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How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction
Published on 9 September 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes.
The introduction is the first section of your thesis or dissertation , appearing right after the table of contents . Your introduction draws your reader in, setting the stage for your research with a clear focus, purpose, and direction.
Your introduction should include:
- Your topic, in context: what does your reader need to know to understand your thesis dissertation?
- Your focus and scope: what specific aspect of the topic will you address?
- The relevance of your research: how does your work fit into existing studies on your topic?
- Your questions and objectives: what does your research aim to find out, and how?
- An overview of your structure: what does each section contribute to the overall aim?
Table of contents
How to start your introduction, topic and context, focus and scope, relevance and importance, questions and objectives, overview of the structure, thesis introduction example, introduction checklist, frequently asked questions about introductions.
Although your introduction kicks off your dissertation, it doesn’t have to be the first thing you write – in fact, it’s often one of the very last parts to be completed (just before your abstract ).
It’s a good idea to write a rough draft of your introduction as you begin your research, to help guide you. If you wrote a research proposal , consider using this as a template, as it contains many of the same elements. However, be sure to revise your introduction throughout the writing process, making sure it matches the content of your ensuing sections.
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Begin by introducing your research topic and giving any necessary background information. It’s important to contextualise your research and generate interest. Aim to show why your topic is timely or important. You may want to mention a relevant news item, academic debate, or practical problem.
After a brief introduction to your general area of interest, narrow your focus and define the scope of your research.
You can narrow this down in many ways, such as by:
- Geographical area
- Time period
- Demographics or communities
- Themes or aspects of the topic
It’s essential to share your motivation for doing this research, as well as how it relates to existing work on your topic. Further, you should also mention what new insights you expect it will contribute.
Start by giving a brief overview of the current state of research. You should definitely cite the most relevant literature, but remember that you will conduct a more in-depth survey of relevant sources in the literature review section, so there’s no need to go too in-depth in the introduction.
Depending on your field, the importance of your research might focus on its practical application (e.g., in policy or management) or on advancing scholarly understanding of the topic (e.g., by developing theories or adding new empirical data). In many cases, it will do both.
Ultimately, your introduction should explain how your thesis or dissertation:
- Helps solve a practical or theoretical problem
- Addresses a gap in the literature
- Builds on existing research
- Proposes a new understanding of your topic
Perhaps the most important part of your introduction is your questions and objectives, as it sets up the expectations for the rest of your thesis or dissertation. How you formulate your research questions and research objectives will depend on your discipline, topic, and focus, but you should always clearly state the central aim of your research.
If your research aims to test hypotheses , you can formulate them here. Your introduction is also a good place for a conceptual framework that suggests relationships between variables .
- Conduct surveys to collect data on students’ levels of knowledge, understanding, and positive/negative perceptions of government policy.
- Determine whether attitudes to climate policy are associated with variables such as age, gender, region, and social class.
- Conduct interviews to gain qualitative insights into students’ perspectives and actions in relation to climate policy.
To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough.
Human language consists of a set of vowels and consonants which are combined to form words. During the speech production process, thoughts are converted into spoken utterances to convey a message. The appropriate words and their meanings are selected in the mental lexicon (Dell & Burger, 1997). This pre-verbal message is then grammatically coded, during which a syntactic representation of the utterance is built.
Speech, language, and voice disorders affect the vocal cords, nerves, muscles, and brain structures, which result in a distorted language reception or speech production (Sataloff & Hawkshaw, 2014). The symptoms vary from adding superfluous words and taking pauses to hoarseness of the voice, depending on the type of disorder (Dodd, 2005). However, distortions of the speech may also occur as a result of a disease that seems unrelated to speech, such as multiple sclerosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
This study aims to determine which acoustic parameters are suitable for the automatic detection of exacerbations in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by investigating which aspects of speech differ between COPD patients and healthy speakers and which aspects differ between COPD patients in exacerbation and stable COPD patients.
I have introduced my research topic in an engaging way.
I have provided necessary context to help the reader understand my topic.
I have clearly specified the focus of my research.
I have shown the relevance and importance of the dissertation topic .
I have clearly stated the problem or question that my research addresses.
I have outlined the specific objectives of the research .
I have provided an overview of the dissertation’s structure .
You've written a strong introduction for your thesis or dissertation. Use the other checklists to continue improving your dissertation.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an outline of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.
They summarise the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.
Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .
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How to Write the Introduction of a Dissertation – Guide & Tips
Published by Carmen Troy at August 31st, 2021 , Revised On October 10, 2023
Introducing your Dissertation Topic
What would you tell someone if they asked you to introduce yourself? You’d probably start with your name, what you do for a living…etc., etc., etc. Think of your dissertation. How would you go about it if you had to introduce it to the world for the first time?
Keep this forefront in your mind for the remainder of this guide: you are introducing your research to the world that doesn’t even know it exists. Every word, phrase and line you write in your introduction will stand for the strength of your dissertation’s character.
This is not very different from how, in real life, if someone fails to introduce themselves properly (such as leaving out what they do for a living, where they live, etc.) to a stranger, it leaves a lasting impression on the stranger.
Don’t leave your dissertation a stranger among other strangers. Let’s review the little, basic concepts we already have at the back of our minds, perhaps, to piece them together in one body: an introduction.
What Goes Inside an Introduction
The exact ingredients of a dissertation or thesis introduction chapter vary depending on your chosen research topic, your university’s guidelines, and your academic subject – but they are generally mixed in one sequence or another to introduce an academic argument.
The critical elements of an excellent dissertation introduction include a definition of the selected research topic , a reference to previous studies on the subject, a statement of the value of the subject for academic and scientific communities, a clear aim/purpose of the study, a list of your objectives, a reference to viewpoints of other researchers and a justification for the research.
Topic Discussion versus Topic Introduction
Discussing and introducing a topic are two highly different aspects of dissertation introduction writing. You might find it easy to discuss a topic, but introducing it is much trickier.
The introduction is the first thing a reader reads; thus, it must be to the point, informative, engaging, and enjoyable. Even if one of these elements is missing, the reader will not be motivated to continue reading the paper and will move on to something different.
So, it’s critical to fully understand how to write the introduction of a dissertation before starting the actual write-up.
When writing a dissertation introduction, one has to explain the title, discuss the topic and present a background so that readers understand what your research is about and what results you expect to achieve at the end of the research work.
As a standard practice, you might work on your dissertation introduction chapter several times. Once when you’re working on your proposal and the second time when writing your actual dissertation.
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Many academics argue that the Introduction chapter should be the last section of the dissertation paper you should complete, but by no means is it the last part you would think of because this is where your research starts from.
Write the draft introduction as early as possible. You should write it at the same time as the proposal submission, although you must revise and edit it many times before it takes the final shape.
Considering its importance, many students remain unsure of how to write the introduction of a dissertation. Here are some of the essential elements of how to write the introduction of a dissertation that’ll provide much-needed dissertation introduction writing help.
Below are some guidelines for you to learn to write a flawless first-class dissertation paper.
Steps of Writing a Dissertation Introduction
1. research background – writing a dissertation introduction.
This is the very first section of your introduction. Building a background of your chosen topic will help you understand more about the topic and help readers know why the general research area is problematic, interesting, central, important, etc.
Your research background should include significant concepts related to your dissertation topic. This will give your supervisor and markers an idea that you’ve investigated the research problem thoroughly and know the various aspects of your topic.
The introduction to a dissertation shouldn’t talk only about other research work in the same area, as this will be discussed in the literature review section. Moreover, this section should not include the research design and data collection method(s) .
All about research strategy should be covered in the methodology chapter . Research background only helps to build up your research in general.
For instance, if your research is based on job satisfaction measures of a specific country, the content of the introduction chapter will generally be about job satisfaction and its impact.
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2. Significance of the Research
As a researcher, you must demonstrate how your research will provide value to the scientific and academic communities. If your dissertation is based on a specific company or industry, you need to explain why that industry and company were chosen.
If you’re comparing, explain why you’re doing so and what this research will yield. Regardless of your chosen research topic, explain thoroughly in this section why this research is being conducted and what benefits it will serve.
The idea here is to convince your supervisor and readers that the concept should be researched to find a solution to a problem.
3. Research Problem
Once you’ve described the main research problem and the importance of your research, the next step would be to present your problem statement , i.e., why this research is being conducted and its purpose.
This is one of the essential aspects of writing a dissertation’s introduction. Doing so will help your readers understand what you intend to do in this research and what they should expect from this study.
Presenting the research problem competently is crucial in persuading your readers to read other parts of the dissertation paper . This research problem is the crux of your dissertation, i.e., it gives a direction as to why this research is being carried out, and what issues the study will consider.
For example, if your dissertation is based on measuring the job satisfaction of a specific organisation, your research problem should talk about the problem the company is facing and how your research will help the company to solve that.
If your dissertation is not based on any specific organisation, you can explain the common issues that companies face when they do not consider job satisfaction as a pillar of business growth and elaborate on how your research will help them realise its importance.
Citing too many references in the introduction chapter isn’t recommended because here, you must explain why you chose to study a specific area and what your research will accomplish. Any citations only set the context, and you should leave the bulk of the literature for a later section.
4. Research Question(s)
The central part of your introduction is the research question , which should be based on your research problem and the dissertation title. Combining these two aspects will help you formulate an exciting yet manageable research question.
Your research question is what your research aims to answer and around which your dissertation will revolve. The research question should be specific and concise.
It should be a one- or two-line question you’ve set out to answer through your dissertation. For the job satisfaction example, a sample research question could be, how does job satisfaction positively impact employee performance?
Look up dissertation introduction examples online or ask your friends to get an idea of how an ideal research question is formed. Or you can review our dissertation introduction example here and research question examples here .
Once you’ve formed your research question, pick out vital elements from it, based on which you will then prepare your theoretical framework and literature review. You will come back to your research question again when concluding your dissertation .
Sometimes, you might have to formulate a hypothesis in place of a research question. The hypothesis is a simple statement you prove with your results , discussion and analysis .
A sample hypothesis could be job satisfaction is positively linked to employee job performance . The results of your dissertation could be in favour of this dissertation or against it.
Tip: Read up about what alternative, null, one-tailed and two-tailed hypotheses are so you can better formulate the hypothesis for your dissertation. Following are the definitions for each term, as retrieved from Trochim et al.’s Research Methods: The Essential Knowledge Base (2016):
- Alternative hypothesis (H 1 ): “A specific statement of prediction that usually states what you expect will happen in your study.”
