How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)
The thesis introduction, usually chapter 1, is one of the most important chapters of a thesis. It sets the scene. It previews key arguments and findings. And it helps the reader to understand the structure of the thesis. In short, a lot is riding on this first chapter. With the following tips, you can write a powerful thesis introduction.
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Elements of a fantastic thesis introduction
Open with a (personal) story, begin with a problem, define a clear research gap, describe the scientific relevance of the thesis, describe the societal relevance of the thesis, write down the thesis’ core claim in 1-2 sentences, support your argument with sufficient evidence, consider possible objections, address the empirical research context, give a taste of the thesis’ empirical analysis, hint at the practical implications of the research, provide a reading guide, briefly summarise all chapters to come, design a figure illustrating the thesis structure.
An introductory chapter plays an integral part in every thesis. The first chapter has to include quite a lot of information to contextualise the research. At the same time, a good thesis introduction is not too long, but clear and to the point.
A powerful thesis introduction does the following:
- It captures the reader’s attention.
- It presents a clear research gap and emphasises the thesis’ relevance.
- It provides a compelling argument.
- It previews the research findings.
- It explains the structure of the thesis.
In addition, a powerful thesis introduction is well-written, logically structured, and free of grammar and spelling errors. Reputable thesis editors can elevate the quality of your introduction to the next level. If you are in search of a trustworthy thesis or dissertation editor who upholds high-quality standards and offers efficient turnaround times, I recommend the professional thesis and dissertation editing service provided by Editage .
This list can feel quite overwhelming. However, with some easy tips and tricks, you can accomplish all these goals in your thesis introduction. (And if you struggle with finding the right wording, have a look at academic key phrases for introductions .)
Ways to capture the reader’s attention
A powerful thesis introduction should spark the reader’s interest on the first pages. A reader should be enticed to continue reading! There are three common ways to capture the reader’s attention.
An established way to capture the reader’s attention in a thesis introduction is by starting with a story. Regardless of how abstract and ‘scientific’ the actual thesis content is, it can be useful to ease the reader into the topic with a short story.
This story can be, for instance, based on one of your study participants. It can also be a very personal account of one of your own experiences, which drew you to study the thesis topic in the first place.
Start by providing data or statistics
Data and statistics are another established way to immediately draw in your reader. Especially surprising or shocking numbers can highlight the importance of a thesis topic in the first few sentences!
So if your thesis topic lends itself to being kick-started with data or statistics, you are in for a quick and easy way to write a memorable thesis introduction.
The third established way to capture the reader’s attention is by starting with the problem that underlies your thesis. It is advisable to keep the problem simple. A few sentences at the start of the chapter should suffice.
Usually, at a later stage in the introductory chapter, it is common to go more in-depth, describing the research problem (and its scientific and societal relevance) in more detail.
You may also like: Minimalist writing for a better thesis
Emphasising the thesis’ relevance
A good thesis is a relevant thesis. No one wants to read about a concept that has already been explored hundreds of times, or that no one cares about.
Of course, a thesis heavily relies on the work of other scholars. However, each thesis is – and should be – unique. If you want to write a fantastic thesis introduction, your job is to point out this uniqueness!
In academic research, a research gap signifies a research area or research question that has not been explored yet, that has been insufficiently explored, or whose insights and findings are outdated.
Every thesis needs a crystal-clear research gap. Spell it out instead of letting your reader figure out why your thesis is relevant.
* This example has been taken from an actual academic paper on toxic behaviour in online games: Liu, J. and Agur, C. (2022). “After All, They Don’t Know Me” Exploring the Psychological Mechanisms of Toxic Behavior in Online Games. Games and Culture 1–24, DOI: 10.1177/15554120221115397
The scientific relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your work in terms of advancing theoretical insights on a topic. You can think of this part as your contribution to the (international) academic literature.
Scientific relevance comes in different forms. For instance, you can critically assess a prominent theory explaining a specific phenomenon. Maybe something is missing? Or you can develop a novel framework that combines different frameworks used by other scholars. Or you can draw attention to the context-specific nature of a phenomenon that is discussed in the international literature.
The societal relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your research in more practical terms. You can think of this part as your contribution beyond theoretical insights and academic publications.
Why are your insights useful? Who can benefit from your insights? How can your insights improve existing practices?
Formulating a compelling argument
Arguments are sets of reasons supporting an idea, which – in academia – often integrate theoretical and empirical insights. Think of an argument as an umbrella statement, or core claim. It should be no longer than one or two sentences.
Including an argument in the introduction of your thesis may seem counterintuitive. After all, the reader will be introduced to your core claim before reading all the chapters of your thesis that led you to this claim in the first place.
But rest assured: A clear argument at the start of your thesis introduction is a sign of a good thesis. It works like a movie teaser to generate interest. And it helps the reader to follow your subsequent line of argumentation.
The core claim of your thesis should be accompanied by sufficient evidence. This does not mean that you have to write 10 pages about your results at this point.
However, you do need to show the reader that your claim is credible and legitimate because of the work you have done.
A good argument already anticipates possible objections. Not everyone will agree with your core claim. Therefore, it is smart to think ahead. What criticism can you expect?
Think about reasons or opposing positions that people can come up with to disagree with your claim. Then, try to address them head-on.
Providing a captivating preview of findings
Similar to presenting a compelling argument, a fantastic thesis introduction also previews some of the findings. When reading an introduction, the reader wants to learn a bit more about the research context. Furthermore, a reader should get a taste of the type of analysis that will be conducted. And lastly, a hint at the practical implications of the findings encourages the reader to read until the end.
If you focus on a specific empirical context, make sure to provide some information about it. The empirical context could be, for instance, a country, an island, a school or city. Make sure the reader understands why you chose this context for your research, and why it fits to your research objective.
If you did all your research in a lab, this section is obviously irrelevant. However, in that case you should explain the setup of your experiment, etcetera.
The empirical part of your thesis centers around the collection and analysis of information. What information, and what evidence, did you generate? And what are some of the key findings?
For instance, you can provide a short summary of the different research methods that you used to collect data. Followed by a short overview of how you analysed this data, and some of the key findings. The reader needs to understand why your empirical analysis is worth reading.
You already highlighted the practical relevance of your thesis in the introductory chapter. However, you should also provide a preview of some of the practical implications that you will develop in your thesis based on your findings.
Presenting a crystal clear thesis structure
A fantastic thesis introduction helps the reader to understand the structure and logic of your whole thesis. This is probably the easiest part to write in a thesis introduction. However, this part can be best written at the very end, once everything else is ready.
A reading guide is an essential part in a thesis introduction! Usually, the reading guide can be found toward the end of the introductory chapter.
The reading guide basically tells the reader what to expect in the chapters to come.
In a longer thesis, such as a PhD thesis, it can be smart to provide a summary of each chapter to come. Think of a paragraph for each chapter, almost in the form of an abstract.
For shorter theses, which also have a shorter introduction, this step is not necessary.
Especially for longer theses, it tends to be a good idea to design a simple figure that illustrates the structure of your thesis. It helps the reader to better grasp the logic of your thesis.
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How to write a good thesis introduction
Many people struggle to write a thesis introduction. Much of your research prep should be done and you should be ready to start your introduction. But often, it’s not clear what needs to be included in a thesis introduction. If you feel stuck at this point not knowing how to start, this guide can help.
Tip: If you’re really struggling to write your thesis intro, consider putting in a placeholder until you write more of the body of your thesis. Then, come back to your intro once you have a stronger sense of the overall content of your thesis.
A good introduction draws readers in while providing the setup for the entire project. There is no single way to write an introduction that will always work for every topic , but the points below can act as a guide. These points can help you write a good thesis introduction.
- 1. Identify your readership
Before even starting with your first sentence, consider who your readers are. Most likely, your readers will be the professors who are advising you on your thesis.
You should also consider readers of your thesis who are not specialists in your field. Writing with them in your mind will help you to be as clear as possible; this will make your thesis more understandable and enjoyable overall.
Tip: Always strive to be clear, correct, concrete, and concise in your writing.
- 2. Hook the reader and grab their attention
The first sentence of the thesis is crucial. Looking back at your own research, think about how other writers may have hooked you.
It is common to start with a question or quotation, but these types of hooks are often overused. The best way to start your introduction is with a sentence that is broad and interesting and that seamlessly transitions into your argument.
Once again, consider your audience and how much background information they need to understand your approach. You can start by making a list of what is interesting about your topic:
- Are there any current events or controversies associated with your topic that might be interesting for your introduction?
- What kinds of background information might be useful for a reader to understand right away?
- Are there historical anecdotes or other situations that uniquely illustrate an important aspect of your argument?
- 3. Provide relevant background
A good introduction also needs to contain enough background information to allow the reader to understand the thesis statement and arguments. The amount of background information required will depend on the topic .
There should be enough background information so you don't have to spend too much time with it in the body of the thesis, but not so much that it becomes uninteresting.
Tip: Strike a balance between background information that is too broad or too specific.
- 4. Give the reader a sense of what the paper is about
Let the reader know what the purpose of the study is. Make sure to include the following points:
- Briefly describe the motivation behind your research.
- Describe the topic and scope of your research.
- Explain the practical relevance of your research.
- Explain the scholarly consensus related to your topic: briefly explain the most important articles and how they are related to your research.
- 5. Preview key points and lead into your thesis statement
At the end of your introduction, you should lead into your thesis statement by briefly bringing up a few of your main supporting details and by previewing what will be covered in the main part of the thesis. You’ll want to highlight the overall structure of your thesis so that readers will have a sense of what they will encounter as they read.
- Frequently Asked Questions about writing a good thesis introduction
A good introduction draws readers in while providing the setup for the entire project. There is no single way to write an introduction that will always work for every topic, but these tips will help you write a great introduction:
- Identify your readership.
- Grab the reader's attention.
- Provide relevant background.
- Preview key points and lead into the thesis statement.
A good introduction needs to contain enough background information, and let the reader know what the purpose of the study is. Make sure to include the following points:
- Briefly describe the motivation for your research.
