Q: How many words or pages do I need for writing the background of the study?
The background forms a part of the introduction section of the paper. It has to set the context of the study, by introducing the research problem, talking about what existing studies say about the problem, what gaps you have found, and why you wish to address these gaps. So, the background forms a key and prominent part of the introduction. Sometimes, other aspects of the research – such as rationale and significance – may be blended into the background. So, you could say that the background forms about half the introduction, or thereabouts.
For the exact word or page count, you would need to know the word count set by the journal. Say the journal limit is 6K words, spreading this across the different sections (from introduction to discussion), you may arrive at a count of about 750-1000 words for the introduction (depending on your topic, of course), and therefore, at a background count of about 400-500 words.
But again, go by the journal’s limit, figure out the needs of your research, and calculate accordingly. And of course, it’s never set in stone – if you think you need more space to set the context, feel free to do so. The background kickstarts your main paper, and it helps to keep it as involving and engrossing as possible.
For more information on word limits and study backgrounds, you may refer to the following resources:
- 10 Ways to reduce the word count of your research paper
- How to write the background of your study
- Write a strong introduction section [Handbook]
All the best for the background, and of course, the whole paper! :-)