• Affiliate Program

Wordvice

  • UNITED STATES
  • 台灣 (TAIWAN)
  • TÜRKIYE (TURKEY)
  • Academic Editing Services
  • - Research Paper
  • - Journal Manuscript
  • - Dissertation
  • - College & University Assignments
  • Admissions Editing Services
  • - Application Essay
  • - Personal Statement
  • - Recommendation Letter
  • - Cover Letter
  • - CV/Resume
  • Business Editing Services
  • - Business Documents
  • - Report & Brochure
  • - Website & Blog
  • Writer Editing Services
  • - Script & Screenplay
  • Our Editors
  • Client Reviews
  • Editing & Proofreading Prices
  • Wordvice Points
  • Partner Discount
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • APA Citation Generator
  • MLA Citation Generator
  • Chicago Citation Generator
  • Vancouver Citation Generator
  • - APA Style
  • - MLA Style
  • - Chicago Style
  • - Vancouver Style
  • Writing & Editing Guide
  • Academic Resources
  • Admissions Resources

How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

parts of rationale in research paper

What is the Rationale of the Study?

The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the “purpose” or “justification” of a study. While this is not difficult to grasp in itself, you might wonder how the rationale of the study is different from your research question or from the statement of the problem of your study, and how it fits into the rest of your thesis or research paper. 

The rationale of the study links the background of the study to your specific research question and justifies the need for the latter on the basis of the former. In brief, you first provide and discuss existing data on the topic, and then you tell the reader, based on the background evidence you just presented, where you identified gaps or issues and why you think it is important to address those. The problem statement, lastly, is the formulation of the specific research question you choose to investigate, following logically from your rationale, and the approach you are planning to use to do that.

Table of Contents:

How to write a rationale for a research paper , how do you justify the need for a research study.

  • Study Rationale Example: Where Does It Go In Your Paper?

The basis for writing a research rationale is preliminary data or a clear description of an observation. If you are doing basic/theoretical research, then a literature review will help you identify gaps in current knowledge. In applied/practical research, you base your rationale on an existing issue with a certain process (e.g., vaccine proof registration) or practice (e.g., patient treatment) that is well documented and needs to be addressed. By presenting the reader with earlier evidence or observations, you can (and have to) convince them that you are not just repeating what other people have already done or said and that your ideas are not coming out of thin air. 

Once you have explained where you are coming from, you should justify the need for doing additional research–this is essentially the rationale of your study. Finally, when you have convinced the reader of the purpose of your work, you can end your introduction section with the statement of the problem of your research that contains clear aims and objectives and also briefly describes (and justifies) your methodological approach. 

When is the Rationale for Research Written?

The author can present the study rationale both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before conducting research : The study rationale is a central component of the research proposal . It represents the plan of your work, constructed before the study is actually executed.
  • Once research has been conducted : After the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research article or  PhD dissertation  to explain why you focused on this specific research question. When writing the study rationale for this purpose, the author should link the rationale of the research to the aims and outcomes of the study.

What to Include in the Study Rationale

Although every study rationale is different and discusses different specific elements of a study’s method or approach, there are some elements that should be included to write a good rationale. Make sure to touch on the following:

  • A summary of conclusions from your review of the relevant literature
  • What is currently unknown (gaps in knowledge)
  • Inconclusive or contested results  from previous studies on the same or similar topic
  • The necessity to improve or build on previous research, such as to improve methodology or utilize newer techniques and/or technologies

There are different types of limitations that you can use to justify the need for your study. In applied/practical research, the justification for investigating something is always that an existing process/practice has a problem or is not satisfactory. Let’s say, for example, that people in a certain country/city/community commonly complain about hospital care on weekends (not enough staff, not enough attention, no decisions being made), but you looked into it and realized that nobody ever investigated whether these perceived problems are actually based on objective shortages/non-availabilities of care or whether the lower numbers of patients who are treated during weekends are commensurate with the provided services.

In this case, “lack of data” is your justification for digging deeper into the problem. Or, if it is obvious that there is a shortage of staff and provided services on weekends, you could decide to investigate which of the usual procedures are skipped during weekends as a result and what the negative consequences are. 

In basic/theoretical research, lack of knowledge is of course a common and accepted justification for additional research—but make sure that it is not your only motivation. “Nobody has ever done this” is only a convincing reason for a study if you explain to the reader why you think we should know more about this specific phenomenon. If there is earlier research but you think it has limitations, then those can usually be classified into “methodological”, “contextual”, and “conceptual” limitations. To identify such limitations, you can ask specific questions and let those questions guide you when you explain to the reader why your study was necessary:

Methodological limitations

  • Did earlier studies try but failed to measure/identify a specific phenomenon?
  • Was earlier research based on incorrect conceptualizations of variables?
  • Were earlier studies based on questionable operationalizations of key concepts?
  • Did earlier studies use questionable or inappropriate research designs?

Contextual limitations

  • Have recent changes in the studied problem made previous studies irrelevant?
  • Are you studying a new/particular context that previous findings do not apply to?

Conceptual limitations

  • Do previous findings only make sense within a specific framework or ideology?

Study Rationale Examples

Let’s look at an example from one of our earlier articles on the statement of the problem to clarify how your rationale fits into your introduction section. This is a very short introduction for a practical research study on the challenges of online learning. Your introduction might be much longer (especially the context/background section), and this example does not contain any sources (which you will have to provide for all claims you make and all earlier studies you cite)—but please pay attention to how the background presentation , rationale, and problem statement blend into each other in a logical way so that the reader can follow and has no reason to question your motivation or the foundation of your research.

Background presentation

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, most educational institutions around the world have transitioned to a fully online study model, at least during peak times of infections and social distancing measures. This transition has not been easy and even two years into the pandemic, problems with online teaching and studying persist (reference needed) . 

While the increasing gap between those with access to technology and equipment and those without access has been determined to be one of the main challenges (reference needed) , others claim that online learning offers more opportunities for many students by breaking down barriers of location and distance (reference needed) .  

Rationale of the study

Since teachers and students cannot wait for circumstances to go back to normal, the measures that schools and universities have implemented during the last two years, their advantages and disadvantages, and the impact of those measures on students’ progress, satisfaction, and well-being need to be understood so that improvements can be made and demographics that have been left behind can receive the support they need as soon as possible.

Statement of the problem

To identify what changes in the learning environment were considered the most challenging and how those changes relate to a variety of student outcome measures, we conducted surveys and interviews among teachers and students at ten institutions of higher education in four different major cities, two in the US (New York and Chicago), one in South Korea (Seoul), and one in the UK (London). Responses were analyzed with a focus on different student demographics and how they might have been affected differently by the current situation.

How long is a study rationale?

In a research article bound for journal publication, your rationale should not be longer than a few sentences (no longer than one brief paragraph). A  dissertation or thesis  usually allows for a longer description; depending on the length and nature of your document, this could be up to a couple of paragraphs in length. A completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification than an approach that slightly deviates from well-established methods and approaches.

Consider Using Professional Academic Editing Services

Now that you know how to write the rationale of the study for a research proposal or paper, you should make use of our free AI grammar checker , Wordvice AI, or receive professional academic proofreading services from Wordvice, including research paper editing services and manuscript editing services to polish your submitted research documents.

You can also find many more articles, for example on writing the other parts of your research paper , on choosing a title , or on making sure you understand and adhere to the author instructions before you submit to a journal, on the Wordvice academic resources pages.

How to Write the Rationale for a Research Paper

  • Research Process
  • Peer Review

A research rationale answers the big SO WHAT? that every adviser, peer reviewer, and editor has in mind when they critique your work. A compelling research rationale increases the chances of your paper being published or your grant proposal being funded. In this article, we look at the purpose of a research rationale, its components and key characteristics, and how to create an effective research rationale.

Updated on September 19, 2022

a researcher writing the rationale for a research paper

The rationale for your research is the reason why you decided to conduct the study in the first place. The motivation for asking the question. The knowledge gap. This is often the most significant part of your publication. It justifies the study's purpose, novelty, and significance for science or society. It's a critical part of standard research articles as well as funding proposals.

Essentially, the research rationale answers the big SO WHAT? that every (good) adviser, peer reviewer, and editor has in mind when they critique your work.

A compelling research rationale increases the chances of your paper being published or your grant proposal being funded. In this article, we look at:

  • the purpose of a research rationale
  • its components and key characteristics
  • how to create an effective research rationale

What is a research rationale?

Think of a research rationale as a set of reasons that explain why a study is necessary and important based on its background. It's also known as the justification of the study, rationale, or thesis statement.

Essentially, you want to convince your reader that you're not reciting what other people have already said and that your opinion hasn't appeared out of thin air. You've done the background reading and identified a knowledge gap that this rationale now explains.

A research rationale is usually written toward the end of the introduction. You'll see this section clearly in high-impact-factor international journals like Nature and Science. At the end of the introduction there's always a phrase that begins with something like, "here we show..." or "in this paper we show..." This text is part of a logical sequence of information, typically (but not necessarily) provided in this order:

the order of the introduction to a research paper

Here's an example from a study by Cataldo et al. (2021) on the impact of social media on teenagers' lives.

an example of an introduction to a research paper

Note how the research background, gap, rationale, and objectives logically blend into each other.