The length of the introduction will depend on the length of the whole thesis. Usually, an introduction makes up roughly 10 per cent of the total word count.
The best way to start your introduction is with a sentence that is broad and interesting and that seamlessly transitions into your argument. Consider the audience, then think of something that would grab their attention.
In Open Access: Theses and Dissertations you can find thousands of recent works. Take a look at any of the theses or dissertations for real-life examples of introductions that were already approved.
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Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.
A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.
A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.
When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.
Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.
Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.
Descriptive thesis (not arguable)
While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.
This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.
Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)
Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.
This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.
Arguable thesis with analytical claim
While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.
This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.
Arguable thesis with normative claim
Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.
This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.
Questions to ask about your thesis
- Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?
- Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?
- Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?
- Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?
- Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
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How To Write A Dissertation Introduction Chapter:
The 7 essential ingredients of an a-grade introduction.
By: Derek Jansen (MBA). Reviewed By Dr Eunice Rautenbach (D. Tech) | March 2020
If you’re reading this, you’re probably at the daunting early phases of writing up the introduction chapter of your dissertation or thesis. It can be intimidating, I know.
In this post, we’ll look at the 7 essential ingredients of a strong dissertation or thesis introduction chapter, as well as the essential things you need to keep in mind as you craft each section. We’ll also share some useful tips to help you optimize your approach.
Overview: How To Write An Introduction Chapter
- Understand the purpose and function of the intro chapter
- Craft an enticing and engaging opening section
- Provide a background and context to the study
- Clearly define the research problem
- State your research aims, objectives and questions
- Explain the significance of your study
- Identify the limitations of your research
- Outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis
A quick sidenote:
You’ll notice that I’ve used the words dissertation and thesis interchangeably. While these terms reflect different levels of research – for example, Masters vs PhD-level research – the introduction chapter generally contains the same 7 essential ingredients regardless of level. So, in this post, dissertation introduction equals thesis introduction.
Start with why.
To craft a high-quality dissertation or thesis introduction chapter, you need to understand exactly what this chapter needs to achieve. In other words, what’s its purpose ? As the name suggests, the introduction chapter needs to introduce the reader to your research so that they understand what you’re trying to figure out, or what problem you’re trying to solve. More specifically, you need to answer four important questions in your introduction chapter.
These questions are:
- What will you be researching? (in other words, your research topic)
- Why is that worthwhile? (in other words, your justification)
- What will the scope of your research be? (in other words, what will you cover and what won’t you cover)
- What will the limitations of your research be? (in other words, what will the potential shortcomings of your research be?)
Simply put, your dissertation’s introduction chapter needs to provide an overview of your planned research , as well as a clear rationale for it. In other words, this chapter has to explain the “what” and the “why” of your research – what’s it all about and why’s that important.
Simple enough, right?
Well, the trick is finding the appropriate depth of information. As the researcher, you’ll be extremely close to your topic and this makes it easy to get caught up in the minor details. While these intricate details might be interesting, you need to write your introduction chapter on more of a “need-to-know” type basis, or it will end up way too lengthy and dense. You need to balance painting a clear picture with keeping things concise. Don’t worry though – you’ll be able to explore all the intricate details in later chapters.
Now that you understand what you need to achieve from your introduction chapter, we can get into the details. While the exact requirements for this chapter can vary from university to university, there are seven core components that most universities will require. We call these the seven essential ingredients .
The 7 Essential Ingredients
- The opening section – where you’ll introduce the reader to your research in high-level terms
- The background to the study – where you’ll explain the context of your project
- The research problem – where you’ll explain the “gap” that exists in the current research
- The research aims , objectives and questions – where you’ll clearly state what your research will aim to achieve
- The significance (or justification) – where you’ll explain why your research is worth doing and the value it will provide to the world
- The limitations – where you’ll acknowledge the potential limitations of your project and approach
- The structure – where you’ll briefly outline the structure of your dissertation or thesis to help orient the reader
By incorporating these seven essential ingredients into your introduction chapter, you’ll comprehensively cover both the “ what ” and the “ why ” I mentioned earlier – in other words, you’ll achieve the purpose of the chapter.
Side note – you can also use these 7 ingredients in this order as the structure for your chapter to ensure a smooth, logical flow. This isn’t essential, but, generally speaking, it helps create an engaging narrative that’s easy for your reader to understand. If you’d like, you can also download our free introduction chapter template here.
Alright – let’s look at each of the ingredients now.
#1 – The Opening Section
The very first essential ingredient for your dissertation introduction is, well, an introduction or opening section. Just like every other chapter, your introduction chapter needs to start by providing a brief overview of what you’ll be covering in the chapter.
This section needs to engage the reader with clear, concise language that can be easily understood and digested. If the reader (your marker!) has to struggle through it, they’ll lose interest, which will make it harder for you to earn marks. Just because you’re writing an academic paper doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic principles of engaging writing used by marketers, bloggers, and journalists. At the end of the day, you’re all trying to sell an idea – yours is just a research idea.
So, what goes into this opening section?
Well, while there’s no set formula, it’s a good idea to include the following four foundational sentences in your opening section:
1 – A sentence or two introducing the overall field of your research.
“Organisational skills development involves identifying current or potential skills gaps within a business and developing programs to resolve these gaps. Management research, including X, Y and Z, has clearly established that organisational skills development is an essential contributor to business growth.”
2 – A sentence introducing your specific research problem.
“However, there are conflicting views and an overall lack of research regarding how best to manage skills development initiatives in highly dynamic environments where subject knowledge is rapidly and continuously evolving – for example, in the website development industry.”
3 – A sentence stating your research aims and objectives.
“This research aims to identify and evaluate skills development approaches and strategies for highly dynamic industries in which subject knowledge is continuously evolving.”.
4 – A sentence outlining the layout of the chapter.
“This chapter will provide an introduction to the study by first discussing the background and context, followed by the research problem, the research aims, objectives and questions, the significance and finally, the limitations.”
As I mentioned, this opening section of your introduction chapter shouldn’t be lengthy . Typically, these four sentences should fit neatly into one or two paragraphs, max. What you’re aiming for here is a clear, concise introduction to your research – not a detailed account.
PS – If some of this terminology sounds unfamiliar, don’t stress – I’ll explain each of the concepts later in this post.
#2 – Background to the study
Now that you’ve provided a high-level overview of your dissertation or thesis, it’s time to go a little deeper and lay a foundation for your research topic. This foundation is what the second ingredient is all about – the background to your study.
So, what is the background section all about?
Well, this section of your introduction chapter should provide a broad overview of the topic area that you’ll be researching, as well as the current contextual factors . This could include, for example, a brief history of the topic, recent developments in the area, key pieces of research in the area and so on. In other words, in this section, you need to provide the relevant background information to give the reader a decent foundational understanding of your research area.
Let’s look at an example to make this a little more concrete.
If we stick with the skills development topic I mentioned earlier, the background to the study section would start by providing an overview of the skills development area and outline the key existing research. Then, it would go on to discuss how the modern-day context has created a new challenge for traditional skills development strategies and approaches. Specifically, that in many industries, technical knowledge is constantly and rapidly evolving, and traditional education providers struggle to keep up with the pace of new technologies.
Importantly, you need to write this section with the assumption that the reader is not an expert in your topic area. So, if there are industry-specific jargon and complex terminology, you should briefly explain that here , so that the reader can understand the rest of your document.
Don’t make assumptions about the reader’s knowledge – in most cases, your markers will not be able to ask you questions if they don’t understand something. So, always err on the safe side and explain anything that’s not common knowledge.
#3 – The research problem
Now that you’ve given your reader an overview of your research area, it’s time to get specific about the research problem that you’ll address in your dissertation or thesis. While the background section would have eluded to a potential research problem (or even multiple research problems), the purpose of this section is to narrow the focus and highlight the specific research problem you’ll focus on.
But, what exactly is a research problem, you ask?
Well, a research problem can be any issue or question for which there isn’t already a well-established and agreed-upon answer in the existing research. In other words, a research problem exists when there’s a need to answer a question (or set of questions), but there’s a gap in the existing literature , or the existing research is conflicting and/or inconsistent.
So, to present your research problem, you need to make it clear what exactly is missing in the current literature and why this is a problem . It’s usually a good idea to structure this discussion into three sections – specifically:
- What’s already well-established in the literature (in other words, the current state of research)
- What’s missing in the literature (in other words, the literature gap)
- Why this is a problem (in other words, why it’s important to fill this gap)
Let’s look at an example of this structure using the skills development topic.
Organisational skills development is critically important for employee satisfaction and company performance (reference). Numerous studies have investigated strategies and approaches to manage skills development programs within organisations (reference).
(this paragraph explains what’s already well-established in the literature)
However, these studies have traditionally focused on relatively slow-paced industries where key skills and knowledge do not change particularly often. This body of theory presents a problem for industries that face a rapidly changing skills landscape – for example, the website development industry – where new platforms, languages and best practices emerge on an extremely frequent basis.
(this paragraph explains what’s missing from the literature)
As a result, the existing research is inadequate for industries in which essential knowledge and skills are constantly and rapidly evolving, as it assumes a slow pace of knowledge development. Industries in such environments, therefore, find themselves ill-equipped in terms of skills development strategies and approaches.
(this paragraph explains why the research gap is problematic)
As you can see in this example, in a few lines, we’ve explained (1) the current state of research, (2) the literature gap and (3) why that gap is problematic. By doing this, the research problem is made crystal clear, which lays the foundation for the next ingredient.
#4 – The research aims, objectives and questions
Now that you’ve clearly identified your research problem, it’s time to identify your research aims and objectives , as well as your research questions . In other words, it’s time to explain what you’re going to do about the research problem.
So, what do you need to do here?
Well, the starting point is to clearly state your research aim (or aims) . The research aim is the main goal or the overarching purpose of your dissertation or thesis. In other words, it’s a high-level statement of what you’re aiming to achieve.
Let’s look at an example, sticking with the skills development topic:
“Given the lack of research regarding organisational skills development in fast-moving industries, this study will aim to identify and evaluate the skills development approaches utilised by web development companies in the UK”.
