Now half price. Join hundreds of other students and become a better thesis writer, or your money back. A typical PhD thesis introduction follows the following format:. These opening paragraphs should briefly summarise the aims, objectives, research questions, main argument and contribution. A useful exercise here is to try and write the core elements of an introduction on a Post-it note.
Keep trying until they fit. When they do, use that as the basis for these first few paragraphs. This is the same technique you use when filling out the PhD Writing Template. As you go through the chapter, you will dial down into more and more detail. That means that the next stage, after the first few paragraphs, is to provide some context steps above. Here you provide all the detail necessary to situate the study and make sense of the opening few paragraphs.
You will need to ease into the detail gently. Follow the order of the 13 steps above and you will gradually ease into your discussion. You need to bear in mind that the level of detail you will go into and therefore the length of the introduction depends on the structure of your thesis. If you have a standalone literature review, you will go into less detail about the current state of the literature and the gaps within it.
Similarly, if you have a dedicated theory chapter, you will not need to spend too much time on developing your theory framework. The goal in any case is to present enough context to situate and make sense of your research questions but not overburden the reader with information that is superfluous to the goal of situating the research and which you will repeat at a later juncture anyhow. Use our free PhD structure template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis. When we proofread PhDs , we see the same mistakes again and again.
There is a tendency to provide too much background information in the introduction. As we saw above, quite how much information you present in your thesis will depend on whether you have a standalone literature review or methods chapter. What you want to avoid is any unnecessary repetition. Sometimes there is necessary repetition though.
You need to present just enough information to contextualise your study and to be able to situate your aims, research questions an argument, but not too much that you end up confusing and bombarding the reader. Think of a newspaper article: the first couple of paragraphs provide a brief overview of the story. The detail comes later. The danger here is that the reader is left asking questions at the end of the introduction. Remember: they should be able to understand what your thesis is about, how it was conducted and why it is important just from reading the introduction.
Read through your own introduction; is it clear what your contribution is and why it is important? Make sure you introduce gently. Instead, you should make the aims, questions and contribution clear in the opening lines and then gradually layer on more detail. That way, the reader can keep up. Present too much detail too soon and the reader will become confused. What we see often is important information being spread throughout the introduction in such a way that the reader has to hunt for it.
Follow our layout guide above so that each piece of vital information is contained in its own mini section. If you must talk about any of these in the introduction, be sure to offer clear and concise definitions. A failure to do so means that the reader is left confused. Unless you are explicitly avoiding a standalone literature review chapter, the introduction is not the place to review the literature.
The literature review is the place to justify that decision and elaborate upon its features. Read our guide to writing literature reviews and our guide to being critical when you do so. Once you have finished your thesis, ask yourself the following questions:. Now you know how to present your research as clearly and concisely as possible. Keep this guide to hand, whatever stage of the writing process you are at.
Have you downloaded our free one page PhD Writing Template? Each week we send a short, thought-provoking email that will make you think differently about what it means to be a PhD student. Each is designed to be read in thirty seconds and thought about all day.
I was struggling with writing the introduction chapter. Really had no idea on how to organise my ideas. Completely lost and desolate. I have no one to encourage or support me. I prayed to God to give me knowledge and wisdom and guide me. After a while I found this site. Praise the Lord. Thank you. Glory be to God for directing me to this site. All we aim to do here is to make life a little bit easier for PhD students.
I know how hard I found it when I was completing mine, so I want to give something back to the community. Good luck with writing up. If you need any support or if you have any questions at all, email me: [email protected]. Great information and thanks for sharing, I will try to apply some of these tips when writing my thesis statement. This article is very educative and very helpful.
Thank you for explaining this so eloquently. Hey, this is so useful thankyou! I found this piece of information helpful. These are the specific questions that your dissertation or theses will seek to answer. The research questions typically relate directly to the research objectives and sometimes can look a bit obvious, but they are still extremely important.
As you can see, the research questions mimic the research objectives , but they are presented in question format. Simply put, you need to establish clear boundaries in your research. You can do this, for example, by limiting it to a specific industry, country or time period. In other words, you need to explain how your research will make a difference and what implications it will have.
This will help address the current shortage of research in this area and provide real-world value to organisations operating in such dynamic environments. As you can see in this example, the paragraph clearly explains how the research will help fill a gap in the literature and also provide practical real-world value to organisations. This section needs to be the salesman of your research.
My research is well thought out and carefully designed — why would there be limitations? Well, no piece of research is perfect. This is especially true for a dissertation or thesis — which typically has a very low or zero budget, tight time constraints and limited researcher experience. Simply put, your research will invariably have limitations. In fact, the more critical you can be of your study, the better.
The markers want to see that you are aware of the limitations as this demonstrates your understanding of research design — so be brutal. The purpose of this section is simply to provide your reader with a roadmap of what to expect in terms of the structure of your dissertation or thesis. In Chapter One, the context of the study has been introduced. The research objectives and questions have been identified, and the value of such research argued.
The limitations of the study have also been discussed. In Chapter Two, the existing literature will be reviewed to identify key skills development approaches and strategies within the context of fast-moving industries, especially technology-intensive industries. In Chapter Three, the theoretical framework will be presented. The adoption of a qualitative, inductive research approach will be justified, and the broader research design will be discussed, including the limitations thereof.
So, as you can see from the example, this section is simply an outline of the chapter structure, allocating a short paragraph to each chapter. Hopefully you feel a bit more prepared for this challenge of crafting your dissertation or thesis introduction chapter now. Thanks very much for such an insight. I feel confident enough in undertaking my thesis on the survey;The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction.
I feel confident now undertaking my thesis; The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction. Thanks so much for this article. I found myself struggling and wasting a lot of time in my thesis writing but after reading this article and watching some of your youtube videos, I now have a clear understanding of what is required for a thesis.
Thank you so much Derek ,for shedding the light and making it easier for me to handle the daunting task of academic writing. This is a well written, easily comprehensible, simple introduction to the basics of a Research Dissertation.. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Overview: How To Write An Introduction Chapter Understand the purpose and function of the intro chapter Craft an enticing and engaging opening section Provide a background and context to the study Clearly define the research problem State your research aims, objectives and questions Explain the significance of your study Identify the limitations of your research Outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis.
Start with why. These questions are: What will you be researching? Simple enough, right? So, what goes into this opening section? So, what is the background section all about? But, what exactly is a research problem, you ask? So, what do you need to do here? RO1 — To identify common skills development strategies and approaches utilised by web development companies in the UK.
RO2 — To evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies and approaches. RO3 — To compare and contrast these strategies and approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. RQ1 — What skills development strategies and approaches are currently being used by web development companies in the UK? RQ2 — How effective are each of these strategies and approaches? RQ3 — What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these strategies and approaches?
Your research methodology — for example, a qualitative methodology could be criticised for being overly subjective, or a quantitative methodology could be criticised for oversimplifying the situation learn more about methodologies here. Your resources — for example, a lack of time, money, equipment and your own research experience. Keep calm and carry on. The study background — where you introduce the reader to key theory, concepts and terminology, as well as the context of your study.
The research problem — where you explain what the problem with the current research is. In other words, the research gap. The research aims , objectives and questions — where you clearly state what your dissertation will investigate. The significance — where you explain what value your research will provide to the world.
The limitations — where you explain what the potential shortcomings and limitations of your research may be.