The authors chose to put the research aims before the rationale. This is not a problem though. They still achieve a logical sequence. This helps the reader follow their thinking and convinces them about their research's foundation.

Elements of a research rationale

We saw that the research rationale follows logically from the research background and literature review/observation and leads into your study's aims and objectives.

This might sound somewhat abstract. A helpful way to formulate a research rationale is to answer the question, “Why is this study necessary and important?”

Generally, that something has never been done before should not be your only motivation. Use it only If you can give the reader valid evidence why we should learn more about this specific phenomenon.

A well-written introduction covers three key elements:

  • What's the background to the research?
  • What has been done before (information relevant to this particular study, but NOT a literature review)?
  • Research rationale

Now, let's see how you might answer the question.

1. This study complements scientific knowledge and understanding

Discuss the shortcomings of previous studies and explain how'll correct them. Your short review can identify:

  • Methodological limitations . The methodology (research design, research approach or sampling) employed in previous works is somewhat flawed.

Example : Here , the authors claim that previous studies have failed to explore the role of apathy “as a predictor of functional decline in healthy older adults” (Burhan et al., 2021). At the same time, we know a lot about other age-related neuropsychiatric disorders, like depression.

Their study is necessary, then, “to increase our understanding of the cognitive, clinical, and neural correlates of apathy and deconstruct its underlying mechanisms.” (Burhan et al., 2021).

  • Contextual limitations . External factors have changed and this has minimized or removed the relevance of previous research.

Example : You want to do an empirical study to evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of tourists visiting Sicily. Previous studies might have measured tourism determinants in Sicily, but they preceded COVID-19.

  • Conceptual limitations . Previous studies are too bound to a specific ideology or a theoretical framework.

Example : The work of English novelist E. M. Forster has been extensively researched for its social, political, and aesthetic dimensions. After the 1990s, younger scholars wanted to read his novels as an example of gay fiction. They justified the need to do so based on previous studies' reliance on homophobic ideology.

This kind of rationale is most common in basic/theoretical research.

2. This study can help solve a specific problem

Here, you base your rationale on a process that has a problem or is not satisfactory.

For example, patients complain about low-quality hospital care on weekends (staff shortages, inadequate attention, etc.). No one has looked into this (there is a lack of data). So, you explore if the reported problems are true and what can be done to address them. This is a knowledge gap.

Or you set out to explore a specific practice. You might want to study the pros and cons of several entry strategies into the Japanese food market.

It's vital to explain the problem in detail and stress the practical benefits of its solution. In the first example, the practical implications are recommendations to improve healthcare provision.

In the second example, the impact of your research is to inform the decision-making of businesses wanting to enter the Japanese food market.

This kind of rationale is more common in applied/practical research.

3. You're the best person to conduct this study

It's a bonus if you can show that you're uniquely positioned to deliver this study, especially if you're writing a funding proposal .

For an anthropologist wanting to explore gender norms in Ethiopia, this could be that they speak Amharic (Ethiopia's official language) and have already lived in the country for a few years (ethnographic experience).

Or if you want to conduct an interdisciplinary research project, consider partnering up with collaborators whose expertise complements your own. Scientists from different fields might bring different skills and a fresh perspective or have access to the latest tech and equipment. Teaming up with reputable collaborators justifies the need for a study by increasing its credibility and likely impact.

When is the research rationale written?

You can write your research rationale before, or after, conducting the study.

In the first case, when you might have a new research idea, and you're applying for funding to implement it.

Or you're preparing a call for papers for a journal special issue or a conference. Here , for instance, the authors seek to collect studies on the impact of apathy on age-related neuropsychiatric disorders.

In the second case, you have completed the study and are writing a research paper for publication. Looking back, you explain why you did the study in question and how it worked out.

Although the research rationale is part of the introduction, it's best to write it at the end. Stand back from your study and look at it in the big picture. At this point, it's easier to convince your reader why your study was both necessary and important.

How long should a research rationale be?

The length of the research rationale is not fixed. Ideally, this will be determined by the guidelines (of your journal, sponsor etc.).

The prestigious journal Nature , for instance, calls for articles to be no more than 6 or 8 pages, depending on the content. The introduction should be around 200 words, and, as mentioned, two to three sentences serve as a brief account of the background and rationale of the study, and come at the end of the introduction.

If you're not provided guidelines, consider these factors:

  • Research document : In a thesis or book-length study, the research rationale will be longer than in a journal article. For example, the background and rationale of this book exploring the collective memory of World War I cover more than ten pages.
  • Research question : Research into a new sub-field may call for a longer or more detailed justification than a study that plugs a gap in literature.

Which verb tenses to use in the research rationale?

It's best to use the present tense. Though in a research proposal, the research rationale is likely written in the future tense, as you're describing the intended or expected outcomes of the research project (the gaps it will fill, the problems it will solve).

Example of a research rationale

Research question : What are the teachers' perceptions of how a sense of European identity is developed and what underlies such perceptions?

an example of a research rationale

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology , 3(2), 77-101.

Burhan, A.M., Yang, J., & Inagawa, T. (2021). Impact of apathy on aging and age-related neuropsychiatric disorders. Research Topic. Frontiers in Psychiatry

Cataldo, I., Lepri, B., Neoh, M. J. Y., & Esposito, G. (2021). Social media usage and development of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence: A review. Frontiers in Psychiatry , 11.

CiCe Jean Monnet Network (2017). Guidelines for citizenship education in school: Identities and European citizenship children's identity and citizenship in Europe.

Cohen, l, Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018). Research methods in education . Eighth edition. London: Routledge.

de Prat, R. C. (2013). Euroscepticism, Europhobia and Eurocriticism: The radical parties of the right and left “vis-à-vis” the European Union P.I.E-Peter Lang S.A., Éditions Scientifiques Internationales.

European Commission. (2017). Eurydice Brief: Citizenship education at school in Europe.

Polyakova, A., & Fligstein, N. (2016). Is European integration causing Europe to become more nationalist? Evidence from the 2007–9 financial crisis. Journal of European Public Policy , 23(1), 60-83.

Winter, J. (2014). Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The AJE Team

The AJE Team

See our "Privacy Policy"

Ensure your structure and ideas are consistent and clearly communicated

Pair your Premium Editing with our add-on service Presubmission Review for an overall assessment of your manuscript.

parts of rationale in research paper

Community Blog

Keep up-to-date on postgraduate related issues with our quick reads written by students, postdocs, professors and industry leaders.

How do you Write the Rationale for Research?

DiscoverPhDs

  • By DiscoverPhDs
  • October 21, 2020

Rationale for Research

What is the Rationale of Research?

The term rationale of research means the reason for performing the research study in question. In writing your rational you should able to convey why there was a need for your study to be carried out. It’s an important part of your research paper that should explain how your research was novel and explain why it was significant; this helps the reader understand why your research question needed to be addressed in your research paper, term paper or other research report.

The rationale for research is also sometimes referred to as the justification for the study. When writing your rational, first begin by introducing and explaining what other researchers have published on within your research field.

Having explained the work of previous literature and prior research, include discussion about where the gaps in knowledge are in your field. Use these to define potential research questions that need answering and explain the importance of addressing these unanswered questions.

The rationale conveys to the reader of your publication exactly why your research topic was needed and why it was significant . Having defined your research rationale, you would then go on to define your hypothesis and your research objectives.

Final Comments

Defining the rationale research, is a key part of the research process and academic writing in any research project. You use this in your research paper to firstly explain the research problem within your dissertation topic. This gives you the research justification you need to define your research question and what the expected outcomes may be.

parts of rationale in research paper

This post gives you the best questions to ask at a PhD interview, to help you work out if your potential supervisor and lab is a good fit for you.

What is a Research Instrument?

The term research instrument refers to any tool that you may use to collect, measure and analyse research data.

Write an effective figure legend

A well written figure legend will explain exactly what a figure means without having to refer to the main text. Our guide explains how to write one.

Join thousands of other students and stay up to date with the latest PhD programmes, funding opportunities and advice.

parts of rationale in research paper

Browse PhDs Now

Academic Conference

Academic conferences are expensive and it can be tough finding the funds to go; this naturally leads to the question of are academic conferences worth it?

MBA vs PhD

Considering whether to do an MBA or a PhD? If so, find out what their differences are, and more importantly, which one is better suited for you.

parts of rationale in research paper

Lewis is a third-year PhD student at CVSSP at the University of Surrey. His research involves using multi-camera broadcast footage of sports, and using this data to create new viewpoints in virtual and augmented reality.

Chris-Proctor-Profile

Chris is a third (and final) year PhD student at Ulster University. His project aims to develop a novel method of delivering antibiofilm compounds directly to an infected wound bed in patients.

Join Thousands of Students

  • Academic Skills
  • Reading, writing and referencing
  • Writing effectively

Writing a rationale

How to write a rationale.

What is a rationale?

A rationale is when you are asked to give the reasoning or justification for an action or a choice you make.

There is a focus on the ‘ why ’ in a rationale: why you chose to do something, study or focus on something. It is a set of statements of purpose and significance and often addresses a gap or a need.

