How to Write Thesis Introduction Chapter: An Ultimate Guide
If you’ve landed here, you might be in the early challenging phase of penning down the dissertation introduction chapter. Well, we all know that it’s not an easy feat.
In this post, we will learn and review all the essential ingredients necessary for writing a strong dissertation and the details on which you should focus in this section.
Let’s get started by finding out what a thesis introduction is!
What Is Thesis Introduction?
The introduction is the first chapter of your dissertation that is placed right after the table of content. Your introduction should be intriguing and informative enough to draw your readers’ attention and set up the ground for your research with clarity, direction, and purpose on a relevant topic.
Your dissertation introduction should include;
- Topic Introduction And Subject Background: This initial part serves as an introduction, providing a broad overview of your research and the necessary context for your project, explaining the factors surrounding it.
- Research problem: This section highlights the gap or deficiency in current research that your study aims to address.
- Focus And scope: Clearly articulate the specific achievements and inquiries your research intends to accomplish.
- Relevance And importance: Justify the worth and value of your research, explaining why it is important to undertake and the contributions it will make.
- Questions And objectives: Outline the specific research questions or objectives that this dissertation will address and achieve.
- Limitations: Acknowledge and address the potential limitations inherent in your project and approach.
- Structure Overview: Briefly outline the organisation and framework of your dissertation or thesis, helping the reader navigate its contents.
How To Start Writing The Dissertation Introduction
While the dissertation introduction traditionally serves as the opening section, it is not mandatory to write it first. In fact, it is often one of the final components to be written, usually preceding the abstract.
But we suggest you write a rough draft of your dissertation introduction before starting the research to guide you throughout the writing process. However, revise the introduction from time to time to ensure that it matches the content of all sections.
1. Topic Introduction And Subject Background
Start by introducing your dissertation subject and providing essential contextual details. Define the significance of your research to educate your readers and grab their interest. It’s better to demonstrate the timeliness or importance of your topic, potentially by referring to a pertinent news article, ongoing academic discussion, or practical issue.
2. Focus And scope
After providing a concise introduction to the broader field of study, it is essential to narrow your research focus and clearly delineate your investigation’s specific boundaries and objectives.
There are several ways through which you can narrow down your research focus, including:
- Time period
- Geographical area
- Topics, themes, and aspects
3. Research Problem
Once you have provided your readers with an overview of your research area, it becomes essential to delve into the specifics of the research problem that your dissertation or thesis will address. While the background section may have hinted at potential research problems, this section aims to narrow down the focus and emphasise the specific research problem you will concentrate on.
Now, you might wonder, what exactly constitutes a research problem?
A research problem arises when there is a need to address a question or set of questions, but there exists a gap in the current literature, or the existing research presents conflicting or inconsistent findings.
To present your research problem effectively, it is crucial to clarify what is missing in the current literature and why it poses a problem. It is generally advisable to structure this discussion into three sections, namely:
- The Current State Of Research: This entails highlighting what is already well-established in the existing literature.
- The Literature Gap: Here, you identify the aspects or areas that are missing or inadequately addressed in the literature.
- The Significance Of The Problem: This section elucidates why filling this gap in the literature is important and emphasises the implications and potential contributions of addressing the research problem.
By structuring your discussion in this manner, you can effectively convey the specific research problem and its importance within the existing academic landscape.
4. Relevance And importance
To establish a strong foundation for your research, it is crucial to articulate your motivation behind undertaking this study and highlight its connection to existing scholarship. It is also important to outline the anticipated contributions and novel insights your research aims to offer.
Begin by providing a concise overview of the current state of research, including relevant literature citations. While it is important to acknowledge key sources, keep in mind that a more comprehensive survey of relevant literature will be conducted in the literature review section, thus avoiding excessive detail in the introduction.
Ultimately, your dissertation introduction should
- Contributes to resolving the theoretical or practical problem.
- Fills a gap in the existing literature.
- Expands and builds upon previous research.
- Introduces a new understanding of the topic.
5. Questions And Objectives
Formulating research questions and objectives is critical to any introduction, as it establishes the framework for the subsequent thesis or dissertation. How you craft these questions and objectives will vary based on your field of study, subject matter, and specific focus.
Moreover, if your objective in conducting research is to evaluate hypotheses, you can express them in this section. Additionally, your introduction provides an opportune space to present a conceptual framework that proposes associations among variables.
6. The limitations
After successfully defining your dissertation’s subject area and objectives, it is important to address the potential limitations of your research in a brief discussion.
Scope: It is crucial to acknowledge any narrow focus in your research that may overlook the interaction between certain variables.
Research Methodology: Critiques may arise regarding the subjectivity of qualitative methodologies or the oversimplification associated with quantitative methodologies.
Resources: It is important to consider limitations such as time constraints, financial constraints, equipment availability, and personal research experience.
Generalisability Of Findings: Keep in mind that findings obtained from studying a specific industry or country may not be readily applicable or generalised to other industries or countries.
7. Structure Overview
The structural outline is the last component after effectively conveying the research topic, significance, and limitations. Its purpose is to give the reader a clear idea of the dissertation or thesis structure.
In this section, a concise summary of each chapter, including the introduction chapter, is necessary. A sentence or two that outlines the purpose and contents of each chapter will suffice to guide the reader. It’s important to avoid excessive detail as this section serves as an outline, not a comprehensive research summary.
☐ I have captivated the reader with an interesting introduction to my research subject.
☐ I have presented essential background information to aid the reader’s comprehension of the topic.
☐ I have precisely indicated the main focus of my research.
☐ I have demonstrated the significance and relevance of the dissertation topic.
☐ I have clearly defined the problem or question my research aims to tackle.
☐ I have outlined the specific goals and objectives of the research.
☐ I have given a brief overview of the structure of the dissertation.
By incorporating these elements into your dissertation introduction chapter, you will create a compelling opening that establishes a strong framework for the rest of your dissertation. It’s important to note that your university might have specific requirements or additional components for the introduction, so make sure to review your project guidelines thoroughly.