- Null hypothesis (H 0 ): “The hypothesis that describes the possible outcomes other than the alternative hypothesis. Usually, the null hypothesis predicts there will be no effect of a program or treatment you are studying.”
- One-tailed hypothesis: “A hypothesis that specifies a direction; for example, when your hypothesis predicts that your program will increase the outcome.”
- Two-tailed hypothesis: “A hypothesis that does not specify a direction. For example, if you hypothesise that your program or intervention will affect an outcome, but you are unwilling to specify whether that effect will be positive or negative, you are using a two-tailed hypothesis.”
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Interesting read: 10 ways to write a practical introduction fast .
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Uk’s best academic support services. how would you know until you try, 5. research aims and objectives.
Next, the research aims and objectives. Aims and objectives are broad statements of desired results of your dissertation . They reflect the expectations of the topic and research and address the long-term project outcomes.
These statements should use the concepts accurately, must be focused, should be able to convey your research intentions and serve as steps that communicate how your research question will be answered.
You should formulate your aims and objectives based on your topic, research question, or hypothesis. These are simple statements and are an extension of your research question.
Through the aims and objectives, you communicate to your readers what aspects of research you’ve considered and how you intend to answer your research question.
Usually, these statements initiate with words like ‘to explore’, ‘to study’, ‘to assess’, ‘to critically assess’, ‘to understand’, ‘to evaluate’ etc.
You could ask your supervisor to provide some thesis introduction examples to help you understand better how aims and objectives are formulated. More examples are here .
Your aims and objectives should be interrelated and connect to your research question and problem. If they do not, they’ll be considered vague and too broad in scope.
Always ensure your research aims and objectives are concise, brief, and relevant.
Once you conclude your dissertation , you will have to revert back to address whether your research aims and objectives have been met.
You will have to reflect on how your dissertation’s findings , analysis, and discussion related to your aims and objectives and how your research has helped in achieving them.
6. Research Limitations
This section is sometimes a part of the dissertation methodology section ; however, it is usually included in the introduction of a dissertation.
Every research has some limitations. Thus, it is normal for you to experience certain limitations when conducting your study.
You could experience research design limitations, data limitations or even financial limitations. Regardless of which type of limitation you may experience, your dissertation would be impacted. Thus, it would be best if you mentioned them without any hesitation.
When including this section in the introduction, make sure that you clearly state the type of constraint you experienced. This will help your supervisor understand what problems you went through while working on your dissertation.
However, one aspect that you should take care of is that your results, in no way, should be influenced by these restrictions. The results should not be compromised, or your dissertation will not be deemed authentic and reliable.
After you’ve mentioned your research limitations, discuss how you overcame them to produce a perfect dissertation .
Also, mention that your limitations do not adversely impact your results and that you’ve produced research with accurate results the academic community can rely on.
Also read: How to Write Dissertation Methodology .
7. Outline of the Dissertation
Even though this isn’t a mandatory sub-section of the introduction chapter, good introductory chapters in dissertations outline what’s to follow in the preceding chapters.
It is also usual to set out an outline of the rest of the dissertation . Depending on your university and academic subject, you might also be asked to include it in your research proposal .
Because your tutor might want to glance over it to see how you plan your dissertation and what sections you’d include; based on what sections you include and how you intend to research and cover them, they’d provide feedback for you to improve.
Usually, this section discusses what sections you plan to include and what concepts and aspects each section entails. A standard dissertation consists of five sections : chapters, introduction, literature review , methodology , results and discussion , and conclusion .
Some dissertation assignments do not use the same chapter for results and discussion. Instead, they split it into two different chapters, making six chapters. Check with your supervisor regarding which format you should follow.
When discussing the outline of your dissertation , remember that you’d have to mention what each section involves. Discuss all the significant aspects of each section to give a brief overview of what your dissertation contains, and this is precisely what our dissertation outline service provides.
Writing a dissertation introduction might seem complicated, but it is not if you understand what is expected of you. To understand the required elements and make sure that you focus on all of them.
Include all the aspects to ensure your supervisor and other readers can easily understand how you intend to undertake your research.
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Dissertation Introduction Samples & Examples
Check out some basic samples of dissertation introduction chapters to get started.
FAQs about Dissertation Introduction
What is the purpose of an introduction chapter.
It’s used to introduce key constructs, ideas, models and/or theories etc. relating to the topic; things that you will be basing the remainder of your dissertation on.
How do you start an introduction in a dissertation?
There is more than one way of starting a dissertation’s introductory chapter. You can begin by stating a problem in your area of interest, review relevant literature, identify the gap, and introduce your topic. Or, you can go the opposite way, too. It’s all entirely up to your discretion. However, be consistent in the format you choose to write in.
How long can an introduction get?
It can range from 1000 to 2000 words for a master’s dissertation , but for a higher-level dissertation, it mostly ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 words ’ introduction chapter. In the end, though, it depends on the guidelines provided to you by your department.
Steps to Writing a Dissertation Introduction
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Make sure that your selected topic is intriguing, manageable, and relevant. Here are some guidelines to help understand how to find a good dissertation topic.
Not sure how to start your dissertation and get it right the first time? Here are some tips and guidelines for you to kick start your dissertation project.
Before diving into the how-to, grasping what critical discussion entails is essential. Essay writing help often emphasises the importance of this step. Critical discussion requires a deeper level of analysis where you explain a topic and evaluate and dissect its various facets.
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Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.
By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019
So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.
To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .
*The Caveat *
In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).
So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.
Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis
- Acknowledgements page
- Abstract (or executive summary)
- Table of contents , list of figures and tables
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Literature review
- Chapter 3: Methodology
- Chapter 4: Results
- Chapter 5: Discussion
- Chapter 6: Conclusion
- Reference list
As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:
- The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
- The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
- The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
- The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .
In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.
To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.
Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.
The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:
- Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
- Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
- Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)
Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:
- The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
- The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
- Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or mixed methods ).
A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].
Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).
This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.
So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:
- Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
- Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
- Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
- Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).
There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.
Abstract or executive summary
The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .
For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):
- Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
- Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
- Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
- Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?
So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.
In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .
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Table of contents
This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:
If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.
Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…
It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:
- What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
- Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
- What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
- What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
- How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
- How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?
These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.
If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.
Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:
- What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
- Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
- How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
- How does your research contribute something original?
- How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?
Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.
Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.
Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…
In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:
- Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
- Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?
Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.
Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.
In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!
You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.
Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.
Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).
What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.
Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.
The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).
Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?
Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!
This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.
The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.
It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:
Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.
The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.
Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!
Time to recap…
And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:
- Acknowledgments page
Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).
I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog .
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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many thanks i found it very useful
Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.
Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!
what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much
Thanks so much this helped me a lot!
Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.
Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..
Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?
Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment
You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.
best ever benefit i got on right time thank you
Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .
I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these
You have given immense clarity from start to end.
Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?
Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!
Thanks ! so concise and valuable
This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.
Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.
Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times
Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.
Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills
Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear
That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!
My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!
Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?
It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂
Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!
Great video; I appreciate that helpful information
It is so necessary or avital course
This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you
Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates
wow this is an amazing gain in my life
This is so good
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Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started
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The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.
Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]
This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.
Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)
This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.
Creating a Roadmap (PDF)
Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.
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- Academic essay overview
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How To Write Your Dissertation Introduction
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- 1 Definition: Dissertation Introduction
- 3 Dissertation Introduction Structure
- 4 Writing a Dissertation Introduction
- 5 Dissertation Introduction Tips
- 6 Dissertation Introduction Example
- 7 In a Nutshell
Definition: Dissertation Introduction
Background information is what needs to appear first when it comes to the dissertation introduction. The structure of the other points doesn’t follow any sequence, and it is entirely up to you. You might consider introducing your main focus by presenting the aims and objectives that explain why your research area is essential, and the overall need for that particular research field. The ‘value’ section is crucial to those who will be judging the merit of your work and needs to be in your dissertation introduction, and this is important because it demonstrates that you have considered how it adds value.
What is a dissertation introduction?
The introduction of your dissertation justifies your dissertation, the thesis, or other research projects. It also explains what you are trying to answer ( research question ) and why it’s essential to do this research. It is important that the aim of the research and what it can offer to the academic community is heavily emphasized.
How do you write an introduction to a dissertation literature review?
The dissertation introduction describes your dissertation topic and provides the right context for reviewing the literature. You should create good reasons, explain the organizational sequence, and also state your scope of the review. The introduction should clearly ouline the main topics that are going to be discussed.
How do you write an introduction to a PhD?
A practical PhD dissertation introduction must establish the research area by situating your research in a broader context. It must also develop and justify your niche by describing why your research is needed. Also, state the significance of your study by explaining how you conducted your research.
Tip: For a full outline of the dissertation structure , take a look at our blog post.
How long should a dissertation introduction be?
The introduction of the dissertation consists of ten percent of the whole paper. If you are writing a dissertation of five thousand words, the introductory section should consist of five hundred words. Refer to your research questions or hypothesis if you’re having trouble writing your dissertation introduction.
What is the purpose of a dissertation introduction?
The primary purpose of writing a dissertation introduction is to introduce the dissertation topic and the primary purpose of your study. You also demonstrate the relevance of your discussion whilst convincing readers of its practical and scientific significance. It’s important that you catch the reader’s attention and this can be done by using persuasive examples from related sources.
How can I start my dissertation introduction?
Some reliable tips for starting your dissertation introduction include the use of a catchy opening sentence that will get the attention of your reader. Don’t mention everything at this point, but only outline your topic and relevant arguments. Additionally, keep your language straightforward and don’t promise anything that cannot be delivered later.
Tip: It can be hard to fight off writer’s block , so head over to our blog article for some tips. However, if you’re still having trouble writing your dissertation introduction, start writing the body of the dissertation and come back to the introduction later!
Dissertation Introduction Structure
How to structure the introduction of your dissertation:
Starting your dissertation introduction – this should be the last part to write. You can write a rough draft to help guide you. It’s crucial to draw the reader’s attention with a well-built beginning. Set your research introduction stage with a clear focus and purpose that gives a direction.
2. Topic and its context
Topic and context – introduce your problem and give the necessary background information. Aim to show why the question is timely or essential. Mention a relevant news item like an academic debate.
3. Focus and scope area
Focus and scope – after introduction part, narrow down and focus on defining the scope of your research. For instance, what demographics or communities are you researching? What geographical area are you investigating?
4. Relevance and principal importance
Relevance and importance – show how your research will address the problem gap in your identified research area. Cite relevant literature and describe how the new insights will contribute to the importance of your research. Explain how your research will build on existing research to help solve a practical or theoretical problem.