A rationale in Australian academic writing is rarely a whole task by itself.  It is often a part of a bigger task. For example, a part of a lesson plan might be to provide a rationale for why you chose to teach particular content or use a certain resource or activity, or you may be asked to provide a rationale as to why you chose a particular theory to apply or a concept to support.

You may be called upon to provide a rationale:

prior to an action or decision; why you plan to do something and how, or

  • after you have acted or decided something; reflecting, looking back, why you did something and how it worked or not.

You can use language to signal you are clearly providing a rationale in your writing. You can link your rationale to learning outcomes or aims for a lesson, activity or assessment task.

A model: problem-solution-rationale

A rationale can be provided by offering longer essay-based support for why it is important to do something in a certain way – in that sense, a whole paper can be a rationale.

However, a more specific or focused way of thinking about a rationale is how we can overtly show we are justifying our choices with the language we use.

One way of doing this is to consider the problem or issue requiring attention, the solution and then the rationale or justification for the solution (the ‘why’). This sets the rationale (the reason) within a context.

A diagnostic assessment determined that the students required more attention to addition and subtraction of mixed fractions. This activity intends to address this problem by having the children engage with the task with blocks before it is done with figures. The reason I chose to do this is because students have higher comprehension levels when presented with visual or tangible representations of abstract problems (Benson, 2016). I also did this as I wanted to allow the children to ‘play’ with maths, to see that it can be a fun activity and in doing so, to breakdown some of the ‘anti-mathematics prejudices’ that Gaines (2017, p. 4) talks about.

The important thing here is the language used to signal the rationale , in this case:

The reason I chose to do this is because … and I also did this as …

Another problem / solution / rationale example:

Scaffolding is the support provided by the teacher or a significant other, such as a classmate, which helps students in learning (Gibbons, 2015). Some students were having difficulty with the language at entry while others, particularly those who had completed the pre-tasks, had few problems. Therefore, in order to address this disparity in level and understanding, mixed-ability pairs were created where the more competent student helped the other. On reflection, this was an effective way to run the activity for two reasons : it allowed peer-to-peer teaching which solidified both students’ understanding; and it scaffolded the support in a way that allowed me to roam the room lending advice to pairs as needed.

The language used to signal our rationale in this example:

in order to and for two reasons …

Language to signal rationale

in order to

the reason this was done/chosen …

for the following reason(s) …

for two/three reasons …

Language for further justification - showing importance

This was important / significant because …

This meant that I could…

This enabled me to …

… which enabled / allowed me to…

… which pointed to / highlighted that / showed me that …

The key thing to remember about rationale writing is to stand back from the writing, look at it in a big picture sense and ask yourself, ‘ Have I explained why? ’ If that is clearly articulated, you have provided a rationale.

Two people looking over study materials

Looking for one-on-one advice?

Get tailored advice from an Academic Skills Adviser by booking an Individual appointment, or get quick feedback from one of our Academic Writing Mentors via email through our Writing advice service.

Go to Student appointments

How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

Ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering how to justify your choice of a research topic or project? You’re not alone! Writing a rationale, which essentially means explaining the ‘why’ behind your decisions, is crucial to any research process. It’s like the secret sauce that adds flavour to your research recipe. So, the only thing you need to know is how to write a rationale.

Guide

What is a Rationale?

A rationale in research is essentially the foundation of your study. It serves as the justification for undertaking a particular research project. At its core, the rationale explains why the research was conducted or needs to be conducted, thus addressing a specific knowledge gap or research question.

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements involved in crafting a rationale:

Linking Background to Research Question: 

The rationale should connect the background of the study to your specific research question. It involves presenting and discussing existing data on your topic, identifying gaps or issues in the current understanding, and explaining why addressing them is important​.

Objectives and Significance: 

Your rationale should clearly outline your research objectives – what you hope to discover or achieve through the study. It should also emphasize the subject’s significance in your field and explain why more or better research is needed​.

Methodological Approach: 

The rationale should briefly describe your proposed research method , whether qualitative (descriptive) or quantitative (experimental), and justify this choice​.

Justifying the Need for Research: 

The rationale isn’t just about what you’re doing and why it’s necessary. It can involve highlighting methodological, contextual, or conceptual limitations in previous studies and explaining how your research aims to overcome these limitations. Essentially, you’re making a case for why your research fills a crucial gap in existing knowledge​​.

Presenting Before and After Research: 

Interestingly, the rationale can be presented before and after the research. Before the research, it forms a central part of the research proposal, setting out the plan for the work. After the research, it’s presented in a research article or dissertation to explain the focus on a specific research question and link it to the study’s aims and outcomes​.

Elements to Include: 

A good rationale should include a summary of conclusions from your literature review, identify what is currently unknown, discuss inconclusive or contested results from previous studies, and emphasize the necessity to improve or build on previous research​.

Creating a rationale is a vital part of the research process, as it not only sets the stage for your study but also convinces readers of the value and necessity of your work.

A Laptop With A Book On It On A Wooden Table, Showcasing The Keywords &Quot;How To Write A Rationale&Quot;.

How to Write a Rationale:

Writing a rationale for your research is crucial in conducting and presenting your study. It involves explaining why your research is necessary and important. Here’s a guide to help you craft a compelling rationale:

Identify the Problem or Knowledge Gap: 

Begin by clearly stating the issue or gap in knowledge that your research aims to address. Explain why this problem is important and merits investigation. It is the foundation of your rationale and sets the stage for the need for your research.​

Review the Literature: 

Conduct a thorough review of existing literature on your topic. It helps you understand what research has already been done and what gaps or open questions exist. Your rationale should build on this background by highlighting these gaps and emphasizing the importance of addressing them​​​​.

Define Your Research Questions/Hypotheses: 

Based on your understanding of the problem and literature review, clearly state the research questions or hypotheses that your study aims to explore. These should logically stem from the identified gaps or issues.

Explain Your Research Approach: 

Describe the methods you will use for your research, including data collection and analysis techniques. Justify why these methods are appropriate for addressing your research questions or hypotheses​​.

Discuss the Potential Impact of Your Research:  Explain the significance of your study. Consider both theoretical contributions and practical implications. For instance, how does your research advance existing knowledge? Does it have real-world applications? Is it relevant to a specific field or community?​

Consider Ethical Considerations: 

If your research involves human or animal subjects, discuss the ethical aspects and how you plan to conduct your study responsibly​.

Contextualise Your Study: 

Justify the relevance of your research by explaining how it fits into the broader context. Connect your study to current trends, societal needs, or academic discussions​​.

Support with Evidence: 

Provide evidence or examples that underscore the need for your research. It could include citing relevant studies, statistics, or scenarios that illustrate the problem or gap your research addresses​.

Methodological, Contextual, and Conceptual Limitations: 

Address any limitations of previous research and how your study aims to overcome them. It can include methodological flaws in previous studies, changes in external factors that make past research less relevant, or the need to study a phenomenon within a new conceptual framework​.

Placement in Your Paper: 

Typically, the rationale is written toward the end of the introduction section of your paper, providing a logical lead-in to your research questions and methodology​​.

By following these steps and considering your audience’s perspective, you can write a strong and compelling rationale that clearly communicates the significance and necessity of your research project.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What makes a good research rationale.

A good rationale clearly identifies a gap in existing knowledge, builds on previous research, and outlines why your study is necessary and significant.

How detailed should my literature review be in the rationale?

Your literature review should be comprehensive enough to highlight the gaps your research aims to fill, but it should not overshadow the rationale itself.

Conclusion: 

A well-crafted rationale is your ticket to making your research stand out. It’s about bridging gaps, challenging norms, and paving the way for new discoveries. So go ahead, make your rationale the cornerstone of your research narrative!

Konger Avatar

Award-Winning Results

Team of 11+ experts, 10,000+ page #1 rankings on google, dedicated to smbs, $175,000,000 in reported client revenue.

Up until working with Casey, we had only had poor to mediocre experiences outsourcing work to agencies. Casey & the team at CJ&CO are the exception to the rule.

Communication was beyond great, his understanding of our vision was phenomenal, and instead of needing babysitting like the other agencies we worked with, he was not only completely dependable but also gave us sound suggestions on how to get better results, at the risk of us not needing him for the initial job we requested (absolute gem).

This has truly been the first time we worked with someone outside of our business that quickly grasped our vision, and that I could completely forget about and would still deliver above expectations.

I honestly can't wait to work in many more projects together!