As you can see in this example, the research aim is clearly outlined, as well as the specific context in which the research will be undertaken (in other words, web development companies in the UK).
Next up is the research objective (or objectives) . While the research aims cover the high-level “what”, the research objectives are a bit more practically oriented, looking at specific things you’ll be doing to achieve those research aims.
Let’s take a look at an example of some research objectives (ROs) to fit the research aim.
- RO1 – To identify common skills development strategies and approaches utilised by web development companies in the UK.
- RO2 – To evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies and approaches.
- RO3 – To compare and contrast these strategies and approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.
As you can see from this example, these objectives describe the actions you’ll take and the specific things you’ll investigate in order to achieve your research aims. They break down the research aims into more specific, actionable objectives.
The final step is to state your research questions . Your research questions bring the aims and objectives another level “down to earth”. These are the specific questions that your dissertation or theses will seek to answer. They’re not fluffy, ambiguous or conceptual – they’re very specific and you’ll need to directly answer them in your conclusions chapter .
The research questions typically relate directly to the research objectives and sometimes can look a bit obvious, but they are still extremely important. Let’s take a look at an example of the research questions (RQs) that would flow from the research objectives I mentioned earlier.
- RQ1 – What skills development strategies and approaches are currently being used by web development companies in the UK?
- RQ2 – How effective are each of these strategies and approaches?
- RQ3 – What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these strategies and approaches?
As you can see, the research questions mimic the research objectives , but they are presented in question format. These questions will act as the driving force throughout your dissertation or thesis – from the literature review to the methodology and onward – so they’re really important.
A final note about this section – it’s really important to be clear about the scope of your study (more technically, the delimitations ). In other words, what you WILL cover and what you WON’T cover. If your research aims, objectives and questions are too broad, you’ll risk losing focus or investigating a problem that is too big to solve within a single dissertation.
Simply put, you need to establish clear boundaries in your research. You can do this, for example, by limiting it to a specific industry, country or time period. That way, you’ll ringfence your research, which will allow you to investigate your topic deeply and thoroughly – which is what earns marks!
Need a helping hand?
#5 – Significance
Now that you’ve made it clear what you’ll be researching, it’s time to make a strong argument regarding your study’s importance and significance . In other words, now that you’ve covered the what, it’s time to cover the why – enter essential ingredient number 5 – significance.
Of course, by this stage, you’ve already briefly alluded to the importance of your study in your background and research problem sections, but you haven’t explicitly stated how your research findings will benefit the world . So, now’s your chance to clearly state how your study will benefit either industry , academia , or – ideally – both . In other words, you need to explain how your research will make a difference and what implications it will have.
Let’s take a look at an example.
“This study will contribute to the body of knowledge on skills development by incorporating skills development strategies and approaches for industries in which knowledge and skills are rapidly and constantly changing. This will help address the current shortage of research in this area and provide real-world value to organisations operating in such dynamic environments.”
As you can see in this example, the paragraph clearly explains how the research will help fill a gap in the literature and also provide practical real-world value to organisations.
This section doesn’t need to be particularly lengthy, but it does need to be convincing . You need to “sell” the value of your research here so that the reader understands why it’s worth committing an entire dissertation or thesis to it. This section needs to be the salesman of your research. So, spend some time thinking about the ways in which your research will make a unique contribution to the world and how the knowledge you create could benefit both academia and industry – and then “sell it” in this section.
#6 – The limitations
Now that you’ve “sold” your research to the reader and hopefully got them excited about what’s coming up in the rest of your dissertation, it’s time to briefly discuss the potential limitations of your research.
But you’re probably thinking, hold up – what limitations? My research is well thought out and carefully designed – why would there be limitations?
Well, no piece of research is perfect . This is especially true for a dissertation or thesis – which typically has a very low or zero budget, tight time constraints and limited researcher experience. Generally, your dissertation will be the first or second formal research project you’ve ever undertaken, so it’s unlikely to win any research awards…
Simply put, your research will invariably have limitations. Don’t stress yourself out though – this is completely acceptable (and expected). Even “professional” research has limitations – as I said, no piece of research is perfect. The key is to recognise the limitations upfront and be completely transparent about them, so that future researchers are aware of them and can improve the study’s design to minimise the limitations and strengthen the findings.
Generally, you’ll want to consider at least the following four common limitations. These are:
- Your scope – for example, perhaps your focus is very narrow and doesn’t consider how certain variables interact with each other.
- Your research methodology – for example, a qualitative methodology could be criticised for being overly subjective, or a quantitative methodology could be criticised for oversimplifying the situation (learn more about methodologies here ).
- Your resources – for example, a lack of time, money, equipment and your own research experience.
- The generalisability of your findings – for example, the findings from the study of a specific industry or country can’t necessarily be generalised to other industries or countries.
Don’t be shy here. There’s no use trying to hide the limitations or weaknesses of your research. In fact, the more critical you can be of your study, the better. The markers want to see that you are aware of the limitations as this demonstrates your understanding of research design – so be brutal.
#7 – The structural outline
Now that you’ve clearly communicated what your research is going to be about, why it’s important and what the limitations of your research will be, the final ingredient is the structural outline.The purpose of this section is simply to provide your reader with a roadmap of what to expect in terms of the structure of your dissertation or thesis.
In this section, you’ll need to provide a brief summary of each chapter’s purpose and contents (including the introduction chapter). A sentence or two explaining what you’ll do in each chapter is generally enough to orient the reader. You don’t want to get too detailed here – it’s purely an outline, not a summary of your research.
Let’s look at an example:
In Chapter One, the context of the study has been introduced. The research objectives and questions have been identified, and the value of such research argued. The limitations of the study have also been discussed.
In Chapter Two, the existing literature will be reviewed and a foundation of theory will be laid out to identify key skills development approaches and strategies within the context of fast-moving industries, especially technology-intensive industries.
In Chapter Three, the methodological choices will be explored. Specifically, the adoption of a qualitative, inductive research approach will be justified, and the broader research design will be discussed, including the limitations thereof.
So, as you can see from the example, this section is simply an outline of the chapter structure, allocating a short paragraph to each chapter. Done correctly, the outline will help your reader understand what to expect and reassure them that you’ll address the multiple facets of the study.
By the way – if you’re unsure of how to structure your dissertation or thesis, be sure to check out our video post which explains dissertation structure .
Keep calm and carry on.
Hopefully you feel a bit more prepared for this challenge of crafting your dissertation or thesis introduction chapter now. Take a deep breath and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day – conquer one ingredient at a time and you’ll be firmly on the path to success.
Let’s quickly recap – the 7 ingredients are:
- The opening section – where you give a brief, high-level overview of what your research will be about.
- The study background – where you introduce the reader to key theory, concepts and terminology, as well as the context of your study.
- The research problem – where you explain what the problem with the current research is. In other words, the research gap.
- The research aims , objectives and questions – where you clearly state what your dissertation will investigate.
- The significance – where you explain what value your research will provide to the world.
- The limitations – where you explain what the potential shortcomings and limitations of your research may be.
- The structural outline – where you provide a high-level overview of the structure of your document
If you bake these ingredients into your dissertation introduction chapter, you’ll be well on your way to building an engaging introduction chapter that lays a rock-solid foundation for the rest of your document.
Remember, while we’ve covered the essential ingredients here, there may be some additional components that your university requires, so be sure to double-check your project brief!
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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Thanks very much for such an insight. I feel confident enough in undertaking my thesis on the survey;The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction
Glad to hear that. Good luck with your thesis!
Thanks very much for such an insight. I feel confident now undertaking my thesis; The future of facial recognition and learning non verbal interaction.
Thanks so much for this article. I found myself struggling and wasting a lot of time in my thesis writing but after reading this article and watching some of your youtube videos, I now have a clear understanding of what is required for a thesis.
Thank you Derek, i find your each post so useful. Keep it up.
Thank you so much Derek ,for shedding the light and making it easier for me to handle the daunting task of academic writing .
Thanks do much Dereck for the comprehensive guide. It will assist me queit a lot in my thesis.
thanks a lot for helping
i LOVE the gifs, such a fun way to engage readers. thanks for the advice, much appreciated
Thanks a lot Derek! It will be really useful to the beginner in research!
This is a well written, easily comprehensible, simple introduction to the basics of a Research Dissertation../the need to keep the reader in mind while writing the dissertation is an important point that is covered../ I appreciate the efforts of the author../
The instruction given are perfect and clear. I was supposed to take the course , unfortunately in Nepal the service is not avaialble.However, I am much more hopeful that you will provide require documents whatever you have produced so far.
Thank you very much
Thanks so much ❤️😘 I feel am ready to start writing my research methodology
This is genuinely the most effective advice I have ever been given regarding academia. Thank you so much!
This is one of the best write up I have seen in my road to PhD thesis. regards, this write up update my knowledge of research
I was looking for some good blogs related to Education hopefully your article will help. Thanks for sharing.
This is an awesome masterpiece. It is one of the most comprehensive guides to writing a Dissertation/Thesis I have seen and read.
You just saved me from going astray in writing a Dissertation for my undergraduate studies. I could not be more grateful for such a relevant guide like this. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much Derek, this has been extremely helpful!!
I do have one question though, in the limitations part do you refer to the scope as the focus of the research on a specific industry/country/chronological period? I assume that in order to talk about whether or not the research could be generalized, the above would need to be already presented and described in the introduction.
Thank you again!
Phew! You have genuinely rescued me. I was stuck how to go about my thesis. Now l have started. Thank you.
This is the very best guide in anything that has to do with thesis or dissertation writing. The numerous blends of examples and detailed insights make it worth a read and in fact, a treasure that is worthy to be bookmarked.
Thanks a lot for this masterpiece!
Powerful insight. I can now take a step
Thank you very much for these valuable introductions to thesis chapters. I saw all your videos about writing the introduction, discussion, and conclusion chapter. Then, I am wondering if we need to explain our research limitations in all three chapters, introduction, discussion, and conclusion? Isn’t it a bit redundant? If not, could you please explain how can we write in different ways? Thank you.
Excellent!!! Thank you…
Thanks for this informative content. I have a question. The research gap is mentioned in both the introduction and literature section. I would like to know how can I demonstrate the research gap in both sections without repeating the contents?
I’m incredibly grateful for this invaluable content. I’ve been dreading compiling my postgrad thesis but breaking each chapter down into sections has made it so much easier for me to engage with the material without feeling overwhelmed. After relying on your guidance, I’m really happy with how I’ve laid out my introduction.
Thank you for the informative content you provided
Hi Derrick and Team, thank you so much for the comprehensive guide on how to write a dissertation or a thesis introduction section. For some of us first-timers, it is a daunting task. However, the instruction with relevant examples makes it clear and easy to follow through. Much appreciated.
It was so helpful. God Bless you. Thanks very much
I thank you Grad coach for your priceless help. I have two questions I have learned from your video the limitations of the research presented in chapter one. but in another video also presented in chapter five. which chapter limitation should be included? If possible, I need your answer since I am doing my thesis. how can I explain If I am asked what is my motivation for this research?
Thank you guys for the great work you are doing. Honestly, you have made the research to be interesting and simplified. Even a novice will easily grasp the ideas you put forward, Thank you once again.
I feel like just settling for a good topic is usually the hardest part.
Thank you so much. My confidence has been completely destroyed during my first year of PhD and you have helped me pull myself together again
Happy to help 🙂
I am so glad I ran into your resources and did not waste time doing the wrong this. Research is now making so much sense now.
Gratitude to Derrick and the team I was looking for a solid article that would aid me in drafting the thesis’ introduction. I felt quite happy when I came across the piece you wrote because it was so well-written and insightful. I wish you success in the future.
thank you so much. God Bless you
Thank you so much Grad Coach for these helpful insights. Now I can get started, with a great deal of confidence.
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The length of introductions vary depending on your disciplinary area and the nature of your project so before writing one, it may be wise to discuss length and expectations of content with your supervisor. It is also worth taking a look at a range of past theses in your area to see what is expected in your field.
The introduction to the whole thesis can make up roughly 10 per cent of the total word count. So if you are doing a PhD of 80,000 - 100,000 words, you may have a 8,000 - 10,000 word introduction. And if you are writing a Masters thesis of 15,000 - 20,000 words, your introduction could be 1,500 - 2,000 words long. Exegeses tend to be anywhere between seven to 12 pages in length (1.5 cm spacing) and include images and/or diagrams.
Theses that generally have longer introductions do so because they incorporate more substantial background information and/or an extended literature review section.
Theses that have shorter introductions, say eight to ten pages (1.5 spacing) or about 4000 words for a PhD, do so in order to give a broad overview of the research project which is typically followed by a longer background or literature review chapter.
Regardless of the type of project you are doing or thesis you are writing, the introduction to the thesis or exegesis should give a broad overview of the project, as discussed in the page on introductions.
Individual chapters should also have introductions. An introduction to a chapter that is 10,000 words long could be about two to three pages long, whereas in shorter theses the chapter introductions may only be a page or two, or even just a paragraph or two. The length varies depending on how much you need to establish for your reader to understand how the chapter contributes to your research and argument.
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How to Write a Thesis Introduction
What types of information should you include in your introduction .
In the introduction of your thesis, you’ll be trying to do three main things, which are called Moves :
- Move 1 establish your territory (say what the topic is about)
- Move 2 establish a niche (show why there needs to be further research on your topic)
- Move 3 introduce the current research (make hypotheses; state the research questions)
Each Move has a number of stages. Depending on what you need to say in your introduction, you might use one or more stages. Table 1 provides you with a list of the most commonly occurring stages of introductions in Honours theses (colour-coded to show the Moves ). You will also find examples of Introductions, divided into stages with sample sentence extracts. Once you’ve looked at Examples 1 and 2, try the exercise that follows.
Most thesis introductions include SOME (but not all) of the stages listed below. There are variations between different Schools and between different theses, depending on the purpose of the thesis.
Stages in a thesis introduction
- state the general topic and give some background
- provide a review of the literature related to the topic
- define the terms and scope of the topic
- outline the current situation
- evaluate the current situation (advantages/ disadvantages) and identify the gap
- identify the importance of the proposed research
- state the research problem/ questions
- state the research aims and/or research objectives
- state the hypotheses
- outline the order of information in the thesis
- outline the methodology
Example 1: Evaluation of Boron Solid Source Diffusion for High-Efficiency Silicon Solar Cells (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering)
Example 2: Methods for Measuring Hepatitis C Viral Complexity (School of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences)
Note: this introduction includes the literature review.
Now that you have read example 1 and 2, what are the differences?
Example 3: The IMO Severe-Weather Criterion Applied to High-Speed Monohulls (School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering)
Example 4: The Steiner Tree Problem (School of Computer Science and Engineering)
Example 5.1 (extract 1): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)
Example 5.2 (extract 2): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)
Example 5.4 (extract 4): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)
Example 5.5 (extract 5): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)
Example 5.6 (extract 6): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)
Well, firstly, there are many choices that you can make. You will notice that there are variations not only between the different Schools in your faculty, but also between individual theses, depending on the type of information that is being communicated. However, there are a few elements that a good Introduction should include, at the very minimum:
- Either Statement of general topic Or Background information about the topic;
- Either Identification of disadvantages of current situation Or Identification of the gap in current research;
- Identification of importance of proposed research
- Either Statement of aims Or Statement of objectives
- An Outline of the order of information in the thesis
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Introduction and conclusion thesis chapters
Both the introduction and conclusion chapters frame your thesis. The introduction gives a preview of the thesis and often indicates the standard of the thesis. The conclusion gives a convincing summary of the thesis’s findings.
- The introduction chapter
- The conclusion chapter
The introduction allows you to orient the reader to your research project and preview the organisation of your thesis. In the introduction, state what the topic is about, explain why it needs to be further researched and introduce your research question(s) or hypothesis.
Whilst patterns of organisation in introductions vary, there are some common features that will help you to achieve an informative and engaging introduction. Let’s identify these features:
- Introduce the topic
- Define key terms and concepts
- Give background and context for the topic (this may include a brief literature review)
- Review and evaluate the current state of knowledge in the topic (this may include a brief literature review)
- Identify any gaps, shortcomings and problems in the research to date
- Introduce your research question(s) or hypothesis
- Briefly describe your methodology and/or theoretical approach
- Explain the aim of your research and what contribution it will make to the topic
- Give an overview of the chapter outline of the thesis.
It’s important to note that, depending on your field of study and the faculty requirements of your thesis, not all of these features will be relevant. Also, these features may occur in varied orders.
Most people write many drafts of their introduction. It can be useful to write one early in the research process to clarify your thinking. You will need to write a version for your confirmation proposal and other milestones. As your research progresses and your ideas develop, you will need to revise it. When the final draft of chapters is complete, check the introduction once more to make sure that it accurately reflects what you have actually done.
Check your understanding View
Read the following sentences from a doctoral thesis introduction. The research topic is Motivations for multiple tattoo acquisition (Applied Psychology).
Determine what introduction feature is demonstrated in the extract and scroll down to check your response before moving on to the next part of the activity.
Source: Stephanie Kalanj-Mizzi (2021). Motivations for multiple tattoo acquisition. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Depending on the type of research presented in the thesis, conclusion chapters or sections tend to include at least some of the following:
- A clear answer to your research question or hypothesis
- Summary of the main findings or argument
- Connections between your findings or argument to other research
- Explanation and significance of the findings
- Implications of the findings
- Limitations of the research and methodology
- Recommendations for future research
Your conclusion chapter is the place to emphasise the new knowledge that you’ve contributed to the field of study and explain its significance. This chapter is your opportunity to leave a strong impression on the reader (assessors) about the strength and relevance of your research, and your skills as a researcher.
Importantly, the conclusion chapter must link with your introduction chapter to complete the framing of the thesis and demonstrate that you have achieved what you set out to do.
Read the following sentences from a doctoral thesis conclusion. The research topic is Investigating the Role of Myeloid Cell Autophagy in Autoimmune Disease (STEM).
Source: Md Abul Hasnat (2021). Investigating the Role of Myeloid Cell Autophagy in Autoimmune Disease. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Writing A Thesis Introduction
Thesis Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide With Examples
11 min read
Published on: Apr 11, 2019
Last updated on: Nov 11, 2023
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You're staring at a blinking cursor, trying to figure out where to start your introduction for your thesis writing.
It's hard to know where to start, and even harder to keep your introduction engaging and on-topic.
We've written this guide that will take you step-by-step through the process of writing an amazing introduction. You'll also find examples of introductions for different types of papers.
So let's get started!
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What is a Thesis Introduction?
A thesis introduction is the opening section of a research paper or thesis writing that serves as a roadmap for the entire study.
It provides context and background information for the research topic. The introduction outlines the study's purpose, problem statement, and methodology.
It engages readers, captures their interest, and sets expectations for the rest of the paper.
Importance of Writing a Good Thesis Introduction
Let’s see why a good introduction is important in thesis writing:
- First Impressions: The introduction is your first opportunity to make a positive impression on readers. It's crucial in piquing their interest.
- Contextual Understanding: It offers the necessary background information, ensuring that readers comprehend the research's significance and relevance.
- Problem Statement: The introduction presents the research problem, outlining what the study aims to address, and emphasizing its importance.
- Clarity: A well-structured introduction enhances the clarity of your work, making it easier for readers to follow your thesis.
- Guidance: It serves as a guide for the reader, providing a clear path of what to expect throughout the research, including the methodology and expected outcomes.
How Long is a Thesis Introduction?
The introduction of your thesis paper makes up roughly 10% of your total word count. Therefore, a PhD thesis paper introduction would be 8000 - 10000 words. However, a Master's thesis would be 1500 - 2000 words long.
Although the thesis introduction length can be increased if the writer includes images, diagrams, and descriptions.