5. Questions, aims and objectives
Questions and objectives – this is where you set up the expectations of the remaining part of your dissertation. You can formulate the research questions depending on your topic, focus, and discipline. Also, state the methods that you used to get the answers to your questions here if your dissertation doesn’t have a methodology chapter. If your research aims at testing hypotheses, formulate them here.
6. Overview summary
Overview of the structure – this part summarizes sections and shows how the introduction of your dissertation contributes to your aims and objectives. Keep this part short by using one or two sentences to describe the contents of each section.
7. Receive the editor´s feedback
Receive the editor’s feedback – some professional editors will proofread and edit your paper based on instructions given, such as the academic style. They will also check grammar, vague sentences, and style consistency and provide a report on your language use, structure, and layout.
Writing a Dissertation Introduction
In academic writing , there are active steps that a writer can take to attract the reader’s interest. Establish a specific area by showing your target audience that it’s significant and exciting. Introduce and evaluate previous research in the same area. Determine a niche by indicating the gaps in previous studies.
An excellent dissertation introduction allows you to:
- List hypotheses or research questions
- State the nature of your research primary purposes
- Indicate the outline of your academic project
- Announce important research findings
- State the value of previous studies in that field.
Dissertation Introduction Tips
Knowing when to use which tense in your dissertation or thesis is a common problem. A dissertation introduction is a plan of a study not yet conducted, so any reference needs to be in the future tense. Any reference to a study that is already published should be in the past tense. Statements regarding a program, theory, policy, or a concept that is still in effect should be in the present tense. Stay impersonal and make use of a list.
For example, say: firstly, secondly, etc., rather than first, second, etc.
Use ‘a’ when talking about something in general and ‘the’ when talking about something in particular., dissertation introduction example.
How to write a dissertation introduction:
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In a Nutshell
- A dissertation introduction is like a road map that tells your audience the direction your research will take.
- The introduction is the summary of the general context and scope of your topic and gives reference to previous literature on the subject.
- It includes the purpose of your research and the reasoning about why it’s relevant to conduct the study.
- It describes the research processes and gives an idea of the study, and also addresses the type of references available.
- It provides a summary of the specific questions and issues to address in the proposal.
Find more helpful information here:
Read more about a good bibliography for your thesis:
Find out how to write the perfect conclusion for your thesis:
Overview about the cover page & how to make it compelling:
What is APA citation? We will give you some information:
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How to Write a Dissertation Introduction
Writing your dissertation introduction can be a real challenge. On the one hand, you should provide enough information to engage the reader. But, on the other, you shouldn’t overload them with too much waffle.
So, how can you find a happy medium? Well, it often helps to break the introduction down into 5 manageable chunks :
- Set the scene
- Introduce the key debate(s)
- Pinpoint the research question and emphasise its relevance
- Describe the methods
- Outline the structure
Generally speaking, each chunk should be about a paragraph long, though this is not a hard-and-fast-rule. After all, the most important thing is to make sure that all the points are covered. That said, let’s explore each of these points in a bit more depth.
1. How to set the scene
A good introduction grabs the reader’s attention from the get-go. On a more practical level, it also provides the reader with relevant background information.
To ‘set the scene’ for your dissertation, first ask yourself:
- What is the broader topic of my dissertation?
- Why is the topic interesting?
- What is the historical context? How did this topic come about, and what came before it?
- What would a reader need to be able to know in order to understand my research question?
Once you have this information, you can start writing the opening paragraph for your dissertation. Remember, there’s no need to explain everything on this topic; pick and choose the most relevant information.
2. How to introduce the key debate(s)
Once the introductions are out of the way, now’s the time to bring in the key debate(s). There’s no need to summarise your entire literature review here. Rather, just introduce theories or debates that are crucial for contextualising your dissertation.
Unfortunately, deciding what information to put here can be really tricky; say too much and you’ll confuse the reader, but say too little, and your reader won’t be able to grasp the significance of your dissertation.
If you’ve already written most of your dissertation, choosing which theories/debates to put in the introduction will be a lot easier . Often, it’s the theories that appear in the literature review and then reappear in the discussion/conclusion that are most relevant.
3. How to pinpoint the research question and emphasise its relevance
The last two paragraphs were all about contextualising your dissertation. Now’s the time to pinpoint your exact research question. You should also briefly describe how your research project is relevant to the aforementioned theories/debates. Don’t assume that the relevance is implied – it’s best to be as clear as you can.
In many cases, your research project will be relevant either because:
- It replicates an existing study in a new setting or with a new sample type
- It engages with an existing debate and seeks to find evidence to support/refute one side of the debate
4. How to describe the methods
Next, you should provide a brief description of how you’ll be approaching the research question(s) and what methods you’ll be using.
Remember, the methodology section will describe your approach in detail, so there’s no need to be too specific in the introduction.
5. How to outline the structure
Now that you’ve outlined your dissertation topic , it’s time to outline the structure of the dissertation. This is a form of ‘signposting’ that will help to keep your reader on track. Essentially, provide a very brief summary of what the reader can expect from each and every chapter. One or two sentences per chapter will suffice.
The outline paragraph shouldn’t give too much away, but try to drop some hints. This will keep your reader focused and allow them to clearly follow your line of argument. So, instead of saying,
You could say,
Tips to remember
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when writing your dissertation introduction:
- Write it last – You’ve probably heard this piece of advice 100 times before, but that’s because it’s so important! The introduction should always be written last because you won’t know what information is most important for the reader until the very end. You may, of course, write a draft of the introduction, but this will need to be extensively edited before you submit your dissertation.
- Try to add a bit of style – Although a dissertation is a formal, academic project, an engaging writing style can enhance your work. So, rather than beginning with a dry statement like “This dissertation will explore…” try to ‘set the scene’ for your reader, instead. Writing in an academic yet engaging style can be tricky, so if you need a helping hand, our dissertation writing service is available to help.
- Keep it succinct – Many students make the mistake of writing an introduction that’s too long. The introduction should be succinct and compelling so as not to bore or confuse the reader. Remember, most of your background reading will go in the ‘literature review’ chapter, so try not to overload the introduction.
- Edit, edit and edit – You should spend time editing and re-editing the introduction until it’s as succinct and compelling as you can make it. After all, if you nail the introduction, you’ll be setting the tone for the entire dissertation!
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Writing a Dissertation: The Introduction
The introduction to your dissertation or thesis may well be the last part that you complete, excepting perhaps the abstract. However, it should not be the last part that you think about.
You should write a draft of your introduction very early on, perhaps as early as when you submit your research proposal , to set out a broad outline of your ideas, why you want to study this area, and what you hope to explore and/or establish.
You can, and should, update your introduction several times as your ideas develop. Keeping the introduction in mind will help you to ensure that your research stays on track.
The introduction provides the rationale for your dissertation, thesis or other research project: what you are trying to answer and why it is important to do this research.
Your introduction should contain a clear statement of the research question and the aims of the research (closely related to the question).
It should also introduce and briefly review the literature on your topic to show what is already known and explain the theoretical framework. If there are theoretical debates in the literature, then the introduction is a good place for the researcher to give his or her own perspective in conjunction with the literature review section of the dissertation.
The introduction should also indicate how your piece of research will contribute to the theoretical understanding of the topic.
Drawing on your Research Proposal
The introduction to your dissertation or thesis will probably draw heavily on your research proposal.
If you haven't already written a research proposal see our page Writing a Research Proposal for some ideas.
The introduction needs to set the scene for the later work and give a broad idea of the arguments and/or research that preceded yours. It should give some idea of why you chose to study this area, giving a flavour of the literature, and what you hoped to find out.
Don’t include too many citations in your introduction: this is your summary of why you want to study this area, and what questions you hope to address. Any citations are only to set the context, and you should leave the bulk of the literature for a later section.
Unlike your research proposal, however, you have now completed the work. This means that your introduction can be much clearer about what exactly you chose to investigate and the precise scope of your work.
Remember , whenever you actually write it, that, for the reader, the introduction is the start of the journey through your work. Although you can give a flavour of the outcomes of your research, you should not include any detailed results or conclusions.
Some good ideas for making your introduction strong include:
- An interesting opening sentence that will hold the attention of your reader.
- Don’t try to say everything in the introduction, but do outline the broad thrust of your work and argument.
- Make sure that you don’t promise anything that can’t be delivered later.
- Keep the language straightforward. Although you should do this throughout, it is especially important for the introduction.
Your introduction is the reader’s ‘door’ into your thesis or dissertation. It therefore needs to make sense to the non-expert. Ask a friend to read it for you, and see if they can understand it easily.
At the end of the introduction, it is also usual to set out an outline of the rest of the dissertation.
This can be as simple as ‘ Chapter 2 discusses my chosen methodology, Chapter 3 sets out my results, and Chapter 4 discusses the results and draws conclusions ’.
However, if your thesis is ordered by themes, then a more complex outline may be necessary.
Drafting and Redrafting
As with any other piece of writing, redrafting and editing will improve your text.
This is especially important for the introduction because it needs to hold your reader’s attention and lead them into your research.
The best way to ensure that you can do this is to give yourself enough time to write a really good introduction, including several redrafts.
Do not view the introduction as a last minute job.
Continue to: Writing a Literature Review Writing the Methodology
See also: Dissertation: Results and Discussion Dissertation: Conclusions and Extra Sections Academic Referencing | Research Methods
Write Dissertation Introduction With Expert Tips
Published on: Nov 1, 2019
Last updated on: Nov 5, 2023
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Your dissertation introduction sets the stage for the entire research project. It is where you have the opportunity to engage your readers and provide the necessary context for your study.
In this guide, we'll explore how to write a dissertation introduction, including the key elements, and a dissertation introduction outline.
We will also provide tips that will help you write an informative introduction.
So, let’s dive right in!
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The Significance of a Strong Introduction
When writing a dissertation, the introduction holds great importance. Think of it as the front door to your research; it's the first thing readers encounter.
It can impact how people perceive your work and whether it meets the aims and objectives of the research. A strong introduction not only grabs their attention but also keeps them interested.
Here are the key questions your introduction should answer:
- What's the main research question?
- Why is your topic important?
- What does your research cover?
- What research methods will you use?
- What methods have you used for your research?
Let’s delve into detail about how to write a dissertation introduction!
How to Write a Dissertation Introduction?
Your dissertation introduction is your first impression. It helps your readers navigate your dissertation. It should be brief yet informative, guiding them through the important elements of your study.