Related Articles

View All Post

How to Tap Into What Your Customers Love & Hate

Conversion Rate Optimization , Copywriting , Customer Experience

How to Tap Into What Your Customers Love & Hate

Casey Jones Avatar

Casey Jones

What does a Copywriter do at an Ad Agency: Things You Should Know if You’re a Copywriter

Advertising , Copywriting

What does a Copywriter do at an Ad Agency: Things You Should Know if You’re a Copywriter

How to Write a Marketing Script: Take Your Marketing to the Next Level in 2023

Copywriting

How to Write a Marketing Script: Take Your Marketing to the Next Level in 2023

*The information this blog provides is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. The information may not reflect current developments and may be changed or updated without notice. Any opinions expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s employer or any other organization. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this blog without first seeking the advice of a professional. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this blog. The author and affiliated parties assume no liability for any errors or omissions.

parts of rationale in research paper

Research-Methodology

Rationale for the Study

It is important for you to be able to explain the importance of the research you are conducting by providing valid arguments. Rationale for the study, also referred to as justification for the study, is reason why you have conducted your study in the first place. This part in your paper needs to explain uniqueness and importance of your research. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points:

1. The research needs to contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature. Elimination of gap in the present literature is one of the compulsory requirements for your study. In other words, you don’t need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ and your research aims and objectives need to focus on new topics. For example, you can choose to conduct an empirical study to assess the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the numbers of tourists visitors in your city. This might be previously undressed topic, taking into account that COVID-19 pandemic is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Alternatively, if you cannot find a new topic to research, you can attempt to offer fresh perspectives on existing management, business or economic issues. For example, while thousands of studies have been previously conducted to study various aspects of leadership, this topic as far from being exhausted as a research area. Specifically, new studies can be conducted in the area of leadership to analyze the impacts of new communication mediums such as TikTok, and other social networking sites on leadership practices.

You can also discuss the shortcomings of previous works devoted to your research area. Shortcomings in previous studies can be divided into three groups:

a) Methodological limitations . Methodology employed in previous study may be flawed in terms of research design, research approach or sampling.

b) Contextual limitations . Relevance of previous works may be non-existent for the present because external factors have changed.

c) Conceptual limitations . Previous studies may be unjustifiably bound up to a particular model or an ideology.

While discussing the shortcomings of previous studies you should explain how you are going to correct them. This principle is true to almost all areas in business studies i.e. gaps or shortcomings in the literature can be found in relation to almost all areas of business and economics.

2. The research can be conducted to solve a specific problem. It helps if you can explain why you are the right person and in the right position to solve the problem. You have to explain the essence of the problem in a detailed manner and highlight practical benefits associated with the solution of the problem. Suppose, your dissertation topic is “a study into advantages and disadvantages of various entry strategies into Chinese market”. In this case, you can say that practical implications of your research relates to assisting businesses aiming to enter Chinese market to do more informed decision making.

Alternatively, if your research is devoted to the analysis of impacts of CSR programs and initiatives on brand image, practical contributions of your study would relate to contributing to the level of effectiveness of CSR programs of businesses.

Additional examples of studies that can assist to address specific practical problems may include the following:

  • A study into the reasons of high employee turnover at Hanson Brick
  • A critical analysis of employee motivation problems at Esporta, Finchley Road, London
  • A research into effective succession planning at Microsoft
  • A study into major differences between private and public primary education in the USA and implications of these differences on the quality of education

However, it is important to note that it is not an obligatory for a dissertation   to be associated with the solution of a specific problem. Dissertations can be purely theory-based as well. Examples of such studies include the following:

  • Born or bred: revising The Great Man theory of leadership in the 21 st century
  • A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory to the US information technology industry
  • Neoliberalism as a major reason behind the emergence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009
  • Analysis of Lewin’s Model of Change and its relevance to pharmaceutical sector of France

3. Your study has to contribute to the level of professional development of the researcher . That is you. You have to explain in a detailed manner in what ways your research contributes to the achievement of your long-term career aspirations.

For example, you have selected a research topic of “ A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory in the US information technology industry ”.  You may state that you associate your career aspirations with becoming an IT executive in the US, and accordingly, in-depth knowledge of employee motivation in this industry is going to contribute your chances of success in your chosen career path.

Therefore, you are in a better position if you have already identified your career objectives, so that during the research process you can get detailed knowledge about various aspects of your chosen industry.

Rationale for the Study

My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.

John Dudovskiy

Enago Academy

Setting Rationale in Research: Cracking the code for excelling at research

' src=

Knowledge and curiosity lays the foundation of scientific progress. The quest for knowledge has always been a timeless endeavor. Scholars seek reasons to explain the phenomena they observe, paving way for development of research. Every investigation should offer clarity and a well-defined rationale in research is a cornerstone upon which the entire study can be built.

Research rationale is the heartbeat of every academic pursuit as it guides the researchers to unlock the untouched areas of their field. Additionally, it illuminates the gaps in the existing knowledge, and identifies the potential contributions that the study aims to make.

Table of Contents

What Is Research Rationale and When Is It Written

Research rationale is the “why” behind every academic research. It not only frames the study but also outlines its objectives , questions, and expected outcomes. Additionally, it helps to identify the potential limitations of the study . It serves as a lighthouse for researchers that guides through data collection and analysis, ensuring their efforts remain focused and purposeful. Typically, a rationale is written at the beginning of the research proposal or research paper . It is an essential component of the introduction section and provides the foundation for the entire study. Furthermore, it provides a clear understanding of the purpose and significance of the research to the readers before delving into the specific details of the study. In some cases, the rationale is written before the methodology, data analysis, and other sections. Also, it serves as the justification for the research, and how it contributes to the field. Defining a research rationale can help a researcher in following ways:

Define Your Research Rationale

1. Justification of a Research Problem

  • Research rationale helps to understand the essence of a research problem.
  • It designs the right approach to solve a problem. This aspect is particularly important for applied research, where the outcomes can have real-world relevance and impact.
  • Also, it explains why the study is worth conducting and why resources should be allocated to pursue it.
  • Additionally, it guides a researcher to highlight the benefits and implications of a strategy.

2. Elimination of Literature Gap

  • Research rationale helps to ideate new topics which are less addressed.
  • Additionally, it offers fresh perspectives on existing research and discusses the shortcomings in previous studies.
  • It shows that your study aims to contribute to filling these gaps and advancing the field’s understanding.

3. Originality and Novelty

  • The rationale highlights the unique aspects of your research and how it differs from previous studies.
  • Furthermore, it explains why your research adds something new to the field and how it expands upon existing knowledge.
  • It highlights how your findings might contribute to a better understanding of a particular issue or problem and potentially lead to positive changes.
  • Besides these benefits, it provides a personal motivation to the researchers. In some cases, researchers might have personal experiences or interests that drive their desire to investigate a particular topic.

4. An Increase in Chances of Funding

  • It is essential to convince funding agencies , supervisors, or reviewers, that a research is worth pursuing.
  • Therefore, a good rationale can get your research approved for funding and increases your chances of getting published in journals; as it addresses the potential knowledge gap in existing research.

Overall, research rationale is essential for providing a clear and convincing argument for the value and importance of your research study, setting the stage for the rest of the research proposal or manuscript. Furthermore, it helps establish the context for your work and enables others to understand the purpose and potential impact of your research.

5 Key Elements of a Research Rationale

Research rationale must include certain components which make it more impactful. Here are the key elements of a research rationale:

Elements of research rationale

By incorporating these elements, you provide a strong and convincing case for the legitimacy of your research, which is essential for gaining support and approval from academic institutions, funding agencies, or other stakeholders.

How to Write a Rationale in Research

Writing a rationale requires careful consideration of the reasons for conducting the study. It is usually written in the present tense.

Here are some steps to guide you through the process of writing a research rationale:

Steps to write a research rationale

After writing the initial draft, it is essential to review and revise the research rationale to ensure that it effectively communicates the purpose of your research. The research rationale should be persuasive and compelling, convincing readers that your study is worthwhile and deserves their attention.

How Long Should a Research Rationale be?

Although there is no pre-defined length for a rationale in research, its length may vary depending on the specific requirements of the research project. It also depends on the academic institution or organization, and the guidelines set by the research advisor or funding agency. In general, a research rationale is usually a concise and focused document.

Typically, it ranges from a few paragraphs to a few pages, but it is usually recommended to keep it as crisp as possible while ensuring all the essential elements are adequately covered. The length of a research rationale can be roughly as follows:

1. For Research Proposal:

A. Around 1 to 3 pages

B. Ensure clear and comprehensive explanation of the research question, its significance, literature review , and methodological approach.

2. Thesis or Dissertation:

A. Around 3 to 5 pages

B. Ensure an extensive coverage of the literature review, theoretical framework, and research objectives to provide a robust justification for the study.

3. Journal Article:

A. Usually concise. Ranges from few paragraphs to one page

B. The research rationale is typically included as part of the introduction section

However, remember that the quality and content of the research rationale are more important than its length. The reasons for conducting the research should be well-structured, clear, and persuasive when presented. Always adhere to the specific institution or publication guidelines.

Example of a Research Rationale

Example of a research rationale

In conclusion, the research rationale serves as the cornerstone of a well-designed and successful research project. It ensures that research efforts are focused, meaningful, and ethically sound. Additionally, it provides a comprehensive and logical justification for embarking on a specific investigation. Therefore, by identifying research gaps, defining clear objectives, emphasizing significance, explaining the chosen methodology, addressing ethical considerations, and recognizing potential limitations, researchers can lay the groundwork for impactful and valuable contributions to the scientific community.

So, are you ready to delve deeper into the world of research and hone your academic writing skills? Explore Enago Academy ‘s comprehensive resources and courses to elevate your research and make a lasting impact in your field. Also, share your thoughts and experiences in the form of an article or a thought piece on Enago Academy’s Open Platform .

Join us on a journey of scholarly excellence today!

