Notes on writing an introduction

Notice how the authors rely on recent publications to begin the justification of their review, i.e. that a systematic review is lacking. They move quickly to point out and justify their goals:

One goal of this study is to identify which specific learning activities occur without any support and can be considered informal learning within the literature on teachers’ professional learning

Second, the antecedents of informal learning will be considered, because it is important to gain insight into how informal learning can be supported, encouraged, and developed

the final goal of this article is to examine differences with regard to the uptake of informal learning activities throughout the teaching career.

What you can't tell is when the goals emerged in the study. You can see that the authors use the existing literature as a justification for what they concentrated on.

You don't need multiple goals. But you might set them up after your analysis indicates some aspects of your review that you had not anticipated.

The focus of the review, teachers' informal learning requires that some words are used to clarify just what is meant by informal learning and here again, they rely on what the literature has reported. They make a couple of important decisions, i.e. not to make the formal/informal distinction a binary but to argue for a continuum between the two. They also draw upon research from professionals other than teachers.

The paper then moves to map the background to their interest in the antecedents of informal learning. As I have noted these themes would not have been decided in advance but emerged from their analysis. So this part of a paper is written alongside the analysis and mainly afterwards. The same goes for learning outcomes, although you could have predicted that would be there as a theme.

And ditto for the other themes in this section.

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