We explain what is the introduction of a project and how to carry it out. Common mistakes to avoid and some examples.
What is the introduction of a project?
The term introduction comes from the verb introduce , which means that, within a set, the section that bears that name will be responsible for introducing or delving the reader into the subject and objective of the project . This section may exist with the names of preface, preliminary or prologue, even if they are not exactly synonyms.
In all cases, its function is to offer the reader all that information , concepts, contextual data, explanatory information or general framework of the issue that may be necessary to enter the topic discussed in a good way. In other words, we talk about the reader’s first contact with the written work, so it will be his starting point in the subject.
Every introduction must adapt to the spirit of the research that precedes and of which it is a part, that is, it must be at the same time the initial moment of the text (be it book, essay , monograph , etc.) and a separate chapter. It talks about the rest of the work, relevant information is advanced, possible weaknesses are noticed, or the reasons behind the project are simply explained .
Therefore, there is no single or universal set of points or themes that correspond to all the introductions, nor a single way to focus them. They can be written from the author’s perspective, even in the first person of the singular (I) or of the plural (we), or adhere to a more detached and formal tone, in the third impersonal person (“it was done”, “it was tried”).
How is the introduction of a project done?
Ideally when writing an introduction is to ask questions about the project, and then try to answer them in the most didactic way possible. For example:
- In what context does the project appear? What tradition do you enroll in?
- What motivates you ? Where did the idea come from?
- What previous experiences were there, if any?
- What objectives does the project propose and why are they important?
- How important is the theme of the project in today’s world?
Once the appropriate questions have been formulated, the next step will be to organize them from the most general to the most specific, or according to a criterion that is attractive to us and that allows us to compose a useful text for the reader.
The challenge will be to make a fluid text that does not advance to the trompicones, nor is it schematic. It is not a bad idea to help yourself with subtitles that divide it into the main topics to be touched: “background”, “objectives”, “importance of research”, etc.
One last thing to consider is that the introduction of a project is always the last thing written , since it is necessary to have an overall view of it, from the beginning to the end.
Common mistakes to avoid in an introduction
Some of the mistakes that are most commonly made when making an introduction are:
- Start with school phrases . Beginning with “This work has the purpose of …”, or some other similar formulas, will give the writing the appearance of a primary job. A good introduction will undoubtedly touch on the subject of the project, but it will have something more to say about it. Besides, it is a tremendously boring start.
- Wander too much . It’s okay to offer some contextual information, show broader perspectives and throw data from the past. But not for pages and pages, risking to bore or distract the reader, who will no longer know if he is reading your project, or Wikipedia. Get to the point.
- Have nothing to say . The opposite of the above: it is not normal for an introduction to occupy just half a page, because that suggests that you have nothing to say. The same happens if your three pages repeat the same thing over and over again, using different words. Find something to say: you may have to change your perspective, or give yourself some time to think, or maybe you should go over the context of which your project is a part.
Examples of project introduction
Next we will offer some possibilities of introduction, which could be developed and adapted to the nature of various projects:
- Starting from the etymology of a keyword in the project title, to offer the reader a history of the topic that covers the main background of the project, and ends by explaining the motivation of the project.
- Explain the main challenge of the area of interest of the project, detailing the previous attempts to address it and the failures they presented. Then explain how this inspired the authors of the project to propose a new way.
- Remember an anecdote of a personality recognized worldwide or at least in the specific area of the project theme, and then use part of that anecdote as justification of the objectives of the project, trying to pay tribute to the remembered person.
- List previous failed experiences , detailing what went wrong and why, and then tell a funny or interesting anecdote thanks to which the researchers turned on the light bulb, and can now try again error-free.
- Starting from a complex but central technical concept in the subject of the project, to provide the reader with a new way of understanding it, which will serve as a spirit for the rest of the research. Then it explains in detail what the unexpected results of the project could be.
Scope and limitations of a project
It is usual to talk about the scope and limitations of a project, either within the introduction or as a separate section. In any case, when talking about the scope of the project, we will only explain how far we want to go with it, that is, how far we will go on a subject that we know more vast and complicated than we plan to address it.
For example, if the project is about the elimination of fossil fuels , a titanic task, as we well know, it is logical to explain that we will be content to explore one of the many possible paths to do so.
By explaining the scope we can also explain the limitations of the project : budgetary , time , complexity, etc. We are not all-powerful, nor does anyone expect us to be, so we should explain what exactly we intend to do and within what limits.