Frequently Asked Questions

A rationale of the study can be written by including the following points: 1. Background of the Research/ Study 2. Identifying the Knowledge Gap 3. An Overview of the Goals and Objectives of the Study 4. Methodology and its Significance 5. Relevance of the Research

Start writing a research rationale by defining the research problem and discussing the literature gap associated with it.

A research rationale can be ended by discussing the expected results and summarizing the need of the study.

A rationale for thesis can be made by covering the following points: 1. Extensive coverage of the existing literature 2. Explaining the knowledge gap 3. Provide the framework and objectives of the study 4. Provide a robust justification for the study/ research 5. Highlight the potential of the research and the expected outcomes

A rationale for dissertation can be made by covering the following points: 1. Highlight the existing reference 2. Bridge the gap and establish the context of your research 3. Describe the problem and the objectives 4. Give an overview of the methodology

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

parts of rationale in research paper

Enago Academy's Most Popular Articles

7 Step Guide for Optimizing Impactful Research Process

  • Publishing Research
  • Reporting Research

How to Optimize Your Research Process: A step-by-step guide

For researchers across disciplines, the path to uncovering novel findings and insights is often filled…

Launch of "Sony Women in Technology Award with Nature"

  • Industry News
  • Trending Now

Breaking Barriers: Sony and Nature unveil “Women in Technology Award”

Sony Group Corporation and the prestigious scientific journal Nature have collaborated to launch the inaugural…

Guide to Adhere Good Research Practice (FREE CHECKLIST)

Achieving Research Excellence: Checklist for good research practices

Academia is built on the foundation of trustworthy and high-quality research, supported by the pillars…

ResearchSummary

  • Promoting Research

Plain Language Summary — Communicating your research to bridge the academic-lay gap

Science can be complex, but does that mean it should not be accessible to the…

Journals Combat Image Manipulation with AI

Science under Surveillance: Journals adopt advanced AI to uncover image manipulation

Journals are increasingly turning to cutting-edge AI tools to uncover deceitful images published in manuscripts.…

Mitigating Survivorship Bias in Scholarly Research: 10 tips to enhance data integrity

The Power of Proofreading: Taking your academic work to the next level

Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!

parts of rationale in research paper

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

parts of rationale in research paper

As a researcher, what do you consider most when choosing an image manipulation detector?

We use cookies on this site to enhance your experience

By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.

A link to reset your password has been sent to your email.

Back to login

We need additional information from you. Please complete your profile first before placing your order.

Thank you. payment completed., you will receive an email from us to confirm your registration, please click the link in the email to activate your account., there was error during payment, orcid profile found in public registry, download history, how to write the rationale for your research.

  • Charlesworth Author Services
  • 19 November, 2021

The rationale for one’s research is the justification for undertaking a given study. It states the reason(s) why a researcher chooses to focus on the topic in question, including what the significance is and what gaps the research intends to fill. In short, it is an explanation that rationalises the need for the study. The rationale is typically followed by a hypothesis/ research question (s) and the study objectives.

When is the rationale for research written?

The rationale of a study can be presented both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before : The rationale is a crucial part of your research proposal , representing the plan of your work as formulated before you execute your study.
  • After : Once the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research paper or dissertation to explain why you focused on the particular question. In this instance, you would link the rationale of your research project to the study aims and outcomes.

Basis for writing the research rationale

The study rationale is predominantly based on preliminary data . A literature review will help you identify gaps in the current knowledge base and also ensure that you avoid duplicating what has already been done. You can then formulate the justification for your study from the existing literature on the subject and the perceived outcomes of the proposed study.

Length of the research rationale

In a research proposal or research article, the rationale would not take up more than a few sentences . A thesis or dissertation would allow for a longer description, which could even run into a couple of paragraphs . The length might even depend on the field of study or nature of the experiment. For instance, a completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification.

Basic elements of the research rationale

Every research rationale should include some mention or discussion of the following: 

  • An overview of your conclusions from your literature review
  • Gaps in current knowledge
  • Inconclusive or controversial findings from previous studies
  • The need to build on previous research (e.g. unanswered questions, the need to update concepts in light of new findings and/or new technical advancements). 

Example of a research rationale

Note: This uses a fictional study.

Abc xyz is a newly identified microalgal species isolated from fish tanks. While Abc xyz algal blooms have been seen as a threat to pisciculture, some studies have hinted at their unusually high carotenoid content and unique carotenoid profile. Carotenoid profiling has been carried out only in a handful of microalgal species from this genus, and the search for microalgae rich in bioactive carotenoids has not yielded promising candidates so far. This in-depth examination of the carotenoid profile of Abc xyz will help identify and quantify novel and potentially useful carotenoids from an untapped aquaculture resource .

In conclusion

It is important to describe the rationale of your research in order to put the significance and novelty of your specific research project into perspective. Once you have successfully articulated the reason(s) for your research, you will have convinced readers of the importance of your work!

Maximise your publication success with Charlesworth Author Services.

Charlesworth Author Services , a trusted brand supporting the world’s leading academic publishers, institutions and authors since 1928. 

To know more about our services, visit: Our Services

Share with your colleagues

Related articles.

parts of rationale in research paper

How to identify Gaps in research and determine your original research topic

Charlesworth Author Services 14/09/2021 00:00:00

parts of rationale in research paper

Tips for designing your Research Question

Charlesworth Author Services 01/08/2017 00:00:00

parts of rationale in research paper

Why and How to do a literature search

Charlesworth Author Services 17/08/2020 00:00:00

Related webinars

parts of rationale in research paper

Bitesize Webinar: How to write and structure your academic article for publication - Module 1: Know when are you ready to write

Charlesworth Author Services 04/03/2021 00:00:00

parts of rationale in research paper

Bitesize Webinar: How to write and structure your academic article for publication- Module 3: Understand the structure of an academic paper

parts of rationale in research paper

Bitesize Webinar: How to write and structure your academic article for publication: Module 4: Prepare to write your academic paper

parts of rationale in research paper

Bitesize Webinar: How to write and structure your academic article for publication: Module 5: Conduct a Literature Review

Article sections.

parts of rationale in research paper

How to write an Introduction to an academic article

parts of rationale in research paper

Writing a strong Methods section

Charlesworth Author Services 12/03/2021 00:00:00

parts of rationale in research paper

Strategies for writing the Results section in a scientific paper

Charlesworth Author Services 27/10/2021 00:00:00

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • College University and Postgraduate
  • Academic Writing

How to Write a Study Rationale

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 55,740 times.

A study rationale explains the reason for a study and the importance of its findings for a particular field. Commonly, you'll need to write a study rationale as part of a university course of study, although you may also need to write one as a professional researcher to apply for funding or other support. As a student, your study rationale also justifies how it fulfills the requirements for your degree program or course of study. Do research before you write your study rationale so that you can discuss the previous work your study builds on and explain its significance to your field. Thorough research is also important in the professional context because your rationale will likely become part of the contract if funding or support is approved. [1] X Research source

Describing What You Hope to Accomplish

Step 1 Define the problem that your study will address.

  • For example, suppose you want to study how working the night shift affects the academic performance of college students who are taking classes during the day. A narrow question would measure a specific impact based on a specific amount of hours worked.

Step 2 Discuss the methodology for your study.

  • Justify the methodology you're using. If there's another methodology that might accomplish the same result, describe it and explain why your methodology is superior — perhaps because it's more efficient, takes less time, or uses fewer resources. For example, you might get more information out of personal interviews, but creating an online questionnaire is more cost-effective.
  • Particularly if you're seeking funding or support, this section of your rationale will also include details about the cost of your study and the facilities or resources you'll need. [3] X Research source

Tip: A methodology that is more complex, difficult, or expensive requires more justification than one that is straightforward and simple.

Step 3 Predict the results of your study.

  • For example, if you're studying the effect of working the night shift on academic performance, you might hypothesize that working 4 or more nights a week lowers students' grade point averages by more than 1 point.

Step 4 Explain what you hope your study will accomplish.

  • Use action words, such as "quantify" or "establish," when writing your goals. For example, you might write that one goal of your study is to "quantify the degree to which working at night inhibits the academic performance of college students."
  • If you are a professional researcher, your objectives may need to be more specific and concrete. The organization you submit your rationale to will have details about the requirements to apply for funding and other support. [5] X Research source

Explaining Your Study's Significance

Step 1 Discuss the previous work that your study will build on.

  • Going into extensive detail usually isn't necessary. Instead, highlight the findings of the most significant work in the field that addressed a similar question.
  • Provide references so that your readers can examine the previous studies for themselves and compare them to your proposed study.

Step 2 Describe the shortcomings of the previous work.

  • Methodological limitations: Previous studies failed to measure the variables appropriately or used a research design that had problems or biases
  • Contextual limitations: Previous studies aren't relevant because circumstances have changed regarding the variables measured
  • Conceptual limitations: Previous studies are too tied up in a specific ideology or framework

Step 3 Identify the ways your study will correct those shortcomings.

  • For example, if a previous study had been conducted to support a university's policy that full-time students were not permitted to work, you might argue that it was too tied up in that specific ideology and that this biased the results. You could then point out that your study is not intended to advance any particular policy.

