All of this is known to writers as “clearing your throat.” It’s a waste of space. Three pages is a good upper limit for the introduction.
Provide a concise overview of the problem and mention briefly how previous studies (if any) attempted to solve it. You'll have a chance to write a more in-depth literature review later.
Give the reader a brief overview (a couple of sentences will suffice) of the methodology you employed in your study.
Some introductions make me really curious about the rest of the paper while others do not. The thing that separates a good intro from a bad one is knowing where that right level of detail is, so you're not either totally vacuous or mired in details.
Although it is relatively easy to say which introductions are good and which are not, I find it difficult to distill what makes the difference. Getting this right is an art and depends on your field, your results, the problem, and your understanding of the target audience.
Explain why this study is important in the bigger scheme of things.
Think beyond the particular problem that your study addresses. Tanya Mozias Slavin is a former academic and language teacher.
Don’t just state your conclusion: “My results show that the pecking-order theory is rejected.” Give the fact behind that result.
“In a regression of x on y, controlling for z, the coeﬃcient is q.” The ﬁrst sentence is the hardest.
Do not start with philosophy, “Financial economists have long wondered if markets are eﬃcient.” Do not start with “The ﬁnance literature has long been interested in x.” Your paper must be interesting on its own, and not just because lots of other people wasted space on the subject.
Do not start with a long motivation of how important the issue is to public policy.