Here is how to write an informative and engaging introduction:
Step 1: Understand the Purpose of the Introduction
Before starting the writing process, it is important to understand the objective of the dissertation introduction.
This section helps the reader establish context and lays the groundwork for the entire dissertation.
Its primary function is to engage the reader while articulating the central research problem or question.
Step 2: Begin with an Engaging Opening
Start your dissertation introduction with something that grabs your reader's attention.
You can use an interesting statement, a short story, a surprising fact, or a question related to your topic. The main goal is to make the reader curious about your research.
Step 3: Introduce the Main Topic
Following the attention-grabbing introduction, proceed to introduce the primary topic of your research.
This should be a concise and clear statement that defines the scope of your study.
Step 4: Provide Background Information
Explain why your research is important. Talk about how your findings can make a difference in your field, for people, or in solving a particular problem.
Help your readers see why your research matters and is valuable.
Step 5: State the Problem or Research Question
The main point of your dissertation introduction is in the problem statement or research question.
This statement should be meticulously formulated to be explicit, focused, and specific, delineating the core issue your research endeavors to address.
Step 6: Outline the Objectives or Hypothesis
After stating the problem or question, outline what you want to achieve with your research or share your working theory.
These objectives or hypotheses should clarify your goals and what you expect to find, giving your readers a clear sense of where your research is headed.
Here is a basic outline for reference:
Note: This is a basic outline for a dissertation introduction, and can vary depending on the topic or your institute.
Step 7: Emphasize the Significance of the Study
Share how your research can have an impact in your field, on people, or in addressing a specific issue. Make it clear to your readers why your research is valuable and significant.
Step 8: Distinguish the Introduction vs. Literature Review
It's important to tell apart the introduction from the literature review. The introduction mainly introduces your research topic, provides background info, and frames the research problem.
On the other hand, the literature review, which comes later in your dissertation, thoroughly looks at existing research on your chosen topic.
Dissertation Introduction Examples
Take a look at these samples to have a better understanding of writing an introduction:
This introduction example follows the dissertation structure and sets the stage for the dissertation.
Let’s take a look at some more samples to determine the dissertation introduction template:
Sample Dissertation Introduction Chapter
Dissertation Introduction Example
Master’s Dissertation Introduction Example
Be sure to check out more dissertation examples of different academic levels to have a better grasp of dissertation writing.
Tips to Write An Engaging Dissertation Introduction
Here are some helpful tips to make your introduction for your dissertation engaging.
- Maintain a Cohesive Flow: Ensure that your introduction flows smoothly from one section to the next. Each part should logically lead to the next, creating a cohesive narrative.
- Revise and Edit: Rushing into the writing process is not a good idea. Revise and edit your introduction multiple times to eliminate errors and improve clarity. Consider seeking feedback from peers or advisors.
- Consider Dissertation Introduction Length: While the introduction should be comprehensive, a dissertation introduction word count should be at most 1000-1500 words. Be concise in your explanations to keep readers engaged.
- Use Clear and Concise Language: Avoid jargon and overly complex language in your introduction. Write clearly and straightforwardly so that readers can easily understand your ideas.
So there you have it!
Your dissertation introduction sets the stage for the entire research journey. Remember, a strong introduction not only captures interest but also lays the foundation for the impactful research that follows.
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Frequently Asked Question
How long should a dissertation introduction be.
Typically, a dissertation introduction is around 5-10% of the total word count, but it can vary. It should be comprehensive but concise.
What is the difference between the introduction and the literature review?
The introduction provides context and introduces the research, while the literature review summarizes existing research on the topic.
What should I consider when writing the background and rationale in the introduction?
Provide context by explaining the historical, theoretical, or practical background of the research problem and justify why it's worth studying
How do I justify my chosen research methods in the introduction?
Briefly explain how your chosen methods align with your research objectives and are appropriate for addressing your research problem.
How can I ensure a smooth transition from the introduction to the literature review?
Use transitional sentences that bridge the gap between the introduction and the literature review, indicating the relevance of the research problem to the existing literature.
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Dissertations are a part of many degree programmes, completed in the final year of undergraduate studies or the final months of a taught masters-level degree.
Introduction to dissertations
What is a dissertation.
A dissertation is usually a long-term project to produce a long-form piece of writing; think of it a little like an extended, structured assignment. In some subjects (typically the sciences), it might be called a project instead.
Work on an undergraduate dissertation is often spread out over the final year. For a masters dissertation, you'll start thinking about it early in your course and work on it throughout the year.
You might carry out your own original research, or base your dissertation on existing research literature or data sources - there are many possibilities.
What's different about a dissertation?
The main thing that sets a dissertation apart from your previous work is that it's an almost entirely independent project. You'll have some support from a supervisor, but you will spend a lot more time working on your own.
You'll also be working on your own topic that's different to your coursemate; you'll all produce a dissertation, but on different topics and, potentially, in very different ways.
Dissertations are also longer than a regular assignment, both in word count and the time that they take to complete. You'll usually have most of an academic year to work on one, and be required to produce thousands of words; that might seem like a lot, but both time and word count will disappear very quickly once you get started!
Find out more:
Key dissertation tools
There are lots of tools, software and apps that can help you get through the dissertation process. Before you start, make sure you collect the key tools ready to:
- use your time efficiently
- organise yourself and your materials
- manage your writing
- be less stressed
Here's an overview of some useful tools:
Digital tools for your dissertation [Google Slides]
Setting up your document
Formatting and how you set up your document is also very important for a long piece of work like a dissertation, research project or thesis. Find tips and advice on our text processing guide:
University of York past Undergraduate and Masters dissertations
If you are a University of York student, you can access a selection of digitised undergraduate dissertations for certain subjects:
- History of Art
- Social Policy and Social Work
The Library also has digitised Masters dissertations for the following subjects:
- Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- Centre for Medieval Studies
- Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
- Centre for Women's Studies
- English and Related Literature
- Health Sciences
- History of Art
- Hull York Medical School
- Language and Linguistic Science
- School for Business and Society
- School of Social and Political Sciences
Dissertation top tips
Many dissertations are structured into four key sections:
- introduction & literature review
There are many different types of dissertation, which don't all use this structure, so make sure you check your dissertation guidance. However, elements of these sections are common in all dissertation types.
Dissertations that are an extended literature review do not involve data collection, thus do not have a methods or result section. Instead they have chapters that explore concepts/theories and result in a conclusion section. Check your dissertation module handbook and all information given to see what your dissertation involves.
Introduction & literature review
The Introduction and Literature Review give the context for your dissertation:
- What topic did you investigate?
- What do we already know about this topic?
- What are your research questions and hypotheses?
Sometimes these are two separate sections, and sometimes the Literature Review is integrated into the Introduction. Check your guidelines to find out what you need to do.
Literature Review Top Tips [YouTube] | Literature Review Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
The Method section tells the reader what you did and why.
- Include enough detail so that someone else could replicate your study.
- Visual elements can help present your method clearly. For example, summarise participant demographic data in a table or visualise the procedure in a diagram.
- Show critical analysis by justifying your choices. For example, why is your test/questionnaire/equipment appropriate for this study?
- If your study requires ethical approval, include these details in this section.
Methodology Top Tips [YouTube] | Methodology Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
More resources to help you plan and write the methodology:
The Results tells us what you found out .
It's an objective presentation of your research findings. Don’t explain the results in detail here - you’ll do that in the discussion section.
Results Top Tips [YouTube] | Results Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
The Discussion is where you explain and interpret your results - what do your findings mean?
This section involves a lot of critical analysis. You're not just presenting your findings, but putting them together with findings from other research to build your argument about what the findings mean.
Discussion Top Tips [YouTube] | Discussion Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
Conclusions are a part of many dissertations and/or research projects. Check your module information to see if you are required to write one. Some dissertations/projects have concluding remarks in their discussion section. See the slides below for more information on writing conclusions in dissertations.
Conclusions in dissertations [Google Slides]
The abstract is a short summary of the whole dissertation that goes at the start of the document. It gives an overview of your research and helps readers decide if it’s relevant to their needs.
Even though it appears at the start of the document, write the abstract last. It summarises the whole dissertation, so you need to finish the main body before you can summarise it in the abstract.
Usually the abstract follows a very similar structure to the dissertation, with one or two sentences each to show the aims, methods, key results and conclusions drawn. Some subjects use headings within the abstract. Even if you don’t use these in your final abstract, headings can help you to plan a clear structure.
Abstract Top Tips [YouTube] | Abstract Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
Watch all of our Dissertation Top Tips videos in one handy playlist:
Research reports, that are often found in science subjects, follow the same structure, so the tips in this tutorial also apply to dissertations:
Other support for dissertation writing
The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including dissertations. Also check your department guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.
Other useful resources for dissertation writing:
Appointments and workshops
There is a lot of support available in departments for dissertation production, which includes your dissertation supervisor, academic supervisor and, when appropriate, staff teaching in the research methods modules.
You can also access central writing and skills support:
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Dissertations 1: getting started: writing a proposal.
- Starting Your Dissertation
- Choosing A Topic and Researching
- Devising An Approach/Method
- Thinking Of A Title
- Writing A Proposal
What is a Proposal?
Before you start your dissertation, you may be asked to write a proposal for it.
The purpose of a dissertation proposal is to provide a snapshot of what your study involves. Usually, after submission of the proposal you will be assigned a supervisor who has some expertise in your field of study. You should receive feedback on the viability of the topic, how to focus the scope, research methods, and other issues you should consider before progressing in your research.
The research proposal should present the dissertation topic, justify your reasons for choosing it and outline how you are going to research it . You'll have to keep it brief, as word counts can vary from anywhere between 800 to 3,000 words at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels.
It is worth bearing in mind that you are not bound by your proposal. Your project is likely going to evolve and may move in a new direction . Your dissertation supervisor is aware that this may occur as you delve deeper into the literature in your field of study. Nevertheless, always discuss any major developments with your supervisor in the first instance.
Reading for your Proposal
Before writing a proposal, you will need to read. A lot! But that doesn’t mean you must read everything. Be targeted! What do you really need to know?
Instead of reading every page in every book, look for clues in chapter titles and introductions to narrow your focus down. Use abstracts from journal articles to check whether the material is relevant to your study and keep notes of your reading along with clear records of bibliographic information and page numbers for your references.
Ultimately, your objective should be to create a dialogue between the theories and ideas you have read and your own thoughts. What is your personal perspective on the topic? What evidence is there that supports your point of view? Furthermore, you should ask questions about each text. Is it current or is it outdated? What argument is the author making? Is the author biased?