Tip: If you have to defend or present your rationale to an advisor or team, try to anticipate the questions they might ask you and include the answers to as many of those questions as possible.

Including Academic Proposal Information

Step 1 Provide your credentials or experience as a student or researcher.

  • As a student, you might emphasize your major and specific classes you've taken that give you particular knowledge about the subject of your study. If you've served as a research assistant on a study with a similar methodology or covering a similar research question, you might mention that as well.
  • If you're a professional researcher, focus on the experience you have in a particular field as well as the studies you've done in the past. If you have done studies with a similar methodology that were important in your field, you might mention those as well.

Tip: If you don't have any particular credentials or experience that are relevant to your study, tell the readers of your rationale what drew you to this particular topic and how you became interested in it.

Step 2 State any guidelines required by your degree program or field.

  • For example, if you are planning to conduct the study as fulfillment of the research requirement for your degree program, you might discuss any specific guidelines for that research requirement and list how your study meets those criteria.

Step 3 List the credits you intend your study to fulfill.

  • In most programs, there will be specific wording for you to include in your rationale if you're submitting it for a certain number of credits. Your instructor or advisor can help make sure you've worded this appropriately.

Study Rationale Outline and Example

parts of rationale in research paper

Expert Q&A

  • This article presents an overview of how to write a study rationale. Check with your instructor or advisor for any specific requirements that apply to your particular project. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write

  • ↑ https://research.com/research/how-to-write-research-methodology
  • ↑ https://ris.leeds.ac.uk/applying-for-funding/developing-your-proposal/resources-and-tips/key-questions-for-researchers/
  • ↑ https://www.cwauthors.com/article/how-to-write-the-rationale-for-your-research
  • ↑ http://www.writingcentre.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/167/Rationale.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/write-research-plan
  • ↑ https://www.esc.edu/degree-planning-academic-review/degree-program/student-degree-planning-guide/rationale-essay-writing/writing-tips/

About This Article

Jake Adams

  • Send fan mail to authors

Did this article help you?

parts of rationale in research paper

Featured Articles

How to Get a Nice Body

Trending Articles

Confront a Cheater

Watch Articles

Make Sugar Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Don’t miss out! Sign up for

wikiHow’s newsletter

How to write the rationale for research?

How to write the rationale for research?

parts of rationale in research paper

How to evaluate bias in meta-analysis within meta-epidemiological studies?

parts of rationale in research paper

How to handle discrepancies while you collect data for systemic review

The research’s rationale describes why the study was undertaken (in a thesis or article) or why the study should be accompanied (in a proposal). This implies that the research justification should explain why the study is/was necessary to the reader or examiner. It is sometimes known as a study’s “purpose” or “justification.” While this is not difficult to understand in and of itself, you may be questioning how the study’s reasoning differs from your research question or the explanation of the problem of your study and how it turns into the remainder of your thesis or research paper.

Introduction

The rationale of your research is the objective of the study. The reason should explain why the research was started in the first place. It’s an essential part of your work since it demonstrates the significance and uniqueness of your research. As a result, it’s often referred to as the study’s reason. Your analysis would be arranged in an ideal world: observation, justification, hypothesis, objectives, methodology, findings, and conclusions. To begin writing your rationale, offer background information on all the research on your study topic. Then consider, “What is missing?” or “What are the research’s unanswered questions?” Identify the gaps in the literature and explain why they must be filled. Finally, it resolves to serve as the foundation for your investigation.

A study’s reason might be provided before and after the investigation.

  • Before : The reason is essential to your research proposal since it represents the work plan you developed before carrying out your investigation.
  • After : When the investigation is over, the justification is given in a literature research paper or thesis to explain why you choose to focus on the specific subject. In this case, you would connect your research project’s logic to the study’s goals and outcomes.

parts of rationale in research paper

The rationale for the study

Consider a research rationale, a set of arguments explaining why a study is required and significant in light of its context. It is also the study’s reason, rationale, or thesis statement. Essentially, you want to persuade your reader that you are not repeating what others have already stated and that your perspective did not emerge from thin air. You’ve researched and found a knowledge gap that this justification now fills.

Basic elements of the research rationale

Typically, a clinical research justification is provided near the conclusion of the introduction. This area is prominent in high-impact-factor international publications such as Nature and Science. There is usually a line after the introduction that begins with “here we show” or “in this paper, we demonstrate.” This paragraph is part of a logical sequence of information, which is often (but not always) presented in the following order:

  • Research background : What brings you here? Present (and cite) previous research and data on the subject.
  • A gap in the literature : Which gaps haven’t been addressed based on the background evidence presented? Or, what is the problem that needs to be solved/process that needs to be improved?
  • Research rationale : Why is it critical to fill these gaps or to solve/improve this problem/process?
  • Research objectives and methodology : What will you investigate (your research question/goal)? How are you going to approach it (methods)?

parts of rationale in research paper

Hope to accomplish

Describe the issue that your research will address: The problem your study will address, also known as your research subject, informs the reader about the scope of your investigation. Your research topic should be as detailed as possible, especially in a professional environment. In addition, specific research topics are more likely to lead to financing opportunities for your project.

Discourse the methodology for your study:  Explain to your audience how you intend to conduct your clinical research and offer a broad timeline for each stage. Include details about how you plan to contact research participants if your study spans several months or years.

Predict the results of your study:  A hypothesis isn’t always necessary, but it might assist in supporting your case. If you can make a more than speculative forecast, include it in your rationale. To represent your research topic, make your hypothesis as detailed as possible.

Clarify what you hope your study will accomplish:  Your clinical research should uncover something fresh that has not before been explored in your sector. Finding something that no one else has discovered isn’t enough. You must also explain that your findings will significantly advance your field or that they will clear up a past misunderstanding.

parts of rationale in research paper

In a journal-accepted research manuscript, your justification should be no more than a few words long (no longer than one brief paragraph). A longer description is generally allowed in a manuscript or thesis; depending on the length and type of your material, this might be up to several paragraphs lengthy. A wholly new or unique technique may require a more prolonged and extensive justification than one that deviates somewhat from well-established procedures and approaches.

It is critical to discuss the reason for your study to understand the relevance and uniqueness of your research effort. You will have persuaded readers of the significance of your work once you have adequately expressed the reason(s) for your study. Defining the justification research is a critical component of the research process and academic writing in any reasoning research endeavour . This is what you use in your research paper for the first time to explain the research problem inside your dissertation subject. This will give you the research reason you require to define your research topic and potential outcomes.

About Pubrica

Pubrica’s research team generates scientific and medical research articles that practitioners and authors may use as a resource. Pubrica medical writers help you create and modify the introduction by advising the reader of any defects or holes in the chosen research subject. Our experts are familiar with the structure that begins with a broad topic and then continues to a problem and background before going on to a targeted issue to provide the hypothesis.

  • Huggett, Kathryn N., and William B. Jeffries. “Overview of active learning research and rationale for active learning.”  How-to Guide for Active Learning . Springer, Cham, 2021. 1-7.
  • Bandrowski, Anita, et al. “Sparc data structure: Rationale and design of a fair standard for biomedical research data.”  bioRxiv  (2021).
  • Andriotis, Konstantinos. “RATIONALE FOR LAUNCHING A NEW JOURNAL.”  Journal of Qualitative Research  1.1 (2020): 1-6.
  • Russell, David R. “Retreading, Non-ing, and a TPC Rationale for Sub-disciplining in Writing Studies.”  College English  82.5 (2020): 472-483.

pubrica-academy

pubrica-academy

Related posts.

Prolonged use of masks during covid 19 pandemic

Causes of Prolonged Use of Masks during Covid- 19 Pandemic 

dsg

How to Structure your research article

parts of rationale in research paper

How Evidence-based practice (EBP) can be translated as health communication or patient education materials

Comments are closed.

  • Privacy Policy

Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Research Paper Citation

How to Cite Research Paper – All Formats and...

Data collection

Data Collection – Methods Types and Examples

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Research Paper Formats

Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and...

Research Process

Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Research Design

Research Design – Types, Methods and Examples

  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 4. The Introduction
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The introduction leads the reader from a general subject area to a particular topic of inquiry. It establishes the scope, context, and significance of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the research problem supported by a hypothesis or a set of questions, explaining briefly the methodological approach used to examine the research problem, highlighting the potential outcomes your study can reveal, and outlining the remaining structure and organization of the paper.

Key Elements of the Research Proposal. Prepared under the direction of the Superintendent and by the 2010 Curriculum Design and Writing Team. Baltimore County Public Schools.

Importance of a Good Introduction

Think of the introduction as a mental road map that must answer for the reader these four questions:

  • What was I studying?
  • Why was this topic important to investigate?
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study?
  • How will this study advance new knowledge or new ways of understanding?

According to Reyes, there are three overarching goals of a good introduction: 1) ensure that you summarize prior studies about the topic in a manner that lays a foundation for understanding the research problem; 2) explain how your study specifically addresses gaps in the literature, insufficient consideration of the topic, or other deficiency in the literature; and, 3) note the broader theoretical, empirical, and/or policy contributions and implications of your research.

