I have to write a seven page reasearch paper. The topic is to interpret the plot, theme, or summary of a story. How should I start this paper?
Depending upon the focus of your paper and the author that you have chosen, you may need to provide some background information on the particular movement to which this author is an adherent. For instance, if you are analyzing a story by Ernest Hemingway, some explanation of Hemingway's nihilism is relative to the analysis and, therefore, belongs in your introduction.
By the fact that you have said "research" along with "interpret," the implication here is that you should include some background on the artistic style of the author.
While directly telling what the paper is about may be appropriate for an abstract, worthy manuals of instruction on writing discourage the use of saying that you are writing about.... It is suggested, rather, that you simply state information, thesis, etc. without first-person explanation.
For additional help, see the enotes site listed below
1. The first thing you need to do is to have a good thesis statement. A good thesis statement is debatable. The reason for this is simple. If the thesis is not debatable, then what can you say about it?
2. If you have a good thesis, then you need reasons why you believe your thesis is a good. Provide a few reasons.
3. Also try to think about what your readers might say in response, especially readers who may disagree with you. You want to anticipate their comments and address some of them. This show that you are a reasonable person.
Now let's go back to the beginning. To get things started, how about you write, at least mentally, "In this paper, I plan to argue that .... for these three reasons: ........"
If you can fill in the above sentence, you have a good thesis as well as reasons.