Components of Thesis Introduction
The thesis introduction format comprises several essential components that collectively set the stage for your research. These components include:
- Hook or Attention-Grabber
- Background Information
- Problem Statement
- Purpose of the Study
- Significance of the Research
- Overview of the Methodology
Thesis Introduction Outline
A thesis introduction chapter structure contains the following sections:
Thesis Introduction Outline Sample
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How to Start a Thesis Introduction?
Starting a thesis introduction can be overwhelming, but there are some steps you can follow to make it easier:
- Choose a Topic Select a topic that you are passionate about and that aligns with your research interests. Your topic should also be relevant to your field of study and have enough existing research to support your thesis. You can also choose unique ideas from our compiled list of thesis topics .
- Research the Content Conduct thorough research on your topic by reviewing the literature, collecting data, and analyzing existing research in your field. This will help you identify gaps in the literature that your thesis will address.
- Organize the Ideas Organize and compile the main arguments, ideas, and claims in the next step. These thoughts will be helpful to describe and present the thesis statement . Logically organizing your thoughts is crucial for developing an effective and coherent paper. You can create a clear story from the start of your paper to the end. Also, include a table of contents at the beginning of your thesis. It serves as a mind map to discuss the layout of your research proposal .
- Define the Subject and Relevant Themes Define the subject and the relevant themes before starting your thesis introduction. The subject of a thesis is the central topic or idea that it addresses. It should be specific enough to be covered by the scope of the thesis, yet broad enough to allow for meaningful discussion. Relevant themes are those ideas that are most applicable to the subject of the thesis. These themes often come from other fields and add depth to the argument being made in the thesis. This way it would be easier for the reader to skim and get a good idea by going through it.
- Define Your Thesis Statement Once you have conducted your research, define your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should clearly articulate the main argument or point you will be making in your thesis.
Check out this video to learn more about writing a good introduction for your thesis!
How to Write a Thesis Introduction?
Once you are done with the prewriting steps discussed above, you are now ready to dive into actual writing. Here is a step-by-step guide for you to follow while writing a thesis introduction.
A detailed description of the steps to write an introduction is given below.
Step 1: Hook the Reader’s Interest
A writer should begin writing the introduction with a hook statement to draw the reader’s interest. It can be a question, quotation, or interesting transitions into your arguments. Also, make a list of interesting, current events or controversies related to your topic. It will help in creating a strong introduction and thesis statement.
Step 2: Mention the Research Gap
Review and evaluate the existing literature critically. It will help the researcher in finding and addressing the research gap.
Step 3: State the Background Information
A good introduction to the thesis always states the historical background of the chosen topic. It is usually cited in the first paragraph and shows the current position of the subject.
Step 4: Back Your Topic with Relevant Literature
The introduction is a mix of previous research and a literature review. Thus, the topic should be backed with relevant resources. It is also used to explain the context and significance of previous studies. Moreover, it further acknowledges credible sources of information to solidify your claim.
When choosing relevant literature, there are a few things to consider.
- Firstly, the literature should be from reputable sources such as scholarly journals or books.
- Secondly, it should be related to your topic and provide evidence for your claims.
- Lastly, it should be up-to-date and accurate.
By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your work is well-informed and credible.
Step 5: Mention the Hypothesis
Formulate a hypothesis for your research work. It will discuss what you aim to achieve along with the possibilities.
A valid hypothesis must be testable, measurable, and based on evidence from existing literature or theoretical frameworks.
The hypothesis should also provide a logical explanation for the relationship between the variables in question.
Step 6: Provide Significance of Your Research
The gap will help to evaluate the situation and explain the significance of the current research. Thus, add the purpose of your paper explaining why the research is done. It will also demonstrate the possible contributions of the research work in the future.
Step 7: Outline the Research Questions
The next step is to outline your research questions. These should be relevant to the purpose of your study. Moreover, it will also help you discuss the problems that you seek to address.
Step 8: State Research Objectives
State the research aims and objectives to define the primary purpose of the work. It should give a direction to the research by providing an overview of what it aims to achieve.
Step 9: Discuss the Research Methodology
The next step is to define the terms and methodology you are going to apply in your research. It is a good technique to make your study authentic, credible, and useful.
Step 10: Finalize your Introduction
Ask yourself the following questions after finishing writing the introduction.
- Does your introduction discuss the problem your thesis is addressing?
- Does this section address the contribution the research work is making?
- Does it provide a detailed overview of your thesis?
- Does it end by briefly discussing the content of each chapter?
- Does it make a case for the research?
- Does it outline research questions, problems, and hypotheses clearly?
Thesis Introduction Examples
Below are sample thesis introductions to help you compose perfect introductions.
Ph.D. thesis introduction
Master thesis introduction example
Bachelor thesis introduction example
Thesis introduction sample for criminology
Thesis Introduction Writing Tips
The following are some writing tips to help you draft perfect thesis introductions.
- Highlight the importance of your research early on to engage the reader's interest.
- Introduce the key aspects of the topic to provide context and understanding.
- Craft a dissertation introduction that clearly sets the stage for your research.
- Offer a concise overview of the structure to help the reader navigate your thesis effectively.
- It must follow a coherent thesis format by providing concise information.
- Do not use technical language as it will leave the reader confused.
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Introduction Writing Checklist
Use the below checklist to assess your introduction and identify what information is missing. This should help you ensure that your intro has all of the necessary components for a successful outcome.
In conclusion, crafting a strong thesis introduction is a crucial element of any academic paper. It sets the tone for your entire essay and provides a roadmap for your reader to follow. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can create a well-structured introduction for your thesis.
However, if you are still struggling to write a compelling thesis introduction, don't worry. MyPerfectWords.com is here to help. With qualified writing experts, we provide the best thesis writing service at student-friendly costs.
So, contact us today to discuss your thesis paper, and let us help you achieve your academic goals. Using our online paper writing service , you can be confident that your thesis introduction will be crafted perfectly to help you succeed.
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Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.
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How To Write a Thesis Introduction Like an Expert
Among the top searches by many college and university students is ‘how to write a thesis introduction.’ You might ask, why is it a top search? Is there anything special about a thesis introduction? Yes! And a great deal of importance for that case.
Show me, you say. Well, keep your eyes peeled for the next lines that follow.
Often, Master’s and Ph.D. students find this task intimidating. Imagine having spent lots of sleepless nights on your research paper only to find a stumbling block – the introduction thesis! You will find it difficult to determine what needs to be included or omitted and how to make a good first impression on your reader.
Let’s now dismantle this monster’s so-called introduction and thesis once and for all.
How to Write a Thesis Introduction?
Thesis introduction example, what is the ideal length of a thesis introduction.
Experts will tell you that the thesis and introduction are essential parts of your research paper. The section determines what you are going to write on and the angle you will take. Such will have an impact on the reception of your paper by the reader.
What constitutes a strong thesis introduction example, then?
The motivation of your research (Briefly describe why you ventured into that topic) The scope of your research. (How far do you intent to go with your research?) The relevance of the research problem. (How will it benefit the reader?) The literature related to your thesis (What are the scientific journals, articles, or books that relate to your topic. Briefly mention them)
At this juncture, you might exclaim, ‘but that is too much for a thesis introduction!’ That is why you need to learn how to write a good thesis introduction. With the knowledge you will acquire here, you will be able to articulate all these in a short but all-inclusive introductory paragraph. Stay with me.
Remember that the introductory paragraph decides your thesis’s fate, whether it will be a success or not. Therefore, there is no room for mistakes. Let the elements above set the pace for your thesis introduction outline.
Now, this is important
Getting the right introduction will make the rest of your paper flow. However, when you mess up in this section, catching up will be like getting President Trump out of Twitter; you know how difficult that will be – don’t you?
Before you start your thesis introduction, here are a few essentials to bear at the back of your mind:
Deliberate and devise different ideas Organize your thoughts in an inverted pyramid style (begin with the most important to the least) Highlight the terms and scope of your writing Have a list of strong and striking words to hook your readers
After putting together all these, it’s now time to get down to work. And this is the most interesting part – now that you have everything you need. Note that a crisp and interesting thesis introduction is our goal, nothing short of that.
Begin your introduction with a broad and interesting sentence with seamless transitions into your argument. The sentence should appeal to a wide range of audiences. A great way to do this would be to determine who you intend to inform with your paper. Such will help you identify the different groups and sub-groups that will benefit from your thesis.
Without the background information, your thesis intro is as good as dead. Therefore, provide an adequate but brief background for your readers to understand the thesis statement and arguments. It will help you not to spend too much time with it in the body of the thesis.
Let us now put into practice what we have been discussing with the help of a sample thesis introduction paragraph.
“Technology has become an essential part of our daily lives. It has achieved great milestones in advancing productivity and progression. Statistics show that by 2030, almost every facet of human life will be automated. But what does this mean for those who depend on manual work as a source of their daily bread? Here are reasons why Technology will land many in the jobless corner.”
From the thesis introduction sample above, we can make the following remarks:
A good thesis intro has interesting facts and statistics It has relevant background information for the reader It contains preview key points that lead into the thesis statement
Note that the sample above is not cast on a stone for every topic. However, it will be able to spearhead you in the right direction culminating in a great introduction. What are you waiting for now? Try it out on your own. It will amaze you to know how much you have improved just by reading this post.
Moreover, you can use these tips to spice up your paper:
- It should address a current situation (this will draw the interest of many)
- Inform the reader about the purpose of your thesis.
- Could you not write it in one go?
- Present a comprehensive outlook of your thesis paper.
- It should offer readers value for their time spent reading it
- Proofread it to ensure that your grammar and language are up to speed
Scroll down for more on how to start a thesis introduction effectively.
A professional answer to this question would be – as long as it needs to be – no longer and no shorter. However, using the variables long and short is ambiguous. Most institutions have their requirements for the length of the thesis introduction paragraph.
Here is a more insightful look at this question of length. The thesis introduction is normally placed on pages 3-5. Therefore, this tells you that it is not shorter than 150 words . Let’s look at some of the factors that determine the length of the thesis introduction paragraph:
- Level of research
- Academic or scientific discipline
- Depth of specialization
- The topic or problem in question
- The preferences of the department
With that, you can determine how long your introduction will take. Don’t get all worked up about the length; as long as you have the content, you are all set! You can even handle an introduction of 10 pages or more.
Despite the confusing aspects of a thesis introduction, you can see that it is a manageable task. The trick is simple, follow the guidelines, look at our thesis examples, and contact our professional thesis writers if you are stuck.
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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.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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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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How Long Should a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Be?
How Long Should a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Be? How long should the introduction to your thesis or dissertation be? The most obvious answer is as long as it needs to be – no longer and no shorter. This is absolutely true, but also rather unhelpful if you do not yet know exactly how long your introduction needs to be. The problem with providing a simple answer that will apply universally to every scholarly thesis and dissertation is that each research project is unique and will therefore present its own specific requirements. Several factors may play a role in determining the length of the final document. The level of the research conducted by the student, the academic or scientific discipline, the depth of specialisation, the topic or problem investigated and the preferences of the department as well as the advice of the student’s mentors are among these. The nature of the research, then, will determine the length and much else about the introduction because it is that research that the introduction must introduce, and introduce well, to examiners and other readers. The first thing to do when you are wondering how long your thesis or dissertation introduction should be is to consult the guidelines or regulations for theses and dissertations provided by your department or university (or other research or educational institution if you are not studying at a university). Be sure to look at the instructions specifically intended for the type of thesis or dissertation you are writing and use the guidelines relevant to your discipline, department and subject area. There will usually be some sort of overall word or page limit set on the length of a thesis or dissertation, sometimes a lower limit that must be met as well as an upper limit that must not be exceeded. Occasionally, there will also be information on how long each part of the document, such as the introduction, should be, but this is rare. You may also find it helpful to discuss the matter of introduction length with your supervisor or primary mentor, who will probably be able to give you more specific advice about the length of introduction expected for your particular research topic and approach. Another excellent strategy is to consult successful theses and dissertations that have recently been completed in your department and discipline; their introductions, especially when the research is similar to your own, may serve as useful models of length. PhD Thesis Editing Services Generally speaking, the more advanced the research, the longer the thesis or dissertation written to report it, so an undergraduate dissertation will be a lot shorter than a doctoral thesis researched in the same department and even one exploring the same research topic. This does not mean, however, that undergraduate dissertations will always be of the same or a similar length, or that all doctoral theses will resemble each other in length. A doctoral thesis in the humanities might consist of a good many more words and paragraphs than a PhD thesis in the sciences does, but that scientific thesis might in turn make up the difference in tables, charts and other presentations of data. In a traditionally structured scientific thesis at the postgraduate level, where the introduction is followed by chapters dedicated to methodology, results, discussion and, finally, conclusions, an introduction that constitutes about 10% of the overall length is generally acceptable. Some instructors and guidelines might recommend a little shorter introduction of about 7% or even 5% of the total length of the document, but in other disciplines and especially when the background information needed to understand the research is extensive, an introduction might grow to 12% or even 15% of the entire thesis or dissertation. As you are designing and drafting the introduction for your thesis or dissertation, the guidelines, advice and models available to you will help you aim for an appropriate length, and as you finish and polish your work, they will help you edit for that perfect length. Even more important, however, will be the content you are required to include in your introduction. Here, too, those guidelines, mentors and successful theses and dissertations will prove invaluable. Department and university guidelines may list or describe the basic contents expected in the introduction; your mentors may have very specific ideas about what must be communicated to clarify your research; and those successful theses and dissertations will reveal what other students chose to write about in their introductions. Although precisely what a scholarly introduction should contain varies, so that a master’s dissertation in the social sciences will provide entirely different kinds of information than a doctoral thesis in art history will, the basic structures and purposes of both are usually not so very different at all. In fact, the introductions to scholarly theses and dissertations of all kinds tend to have very similar primary functions, so I have listed a number of these below. Do be aware, however, that these points are particularly relevant to a thesis or dissertation that makes an original contribution to knowledge. Some of them may not be necessary or useful for your thesis or dissertation, they might be presented in a variety of different orders, and disciplines and departments will vary in the terminology used to describe them, so it is essential while using this list to prioritise any instructions you obtain from your own educational institution and mentors. Generally speaking, however, the introduction to a scholarly thesis or dissertation should • Identify clearly, accurately and with as much precision as possible the topic, problem or phenomenon on which your research focuses. This can be done at any point in the introduction, but mentioning it in a brief and engaging manner near the beginning and then developing it into a more comprehensive statement often works well. • Provide background information for the topic you are exploring. This can take many forms including a survey of the history of the occurrence of the problem or phenomenon and a summary or brief review of previous research on the topic. • Explain the value or significance of your research, which is often achieved as or immediately after you introduce background material. Significance can be demonstrated by describing the impact of a problem, its complexity or mysterious nature, its occurrence and persistence, and the number of people or regions affected. • Indicate gaps, problems, misconceptions and the like in the published research on your topic or in your subject area, and suggest how your research aims to fill those gaps, resolve the problems and correct any misconceptions by presenting new ways of perceiving and understanding the situation. PhD Thesis Editing Services • Introduce, usually briefly, the methods and approaches you have adopted or devised to investigate the topic or problem. Your methodology need not be new, but it should be the most effective possible, and for postgraduate research it is usually best if its application to the problem is in some way innovative, so do emphasise those aspects. • Describe the context of the research. The intellectual and theoretical context of your research might be covered in your discussion of the background or scholarship, but it can be described separately. The physical context of the research should also be clarified by explaining where your research takes place, who is involved and why the location you have chosen is appropriate. • Establish a conceptual framework for the thesis or dissertation. A conceptual framework is very much like an accurate textual map of the territory investigated in your research, so it should allow you to include in meaningful ways everything you wish to report, discuss, interpret and argue. • Outline the aims and objectives of your research. The aims and objectives of a thesis or dissertation should not only be reasonable and attainable, but also clearly stated, so displaying them in a list can be particularly effective and so can numbering them in order of importance. • Present your research questions and hypotheses. Determining exactly what your research questions and hypotheses are can be an excellent means of defining and understanding your research more clearly, and therefore reporting it more effectively to your readers. A list can be helpful here as well, and you may want to arrange questions and hypotheses in relation to your methods. • Define or clarify any key theories, specialised terminology, archaic vocabulary, unusual concepts or nonstandard abbreviations that you make extensive use of in the thesis or dissertation. • Explain the ethical considerations associated with your research and its methodology. Generally speaking, ethical issues arise in research that uses living subjects, and your university will almost certainly have regulations about how such subjects can be used in your research. • Provide a brief summary of the contents of the thesis or dissertation. Academic and scientific writing tends to lay out the ground of a document for its readers, and this can be an excellent way of connecting the end of your introduction to the beginning of your next chapter or section.
Remember as you are working to observe guidelines and heed the expert advice you receive that the primary goal of any scholarly introduction is to set the stage for writing about the procedures and results of the research. You therefore need to provide your readers with everything they require to understand the nature, value and meaning of the research you describe in greater detail in the chapters and sections to come. If you have achieved this, then you have written an introduction both long enough and not too long. Unfortunately, it may still prove a little too short or long as far as those guidelines are concerned, in which case some creative editing may be required, but guidelines can often be flexible when the research demands it, so do be sure to discuss the matter with your mentors and examiners before finalising your introduction. Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services? At Proof-Reading-Service.com we offer the highest quality journal article editing , phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.
Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services , and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading , offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication , which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.
Guide to Academic and Scientific Publication
How to get your writing published in scholarly journals.
It provides practical advice on planning, preparing and submitting articles for publication in scholarly journals.
How to write a doctoral thesis.
If you are in the process of preparing a PhD thesis for submission, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in the book, How to Write a Doctoral Thesis , which is available on our thesis proofreading website.
PhD Success: How to Write a Doctoral Thesis provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.
Why Is Proofreading Important?
To improve the quality of papers.
Effective proofreading is absolutely vital to the production of high-quality scholarly and professional documents. When done carefully, correctly and thoroughly, proofreading can make the difference between writing that communicates successfully with its intended readers and writing that does not. No author creates a perfect text without reviewing, reflecting on and revising what he or she has written, and proofreading is an extremely important part of this process.
Easily understand how to write a PhD thesis introduction
Feb 26, 2019
Have you checked out the rest of The PhD Knowledge Base ? It’s home to hundreds more free resources and guides, written especially for PhD students.
Get the introduction right and the rest of your dissertation will follow.
What is the purpose of a PhD thesis introduction?
1. establish your research territory (by situating your research in a broader context), 2. establish and justify your niche (by describing why your research is needed) , 3. explain the significance of your research (by describing how you conducted the research).
- What your thesis is about
- Why it is important
- How it was conducted
- How it is laid out
The introduction as a whole should outline the significance and relevance of the thesis. The main criteria for a PhD is its role as an original contribution to knowledge, so the introduction is the space in which you very clearly outline that contribution.
How to structure an PhD thesis introduction
A typical PhD thesis introduction follows the following format:
- Introduction to the introduction: a short version (of only a few paragraphs) of the thesis’ aims, research questions, contribution, objectives and findings.
- State the overarching topic and aims of the thesis in more detail Provide a brief review of the literature related to the topic (this will be very brief if you have a separate literature review chapter)
- Define the terms and scope of the topic
- Critically evaluate the current state of the literature on that topic and identify your gap
- Outline why the research is important and the contribution that it makes
- Outline your epistemological and ontological position
- Clearly outline the research questions and problem(s) you seek to address
- State the hypotheses (if you are using any)
- Detail the most important concepts and variables
- Briefly describe your methodology
- Discuss the main findings
- Discuss the layout of the thesis
Much like the abstract, the reader shouldn’t have to wait long before they understand the contribution, what you are doing and how you are doing it. So, you’ll start by presenting your research in a clear, concise way in the opening few paragraphs. These opening paragraphs should briefly summarise the aims, objectives, research questions, main argument and contribution.