A well-written introduction is important because, quite simply, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The opening paragraphs of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions about the logic of your argument, your writing style, the overall quality of your research, and, ultimately, the validity of your findings and conclusions. A vague, disorganized, or error-filled introduction will create a negative impression, whereas, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will lead your readers to think highly of your analytical skills, your writing style, and your research approach. All introductions should conclude with a brief paragraph that describes the organization of the rest of the paper.

Hirano, Eliana. “Research Article Introductions in English for Specific Purposes: A Comparison between Brazilian, Portuguese, and English.” English for Specific Purposes 28 (October 2009): 240-250; Samraj, B. “Introductions in Research Articles: Variations Across Disciplines.” English for Specific Purposes 21 (2002): 1–17; Introductions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; “Writing Introductions.” In Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide. Peter Redman. 4th edition. (London: Sage, 2011), pp. 63-70; Reyes, Victoria. Demystifying the Journal Article. Inside Higher Education.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Structure and Approach

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions for the reader:

  • What is this?
  • Why should I read it?
  • What do you want me to think about / consider doing / react to?

Think of the structure of the introduction as an inverted triangle of information that lays a foundation for understanding the research problem. Organize the information so as to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the introduction, then narrow your analysis to more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your research problem and the rationale for studying it [often written as a series of key questions to be addressed or framed as a hypothesis or set of assumptions to be tested] and, whenever possible, a description of the potential outcomes your study can reveal.

These are general phases associated with writing an introduction: 1.  Establish an area to research by:

  • Highlighting the importance of the topic, and/or
  • Making general statements about the topic, and/or
  • Presenting an overview on current research on the subject.

2.  Identify a research niche by:

  • Opposing an existing assumption, and/or
  • Revealing a gap in existing research, and/or
  • Formulating a research question or problem, and/or
  • Continuing a disciplinary tradition.

3.  Place your research within the research niche by:

  • Stating the intent of your study,
  • Outlining the key characteristics of your study,
  • Describing important results, and
  • Giving a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

NOTE:   It is often useful to review the introduction late in the writing process. This is appropriate because outcomes are unknown until you've completed the study. After you complete writing the body of the paper, go back and review introductory descriptions of the structure of the paper, the method of data gathering, the reporting and analysis of results, and the conclusion. Reviewing and, if necessary, rewriting the introduction ensures that it correctly matches the overall structure of your final paper.

II.  Delimitations of the Study

Delimitations refer to those characteristics that limit the scope and define the conceptual boundaries of your research . This is determined by the conscious exclusionary and inclusionary decisions you make about how to investigate the research problem. In other words, not only should you tell the reader what it is you are studying and why, but you must also acknowledge why you rejected alternative approaches that could have been used to examine the topic.

Obviously, the first limiting step was the choice of research problem itself. However, implicit are other, related problems that could have been chosen but were rejected. These should be noted in the conclusion of your introduction. For example, a delimitating statement could read, "Although many factors can be understood to impact the likelihood young people will vote, this study will focus on socioeconomic factors related to the need to work full-time while in school." The point is not to document every possible delimiting factor, but to highlight why previously researched issues related to the topic were not addressed.

Examples of delimitating choices would be:

  • The key aims and objectives of your study,
  • The research questions that you address,
  • The variables of interest [i.e., the various factors and features of the phenomenon being studied],
  • The method(s) of investigation,
  • The time period your study covers, and
  • Any relevant alternative theoretical frameworks that could have been adopted.

Review each of these decisions. Not only do you clearly establish what you intend to accomplish in your research, but you should also include a declaration of what the study does not intend to cover. In the latter case, your exclusionary decisions should be based upon criteria understood as, "not interesting"; "not directly relevant"; “too problematic because..."; "not feasible," and the like. Make this reasoning explicit!

NOTE:   Delimitations refer to the initial choices made about the broader, overall design of your study and should not be confused with documenting the limitations of your study discovered after the research has been completed.

ANOTHER NOTE : Do not view delimitating statements as admitting to an inherent failing or shortcoming in your research. They are an accepted element of academic writing intended to keep the reader focused on the research problem by explicitly defining the conceptual boundaries and scope of your study. It addresses any critical questions in the reader's mind of, "Why the hell didn't the author examine this?"

III.  The Narrative Flow

Issues to keep in mind that will help the narrative flow in your introduction :

  • Your introduction should clearly identify the subject area of interest . A simple strategy to follow is to use key words from your title in the first few sentences of the introduction. This will help focus the introduction on the topic at the appropriate level and ensures that you get to the subject matter quickly without losing focus, or discussing information that is too general.
  • Establish context by providing a brief and balanced review of the pertinent published literature that is available on the subject. The key is to summarize for the reader what is known about the specific research problem before you did your analysis. This part of your introduction should not represent a comprehensive literature review--that comes next. It consists of a general review of the important, foundational research literature [with citations] that establishes a foundation for understanding key elements of the research problem. See the drop-down menu under this tab for " Background Information " regarding types of contexts.
  • Clearly state the hypothesis that you investigated . When you are first learning to write in this format it is okay, and actually preferable, to use a past statement like, "The purpose of this study was to...." or "We investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the...."
  • Why did you choose this kind of research study or design? Provide a clear statement of the rationale for your approach to the problem studied. This will usually follow your statement of purpose in the last paragraph of the introduction.

IV.  Engaging the Reader

A research problem in the social sciences can come across as dry and uninteresting to anyone unfamiliar with the topic . Therefore, one of the goals of your introduction is to make readers want to read your paper. Here are several strategies you can use to grab the reader's attention:

  • Open with a compelling story . Almost all research problems in the social sciences, no matter how obscure or esoteric , are really about the lives of people. Telling a story that humanizes an issue can help illuminate the significance of the problem and help the reader empathize with those affected by the condition being studied.
  • Include a strong quotation or a vivid, perhaps unexpected, anecdote . During your review of the literature, make note of any quotes or anecdotes that grab your attention because they can used in your introduction to highlight the research problem in a captivating way.
  • Pose a provocative or thought-provoking question . Your research problem should be framed by a set of questions to be addressed or hypotheses to be tested. However, a provocative question can be presented in the beginning of your introduction that challenges an existing assumption or compels the reader to consider an alternative viewpoint that helps establish the significance of your study. 
  • Describe a puzzling scenario or incongruity . This involves highlighting an interesting quandary concerning the research problem or describing contradictory findings from prior studies about a topic. Posing what is essentially an unresolved intellectual riddle about the problem can engage the reader's interest in the study.
  • Cite a stirring example or case study that illustrates why the research problem is important . Draw upon the findings of others to demonstrate the significance of the problem and to describe how your study builds upon or offers alternatives ways of investigating this prior research.

NOTE:   It is important that you choose only one of the suggested strategies for engaging your readers. This avoids giving an impression that your paper is more flash than substance and does not distract from the substance of your study.

Freedman, Leora  and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Introduction. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Introductions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Introductions. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; “Writing Introductions.” In Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide . Peter Redman. 4th edition. (London: Sage, 2011), pp. 63-70; Resources for Writers: Introduction Strategies. Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharpling, Gerald. Writing an Introduction. Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick; Samraj, B. “Introductions in Research Articles: Variations Across Disciplines.” English for Specific Purposes 21 (2002): 1–17; Swales, John and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Skills and Tasks . 2nd edition. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004 ; Writing Your Introduction. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University.

Writing Tip

Avoid the "Dictionary" Introduction

Giving the dictionary definition of words related to the research problem may appear appropriate because it is important to define specific terminology that readers may be unfamiliar with. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and a general dictionary is not a particularly authoritative source because it doesn't take into account the context of your topic and doesn't offer particularly detailed information. Also, placed in the context of a particular discipline, a term or concept may have a different meaning than what is found in a general dictionary. If you feel that you must seek out an authoritative definition, use a subject specific dictionary or encyclopedia [e.g., if you are a sociology student, search for dictionaries of sociology]. A good database for obtaining definitive definitions of concepts or terms is Credo Reference .

Saba, Robert. The College Research Paper. Florida International University; Introductions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

Another Writing Tip

When Do I Begin?

A common question asked at the start of any paper is, "Where should I begin?" An equally important question to ask yourself is, "When do I begin?" Research problems in the social sciences rarely rest in isolation from history. Therefore, it is important to lay a foundation for understanding the historical context underpinning the research problem. However, this information should be brief and succinct and begin at a point in time that illustrates the study's overall importance. For example, a study that investigates coffee cultivation and export in West Africa as a key stimulus for local economic growth needs to describe the beginning of exporting coffee in the region and establishing why economic growth is important. You do not need to give a long historical explanation about coffee exports in Africa. If a research problem requires a substantial exploration of the historical context, do this in the literature review section. In your introduction, make note of this as part of the "roadmap" [see below] that you use to describe the organization of your paper.

Introductions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; “Writing Introductions.” In Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide . Peter Redman. 4th edition. (London: Sage, 2011), pp. 63-70.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Always End with a Roadmap

The final paragraph or sentences of your introduction should forecast your main arguments and conclusions and provide a brief description of the rest of the paper [the "roadmap"] that let's the reader know where you are going and what to expect. A roadmap is important because it helps the reader place the research problem within the context of their own perspectives about the topic. In addition, concluding your introduction with an explicit roadmap tells the reader that you have a clear understanding of the structural purpose of your paper. In this way, the roadmap acts as a type of promise to yourself and to your readers that you will follow a consistent and coherent approach to addressing the topic of inquiry. Refer to it often to help keep your writing focused and organized.