Approaching your reading in this way ensures that you engage with the literature critically. You will demonstrate that you have done this in your mini literature review (see Proposal Structure box).
If you have not yet started reading for your proposal, the Literature Review Guide offers advice on choosing a topic and how to conduct a literature search. Additionally, the Effective Reading Guide provides tips on researching and critical reading.
So, how is a dissertation proposal typically structured? The structure of a proposal varies considerably.
This is a list of elements that might be required. Please check the dissertation proposal requirements and marking criteria on Blackboard or with your lecturers if you are unsure about the requirements.
Title : The title you have devised, so far - it can change throughout the dissertation drafting process! A good title is simple but fairly specific. Example: "Focus and concentration during revision: an evaluation of the Pomodoro technique."
Introduction/Background : Provides background and presents the key issues of your proposed research. Can include the following:
Rationale : Why is this research being undertaken, why is it interesting and worthwhile, also considering the existing literature?
Purpose : What do you intend to accomplish with your study, e.g. improve something or understand something?
Research question : The main, overarching question your study seeks to answer. E.g. "How can focus and concentration be improved during revision?"
Hypothesis : Quantitative studies can use hypotheses in alternative to research questions. E.g. "Taking regular breaks significantly increases the ability to memorise information."
Aim : The main result your study seeks to achieve. If you use a research question, the aim echoes that, but uses an infinitive. E.g. "The aim of this research is to investigate how can focus and concentration be improved during revision."
Objectives : The stepping stones to achieve your aim. E.g. "The objectives of this research are 1) to review the literature on study techniques; 2) to identify the factors that influence focus and concentration; 3) to undertake an experiment on the Pomodoro technique with student volunteers; 4) to issue recommendations on focus and concentration for revision."
Literature review : Overview of significant literature around the research topic, moving from general (background) to specific (your subject of study). Highlight what the literature says, and does not say, on the research topic, identifying a gap(s) that your research aims to fill.
Methods : Here you consider what methods you are planning to use for your research, and why you are thinking of them. What secondary sources (literature) are you going to consult? Are you going to use primary sources (e.g. data bases, statistics, interviews, questionnaires, experiments)? Are you going to focus on a case study? Is the research going to be qualitative or quantitative? Consider if your research will need ethical clearance.
Significance/Implications/Expected outcomes : In this section you reiterate what are you hoping to demonstrate. State how your research could contribute to debates in your particular subject area, perhaps filling a gap(s) in the existing works.
Plan of Work : You might be asked to present your timeline for completing the dissertation. The timeline can be presented using different formats such as bullet points, table, Gantt chart. Whichever format you use, your plan of work should be realistic and should demonstrate awareness of the various elements of the study such as literature research, empirical work, drafting, re-drafting, etc.
Outline : Here you include a provisional table of contents for your dissertation. The structure of the dissertation can be free or prescribed by the dissertation guidelines of your course, so check that up.
Reference List : The list should include the bibliographical information of all the sources you cited in the proposal, listed in alphabetical order.
Most of the elements mentioned above are explained in the tabs of this guide!
Literature-based dissertations in the humanities
A literature-based dissertation in the humanities, however, might be less rigidly structured and may look like this:
- Short introduction including background information on your topic, why it is relevant and how it fits into the literature.
- Main body which outlines how you will organise your chapters .
- Conclusion which states what you hope your study will achieve.
- Bibliography .
Check your proposal!
Have you shown that your research idea is:
Feasible with the timeframe and resources available?
Identified a clear research gap to focus on?
Stated why your study is important?
Selected a methodology that will enable you to gather the data you need?
Use the marking criteria for dissertation proposals provided by your department to check your work.
Locke, L.F., Spirduso, W.W. and Silverman, S.J. (2014). Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals . Sage.
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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.
- How to Write a Literature Review? An Ultimate Guide
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How to Write a Dissertation Introduction | Chapter 1 Examples
A dissertation introduction chapter is very important because it gives the reader an overview of the research that has been conducted and sets the tone for the rest of the document. It should be concise and well-written, with a clear statement of the problem, the research question(s), and the methodology that will be used to answer those questions.
The introduction should also provide a brief literature review, highlighting any previous work that is relevant to the current study.
Ultimately, the goal of the introduction is to provide enough information to pique the reader’s interest and give them a good understanding of what is to come.
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- How To Create a List of Tables and Figures in a Dissertation & Examples
The opening section of your dissertation introduction chapter is where you will need to set the scene for your readers. This is where you will need to provide information on the research problem or questions that you are investigating.
You will also need to state the objectives of your research and give an overview of the methodology that you will be using.
This section should be concise and to the point, as you don’t want to lose your reader’s attention at this stage.
The opening section is important as it sets the tone for the rest of your dissertation, so make sure that you get it right!
The research question.
The second step in writing a dissertation introduction chapter is to formulate a research question. This question should be concise and focused, as it will guide the rest of your research. Once you have settled on a question, you can begin to gather data and evidence that will help you answer it.
In some cases, you may find that your research question evolves as you collect new information. However, by remaining focused on your initial question, you can ensure that your dissertation introduction chapter is clear and concise.
Tips on how to choose a research question.
When writing the introduction to a dissertation, one of the most important aspects to consider is choosing an appropriate research question. This can be a challenging task, especially if you’re not sure where to start.
However, there are a few tips that can help you choose a research question that is both relevant and achievable. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Consider your area of interest.
What topics do you find most fascinating? If you’re passionate about your subject matter, you’ll be more motivated to write a strong dissertation. Narrow down your focus to a specific aspect of your field that you’d like to explore in-depth.
2. Do some preliminary research.
Once you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time to start reading up on it. Read as much as you can about your chosen subject, taking note of any gaps in the current literature. These gaps can be potential research questions for your dissertation.
3. Formulate a researchable question.
Once you’ve identified a potential research question, it’s important to make sure that it is feasible and relevant. Ask yourself if the question can be answered through empirical research (i.e., data collection and analysis).
After you have written a clear and concise research question, the next step is to conduct a background study. This will involve reading existing research on your topic, both in academic journals and other sources.
The purpose of a background study is to give you a better understanding of the context in which your research will be conducted. It will also help you to identify any gaps in the existing literature, which can be addressed in your research.
When writing a background study, it is important to be critical of the sources you are using. Not all research is of equal quality, and it is important to evaluate the reliability and validity of each source before you use it.
Once you have conducted a thorough background study, you should have a good understanding of the current state of knowledge on your topic, and be well-positioned to write a strong dissertation introduction.
The research aims and objectives
The research aim is a statement of what the researcher wants to achieve in the study. It should be specific and focused, as well as achievable. The research objectives are a set of specific and measurable goals that need to be met to achieve the research aim. They are often formulated using the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. To write an effective introduction, it is important to first understand what the research aims and objectives are and how they relate to each other. Only then can you begin to craft an opening that will engage and interest your reader.
Tips in writing research aims and objectives
Here are tips to help you write effective research aims and objectives:
- Start by brainstorming a list of potential topics. Once you have a list of potential topics, you can start to narrow down your focus.
- Make sure your research aims are realistic and achievable. There’s no point in setting yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals.
- Be clear and concise in your writing. Avoid ambiguity or confusion by being as clear as possible in your language.
- Make sure your research aims are specific. Vague or general aims will make it difficult to develop a clear research plan.
- Keep your research objectives realistic. As with your aims, your objectives should be achievable and relevant to your topic.
- Ensure that your objectives are measurable. This will help you to gauge the success of your research later on.
- Be aware of the different types of research designs available, and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Significance of research.
This section of the introduction should explain why the research you are undertaking is important. This will usually involve showing how your research will fill a gap in existing knowledge or make an original contribution.
You should briefly mention any factors that make your research particularly timely or important (for example, if it responds to a policy change). You should end this section with a clear statement of the overall aim of your research.
This should be based on the problem or question you identified in the literature review section. It should be ambitious but also achievable, as your dissertation will be designed to achieve this aim.
Having set out the significance of your research, you should now briefly explain what you will do to answer your research question(s). This will help to provide context for your reader and ensure that they understand the rationale for your choice of methodology.
Limitations of the study.
The fifth step when writing the introduction of a dissertation is to discuss the limitations of the study. This is important to discuss because it allows readers to understand the potential biases or shortcomings of the research. For example, if the study only looked at one specific population, it may not be generalizable to other groups. Additionally, if the study relied on self-reported data, participants may have provided inaccurate information.
By discussing the limitations of the study, researchers can provide readers with a more balanced picture of the findings. However, it is also important to mention that despite these limitations, the research still provides valuable insights into the topic at hand.
Sample of a limitations to study
- Time constraints – it may not be possible to collect all of the data within the timeframe of the study.
- Budgetary restrictions – there may not be enough money to collect all of the data or to pay for expert help.
- Accessibility issues – some data may be difficult or impossible to collect due to geographical location or lack of cooperation from participants.
- Ethical considerations – some types of data may be sensitive or confidential and could not be collected without breaching ethical guidelines.
- Limited resources – the researcher may not have enough time, manpower, or equipment to collect all of the data.
Now that you have decided on your topic and done some initial research, it’s time to start putting together a structural outline for your dissertation. This will help you keep track of your ideas and ensure that your argument flows logically. Here are the 6 steps to take:
- Decide on the overall structure of your dissertation. Will it be divided into chapters, sections, or parts?
- Outline the main arguments or points you will be making in each section.
- Make sure each argument or point links back to your thesis statement.
- Introduce each section with a brief overview of what will be covered.
- Conclude each section with a summary of your main points and how they support your thesis statement.
- Finally, write a conclusion that brings everything together and reinforces your main arguments.
Sample of a structural outline in a dissertation introduction
The introduction provides an overview of your topic and aligns the content of your paper with the research question(s) you are investigating. The opening paragraph(s) should briefly orient readers to the general topic at hand, provide context for the main argument presented in the body, and offer a glimpse of what’s to come in the paper.
1.1 Background and context
In this section, you will provide a brief overview of the topic under investigation, including any relevant historical or social context that is necessary for understanding the research problem. You should also situate your work within the existing scholarship on the topic, highlighting how your paper contributes to the conversation.
1.2 Problem statement
Here, you will articulate the research problem that your paper seeks to address. This section should be concise and clear, as it will set the stage for the rest of your paper.
1.3 Purpose and objectives
The purpose of this section is to explain the goals and objectives of your research, and how they fit within the larger context of the field. You should also indicate here what kind of paper this is (e.g., an analytical review of the literature, a qualitative study, etc.), as well as any specific methodological approaches you will be using.