The reader shouldn’t have to wait long before they understand the contribution, what you are doing and how you are doing it.
A useful exercise here is to try and write the core elements of an introduction on a Post-it note. Keep trying until they fit. When they do, use that as the basis for these first few paragraphs. This is the same technique you use when filling out the PhD Writing Template .
As you go through the chapter, you will dial down into more and more detail. That means that the next stage, after the first few paragraphs, is to provide some context (steps 2-10 above).
Here you provide all the detail necessary to situate the study and make sense of the opening few paragraphs.
But, there are two things to bear in mind.
You will need to ease into the detail gently. Don’t launch straight from your opening paragraphs into huge amounts of detail. Follow the order of the 13 steps above and you will gradually ease into your discussion.
The danger of presenting too much information too soon is that you will confuse the reader. They will struggle to understand how the information you present is relevant and will struggle to understand how it relates to your thesis aims and objectives.
Simply follow the steps above.
You need to bear in mind that the level of detail you will go into (and therefore the length of the introduction) depends on the structure of your thesis.
If you have a standalone literature review, you will go into less detail about the current state of the literature and the gaps within it.
Similarly, if you have a dedicated theory chapter, you will not need to spend too much time on developing your theory framework.
The same is true for your methods.
The goal in any case is to present enough context to situate and make sense of your research questions but not overburden the reader with information that is superfluous to the goal of situating the research and which you will repeat at a later juncture anyhow.
Your PhD thesis. All on one page.
Use our free PhD structure template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.
Common problems when writing your introduction
When we proofread PhDs , we see the same mistakes again and again.
Providing too much detail
There is a tendency to provide too much background information in the introduction. As we saw above, quite how much information you present in your thesis will depend on whether you have a standalone literature review or methods chapter. What you want to avoid is any unnecessary repetition.
Sometimes there is necessary repetition though. You need to present just enough information to contextualise your study and to be able to situate your aims, research questions an argument, but not too much that you end up confusing and bombarding the reader. Keep things simple here; it’s fine to overlook some of the more technical detail at this stage. Think of a newspaper article: the first couple of paragraphs provide a brief overview of the story. The detail comes later.
Not providing enough detail
On the flip side, some students don’t provide enough detail. The danger here is that the reader is left asking questions at the end of the introduction. Remember: they should be able to understand what your thesis is about, how it was conducted and why it is important just from reading the introduction. If you present too little detail then they won’t be able to. Read through your own introduction; is it clear what your contribution is and why it is important? If not, you haven’t got enough detail.
Launching into too much detail
Make sure you introduce gently. Don’t suddenly rush into lots of detail. Instead, you should make the aims, questions and contribution clear in the opening lines and then gradually layer on more detail. That way, the reader can keep up. Present too much detail too soon and the reader will become confused. The last place you want confusion is in the introduction; if the reader can’t follow your introduction, they won’t understand the thesis.
Not following a coherent structure so that the reader is left confused
Some students don’t follow a coherent logic when they write their introductions, which means that the reader is left confused.
For example, if you present too much background information and literature review before you outline the aim and purpose of the research, the reader will struggle to follow, because they won’t know why the background information is important.
The same is true if you discuss the methods before your research questions.
What we see often is important information being spread throughout the introduction in such a way that the reader has to hunt for it. Follow our layout guide above so that each piece of vital information is contained in its own mini section. Make your reader’s job as easy as possible.
Using too much technical language not properly defined
It’s more than likely that your research relies upon lots of technical terms, concepts and techniques. If you must talk about any of these in the introduction, be sure to offer clear and concise definitions. A failure to do so means that the reader is left confused.
Conducting a literature review
Unless you are explicitly avoiding a standalone literature review chapter, the introduction is not the place to review the literature. Sure, you will need to situate your study in a body of literature, but the introduction isn’t the place to critically discuss it or justify its inclusion in that literature. It’s enough to say that you will contribute to X body of literature and briefly discuss its core features and shortcomings. The literature review is the place to justify that decision and elaborate upon its features. Read our guide to writing literature reviews and our guide to being critical when you do so.
Finalising your thesis introduction
Once you have finished your thesis, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the first line of the introduction discuss the problem that your thesis is addressing and the contribution that it is making?
- Does the introduction provide an overview of the thesis and end with a brief discussion on the content of each chapter?
- Does the introduction make a case for the research?
- Have the research questions/problems/hypotheses been clearly outlined (preferably early on)?
Now you know how to present your research as clearly and concisely as possible. Your reader (and examiner) will thank you, because they’ll be able to understand exactly what your study is about just from reading the introductory pages. Keep this guide to hand, whatever stage of the writing process you are at.
Have you downloaded our free one page PhD Writing Template ? It’s a really effective way to visualise your entire thesis on one page.
If you’re still struggling to structure your introduction, or you need any other support as you write your thesis, check out our one-on-one PhD coaching . It’s like having a personal trainer, but for your PhD.
I was struggling with writing the introduction chapter. Really had no idea on how to organise my ideas. Completely lost and desolate. I have no one to encourage or support me. I prayed to God to give me knowledge and wisdom and guide me. After a while I found this site. Praise the Lord. I can’t thank u enough for addressing exactly what’s in my mind. Thank you. Glory be to God for directing me to this site.
All we aim to do here is to make life a little bit easier for PhD students. I know how hard I found it when I was completing mine, so I want to give something back to the community. I’m so pleased you found it useful. Good luck with writing up. If you need any support or if you have any questions at all, email me: [email protected]
Thank you very very much for your information it is resourceful. I was having a problem how to start my introduction.
It’s great to hear you found it useful. Thanks!
Hey, this is so useful thankyou! I’m wondering does this apply broadly to all PhD’s including humanities?
Yep – it sure does.
I found this piece of information helpful. I am preparing for my proposal defense in two weeks and needed to refine my introduction. Thank you very much. God bless you richly. I wish we can have a skype conversation.
Thank you again.
thank you, learned from this
Your advice and guidance has become my constant companion in what has been a very stressful time. You write with empathy and understanding. What a wonderful job you are doing for those of us who are too proud to seek advice and support from supervisors or colleagues. Sincerest thanks for taking the loneliness out of writing.
Such nice words. Thank you so much.
this is really useful!!!
Thanks Nora! I’m glad you found it useful.
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How To Write A Thesis Introduction Without Effort
The first thing you will probably want to do when you start your thesis is write the introduction. Indeed, the thesis introduction is extremely important. It introduces the thesis statement, provides a bit of background information about the topic, explains a bit about your methods and results, and then makes a seamless transition to the first chapter. How long should a master’s thesis introduction be? Where is the thesis statement? Where can I get samples? Let’s talk about how you can write the best thesis introduction in the shortest time possible. Read on!
The Importance of the Thesis Introduction
So, what is a thesis introduction? Why is it so important? Should I write a thesis abstract ? To learn how to write a dissertation introduction correctly, you need to first understand its role and its importance. Here is why you need to make sure the introduction is written as best as possible:
The intro is there to provide some background information about the topic and present your thesis statement. It is also a great place to talk succinctly about other research and about the gap in knowledge that your research aims to plug. Learn how to write thesis introduction the right way if you want to get a top score on your thesis. The reality is that the evaluation committee considers the intro one of the most important parts of your academic paper. It should be perfect. The introduction is where you can hook your readers. Don’t be afraid to make a joke, share an anecdote, or be blunt about something. You want to make an impression on your readers and keep them reading.
So, Where Is the Thesis Statement Located in the Introduction?
Earlier, we mentioned the fact that you should include the thesis statement in the introduction. You probably know what a thesis statement is. If you don’t, we almost certainly have an article on our website that discusses it. To learn how to write a thesis introduction the right way, you need to know where to place the statement.
According to our seasoned academic writers, the best place to insert the statement is the end of the introductory paragraph.
The sentences that precede the thesis statement are there to introduce it. The reader needs to understand the problem before you can present your solution. Even though you may be tempted to start the introduction with a well-crafted, punchy statement, you should refrain from doing so. Place it at the end of the paragraph instead to make a transition to the Literature Review paragraph.
How Do You Write an Introduction for a Chapter in a Thesis?
Writing a thesis introduction is not very difficult. In fact, you should be able to do it all by yourself once you learn the simple process behind it. If you still need some help, keep in mind that we have some of the best thesis writers on the Internet. Our degree-holding experts can help you craft an awesome introduction for your thesis in mere hours. If you want to try it yourself, here is the process of writing a great thesis intro:
- Discuss the general topic and provide a bit of background information about it.
- Provide a literature review on the topic.
- Define the scope of the topic.
- Write a summary of the current research.
- Evaluate the summary and identify the gap in knowledge.
- Talk about how important your research can be.
- Establish the research problem.
- Establish what your research aims to achieve.
- Clearly state your hypotheses.
- Provide a short outline of the chapters of your thesis.
- Briefly discuss the methodology.
Where Can I Find an Example of Introduction in Thesis?
OK, but how do you write a good thesis introduction? It’s simple: you just follow the simple steps above. One paragraph per item should do the trick. However, we realize that some theses can be quite complicated. As such, their introductions can be somewhat difficult to write. If you are not very good at writing a dissertation introduction, you may need to get some help.
While you can find several decent examples of introductions on the Internet, we suggest you to avoid using them. You need a custom-written introduction that is 100% original. The best course of action is to get in touch with an academic writing company and get some professional help . A seasoned thesis writer will quickly help you write the best possible introduction for your paper.
Dissertation Introduction FAQ
Now that you know how to start your thesis introduction and have access to the simple steps to write an introduction thesis writers use all the time, it’s time to answer some of your questions.
How many pages should a thesis introduction be? A: An answer to this question is not easy to give. In general, the introduction should be around 10% of the word count of the thesis. If you are working on a PhD thesis, the intro will be anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 words. In the case of a Masters thesis, you are probably looking at just 1,500 to 2,000 words.
How many pages is a Masters thesis introduction in psychology? A: On average, the Masters thesis introduction will be 3 or 4 pages long (1.5 spacing).