Cassuto, Leonard. “On the Dissertation: How to Write the Introduction.” The Chronicle of Higher Education , May 28, 2018; Radich, Michael. A Student's Guide to Writing in East Asian Studies . (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Writing n. d.), pp. 35-37.

  • << Previous: Executive Summary
  • Next: The C.A.R.S. Model >>
  • Last Updated: May 9, 2024 11:05 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide

Get science-backed answers as you write with Paperpal's Research feature

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.

The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.

The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your research topic
  • Capture reader interest
  • Summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Define your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.

  • Break through writer’s block. Write your research paper introduction with Paperpal Copilot

Table of Contents

What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, craft a compelling introduction section with paperpal. try now, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, craft accurate research paper introductions with paperpal. start writing now, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.

The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader

  • Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
  • Context: Background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted

The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:

  • It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
  • It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
  • It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
  • It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.

What are the parts of introduction in the research?

A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2

  • What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
  • What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
  • What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.

How to write a research paper introduction?

The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.

The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:

  • Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
  • Describe the background of the topic
  • Present an overview of current research on the topic

Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.

  • Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
  • Formulate the research question

Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.

  • State the purpose of your study
  • Highlight the key characteristics of your study
  • Describe important results
  • Highlight the novelty of the study.
  • Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.

Write a Research Paper Introduction in Minutes with Paperpal

Paperpal Copilot is a generative AI-powered academic writing assistant. It’s trained on millions of published scholarly articles and over 20 years of STM experience. Paperpal Copilot helps authors write better and faster with:

  • Real-time writing suggestions
  • In-depth checks for language and grammar correction
  • Paraphrasing to add variety, ensure academic tone, and trim text to meet journal limits

With Paperpal Copilot, create a research paper introduction effortlessly. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how Paperpal transforms your initial ideas into a polished and publication-ready introduction.

parts of rationale in research paper

How to use Paperpal to write the Introduction section

Step 1: Sign up on Paperpal and click on the Copilot feature, under this choose Outlines > Research Article > Introduction

Step 2: Add your unstructured notes or initial draft, whether in English or another language, to Paperpal, which is to be used as the base for your content.

Step 3: Fill in the specifics, such as your field of study, brief description or details you want to include, which will help the AI generate the outline for your Introduction.

Step 4: Use this outline and sentence suggestions to develop your content, adding citations where needed and modifying it to align with your specific research focus.

Step 5: Turn to Paperpal’s granular language checks to refine your content, tailor it to reflect your personal writing style, and ensure it effectively conveys your message.

You can use the same process to develop each section of your article, and finally your research paper in half the time and without any of the stress.

The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.

The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.

When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper

Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.

The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4

  • Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
  • Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
  • Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
  • Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.

To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, choose trusted AI academic writing assistants like Paperpal to effortlessly craft your research paper introduction and other sections of your research article.

1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.

2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.

3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.

4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free!  

Related Reads:

  • Scientific Writing Style Guides Explained
  • 5 Reasons for Rejection After Peer Review
  • Ethical Research Practices For Research with Human Subjects
  • 8 Most Effective Ways to Increase Motivation for Thesis Writing 

Practice vs. Practise: Learn the Difference

Academic paraphrasing: why paperpal’s rewrite should be your first choice , you may also like, academic editing: how to self-edit academic text with..., measuring academic success: definition & strategies for excellence, phd qualifying exam: tips for success , ai in education: it’s time to change the..., is it ethical to use ai-generated abstracts without..., what are journal guidelines on using generative ai..., quillbot review: features, pricing, and free alternatives, what is an academic paper types and elements , should you use ai tools like chatgpt for..., 9 steps to publish a research paper.

IMAGES

  1. How to write the rationale for research?

    parts of rationale in research paper

  2. [DOWNLOADABLE] How to write the rationale of your research

    parts of rationale in research paper

  3. How to write rationale in research

    parts of rationale in research paper

  4. What is a Rationale

    parts of rationale in research paper

  5. How to write the rationale for research?

    parts of rationale in research paper

  6. Rationale research paper

    parts of rationale in research paper

VIDEO

  1. identifying the three elements of a rationale in a research paper

  2. PRACTICAL RESEARCH 1: WRITING RATIONALE OF THE STUDY (STUDENT REPORTING)

  3. 02_How to Set the Background of Your Article, Write Rationale and Objective(s)?

  4. Stuck on Research Methodology? #irfannawaz #phd #researcheverything #researchtips #researchmethods

  5. Understanding the Rationale in Research Papers

  6. Research Introduction

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

    The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the "purpose" or "justification" of a study.

  2. How to Write the Rationale for a Research Paper

    The rationale for your research is the reason why you decided to conduct the study in the first place. The motivation for asking the question. The knowledge gap. This is often the most significant part of your publication. It justifies the study's purpose, novelty, and significance for science or society.

  3. How do you Write the Rationale for Research?

    Having defined your research rationale, you would then go on to define your hypothesis and your research objectives. Final Comments. Defining the rationale research, is a key part of the research process and academic writing in any research project. You use this in your research paper to firstly explain the research problem within your ...

  4. How to write the rationale for research?| Editage Insights

    The rationale of your research is the reason for conducting the study. The rationale should answer the need for conducting the said research. It is a very important part of your publication as it justifies the significance and novelty of the study. That is why it is also referred to as the justification of the study.

  5. Writing a rationale

    A rationale can be provided by offering longer essay-based support for why it is important to do something in a certain way - in that sense, a whole paper can be a rationale. However, a more specific or focused way of thinking about a rationale is how we can overtly show we are justifying our choices with the language we use.

  6. How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

    Creating a rationale is a vital part of the research process, as it not only sets the stage for your study but also convinces readers of the value and necessity of your work. ... Typically, the rationale is written toward the end of the introduction section of your paper, providing a logical lead-in to your research questions and methodology . ...

  7. PDF Explaining rationale

    Explaining rationale. Key points: Point of an introduction or specific aims is to motivate the rest of the document. State the research question. In a paper, make it correspond to the conclusion. In a proposal, make it encompass all the aims. Explain why you did/ will do the research. How it relates to an important problem.

  8. Rationale for the Study

    Rationale for the study, also referred to as justification for the study, is reason why you have conducted your study in the first place. This part in your paper needs to explain uniqueness and importance of your research. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points: 1. The research needs ...

  9. How to write rationale in research

    Research rationale helps to ideate new topics which are less addressed. Additionally, it offers fresh perspectives on existing research and discusses the shortcomings in previous studies. It shows that your study aims to contribute to filling these gaps and advancing the field's understanding. 3. Originality and Novelty.

  10. How to write the rationale for your research

    The rationale for one's research is the justification for undertaking a given study. It states the reason (s) why a researcher chooses to focus on the topic in question, including what the significance is and what gaps the research intends to fill. In short, it is an explanation that rationalises the need for the study.

  11. Formulating a convincing rationale for a research study

    Explaining the purpose of a research study and providing a compelling rationale is an important part of any coaching research project, enabling the work to be set in the context of both existing ...

  12. Easy Ways to Write a Study Rationale: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    3. Identify the ways your study will correct those shortcomings. Carefully explain the ways in which your study will answer the research question in a way that the previous studies failed to do so. Be persuasive to convince your readers that your study will contribute something both useful and necessary to the field.

  13. Rationale: the necessary ingredient for contributions to theory and

    Amy Javernick-Will. One of the most frequent criticisms of manuscripts is the lack of contributions to theory and/or practice. Often, these papers neglect a critical component of the paper: rationale. The rationale is necessary to justify the need for the research and the approach taken. We argue that contributions flow naturally if the ...

  14. How to write the rationale for research?

    In brief. The research's rationale describes why the study was undertaken (in a thesis or article) or why the study should be accompanied (in a proposal). This implies that the research justification should explain why the study is/was necessary to the reader or examiner. It is sometimes known as a study's "purpose" or "justification.".

  15. Can you give an example of the "rationale of a study"?

    Answer: The rationale of your research offers the reason for addressing a particular problem with a spscific solution. Your research proposal needs to explain the reasons why you are conducting the study: this forms the rationale for your research, also referred to as the justification of the study. The rationale should explain what you hope to ...

  16. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 5th edition.Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

  17. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new ...

  18. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    The introduction leads the reader from a general subject area to a particular topic of inquiry. It establishes the scope, context, and significance of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work in the form of the research problem supported by a hypothesis or a set of questions, explaining briefly ...

  19. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  20. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management".

  21. Q: What is the last paragraph in a rationale?

    Answer: Actually, the rationale (also known as the justification) of a study is itself about a paragraph long. The preceding paragraphs, in reality, are to do with the background, which provides the context for the study and also references relevant studies in the field or topic. So, in a way, the entire background is the rationale for the study.

  22. How to Write a Literature Review

    Examples of literature reviews. Step 1 - Search for relevant literature. Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources. Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps. Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure. Step 5 - Write your literature review.

  23. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

    Define your specific research problem and problem statement. Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study. Give an overview of the paper's structure. The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper.