Dissertation & Thesis Guides

How to Write an Introduction for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples

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A dissertation introduction is the opening chapter of a doctoral-level research project, which serves as an overview of the entire study. The purpose of the introduction chapter is to provide readers the context, objectives and scope of research.

When writing a dissertation intriduction, you should cover the following aspects: 

  • Problem statement and research questions
  • Review of relevant literature
  • Research methodology
  • Significance of the study.

A good introduction is essential to engage readers by convincing them regarding your credibility and authority on the topic. That's why you should clearly know how to structure an introduction for thesis or dissertation.

In this guide by the best dissertation writing service, we will review how to write a dissertation introduction and make it outstanding. To reinforce your grasp of ideas, dissertation and thesis introduction examples will also be provided.

What Is a Dissertation Introduction?

A dissertation introduction is your first point of departure for a project. Here, you should describe the research topic, offer an overview of your work briefly, and keep readers interested in your study. It usually goes right after your thesis table of contents.

An introduction to a dissertation directs your audience from the general focus areas to a specific inquiry issue. It highlights the scope, context, and importance of a study by including a summary of the current and background knowledge about your subject, research problem, study question/hypothesis, methodological approaches utilized, potential results, and thesis organization or structure. 

Further in this blog, we will tell you all ins and outs of composing an introduction chapter for both thesis and dissertation. The writing process is identical for these 2 types of works. However, if you want to know the difference between a thesis and a dissertation, visit our guide. 

What Makes a Good Dissertation Introduction?

Use the following strategies to write an effective introduction of a dissertation or thesis:

  1. Write this section last to craft a good beginning because you will have a well-rounded idea about your arguments.
  2. You can also compose a draft of this part. If you do this, ensure to return later and revise accordingly.
  3. Consider a question you want to answer because your whole report will be responding to this issue. It’s the first step towards the dissertation or thesis introduction.
  4. Use attention grabbers, especially for technical or dry topics.
  5. Attend carefully to your first sentence and make sure you state engaging and useful points without errors.
  6. Be direct by asserting your claims confidently.
  7. When writing the introduction of a dissertation, you must place your points in a specific context. Avoid being too broad.
Characteristics of a Good Dissertation Introduction

How Long Should a Dissertation Introduction Be?

While it is vital to offer a roadmap for your study, a dissertation introduction should make up about 10% of the entire project. As a rule, the introductory chapter is around 10-15 pages long. However, the extent of a thesis or dissertation introduction varies based on your field and the nature of your work. 

Therefore, it is wise to consider an assignment’s specific requirements and seek assistance from your supervisor regarding content expectations before writing a dissertation introduction chapter. You must still ensure that you provide a good overview of your project regardless of the length limit.

When to Write an Introduction to a Thesis or Dissertation?

It is common for students to write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis last or at least after completing the literature review chapter. This is because you cannot introduce a thesis or a dissertation until you have largely written your major sections, understood the whole work, and possessed exact information about what to present.

By writing an introductory part and dissertation abstract at the end of your investigation, you will be able to reflect on an entire manuscript and present it coherently and fully. 

Thesis/ Dissertation Introduction Structure

Like other sections of your study, an introduction to dissertation writing follows a specific structure. While organizational patterns differ when composing your beginning chapter, these are necessary components that you will cover:

  1. Topic Present your focus area, state why it matters, and who will benefit from reading the work.
  2. Context Offer contextual and background information about your subject. You may write a brief review of existing literature. Also, include relevant concepts and theories.
  3. Research problem When writing a dissertation introduction chapter, you must identify which issue is being investigated. Also identify prevailing problems, shortcomings, and gaps in research.
  4. Aims Explain what you wish to achieve and what or how your work will contribute to the issue.
  5. Objectives Determine your primary goal, including an outcome you intend to achieve and specify what you will look at.
  6. Research Questions What is your hypothesis or research question(s)? Mention them.
  7. Methodology Describe your dissertation methodology and approach briefly, including which techniques you will employ in attaining your study objectives.
  8. Significance Explain how your work will assist in bridging the gaps you identified, solving the issue, or contributing to what is already known. Besides, include in a dissertation introduction an explanation of how your project benefits the real-world.
  9. Limitations. Identify any constraints you faced while conducting your investigation. These are usually outside your control.
  10. Synopsis of the study’s structure Offer a brief framework of your study to help readers understand its organization.
Elements to include in a dissertation introduction structure

How to Write a Dissertation Introduction Step-by-Step?

Introducing your research to readers can be tricky particularly if you are unaware of how to write an introduction to a dissertation or thesis.

This section is one of the most important because it establishes a groundwork for the rest of your work. Thus, a poor start can ruin a flawless report. It should be simple, concise, consistent, and helpful. Below are 8 steps on how to write a good dissertation introduction. 

