few studies have explored the unique stressors associated with PBL in professional education.” These statements help readers anticipate the goals of each study.
In the case of the second example, the Introduction ended with the following statement: “The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify stressors perceived by physiotherapy students during their initial unit of study in a problem-based program.” In laying out the issues and context, the Introduction should not contain broad generalizations or sweeping claims that will not be backed up in the paper's literature review.
This may seem incongruous, because many research problems originate from practical educational or clinical activities.
Questions often arise such as “I wonder why such an event did not [or did] happen?
By contrast, much of the research in medical education is not experimental.
In such cases it is more typical to state general research questions.
” For example, why didn't the residents' test-interpretation skills improve after they were given feedback?
There are also occasions when a study is undertaken simply to report or describe an event, e.g., pass rates for women versus men on high-stakes examinations such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1.
The purpose of the Introduction is to construct a logical “story” that will educate the reader about the study that follows.
The order of the components may vary, with the problem statement sometimes coming after the conceptual framework, while in other reports the problem statement may appear in the first paragraph to orient the reader about what to expect.