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Introduction

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The introduction provides the background information needed for the rest of your report to be understood. It is usually half to three-quarters of a page in length. The purpose of the introduction is to set the context for your report, provide sufficient background information for the reader to be able to follow the information presented, and inform the reader about how that information will be presented.

The introduction includes:

  • the background to the topic of your report to set your work in its broad context
  • a clear statement of the purpose of the report, usually to present the results of your research, investigation, or design
  • a clear statement of the aims of the project
  • technical background necessary to understand the report; e.g. theory or assumptions
  • a brief outline of the structure of the report if appropriate (this would not be necessary in a short report)

Example introduction 1

Introduction from a report entitled "A Review of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Actions and Opportunities: the Current Status of the Kyoto Protocol".

1. Introduction

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that keeps the earth's surface warm. Greenhouse gases trap heat from solar radiation, analogous to the way glass panes trap heat in a greenhouse. Due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, the greenhouse effect has been significantly augmented, causing a rise in the earth's surface temperature. This temperature rise has led to climate change, causing frequent natural disasters. This has generated increasing awareness of the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through international and domestic initiatives.

The aims of this project are to examine the Kyoto Protocol and the effect it would have on participating countries. Another aim is to investigate actions already taken by three industrialized countries, namely Australia, the United States, and Canada.


Example introduction 2

Introduction from a report entitled "Preliminary Design of a Bridge". In this report, two alternative designs are presented and evaluated according to the given criteria, and then the better design selected.

1. Introduction

A dual carriageway bridge with two traffic lanes in each direction is to be constructed on the Calder Freeway crossing Slaty Creek in the Shire of Macedon Ranges in Victoria. The bridge is to span 125 metres between man-made compacted fill embankments, and is approximately 15 metres above the river surface, with a grade of 0.056 m/m.

This report presents two possible concept designs for the bridge. In evaluating these designs, the following criteria are considered: construction method, construction and maintenance costs, possible disruption to traffic during construction, the durability and the aesthetics of the bridge.

The two conceptual designs are presented in the form of sketches of the elevations and cross-sections of the structures.

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Contextual background

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Aims

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Contextual background

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Technical background (assumptions)

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Purpose of report

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Content structure

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