A dissertation introduction is the beginning of any Master’s or Ph.D. research. Even though many people think that introduction does not contain any valuable information such as research methodology or obtained results, it is an essential part of writing. An introduction chapter in the dissertation provides a background of your topic, sets of the problem, justifies the choice of the issue, and dwells upon the significance of the problem. Introducing the issue to the reader, the introduction chapter helps the audience to understand the focus of the research.
A reader obtains the first impression from the dissertation after reading the introduction. You may wish to start writing your dissertation with the introduction but it is a common practice to edit and revise this chapter after you complete the whole dissertation. This opening part should be interesting enough to convince a reader to continue reading, and at the same time, a reader should not remain disappointed often the introduction part finishes. No need to exaggerate the value of your research. Keep the expectations to what a reader will see further.
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Purpose of the Dissertation Introduction
The major purpose of the introduction chapter is to introduce the topic to the reader. Moreover, the introduction should highlight why the topic selected for the research matters. Reading the introduction, one should understand what the main body will discuss and what results are expected. Writing an introduction, you should give a clear picture of the expected research and predicted outcomes. Background information is required to specify a subject matter. The information discussing the background depends on the target audience of your research. Moreover, you should state the problem in your introduction.
Why does the topic require research? You should highlight the research questions and/ or hypothesis of your study. This will guide your whole study. In the significance section, you should underline why your research matters. The introduction should further highlight the structure of your research giving a general idea of what a reader may check in your dissertation.
When deciding whether to read the whole research or not, people usually check an abstract, the introduction, and the conclusion, and if the information they read coincides with their interests and proves to be valuable, they get down to reading the whole dissertation. Mind that your dissertation may be used for other studies and researchers do not have time to read the whole paper; thus, add as much value as you can to the introduction.
How To Write a Dissertation Introduction: Great Writing Hints
Develop a Thesis
The introduction like any other academic paper should contain a clear thesis statement, an argument of the dissertation. A major idea of your dissertation developed in a couple of sentences allows a reader to have a clear vision of what you discuss and why. If you have little experience in dissertation writing, you may start your introduction as follows:
The study analyzes whether … (place your research question here). A research question will be answered by means of studying (put your research topic here). The information will be addressed through (mention the methodology) arguing that (set expected results).
The introduction gives a quick look at the whole dissertation, and this is true. It is essential to write in a concise manner as your task in the introduction is to present a great deal of information in a couple of sentences. The readers should obtain much information about your research after reading your introduction. One should understand the problem you discuss, the major research questions you intend to answer, the subject matter of your research, the methodology of data collection, and the analysis and your argumentation of the choice you have made. Having presented the information of what your research paper will develop, you may wish to focus on the organization of the information in your dissertation. You may wish to set the major sections of your dissertation with an explanation of what information one may expect to read there. Introduction performs a major goal to explain what information a reader may expect to obtain after checking the dissertation. Setting particular expectations in the introduction you as a writer must be responsible for fulfilling those throughout your paper. Thus, the introduction is also a valuable section for you as a researcher to ensure that you have fulfilled all the planned aspects. This is why, it is important to return to your introduction after you have written the whole dissertation and to see whether you have described all the aspects mentioned in the introduction and whether the readers' expectations will be fulfilled. The dissertation introduction should highlight the gap and your task is to cover this gap in your further research. The way how you cover the gap highlights the significance of your research.
Introduction Dissertation Structure
Even though the introduction seems to discuss some general points related to your research, it does not mean that this section remains unstructured. A dissertation is a highly structured document. Therefore, a dissertation introduction must also be properly structured. Even though the structure is essential for the introduction chapter, you should not sound too strict and follow patterns.
It is recommended to write your dissertation following the outline presented below:
- Background information where you analyze the area of your study and get knowledge that currently exists
- Problem statement with the identification of the issues that exist in your study area
- Research question and hypothesis indication; you should articulate what aspects you are going to study
- Key terms and definitions should also be discussed in the introduction section if there are some specific points to consider
- Methods of obtaining the data should be discussed concisely
- Expected outcomes of the research if any
- Some basic structure of your research and a transition to the next section the literature review.
Outlining the major points you are going to discuss in each chapter further, you confirm the structure of your dissertation. This information also helps indicate the major ideas and not to miss anything. Each chapter requires only a couple of sentences. It also makes it easier to navigate your dissertation
The Length of a Dissertation Introduction
The dissertation introduction does not have a strict amount of words standard for all students. The length of the dissertation depends on many factors. First, you should understand that the number of words in the introduction depends on the number of words in your whole dissertation. The length of the dissertation depends on the level of writing. A Bachelor's degree dissertation will differ in the length from the Ph.D. degree dissertation. Thus, the number of pages written for the introduction in these two dissertations will differ.
The introduction chapter usually covers 5-10% of the whole length of the dissertation. However, you should understand that the number of words should not be a priority. You must see that your dissertation introduction should bring value to the reader. If you have already indicated all the necessary parts and your introduction is clear enough to highlight your problem, its significance, and readers' expectations, it is better to write the information shorter rather than add unnecessary writing making your chapter vague. When a reader sees that the introduction is too wordy, one may refuse to read further even if your research is really valuable and contributes significantly to the field of knowledge. Thus, you should be attentive to what you write and why you do it. Words value more than the number. At the same time, you should not limit your introduction too much not to leave too many questions after one reads your introduction. Just make sure that your introduction covers all the necessary expectations required in the structure and grabs the reader's attention to motivate the one to continue reading your dissertation.
Useful Writing Tips
- Purpose statement. Start your introduction with the purpose of your research. A strong and specific purpose statement is a guarantee of an increased interest in your dissertation.
- Topic definition. Your introduction should indicate the topic of your research. It should be written in a concise manner with a particular identification that this is your focus of analysis.
- Approach. Contextualization and rationalization of your research question will help you to formulate and clarify your dissertation aims. Highlight the approach you have selected for developing your research questions.
- Terminology. If your dissertation focuses on some specific area of study with the use of particular terminology, you need to define key terms in your introduction to ensure that the reader gets an idea of the terms you use in the research.
- Objectives and research questions. Indicate the objectives and research questions of your study
- Rigorous hypotheses. If you resort to quantitative research, you need to develop a null and an alternative hypothesis to either confirm or reject it throughout the study.
- Scope of work. State the scope of your research, its place in the field of knowledge, and the literature related to your study.
- Significance. You should indicate why your study is important to the scientific world and the community in general. What is it significant?
- Reasons. Mention the reasons for choosing this particular topic of study. You may indicate the value of the research to the community and mention your own motivations.
- Subheadings. It is a common practice to use subheadings in your dissertation introduction because it helps navigate your piece especially if this chapter is more than five pages.
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