Lastly, you should explain the importance of your research, and why it is worth investigating. This section can be brief, but it is important to frame your work in terms of its broader implications.
Guidelines for a good dissertation introduction chapter
The introduction is possibly the most important part of your dissertation, and you must get it right. To help you craft an effective introduction, we’ve put together a list of 10 guidelines to follow.
- Start with a bang : Your opening sentence should be catchy and attention-grabbing.
- Don’t include too much detail: Be concise and to the point.
- Clearly state your research question : The reader should know exactly what you’re trying to answer with your research.
- Put your study into context : Why is your research important?
- Explain your methodology: How did you go about conducting your research?
- Offer a brief literature review : What do other scholars say about your topic?
- Introduce the participants : Who took part in your study?
- Outline the structure of your paper: This will help the reader follow your argument more easily.
- Conclude with a strong statement : Leave the reader with something to think about.
- Bind all of these elements together : Make sure everything flows smoothly from one point to the next.
What not to do when introducing your dissertation
There is no one formula for writing a dissertation introduction, but there are some common mistakes that should be avoided. Here are things not to do when writing your dissertation introduction:
- Don’t start by repeating the research question. This is a common mistake, and it can be quite off-putting to readers.
- Don’t simply list the contents of your dissertation. This is not an outline or table of contents. Your introduction should provide an overview of your argument and how you will be making it.
- Avoid overstating your case . A good introduction will make the reader want to read on, not switch off. Be confident in what you have to say, but don’t try to sound like you know everything about the topic.
- Don’t get too bogged down in background information. It’s important to provide context for your study but resist the temptation to include everything you know about the topic. Stick to what is relevant and save the rest for another section or chapter.
- Avoid using jargon or overly technical language. Again, you want to keep your reader engaged, not alienated. Use plain language wherever possible.
Dissertation Chapter 1 Writing Help
It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck when you’re writing your dissertation chapter 1. The first chapter is important because it sets the stage for the rest of your dissertation, and it can be tough to get started. However, some tried and true methods can help you get over this hump.
- Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can do this.
- Make a plan. Break down your chapter into smaller sections, and decide what you need to include in each section.
- Ask for help if you need it. Talk to your advisor, ask a friend for feedback, or hire a professional dissertation or thesis helper .
- While writing, take breaks and give yourself time to relax.
You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to write when you’re not feeling stressed out.
If you need help writing a dissertation introduction, our tutors can help you!
At Tutlance, we have a network of experienced but cheapest dissertation writers who can help you with every step of the process, from research to writing and editing. We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can be sure that you’ll be happy with the final product. So if you’re struggling writing your dissertation introduction, don’t hesitate to find the best dissertation writer at our academic writing marketplace . We’re here to ensure that you get the grade you deserve.
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- How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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TheDissertation » How To Write Dissertation » Dissertation Introduction
What is the dissertation introduction?
Time is going and students face a lot of researches. For some of them, it is not a challenge to do it alone, but others need help and tips to achieve success. They are caught up with this serious issue and anxious about how to resolve this problem. There is nothing bad and we are ready to explain all the details and tricks to assist everyone in need.
So, what is the dissertation introduction ? It is a difficult part of the work, which consists of the short brief for a whole paper. It demands some special skills to introduce the main idea of the research. This research includes different chapters, but the beginning of each dissertation is the introduction. In some ways, it is the most important part of the paper because it shows the topic, the aim, and the main points of the research. It also states the problems and the important questions of the theme. Therefore, constructive begging – that’s the keystone to success.
How to start a dissertation introduction ?
While writing the dissertation , some students are bewildered because they don’t know how to begin their studies. They are puzzled by the question if it is better to write the introduction first or at the end of the work. The introduction to dissertation is a small overview of a whole paper. It is really important to make this observation correctly. But, at the beginning of the work, you can do just a small outline of the introduction to help you write the leftover work and finish the outline in the end. You can also do the full overview at first and solve the issue.
So, how to start this chapter? Firstly, you should understand the content of this part and divide it into the so-called subsections. The first one is the beginning. You should provide the readers with the theme of your study. In short, you need to write a sentence or two that explains the topic of your paper and what will people hear about. When you pointed out the topic, then tell the readers about the problem. It is one sentence as well that shows the problematics. Next, you need to clarify the aims and the importance of the research. You can write a few words about the following information in the introduction.
That is an excellent beginning of the study and it opens the work. Bear in mind, that this subsection should be given in a few sentences as a paragraph. You don’t need to write a lot, just be easy to take. The main point of this paragraph is to introduce the whole paper to readers. It is like a squeeze of the study. Don’t try to give a lot of unnecessary information because it breaks the logical structure of the dissertation.
How to write a dissertation introduction ?
So, we figured out the issue of the first subsection. But how to write the rest introduction? Well, it is an easy question and we have something to share with you. The rest of the paper should give a deeper explanation of the previous outline. Writing an introduction to a dissertation includes different aspects of the chapter. That means you need to write more paragraphs about the context, problematic, importance, and so on.
The second subsection should tell the readers about the background of the work. This is how you should go on and explain the topic. In this paragraph, try to find out the key points, make a short historical brief, speak about the sphere of the topic, etc. This is a matter of background. It is better not to use special terms here because the audience sometimes is not able to understand them. Hence, we recommend you keep the clear tone of the introduction.
The next one is about the problems. The first and the second paragraphs consist of a wide topic. But here, in the problematic part, you should set the focus of your dissertation and reveal the real issues. These problems concretize the sphere of the research and are the logical approach to the following questions. What are the problems of the dissertation? To make a long story short, the problematic is some issues that don’t have a certain way to explain anything. It can be a conflict or disagreement of some facts, the absence of some information on the topic, the difficulty of learning, and so on.
Then, you need to set the aims of the research and state the questions for the dissertation. The aims and objections are the special achievements of the work, which the writer is going to get. That is the matter of the paper. In the meantime, the questions of the dissertation are the points you are going to answer through the study.
After these steps, it is time to sum up the relevance and the actuality of the current paper. It is the right way to convince the audience of your dissertation’s importance. In this subsection, you can show that your work can complement the literature regarding the problems of the sphere.
All in all, these steps can help you to write a constructive and conclusive introduction to your dissertation. It also helps you to convince the audience of your proper preparation and willingness to resolve the complicated task.
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How long should a dissertation introduction be ?
When students write an introduction, they are interested in the size of the chapter. Well, what is really important in this part it is not to give too much information. You should understand that this section is just an observation of a study. So, what is the dissertation introduction length ?
We can mention that it is not a constant. The length depends on different factors. First and foremost, it depends on the sphere of your research. What does that mean? To put it briefly, some topics are so wide and deep as long as others are so narrow to write a lot. For example, you can say lots of facts about an abstract problem, however, it is difficult to explain the narrow issues. You need to search the information about the area of your study and look at the amount of data to realize the possible length of the work.
Secondly, we recommend you find some similar dissertations with related issues to compare the introduction. You can take them as an example to see the approximate length of the chapter. It is better to focus on the close topics due to their similarities in the area of the research.
Next, you can apply to your academic advisor and ask for help. They can assist you with this question and advise how to write it correctly or just give some sources to find out the necessary information.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry about it if you can’t find the answer. An introduction to the dissertation is a tenth of the whole research. It is approximately 10% of the total length of the study. It means that if your dissertation is around 90,000 words, the introduction chapter should be around 9,000 words. Different sections can be shorter or longer, but in general, it’s the tenth of the overall information. The important task is not to overload the chapter with unnecessary data, but to make it easy and clear.
What should be in a dissertation introduction ?
We have already mentioned some of the essential parts of the introduction. But to make it better and full-filled you need to write more. The question is what does the introduction consist of? Well, in short, it is a set of paragraphs that are divided by content.
A good dissertation introduction has a specified structure. We have spoken about some of the elements of the structure, such as the topic, an area, problems, aims and questions, and the relevance of the research. But it is not an overall chapter.
A dissertation introduction structure has some more points. It is unexpected, but you should reveal to the audience weaknesses of your research. Don’t worry about that, because each work has some weaknesses, it is reasonable due to students’ inability to cover all the aspects of the research, but that’s better to reveal some possible soft spots of the study to be prepared for the question.
Then, the writer should do the outline of the whole dissertation in one paragraph. There is no need to rewrite information from the other chapters, just give a short observation of them in a few sentences. Writing a dissertation introduction includes this small overview of the rest research.
Taking everything into consideration we can summarize the dissertation introduction structure . The perfect introduction has:
- The context
- The background
- The problematic
- The aims and questions
- The relevance
- The weaknesses
- The outline of the whole research
Writing a dissertation introduction chapter – tricks and secrets
As you can see, we figured out the main issues of the writing a dissertation introduction chapter . But how to improve your introduction? Well, there are some tricks, we’ve already mentioned, but it is better to explain them clearly.
Firstly, it can be controversial, however, you can write the beginning of the research in the end of the work. Students can make an outline of the section at first and finish it in the end, because some elements of the introduction, such as a small overview of the other chapters, are better to write when the main work is done. And you can amend some information due to the overall research.
Secondly, adhere to the certain structure of the introduction and give the information consistently. It’s not a good idea to combine or change the places of the paragraphs. These subsections should be given in a logical way from the beginning up to the end. It would be weird if you wrote the problematic first and the topic afterward.
Then, comply with the approximate length of the chapter. As we said it is a tenth of the dissertation. There is no need to overload it. That is one more reason to write the introduction in the end, because you can easily understand the current size of the study and write roughly 10% more as the introduction.
Last but not least, writing introduction for dissertation means introducing the research to the audience and readers. The aim of this chapter is to convey the climate of your dissertation and give the interest to hear your speech.
Dissertation introduction writing help
If you are caught up with the research and can’t figure out the introduction chapter, you don’t need to stress and give up. Students have a lot of opportunities to resolve the problem and write the section, you can ask for help from their peers, seniors, professors, mentors, supervisors, and so on. The supervisor is able to advise some essential points and assist you with the technical moments.
There are also some special services that provide students with professional assistance with tips and tricks, as well as dissertation introduction writing help. You can appeal to these services and get PhD dissertation help to resolve the issues and improve your research. They work online, therefore you can turn to such a service and get support. The advantage of such services is that they offer qualified help with writing an introduction for everyone in need. So, don’t waste time and improve your dissertation introduction chapter !
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Introduction de dissertation
Publié le 28 novembre 2018 par Justine Debret . Mis à jour le 7 décembre 2020.
