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Writing the introduction to a paper is obviously a fine art, since it sets up everything that follows. I have often heard it said that you should write the introduction last (or perhaps second to last, before the abstract). However, I was also recently told that writing the introduction as you go helps to keep on top of background material, and focus what you are doing.

Obviously this is a matter of taste and personal preference, but I wondered if people had advice or their own ideas about when you should write the introduction to a paper.

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Write it first to figure out what you want to do, then throw it away at the end and rewrite it completely to say what you ended up doing. –  Gunnar Magnusson Feb 21 at 16:45

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