1. Introduce a Topic

Start a dissertation or thesis paper introduction by announcing your topic. Doing this educates your readers about the substance and what questions you will be probing. Use a few sentences to indicate the wider issue under investigation. This hooks your audience by demonstrating what content the work will cover and encouraging them to continue reading.

You can then focus on specific points when writing introduction for dissertation, which will lead to a research question(s). If possible, mention those people who will be interested in looking at your report.

Example of hook in a dissertation introduction

2. Offer a Background of Your Study

This is the second part of your dissertation introduction. Here, you should set an effective scene for your work. Also, present relevant studies that have been conducted already on your dissertation topics to contextualize your project within the wider, current research. It is unnecessary to offer a lot of details in this part because this will be covered in your literature review chapter.

When writing a dissertation introduction background, identify which works informed your study, highlight how your subject developed, and recognize which knowledge gaps you will address.

Doing this informs your audience about the prevalent understanding of your focus area, why you should investigate the issue, and places your inquiry in perspective. It also offers a narrative, showing how various constructs, theories, and ideas are connected logically. For example, you can refer to specific research and describe how your investigation addresses its problems and limitations or why using alternative techniques is important.

Write this section by summarizing how you interpret previous investigations and what you intend to accomplish on your own. However, do not create a large background. The key is to show how your manuscript fills a particular gap. Learn more about how to write dissertation introduction background section by looking at this sample:

Example of dissertation introduction background

3. Present a Research Problem

The next step towards writing dissertation introduction is explaining your problem statement. For this part, state the specific issue that you will investigate and possibly solve. Consider how your work fills an existing gap.

Use one or two lines to write this section of a dissertation or thesis intro effectively before elaborating further by explaining a potential answer and why your topic requires serious attention. Remember, whatever you are researching must be so grave that it creates questions demanding urgent responses.

Your solutions will help in proving or disproving your research subject. Thus, this part is crucial in an introduction of a dissertation. State it plainly, competitively, and wholly, using prompts such as what are you investigating and what is your purpose? This helps readers understand your intentions and what to expect from the project.

Example of dissertation introduction research problem

4. Discuss Your Aims and Objectives

The next step concerning how to write a thesis introduction is identifying your aims and objectives. This involves stating broadly what findings you desire to achieve. Specifically, demonstrate what others should expect of your work and topic as well as highlight long-term outcomes. Keep in mind that aims and objectives are not the same thing.

Specifically, write your dissertation introduction by presenting a general aim or the key purpose of a project. You can then extend it by stating several research objectives in bullet points. These should be realizable, distinct, and applicable. Avoid being ambiguous and remember to explain your intentions and convey how you will answer the research question.

Also, link statements in this segment of your dissertation introduction with your subject and research problem or question to demonstrate a specific focus and your study's scope. This helps your readers comprehend which inquiry aspects you have considered and how the study question will be answered. In particular, the number of objectives and questions should be aligned since you will need to state at the end of your work whether an objective for a specific question has been achieved. Use words such as “to assess”, “to examine”, “to study”, “to understand” or “to critically evaluate”, etc. when declaring sentences in this subdivision.

Aims and objectives in a dissertation introduction example

5. State Your Research Question in the Introduction of a Dissertation

Once you have identified your purpose and goals in an introduction of thesis or dissertation, it is time to pose which research questions you will address. These are what you will answer to attain study objectives and form the main part of this chapter. You may also postulate hypotheses in your introduction to a dissertation if you have a different research paradigm. Check how to write a hypothesis to nail your research.

Use the above-mentioned steps as a framework for this subheading of your first chapter because the aims and objectives section affects its nature. This helps you avoid surprising your audience as you write an introduction for a dissertation. While you can recall some key terms from earlier parts of your work, be focused, unambiguous, and concise.

Example of thesis introduction research questions

6. Emphasize the Importance of Your Study

Apart from identifying your research questions, it is necessary to describe in a thesis introduction why the study is important or its rationale. Start by explaining which issues your project addresses before outlining why this investigation is important and why you must conduct it.

However, do not reveal everything about your outcomes when writing an introduction for a dissertation. Focus instead on hinting at the possible implications and impact your investigation could create for society or your field. Employ personal expertise and strong arguments by determining gaps in knowledge relating to your research problem before listing concerns that have not been addressed previously.

Then, tell your readers how your report bridges the gap, resolves the issue or contributes to what is already known. In other words, how will your work be valuable to an academic community or society? Understanding how to write an introduction for a thesis or dissertation in this segment requires that you persuade your audience about why the topic requires an investigation to address an actual problem. 

Example of how to write about significance in a dissertation introduction

7. Mention Limitations in the Introduction for Thesis

You cannot write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis without mentioning which constraints were encountered when conducting your study. Experiencing limitations is a normal part of the research process. The types of challenges you might be subjected to include financial, data, time, topic, evidence, or research design. This will affect your work in some way, which highlights why you should identify them in the introduction chapter.