Table des matières
Les parties d’une introduction de dissertation, 1. l’amorce de l’introduction d’une dissertation, 2. l’énoncé du sujet de l’introduction d’une dissertation, 3. la définition des termes et reformulation du sujet dans l’introduction d’une dissertation, 4. la problématique de l’introduction d’une dissertation, 5. l’annonce du plan dans l’introduction d’une dissertation, exemple complet d’introduction de dissertation, présentation gratuite.
L’introduction d’une dissertation permet de poser le sujet et d’exposer le problème auquel vous allez répondre dans le développement.
L’introduction d’une dissertation ne doit pas être trop longue (10 à 15 lignes) et est censée s’adresser à un lecteur qui ignore le sujet.
Elle doit comporter :
- une phrase d’accroche (amorce) ;
- l’énoncé du sujet ;
- la définition termes et reformulation du sujet ;
- une problématique ;
- l’annonce du plan.
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L’amorce ou entrée en matière se doit d’être originale et de susciter l’intérêt du lecteur. Vous pouvez utiliser un fait marquant, des statistiques, une citation ou un ouvrage.
Évitez absolument les amorces du type : « De tous le temps, les hommes se sont intéressés à… ».
Sujet : Etre libre, est-ce faire ce que l’on veut ?
« Tous les Hommes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux », voici ce que promet la Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen française établie en 1789, ainsi que la Constitution française de la Vème République de 1958.
Dans l’introduction de la dissertation, il faut bien évidemment introduire le sujet de la dissertation. S’il est constitué d’une citation, la citation doit figurer dans l’introduction avec le nom de l’auteur.
Ainsi, la « liberté » semble être une vertu naturelle et innée que l’être humain est en droit de posséder dès sa naissance. Etre « libre » signifierait « faire tout ce que l’on veut ». Toutefois, comme dans tout texte juridique, ce droit accordé à l’Homme n’est valable que si certains devoirs imposés sont respectés. La « liberté » est donc entourée de normes et de lois qui la définissent au sein d’une société démocratique.
Définir les termes du sujet permet d’expliciter le sens que l’on donne aux mots du sujet. Fournir des définitions précises vous permettra de définir un angle d’attaque particulier, car les mots peuvent avoir plusieurs définitions. Choisir une définition par terme du sujet vous permet d’éviter les malentendus.
On définit communément un être « libre » comme ayant le pouvoir de faire ce qu’il veut, d’agir ou non, et de n’être captif d’aucun devoir moral ou juridique. On peut donc lier la « liberté » à la seule « volonté » du sujet. Cette « volonté » pouvant être décrite comme le fait de « désirer » ou celui de « décider rationnellement » une chose. Toutefois, le « désir » peut sembler posséder un caractère coercitif qui rendrait toute liberté humaine impossible à atteindre.
Poser le problème est une étape essentielle, car la problématique régit l’ensemble de la dissertation. Le développement de la dissertation doit permettre de répondre à la problématique énoncée en introduction. Il s’agit de formuler le problème initial.
Il est donc nécessaire de se demander si l’Homme est un être libre capable de faire des choix rationnels ou s’il est esclave de lui-même et de ses désirs ?
Annoncer le plan permet de donner au lecteur un aperçu de la structure du document. Le plan de votre développement est jugé dès l’introduction et le lecteur peut immédiatement détecter le hors-sujet. Faites donc attention à bien définir le plan de votre dissertation.
Pour répondre à cette question, il est tout d’abord nécessaire de s’interroger sur l’Homme en tant qu’individu considéré comme libre et doté de raison. Puis, il convient d’étudier l’Homme comme un être prisonnier qui subit la contrainte et l’obligation que lui impose sa personne ainsi que l’environnement qui l’entoure.
Voici un exemple complet d’introduction de dissertation avec les différentes parties que doit contenir une introduction.
Conseil… Faites relire et corriger votre dissertation avant de la rendre. Les fautes sont très pénalisées !
« Tous les Hommes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux », voici ce que promet la Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen française établie en 1789, ainsi que la Constitution française de la Vème République de 1958. Ainsi, la « liberté » semble être une vertu naturelle et innée que l’être humain est en droit de posséder dès sa naissance. Etre « libre » signifierait « faire tout ce que l’on veut ». Toutefois, comme dans tout texte juridique, ce droit accordé à l’Homme n’est valable que si certains devoirs imposés sont respectés. La « liberté » est donc entourée de normes et de lois qui la définissent au sein d’une société démocratique. On définit communément un être « libre » comme ayant le pouvoir de faire ce qu’il veut, d’agir ou non, et de n’être captif d’aucun devoir moral ou juridique. On peut donc lier la « liberté » à la seule « volonté » du sujet. Cette « volonté » pouvant être décrite comme le fait de « désirer » ou celui de « décider rationnellement » une chose. Toutefois, le « désir » peut sembler posséder un caractère coercitif qui rendrait toute liberté humaine impossible à atteindre. Il est donc nécessaire de se demander si l’Homme est un être libre capable de faire des choix rationnels ou s’il est esclave de lui-même et de ses désirs ? Pour répondre à cette question, il est tout d’abord nécessaire de s’interroger sur l’Homme en tant qu’individu considéré comme libre et doté de raison. Puis, il convient d’étudier l’Homme comme un être prisonnier qui subit la contrainte et l’obligation que lui impose sa personne ainsi que l’environnement qui l’entoure.
Voici une présentation que vous pouvez utiliser pour vos révisions ou lors de vos cours, afin d’expliquer la méthodologie de rédaction d’une introduction de dissertation.
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Debret, J. (2020, 07 décembre). Introduction de dissertation. Scribbr. Consulté le 5 décembre 2023, de https://www.scribbr.fr/dissertation-fr/introduction-dissertation/
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How to Write a Dissertation Introduction
Publication Date: 14 May 2018
The first section of your dissertation is an introduction. This is what you start from, and this is the first thing that your readers see. Here you need to introduce the topic of your work, present a problem statement, and provide a concise overview of the whole dissertation.
The introduction has three main purposes. First of all, it explains what is the purpose of your study and its topic. The second function of the introduction is no less important: it must capture the attention of your readers. To do it, we suggest providing a few examples from everyday life or drawing links with some news and widely debated issues.
There is also another purpose of the introduction — you have to convince your readers that your study is relevant. In general, the introduction includes seven parts:
- Explanation of the relevance of the research
- Scientific background
- Problem statement and objectives of the research
- Description of the design
- Outline for the dissertation
First of all, you must explain what is your motivation. It may be some question that you’ve always been interested in, or a recent discovery. Find an interesting example to make your readers want to read more.
Another thing you need to include in the introduction is the topic of your dissertation. Present your topic based on the previous section or on your problem indication. Your goal is to clearly define the topic and make it narrow enough so that you won’t try to research more than you actually can.
The Relevance of the Research
Now, explain your audience why your research is relevant. We suggest using various scientific articles. Provide citations and combine information from several sources. You also need to take a closer look at the discussion chapters of sources that you’re going to use.
You also have to describe how your research can be used in practice. If you’re not sure what exactly to write about, ask your friends or anyone who is acquainted with your work about its possible application. They may help you look at it from a different angle.
When writing for a company, sometimes it’s hard to demonstrate the scientific relevance. However, in this case, it will likely be easier to describe the possible ways of application. We suggest not focusing on the usefulness of your research for one company, but rather on its application within the industry as a whole.
Here you have to specify the most important sources that explain the scientific situation related to your study. You don’t need to provide a detailed analysis of each source, just describe them briefly. Your goal is to show how many articles were written about your topic. This will also give you enough information so that you won’t get stuck because of the lack of sources.
Problem Statement and Objectives
This section is devoted to the objectives of your study. Here you also need to formulate the problem statement. Keep in mind that the objectives and the problem statement are completely different things. You have to answer your research questions to cope with the problem statement. Briefly describe your research questions or hypotheses, in case you use them instead of research questions.
Hypotheses are based on the conceptual framework. Sometimes, it may be hard to clearly identify your hypotheses, because before you get to it, you need to write a literature review. If so, just write your hypotheses after you complete the literature review.
You must provide enough details about your research, for example, how you’re going to conduct it, and who will help you. Describe the design of your research briefly, explaining where and when you’re going to conduct your study.
Outline for a Dissertation
This part is not only a necessary section of the introduction but also a useful thing for you — it allows you to plan the dissertation. However, most students start writing the introduction when the whole dissertation is written . In this case, just provide a brief summary of every chapter in the same order as they are presented in your dissertation.We suggest writing one sentence for every chapter.
An action plan or a research proposal are a good choice if you’re trying to figure out how to begin your introduction. By writing the research proposal, you will prepare many parts of your introduction in advance.
Some students think that they must complete the introduction before they can get to writing dissertation itself. The truth is that the more complete your research, the easier it will be for you to write the introduction. If you see that you don’t have enough information for your introduction, we suggest completing the dissertation first.
L’introduction de la dissertation : méthode
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Paradoxalement, s’il s’agit de la première partie de ta dissertation, l’introduction ne se rédige pourtant jamais en début d’épreuve.
Ce n’est qu’après avoir élaboré ton plan détaillé et ta problématique au brouillon qu’il est possible d’envisager la rédaction de ton introduction.
Au bac de français, l’introduction de dissertation est concise : il s’agit d’un seul paragraphe de 10 à 15 lignes , qui commence par un alinéa et contient quatre étapes :
- L’amorce ou accroche
- La présentation du sujet
- la problématisation
- L’annonce de plan
Comme elle constitue le premier contact avec l’examinateur, ton introduction doit être particulièrement soignée .
Relis-la plusieurs fois pour corriger les fautes d’orthographe. Tu dois faire ton maximum pour laisser à ton lecteur une impression favorable.
D’ailleurs, faisons le test.
Imagine-toi quelques secondes dans la peau d’un examinateur à la fin du mois de juin : tu as une semaine pour corriger un tas de copies (70 à vue d’oeil).
Tu regardes ta montre : il est déjà tard, tu es fatigué et tu as le dîner à préparer.
Tu prends quand même le premier devoir en haut du tas.
Un simple coup d’oeil t’informe tout de suite que l’introduction de cette première copie ne respecte pas les codes de l’exercice : elle ne contient que deux phrases qui se battent en duel.
Tu pousses un soupir… Franchement, si l’élève ne sait toujours pas faire une introduction, ça ne promet rien de bon pour le développement…
Et tu commences la correction de la copie avec un a priori négatif.
