The introduction is the most important part of an academic paper. Beyond summarizing a paper’s findings, it is also the author’s first and best opportunity to “sell” the paper to readers with varying levels of interest. Our purpose in this commentary is to provide a framework for writing high-quality introductions. We present a specific structure and also provide guidance regarding content—both what to include and what not to include. Finally, we offer recommendations for revising the introduction as a paper evolves and present additional suggestions for writing in general. Although our primary intended audience is Ph.D. students and early assistant professors, experienced faculty members may benefit as well.

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