The old adage “You have one chance to make a good first impression” applies to job applicants, cocktail party attendees, and authors of clinical articles. The introduction is not a data dump or an exercise in mental throat clearing. A proper introduction has a definite format and sets the tone for the remainder of the article.
A previous article provided some insight on writing a clear and concise 250-word structured abstract for a clinical article.1 Using the same fictional example, I hope to show how to write a good introduction, the first part of the full article in the IMRaD style (ie, introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion). Again, I caution, I am offering suggestions and food for thought, not a template, for manuscripts based on clinical hypothesis-testing trials.