Comme élève, est-ce l’impression que tu as envie de donner avec ta copie ? Évidemment non.
Il faut donc inverser la donne. Ton introduction doit envoyer d’entrée de jeu un message positif à ton correcteur , lui donner une impression favorable.
Pour cela, suis ma méthode de l’introduction en 4 étapes :
Étape 1 – Fais une accroche (ou amorce)
Faire une accroche, c’est susciter l’intérêt du professeur, capter son attention avec une phrase qui inscrit le sujet dans un contexte plus général.
Ce contexte plus général peut être :
– Une remarque sur l’objet d’étude ou le genre littéraire – Une remarque sur le contexte historique – Une remarque sur le contexte littéraire ou culturel – Une citation d’auteur – Une remarque sur ton expérience de lecteur ou de spectateur
L’accroche : exemples
Prenons le sujet : Le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ?
On peut imaginer plusieurs entrées en matière possibles :
Accroche n°1 :
Le conte est par excellence le genre de l’extraordinaire : on y trouve beaucoup de magie et de personnages aux qualités ou aux destinées exceptionnelles. Mais ce modèle est-il applicable au roman ? (accroche tirée d’une remarque sur le genre littéraire).
Accroche n°2 :
Le héros des premiers romans de chevalerie du XIIème siècle sont des héros extraordinaires, cumulant prouesses morales et physiques, à l’instar des héros de l’antiquité comme Ulysse ou Hector. (accroche tirée d’une remarque sur l’objet d’étude). Mais le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ? (présentation du sujet)
Accroche n° 3 :
Le personnage extraordinaire, qui suscite l’admiration, fait vivre au lecteur des sensations peu communes, qui lui restent en mémoire (accroche tirée de ton expérience de lecteur). Mais le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ? (présentation de la question).
Ces exemples t’aident-ils à y voir plus clair ?
Il existe donc pour chaque sujet de nombreuses possibilités d’accroches. Pioche dans tes connaissances pour formuler une accroche originale et personnelle qui permet d’amener le sujet.
L’accroche de l’introduction : l’erreur à éviter
Il n’y a qu’une erreur à éviter au commencement de ta dissertation : n’ouvre JAMAIS ton devoir par une généralité comme :
De tout temps, les hommes se sont raconté des histoires… Depuis toujours… Depuis la nuit des temps, les hommes…
Les phrases ci-dessus sont des phrases « tarte à la crème » à BANNIR de ton vocabulaire car elles constituent des clichés faux et insipides, des lieux communs.
Si tu sèches sur ton amorce, tu peux toujours commencer ton introduction directement par l’étape n°2 : la présentation du sujet.
C’est moins orthodoxe, mais fais-moi confiance : mieux vaut cela qu’une amorce « tarte à la crème » qui agacerait ton correcteur.
Étape 2 – Introduis le sujet
La présentation du sujet est l’étape la plus facile à réaliser.
Elle consiste simplement à rappeler l’énoncé de ton sujet dans son intégralité, comme si ton correcteur ne l’avait jamais lu .
Par exemple :
Le héros des premiers romans de chevalerie du XIIème siècle sont des héros extraordinaires, cumulant prouesses morales et physiques, à l’instar des héros de l’antiquité comme Ulysse ou Hector. (accroche tirée d’une remarque sur l’objet d’étude). Mais le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ? [j’énonce le libellé du sujet dans son intégralité, comme si le correcteur ne l’avait jamais lu]
Si l’énoncé du sujet contient une citation, recopie intégralement la citation et de mentionne le nom de l’auteur.
A cette étape, il est aussi possible de définir les termes du sujet.
Facile, non ?
Alors on passe à l’étape suivante : la problématisation du sujet.
Étape 3 – Problématise le sujet
C’est le moment de formuler ta problématique qui, je te le rappelle, se distingue de la question du sujet.
Contrairement à une idée reçue, la problématique n’est pas une reformulation du sujet.
Ta problématique correspond à une ou plusieurs questions qui découlent de ton analyse du sujet . Elle exprime le ou les problèmes que pose le sujet.
Par exemple, pour le sujet « Le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ? », la problématique pourrait être :
Qu’attend le lecteur des personnages que le romancier lui présente ?
Attention, lorsque tu exposes ta problématique, à ne pas confondre question directe et indirecte. Cette faute de syntaxe te pénalise.
Formule ta problématique sous une forme directe ou indirecte (mais ne mélange pas les deux) :
Question directe : Qu’attend le lecteur des personnages que le romancier lui présente ? (Inversion sujet-verbe et point d’interrogation)
Question indirecte : On peut dès lors se demander ce que le lecteur attend des personnages que le romancier lui présente. (Pas d’inversion sujet-verbe et pas de point d’interrogation)
Étape 4 – L’annonce de plan
Il ne reste plus qu’à annoncer ton plan de façon explicite . Par exemple :
Après avoir vu que les personnages extraordinaires fascinent le lecteur, nous verrons que les personnages ordinaires suscitent aussi son intérêt. Nous nous demanderons enfin si le personnage de roman n’est pas une construction plus complexe qui échappe à la binarité ordinaire/extraordinaire.
Mon conseil : n’utilise pas d’expression comme « Dans une première partie », « Dans une deuxième partie ». Ces expressions sont trop scolaires pour un niveau lycée. Remplace-les par des formules plus légères :
Après avoir analysé (ta première partie), nous verrons que (ta deuxième partie) pour nous demander enfin si (ta troisième partie).
Bien sûr, ton annonce de plan doit tenir ses promesses . Le développement de ta dissertation devra donc respecter scrupuleusement le plan annoncé en introduction.
Exemple d’introduction intégralement rédigée
Dans cet article, nous avons travaillé sur le sujet suivant :
Le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ?
Si l’on met bout à bout chaque étape de la méthode, on aboutit à l’introduction de dissertation suivante :
Le héros des premiers romans de chevalerie du XIIème siècle sont des héros extraordinaires, cumulant prouesses morales et physiques, à l’instar des héros de l’antiquité comme Ulysse ou Hector. [accroche tirée d’une remarque sur l’objet d’étude] . Mais le romancier doit-il nécessairement faire de ses personnages des êtres extraordinaires ? [Introduction du sujet] Qu’attend le lecteur des personnages que le romancier lui présente ? [Problématisation] Après avoir vu que les personnages extraordinaires fascinent le lecteur, nous verrons que les personnages ordinaires suscitent aussi son intérêt. Nous nous demanderons enfin si le personnage de roman n’est pas une construction plus complexe qui échappe à la binarité ordinaire/extraordinaire. [Annonce du plan de la dissertation]
Comme tu le remarques, mon introduction est brève, concise et structurée. Elle débute par un alinéa et ne fait que 10 à 15 lignes.
À ton tour de faire pareil !
Tu dois rédiger une dissertation ? Regarde aussi :
♦ Comment analyser un sujet de dissertation ♦ Comment réussir la conclusion de ta dissertation ♦ Comment trouver un plan de dissertation ♦ Exemple de dissertation rédigée
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Clair, précis, agréable a lire Je n’ai rien d’autre a rajouter si ce n’est : merci !
J’aime vraiment vos exemple d’introduction et vos démarches Infiniment merci
Bonjour, je suis en 1ère et je suis dans l’apprentissage pour faire une introduction de dissertation. Je tiens aussi à vous remercier pour ce que vous faites pour nous, jeunes étudiants au lycée, c’est très aimable.
Puis-je vous demander votre avis?
Si oui, la voici.
SUJET = Alcools est-il un hymne à la modernité?
Au début du XXe siècle, la poésie se caractérise par sa variété et ses formes poétiques. C’est dans ce contexte que Guillaume Apollinaire écrit et publie un recueil poétique intitulé Alcools qui s’inscrit dans cette perspective de modernisation. Mais c’est là-dessus que nous allons nous poser la question : Alcools est-il un hymne à la modernité ? et donc Qu’est-ce qu’Alcools. Nous allons en discuter en deux temps; dans un premier temps nous allons voir que ce recueil conserve des aspects traditionnels, et puis dans un second moment nous allons étudier si Alcools renouvelle la poésie de manière moderne
Coucou Mélanie, Je ne suis pas du tout qualifiée pour t’aider puisque je ne suis qu’en 2nde, mais si je pouvais te donner mon avis, peut-être que tu pourrais faire en sorte que ta problématique en entier soit en question directe ou indirecte, par exemple « C’est donc là-dessus que nous nous demanderons si Alcools est bien un hymne à la modernité, et par conséquent ce qu’il est en tant qu’œuvre. ». Aussi, le « second moment » ne sonne pas très bien… Tu penses que ça irait si tu mettais « second temps » ? Après, on se retrouve avec un problème de répétition, donc on peut plutôt mettre « discuter en deux temps; nous verrons… en premier, puis dans un second temps nous nous demanderons… ». Ce n’est qu’un exemple et tu n’es pas obligée de le mettre s’il ne te convient pas, mais j’espère sincèrement avoir été utile !! Je te souhaite une excellente journée/soirée/matinée.
Super cool j’aimerais pouvoir faire une introduction sans problème
mdr, je partage votre avis puisque je trouve également le commentaire disconvenant d’autant plus que le personnage, nommer « emt « ,est plein de présomptions observation, dont contrairement à vous , je ne m’excuserez point si ce n’est que par la force de baïonnette !
Vos cours sont de grande qualité mais il est déplorable de me faire tutoyer à chaque phrase…
Si je puis me permettre, je vous ferais remarquer que la professeure ici présente a gentiment prise sur son temps libre afin de faire des cours en ligne disponible à tous; ce qui permet à de nombreux élèves d’améliorer leur niveau en français. Je trouve donc cela déplorable que vous vous sentiez obligé de venir briser les bijoux de famille si vous me permettez l’expression, pour une simple histoire de tutoiement.
bonjour je dois faire une dissertation, mon sujet est « selon vous vaut il mieux lire ou voir une pièce de théâtre ? » mais je ne sais pas comment commencer mon axe pourriez vous m’aider ?
Merci beaucoup ! ça aide vraiment 😀
C’est avec un grand intérêt que je vous suis . Tout est clair limpide Merci infiniment
Laisse un commentaire ! X
Merci de laisser un commentaire ! Pour des raisons pédagogiques et pour m'aider à mieux comprendre ton message, il est important de soigner la rédaction de ton commentaire. Vérifie notamment l'orthographe, la syntaxe, les accents, la ponctuation, les majuscules ! Les commentaires qui ne sont pas soignés ne sont pas publiés.