Background of the study in research: guide on how to write one

Background of the study in research: guide on how to write one

The background of the study is one of the key aspects you need to get right when you are writing a research paper. It is the key to introducing your readers to the topic of your research, and it is different from the lead part. Here is how to write the background of the study in research studies.

Background of the study
What is background of the study and how to write it. Photo: (modified by author)
Source: Original

Here is all you need to know about the study's science background and how to write one.

What is the background of the study?

Background of the study meaning: The background of the study is a part of the research provided in the introduction section of the paper. It is a compilation of adequate information that is based on the analysis of the problem or proposed argument, the steps and methods needed to arrive at the design, the implementation of the results achieved, and feasible solutions.

It is different from the introduction. The introduction only contains preliminary information about your research question or thesis topic. It is simply an overview of the research question or thesis topic. But the background of your study is more in-depth - it explains why your research topic or thesis is worth your readers' time.

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The background of the study will provide your readers with context to the information discussed throughout your research paper. It can include both relevant and essential studies.

The background of the study is used to prove that a thesis question is relevant and also to develop the thesis. In summary, a good background of the study is the work done to determine that your research question or thesis topic is a problem and that the method used is the one required to solve the issue or answer the question.

What is the importance of the background of the study?

The background of the study helps your reader determine if you have a basic understanding of the research problem being investigated and promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis and findings.

Background of the study
Read the guide on how to write a background for a research paper. Photo:,
Source: UGC

How to write the background of the study in a research paper

  • Stage 1. At the beginning stages of formulating your thesis, many of the issues are still very unclear, and you need to solidify your thoughts, so you should conduct preliminary research. This will help you put forward a research question or thesis statement that will lead to more relevant and specific research. You can visit a library, check the internet and other electronic databases to find preliminary sources such as scholarly journals and books about your background of the study.
  • Stage 2. Read and gather the info you need to develop - a thesis statement or research question that will guide your thesis. You should take notes and keep an accurate track of the sources of information you have used up to this point. Many people use note cards, but it’s easier and better to use electronic note-taking programs in this electronic age. Just make sure to use a form that is comfortable and easier for you. Also, make sure you cite the source of every piece of information you are using on each note so that you won’t forget where you got the information from, just in case you want to use it in your thesis.
  • Stage 3. Develop and pen down the research question or thesis statement. Think about the things you’ve read and searched and the issues or solutions that have been found by other people, and then formulate your stance or opinion on the issue. Write out your position or opinion as an authoritative statement. You may conduct more detailed research at this point and look for more sources that are more relevant to your research question or thesis.
  • Stage 4. Complete your research using the thesis statement as your guide. Find sources that are relevant to your specific thesis and provide more insight into your research question using these sources. Your sources should provide information on your thesis's history and past research.
  • Stage 5. As you create your background study, create relevant sections. When you start writing, create five sections with the key issues, major findings, and controversies surrounding your thesis, and a section that provides evaluation and a conclusion.
  • Stage 6. Identify the further studies that need to be done in the conclusion section. Also, mention possible solutions to the issues that have not been considered in the past.
  • Stage 7. Revise and edit your background of the study carefully. You can write out several drafts of your work, revising, editing, and adding more information before coming up with the final one. Make sure each draft is better than the previous one. You can also ask someone else to help you go through it.

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Background of the study sample
Define background research. Photo:, @Vlada Karpovich
Source: UGC

The writing format

You can follow this format when writing your background of the study:

  • Start by giving a general overview of your thesis topic and introduce the key ideas you will use throughout your thesis.
  • Then, give precise information about all the methodologies used in the research. This can take up to several paragraphs depending on the individual and research question or thesis topic.
  • Cite your sources where necessary to avoid plagiarism.
  • Then you can briefly introduce the experiment by describing your choice of methodology, why you have decided to use this methodology instead of others, and the objective of the methodology.

What does a good background of the study example contain?

A good example of the background of the study is one that:

  • Contains reviews of the area being researched
  • Has currently available information about the problem of the study
  • Captures the previous studies on the issue
  • Indicates the history of the issue of the study from previous research done on the subject

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A good background of the study sample has all these qualities.

How is the background of the study different from the literature review?

The section of literature review follows the background of the study section. It is the second section of your thesis. The literature review supports the study section's background by providing evidence for the proposed hypothesis.

Hopefully, this information on the background of the study has been helpful to you. Read other useful posts on our website to improve your writing skills.

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But where did this 'rule' even come from? And does it hold water? Find out by reading's take on the usage of 'but' at the beginning of a sentence.


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