When writing dissertations, remember that their opening chapter is an important part because it’s the first thing that all readers notice, besides abstracts and titles. A dissertation introduction should provide a brief overview of your entire work, set its tone, explain basic purposes, and leave a positive impression on people who read it. A bad start can ruin even your perfect piece of writing.
Find some time to study the main elements of any winning dissertation introduction, such as cogence, succinctness, and clarity. Adhere to your chosen topic strictly because it will set you on the right track as you continue writing every subsequent section of this complex academic project or - turn for professional help.
What is a dissertation introduction?
All students should ask this question should know that it’s an opening chapter or starting point of their academic project where they need to describe its subject, include a clear problem statement, and an overview of their further work.
What is its basic purpose?
The main idea of writing the introduction for a dissertation is to achieve these basic goals:
- Introducing your interesting topic and the main purpose of your study;
- Demonstrating the up to date relevance of your discussion;
- Convincing readers of its practical as well as scientific relevance;
- Catch their attention by using strong examples from related sources.
What should I write in a dissertation introduction?
What to write in a dissertation introduction? It’s one of the common questions that students ask when they start completing this important academic assignment to ensure that they’re doing everything correctly. A dissertation introduction is often a difficult chapter to write. That’s because your focus may shift when you continue brainstorming other sections as you analyze, interpret, and connect related research findings to existing knowledge.
As you review available literature, your assumptions may change. An introduction should be the last structural part of dissertations to complete because it requires many edits to be powerful. To get an answer to the above-mentioned question, ensure that it contains these crucial elements:
- The main focus of your research;
- The value of your study;
- Preliminary research proposal information and its aims;
- Specific objectives and aims that it will achieve.
Feel free to combine these basic parts to suit your needs. There are other interesting features that you can add to impress every reader, including a concrete research framework or methods. When it comes to the right length of your introduction for a dissertation, there’s no set rule about how long it must be, but you should try to write it on one page. Your dissertation introduction should include subheadings. Don’t forget about key references that you’ll use in your study.
The main focus or problem indication
It determines that area of your further research and it can include anything that interests you a lot. Pick an interesting example to encourage people to read more. As for the focus scope of your research - define the topic of your dissertation and describe it in its introduction based on your chosen problem indication or motivation. Avoid falling into the common trap pf researching too much. Analyze relevant literature and look for any unique niche.
Practical and theoretical value of your research
Use strong arguments and your knowledge to state the scientific value of your research. Cite scientific articles and combine them to achieve this goal. Highlight the discussion chapters of any studies that you will use and explain the practical use of your project on this page. Ask your friends for help if you find this task difficult as they can offer different views on your subject. Show practical benefits in your dissertation introduction.
The value of your research deserves to be a separate element in your dissertation introduction because it matters to people who will judge the merit of your paper. It demonstrates that you consider how it can add any value. Not including this part is a big mistake. Devote a few short paragraphs to stating the worth of your contributions to a given discipline (it may not be a significant advancement). There are different ways to address the value of your academic work:
- Looking at your subject from a different angle;
- Suggesting that it lacks a critical investigation;
- Explaining why your research is a bit urgent.
State its added value or significance in your dissertation introduction.
Don't forget to mention here a current scientific situation linked to your research theme. In this part of your dissertation introduction, specify important scientific articles or other sources that relate to its theme and explain them briefly. This is how you show readers that your topic has many relevant studies and it’s easy to find information on it.
Start with your research proposal
Your action plan or research proposal can be a great start for writing your excellent dissertation introduction. You’ll end up noticing that you get many parts. Although the introduction is always at the beginning of any dissertation, it doesn’t mean that you should finish this paragraph before writing other sections. The further you get in this project, the easier it becomes to write its good opening and ensure that it’s to the point. Feel free to write your this important paragraph later.
To effectively indicate what you’ll discuss and introduce your main subject, be sure to use the simple present tense. If you provide any background information in your dissertation introduction, use the present perfect or simple past tense.
Length. There are no strict requirements or set rules when it comes to the correct length of your dissertation introduction. That’s why you shouldn’t squeeze everything on the same page. Avoid repeating yourself, write everything to the point, and include only the facts or details necessary to introduce your research and theme.
Specific Objectives & Aims
Keep in mind that objectives and aims are different things and you need to treat them accordingly. Students usually create them for the ethical clearance of their project or at the proposal stage, and putting them in the introduction of your dissertation is a matter of its clarity and organization. Any academic project has its overall goal. State your main purpose in a direct way.
Objectives term from your overall goal and explain to the targeted audience how you will achieve it in your project. Organize them as bullet points or numerically. Objectives are identifiable and clear statements. There are some basic things that you should remember when including them in your dissertation introduction:
- Distinctness (every objective must assist in achieving the overall aim of your project);
- Appropriateness (it relates to what you study);
- Being achievable (your objectives are realistic and you can achieve them within a reasonable period of time);
- Clarity (avoid ambiguity).
In creating your research objectives, take into account these simple steps:
- Start them with a certain keyword;
- Find a perfect numerical balance;
- Begin with simple objectives to set the right scene in your dissertation introduction.
They’ll help you demonstrate a logical and clear position. Address them both in the main body and introduction of your dissertation because you can’t simply forget about them. Reference this basic part in your discussion and findings.
Effective steps to take
In many academic disciplines, one of the main aspects of writing a dissertation introduction is to attract readers’ interest. How to achieve this goal? There are some effective moves that can help you succeed, including:
- Establishing a specific research territory by showing your targeted audience that it’s central, significant, problematic, or interesting;
- Introducing and evaluating previous research in the same area;
- Determine your niche by indicating any gaps in previous studies or extending the past knowledge in any possible way.
A good dissertation introduction also allows you to occupy this niche by doing the following:
- Listing hypotheses or research questions;
- Stating the nature of your current research or outlining its basic purposes;
- Indicating the structure of your academic project;
- Announcing important research findings;
- Stating the value of previous studies in the same field.
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Extra Questions and Tips
How important is the introduction to my dissertation? Both very and not very. The introduction matters because it’s the reader’s first impression of your dissertation. But it matters less because it won’t get as many eyes as the most important chapters of your thesis.
When should I write my introduction? Both all along and at the very end. Start almost in the middle, at some point where you already know what you want to say. As you write, accumulate thoughts and ideas that might belong in an introduction, and gather them into a separate pile. For longer works, try to create an "Introduction" folder and just dump those thoughts into it. Then, at the end of the process, return to that folder and mine it. It usually will contain most of what you need, and with a little polish and a few additions, finish it in the end.
If I have an introduction, do I also need a conclusion? For a dissertation? Not necessarily. Books need a conclusion, and so do essays. But dissertations are not books. They’re part of your education, not just a demonstration of it, and they point toward your intellectual future. That said, you may want to write a conclusion, or an epilogue. But that’s a subject for another day.