Start this introductory section by stating clearly the kind of hindrances you met. This helps readers understand the issues you endured while completing your project before they go through the rest of your work. Be sure to describe why you faced them and why you could not overcome each limitation even after applying specific techniques. Also, evaluate the effect of individual restraints on the overall study outcomes and explain how these problems point to a need for additional research if necessary.

You should also clarify how you addressed them as this assures your supervisor that the outcomes in the results section were not influenced negatively by any restrictions and are accurate. As you write your dissertation introduction, remember that you are conducting the study to demonstrate both practical and impractical things/those requiring further examination.

Examples of thesis introduction limitations:

8. Map Out Your Thesis or Dissertation

This is the last step regarding how to write introduction in dissertation. In particular, since readers should be impressed by your first section, informing them about the rest of the work is essential. Your professors might need to have a glimpse of your article and see how your intro of a thesis or dissertation is planned and divided. Your instructor can offer helpful feedback that will improve your study.

The outline demonstrates your project’s organization and how it flows logically. Thus, conclude a dissertation introduction by giving a brief overview of each chapter. Think of these as mini summaries of each heading that give your supervisor a focused and firm idea about what comes next and how all the parts are related. Provide short explanations regarding your report framework using a handful of phrases without being very detailed. Concentrate mostly on the ideas and components that you will include in each section of your introduction to a thesis paper or dissertation.

Example of a dissertation overview

Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Format

It is also vital to format a dissertation introduction properly and according to a specified style such as APA, Chicago, or MLA. The design mostly depends on requirements. Writing a thesis introduction involves complying with rules related to aspects like headings and subheadings, layout of pages, font selection and size, and in-text citations. It is also common for schools or professors to provide free templates for the relevant introduction of a thesis or dissertation outline, which you can simply take and fill in your details.

Thesis/ Dissertation Introduction Examples

Be sure to consult a dissertation introduction example from journal papers to learn about the layout of this section. Even if you can find a good dissertation introduction sample, remember to always seek assistance from your professor or supervisor as they will offer valuable support and advice in addition to pointing you on the right path. You can also read how to write a good thesis introduction examples below to gain more insights about which strategies you can use when composing this section.

Thesis introduction example

Dissertation introduction example 1

Dissertation introduction example 2

Tips on Writing an Introduction to a Dissertation

Here are some extra dissertation introduction writing tips:

  1. Avoid overlapping your dissertation or thesis introduction too much with other sections. For example, do not offer an extensive background or detailed information about your methods.
  2. Also, when writing the introduction to a dissertation, you cannot initiate it with a research question. Rather, provide adequate context before identifying your question.
  3. Keep it short. Since you already know how to write a good thesis introduction, stick to its main purpose.
  4. While you can cite sources in this section, include only a few studies with a focus on mostly past research as this situates your work in a specific context.
  5. Remember to quote multiple studies as a group using semicolons for separation. This enhances your argument’s credibility or shows the validity of specific sources.

Checklist for Introduction to Dissertation

Use this checklist to ensure you have grasped all ideas about how to write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis:

Bottom Line on How to Write Introduction for Dissertation

You are now familiar with how to write an introduction for dissertation or thesis. Readers use this section to understand what you are up to, why, and how. They can decide to continue or stop based on your presentation. Hence, ensure to make your dissertation or thesis introduction engaging and relevant.

Look at an example of a thesis introduction provided to learn more about the major points in this article. However, you will gain more by practicing what you have learned. Thus, start writing as soon as you finish reading all sections.

More information about PhD writing (literature review, results, dissertation discussion, limitations, dissertation acknowledgments, etc.), you can read in the Dissertation Guide of our blog. From insights on how to write a dissertation conclusion to formatting your thesis appendix you will find detailed step-by-step instructions, tips and examples.

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1. How long should a thesis introduction be?

Your thesis introduction should make up about 10 percent of the total word count of your work. However, the provided guidelines by your supervisor or school department, the nature of your task, and your subject area may influence how long this section is. Read the requirements carefully and adhere to them.

2. Should I write an introduction to a dissertation first or last?

You should wait and write a dissertation introduction last. This ensures that you only focus on the arguments and points you know. While you might have a clear idea about what you want to study, the whole research process may reveal new details that you will want to include in your introduction.

3. How to start a thesis introduction?

Start your thesis introduction with a hook to grab the attention of your readers. One of the main objectives of this segment is to engage the audience by making them want to go through your work. However, use one strategy to avoid giving the impression that your manuscript lacks substance.

4. What tense should I use when writing a dissertation thesis?

Write a dissertation or thesis introduction in the present tense because you are talking about factual information regarding your topic. Presenting it in this way shows that you are sure about the correctness of your research. Even if your study is related to historical themes, you must still use this tense.

Article posted on:Feb 9, 2023
Article updated on:May 9, 2023


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