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The importance of writing a dissertation introduction

Dissertation

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An introduction is definitely a significant part of the dissertation because its purpose is to catch the attention of an audience. Writing a good dissertation introduction is not so easy since it has to spark the reader’s interest and also to introduce the main research question and aims of your project as well as to emphasize its key points. Therefore, you have to be extra careful with what to include in a dissertation introduction.

The intro has to be simple and self-explanatory. Therefore, it is important to explain what every following chapter of your work contains, so there is no need to search for any additional information. Moreover, you have to emphasize the relevance of your project to the field of study and prove that there is a need for further studies in the field.

While writing an intro, you also have to mention the objectives of your study. A reader should know what was your urge to investigate the problem. The objectives have to be clear and relevant to the chosen topic. Besides, when you are deciding how to write a good dissertation introduction, it would be best to draw an outline of the chapter to make sure that it is logical, concise, and informative.

The best way to start an introduction to a dissertation

The outset of every task is the hardest part. But since the introductory part is the first one in the dissertation, determining how to start a dissertation introduction is like beginning of the beginning, which is why it may seem really challenging.

Although the introduction part comes first, it may be written after the paper is completed since it usually includes information that can be altered or updated a number of times in the course of writing. That is why you will have to make a draft of the intro beforehand (actually you will have to make it at the outset, before submitting the dissertation proposal) to keep your thoughts on track when doing the research and composing the main body chapters, like literature review, methodology, and data analysis. Basically, if you are thinking “how do you write a dissertation introduction?” there is a simple, yet practical, solution: you have to rely heavily on the research proposal.

While you will have to briefly overview the main scientific publications your study is based on, the excessive citations have to be avoided. The general rule for writing a good introduction is not to give too many details so that not to overload the chapter.

Dissertation introduction structure: what to include in this chapter

Although you will present your dissertation to a competent committee who is closely familiar with the area of study, it does not mean you have to make it overly abstruse. All your assumptions have to be logically structured and supported by compelling arguments and all your ideas have to be articulated straightforwardly.

When writing an introduction for a dissertation, it is highly recommended to stick to an outline like this:

  • background information and knowledge gap;
  • research question or hypothesis; thesis statement;
  • methods of obtaining the data;
  • expected outcomes of the research if any.

At the end of the chapter, it is also common to give a brief outline of what topics are to be covered in each chapter of the work. That is to say, you have to present the key idea of each section in one or several sentences. So, in such a way, a reader will be aware what he or she is going to read further and, thus, be able to navigate through your project easily.

How long should a dissertation introduction be?

This is a tricky question because a passionate scientist is always tempted to share all of their findings at the very beginning of the work. But you have to choose the perfect amount of information to make your reader interested and not to overload the introductory part with unnecessary details.

So, if you are thinking “how long should my introduction be in a dissertation?” and cannot decide what is the perfect ratio, we have a simple solution. Generally, an introduction may take up between 5 and 10 percent of the overall volume of your paper. It should not be longer than that because this way you will give out way too much information at the very beginning. So, the reader may think that there is no need to continue reading and miss out on some valuable details of your study. A very short introduction, on the other hand, may cover way too little and leave the reader with too many questions.

All in all, everything is good in moderation. And keeping this simple truth in mind is the secret of how to write an introduction for a dissertation that will grab the reader’s attention.

Helpful hints on how to write a dissertation introduction

Although it is a wise decision to leave writing of the introductory part for the very end, you will have to think of how to write an introduction for dissertation from the very beginning (and even compose a draft or an outline for this chapter) since it serves as a backbone for the whole project.

A research hypothesis is the introduction part that may or may not be compulsory. This depends on the requirements of the higher educational establishment. But including it will favor your project, especially if yours is a quantitative research, since it represents the author’s vision of how the objectives of the study can be achieved. However, you should keep in mind that in case you add this component, you will have to either maintain or refute the hypothesis at the end of the dissertation.

When you think of what should be in a dissertation introduction, you should remember that there is a need to provide some background information on your topic as early in the paper as the introductory part. This will help the reader to understand what has been done by other researchers in your field of study. These facts will prove your readers that you have found a knowledge gap left by previous studies and your work is able to fill it in.

Also, make sure to keep your language clear and easy to understand. If there is no way to avoid the excessive usage of specialized terms, the best idea would be to add the glossary with definitions, especially if some terms have more than one meaning.

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