your readers by summarizing and highlighting the positive or negative aspects of a story how you see fit, or to support the points you want to make.

Stylistically, this introduction can be structured similarly to narrative introductions – by telling a self-contained story at the outset of the piece before transitioning into the rest of the content – or by helping the reader get up to speed quickly on a developing topic they may not be aware of, as many in-depth news reports from Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey did. Many reports framed the catastrophic damage caused by Harvey within the wider political contexts of disaster relief funding, contentious proposed cuts to scientific research, and the volatile political climate that surrounds emergency management in crisis-prone regions such as the southern and southeastern United States.

A well-written introduction setting the scene can help your readers quickly understand why what you’re about to say is important, as well as giving them a solid grounding in the often highly nuanced background information essential to understanding complex, multifaceted issues.

Introduce Yourself

Hopefully you’re spending plenty of time coming up with catchy headlines for your content. I hope that you now have a greater appreciation for the value and importance of a solid introduction, too.

Next time you sit down to write, spare a thought for the daring bravery of Mad Jack Churchill charging into battle with his longbow and claymore like a Viking warrior – then ask whether your intro would make Mad Jack proud.

5 Ways to Write an Introduction [Summary]

Meet The Author

Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.

See other posts by Dan Shewan

how to start an introduction for a report

More Articles Like This

How to Create an Editorial Calendar (Tips, Tools, & Free Template!)

How to Create an Editorial Calendar (Tips, Tools, & Free Template!)

Hit your content marketing goals with these pro tips, free tools, and a Trello template!

How to Measure Content Marketing ROI Right: Metrics, Math & Mistakes to Avoid

How to Measure Content Marketing ROI Right: Metrics, Math & Mistakes to Avoid

Metrics, mistakes to avoid, and examples to help you get the most out of your content marketing efforts.

7 Steps to Generate Leads With Gated Content (+Examples)

7 Steps to Generate Leads With Gated Content (+Examples)

Tap into one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to generate leads for your business.

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

wordstream google ads performance grader

Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Related articles.

The 4 Stages of a Supremely Successful Content Marketing Funnel

The 4 Stages of a Supremely Successful Content Marketing Funnel

How to Write a Report: A Guide

Matt Ellis

A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report. 

Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing. 

Communicate with confidence Grammarly helps you write the way you intend Write with Grammarly

What is a report? 

In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report. 

Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description. 

What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content: 

Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion. 

Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights. 

Types of reports

There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:

Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments. 

There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational. 

>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?

What is the structure of a report?

The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:

If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section. 

What should be included in a report?

There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot: 

As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require. 

How to write a report in 7 steps

Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper. 

1 Choose a topic based on the assignment

Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on. 

If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria: 

Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding. 

2 Conduct research

With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both. 

For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research. 

The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch. 

3 Write a thesis statement

Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report. 

Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement. 

For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments. 

It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next. 

4 Prepare an outline

Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything. 

Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively. 

5 Write a rough draft

Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway. 

6 Revise and edit your report

Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.) 

We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed. 

If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips . 

7 Proofread and check for mistakes

Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems. 

A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level. 

how to start an introduction for a report


  1. Example: Report introduction

    how to start an introduction for a report

  2. Introduction Template For Report (9)

    how to start an introduction for a report

  3. Introduction Template For Report

    how to start an introduction for a report

  4. Book Report Examples

    how to start an introduction for a report

  5. Tips On How To Prepare A Comprehensive Project Report

    how to start an introduction for a report

  6. Report Examples Pdf Guide To Writing Student Psychology Lab Throughout Introduction Template For

    how to start an introduction for a report


  1. D1 FInal 2012

  2. report presentaion

  3. Writing Business Plan

  4. How to write introduction of research article in Urdu by Dr. Nouman

  5. Business report writing workshop

  6. Short Report Writing Format l Writing a Business Report in Business Communication l Part 02


  1. How to write a report

    Introduction · discuss the importance or significance of the research or problem to be reported · define the purpose of the report · outline the

  2. Tips on how to write an introduction for a report

    Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It

  3. How to Write an Introduction of a Report

    Start the introduction with a general lead-in sentence that draws the reader's attention and makes them want to find out more about what you are writing about.

  4. How To Write An Introduction // Informational Report ...

    Together we explore how to write an Introduction. Your students will learn the best techniques to enhance their writing skills.

  5. How to write an introduction for a research paper

    An overview of the topic. Start with a general overview of your topic. · Prior research. Your introduction is the place to review other

  6. How to Write Clear Introductions in Business Report Writing

    How to Write Clear Introductions in Business Report Writing · Write the context or history · Write the purpose of the report. · Write conclusions and

  7. Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions

    Start with a sentence starter that draws the reader's attention and makes them want to learn more about your report. You can start stating the problem you're

  8. How to write an introduction for a report

    Write down the introduction of a report: · A general statement about the topic in simple language. · Specific key points on the topic. · Main

  9. 5 Easy Ways to Write an Irresistible Introduction

    Here are five easy ways to write irresistible introductions that hook ... news reports from Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey did.

  10. How to Write a Report: A Guide With Examples

    Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you're about to discuss, with your thesis