What’s the best way to start an introduction to a dissertation? A: There are many ways to start an introduction. However, in our writers’ experience, it seems that starting the introduction with an anecdote works great. Another thing that works is starting the thesis with something that captures your reader’s attention instantly (such as a statistic or a question).
How do you write a dissertation introduction and make it longer? A: You can make the introduction longer by incorporating the literature review into it. This means that you will present the literature in extensively in the introduction and eliminate the Literature Review chapter. It is perfectly fine to write the thesis introduction this way, don’t worry.
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- How Long Should a Thesis Be
- How Long Should a Thesis Be? Tips for Creating a Perfect Paper
Thesis Outline Part 1 – Abstract, Contents, and Introduction
Thesis outline part 2 – methods, results, discussion, thesis outline part 3 – conclusions, recommendations, and references.
In academic writing, a thesis is related to complex papers. Usually, it is called a Master’s or a Doctoral thesis and can be compared to a dissertation. The main differences between them are size and width of uncovered topic. How long should a thesis be?
Undeniably, it takes months to complete a well-researched work and it's easier to delegate this difficult task to professionals who will help write a thesis quickly and with quality in mind.
- Students place abstract on 2 pages
- An introduction should be placed on 3-5 pages
- The Methods section can be up to 10 pages long
- Results take 10 pages
- Discussion can be placed on 15 pages
- The conclusion takes 2-3 pages
- Appendix and other auxiliary parts of work can take up to 30 pages
- Complete paper contains 60-70 pages
If we take the article length, a dissertation should be at least three articles long. Read our guide to identify how long is a dissertation . Thesis takes space of one article. When university students choose a thesis to work on instead of a bibliographic essay, they do it for leaving a possibility to evaluate a research in the future.
There are more questions related to thesis writing appearing. What to include into a good text? If people make theses longer, will they become better? This article is a universal answer to all specific questions concerning proper writing.
Every academic paper begins with title page. Its structure depends on the chosen formatting style. An abstract follows it. This is an important part that describes thesis utility. It must be short and take 1-2 paragraphs, about 400 words and contain short summary of results, methods, etc. Here are questions to answer in this part:
- What was the reason to write this paper?
- What thesis statement to prove or disprove?
- What were your instruments? (describe main methods of research)
- What did you find out?
- Why are the results important?
Avoid citations, try to use more numbers. An abstract for dissertation or thesis should be qualitative. After it, the table of contents follows. Group all headings and subheadings into one complex list. If figures and tables are used, enlist their names, point page number of each one.
The first big part is the introduction for thesis . It may seem similar to an abstract. It pursues different goals – reader hooking, providing background information and logical transition to your own research. Here is what you need to disclose in this chapter:
- Enough background information about previous researches should be presented to make readers understand place of text in science system.
- Give an explanation concerning contents – what will be included into thesis.
- Provide readers with verbal ‘road maps’.
- Cite previous works. The citations must be related to text’s goals. Do not list everything you have read about subject.
These sections must take three pages of paper, excluding contents and table lists.
These are essential parts. They contain information concerning your own research. Answering main question of our post (how long should a thesis be?), these parts must take at least 30-40 pages. Let’s find out what Ph.D or Master’s thesis paper shoud present in these chapters.
The methods section is text’s explanatory part. There you have to provide readers with clear information and details that allow repeating the research and experiments. Traditionally, methods section is divided into three parts – materials, participants, ways of analysis. Materials imply full description of all instruments and quntitative and qualitative methods used for making research.
Participants part, just like a research paper discussion , describes people or subjects analyzed, including regulations of choice. Ways of analysis present all research approaches used to get results. This part describes area and circumstances of your experiments and helps to identify if they were legitimate and relevant.
Results part contains relevant statements of observations with statistical data, graphs, tables, etc. The section is divided into paragraphs, where key results are arranged into sentences at beginning. Do not forget about negative results, if possible. The main goal of section is data structuring to be helpful for readers to make own conclusions. Mention the nature of data found.
Discussion part is where you interpret results and adjust them to a thesis statement and goals. Disclose patterns and relationships between the observations found, find possible exceptions and discuss if the results correlate with previous researches. Each interpretation you make should be supplied with sufficient evidence. Define if materials are working for the future researches as well. This chapter is the richest in referencing to background material and other parts of your paper.
Here you make the strongest statement concerning observations. Highlight the information you want readers to remember. Explain how the results correlate with the problems you have indicated in the introduction. Describe all new things that are significant in finding a solution and provide limitations examples .
The recommendations part is for giving advice and indicating other actions that will help to solve particular problems. Sound your own opinion about the direction of future research. Most of the time you have to write it. Just like a research proposal .
Acknowledgment for thesis is a paragraph where you mention everyone who helped you with composition. Place all cited and used information resources into one list or form an annotated bibliography if needed.
All kinds of data used in writing, not cited and used resources directly go to the appendices part. This section is last. Along with conclusions they may take up to 10 pages.
What is the direct answer to our question? How long should a thesis be? Experts from a writing site assume, it takes about 60-70 pages. It depends on your research and subject. The length does not matter, actually. The most important thing you need to do is make a complete and complex paper. Provide everything from A to Z - no one will recall the thesis length.
Have you started doing a Ph.D. yet? And now you wonder what it takes to write a dissertation. How long is it supposed to be? How much time will you need to complete it? What is the best way to approach a dissertation? Let us try to answer the most common questions associated with academic research o...
College puts every student through an obstacle course. Whether labs or essays or researches, every type of assignment requires scrupulous work. It means a student is expected to be switched on all the time. Is it possible to meet all the requirements? A better question is, do you need it? From study...
Writing a master’s thesis requires a lot of patience. It's not something you can create in a few days. It’s a large scale project, so you’ll have to make a strict schedule and write a little piece every day. Do you feel it's a difficult job for you and you need thesis help? Instead of devoting your ...
How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)
The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.
The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.
The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your research topic
- Capture reader interest
- Summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Define your specific research problem and problem statement
- Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.
Table of Contents
What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, what are the parts of introduction in the research, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.
The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader
- Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
- Context: Background of your topic
- Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted
The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:
- It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
- It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
- It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
- It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.
A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2
- What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
- What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
- What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.
How to write a research paper introduction?
The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.
The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:
- Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
- Describe the background of the topic
- Present an overview of current research on the topic
Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.
- Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
- Formulate the research question
Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.
- State the purpose of your study
- Highlight the key characteristics of your study
- Describe important results
- Highlight the novelty of the study.
- Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.
Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.
The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.
The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.
When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper
Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.
The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.
Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4
- Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
- Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
- Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
- Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.
To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further.
1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.
2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.
3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.
4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.
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Thesis statements are often one sentence, however, in some cases (e.g. a very in-depth or detailed paper) it may be appropriate to include a longer thesis statement.
You should ask your professor for their advice if you think you need to use a thesis statement that is longer than one sentence.
Remember that depending on the type of paper you are writing, thesis statements should either be a description of the subject of your paper (i.e. an "explanatory" thesis) or should be an argument or claim (i.e. an "argumentative" thesis). Keep thesis statements concise, without extra words or extraneous information; if you are having trouble keeping your thesis statement to once sentence, consider whether your thesis is specific enough, directly supports your paper, and accurately describes or argues the purpose or claim in your paper.
This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way length of a thesis statement in your class assignments and projects.
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How Long is a Thesis or Dissertation: College, Grad or PhD
How long is a thesis
As a graduate student, you may have heard that you must complete a certain comprehensive project, either a thesis or a dissertation. In this guide, we will explore how long a thesis should be, the best length for a dissertation, and the optimal length for each part of the two.
If you read on to the end, we will also explore their differences to understand how it informs each length.
Both terms have distinct meanings, although they are sometimes used interchangeably and frequently confused.
Structure-wise, both papers have an introduction, a literature review, a body, a conclusion, a bibliography, and an appendix. That aside, both papers have some differences, as we shall see later on in this article.
How Long Should a Thesis be
Before discussing how long a thesis is, it’s critical to understand what it is. A thesis is a paper that marks the end of a study program.
Mostly, there is the undergraduate thesis, a project that marks the end of a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s thesis that marks the end of a master’s program.
A thesis should be around 50 pages long for a bachelor’s degree and 60-100 pages for a Master’s degree. However, the optimal length of a thesis project depends on the faculty’s instructions and the supervising professor’s expectations . The length also depends on the topic’s technicalities and the extent of research done.
A master’s thesis project is longer because it is a compilation of all your knowledge obtained in your master’s degree.
It basically allows you to demonstrate your abilities in your chosen field.
Often, graduate schools require students pursuing research-oriented degrees to write a thesis.
This is to demonstrate their practical skills before completing their degrees.
In contrast to undergraduate thesis, which are shorter in length and coverage area, usually less than 60 pages. A master’s theses are lengthy scholarly work allowing you to research a topic deeply.
Then you are required to write, expand the topic, and demonstrate what you have learned throughout the program. This is part of why you must write a thesis for some undergrad in some of the courses.
A Master’s thesis necessitates a large amount of research, which may include conducting interviews, surveys, and gathering information ( both primary and secondary) depending on the subject and field of study.
For this reason, the master’s thesis has between 60 and 100 pages, without including the bibliography. Mostly, the topic and research approach determine the length of the paper.
This means that there is no definite number of pages required. However, your thesis should be long enough to clearly and concisely present all important information.
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How long should a dissertation be.
A dissertation is a complex, in-depth research paper usually written by Ph.D. students. When writing the dissertation, Ph.D. Students are required to create their research, formulate a hypothesis, and conduct the study.
On average, a dissertation should be at least 90 pages at the minimum and 200 pages at the maximum , depending on the guidelines of the faculty and the professor. The optimal length for a dissertation also depends on the depth of the research done, the components of the file, and the level of study.
Most Ph.D. dissertations papers are between 120 to 200 pages on average.
However, as we said earlier, it all depends on factors like the field of study, and methods of data collection, among others.
Unlike a master’s thesis, which is about 100 pages, a dissertation is at least twice this length.
This is because you must develop a completely new concept, study it, research it, and defend it.
In your Ph.D. program, a dissertation allows you the opportunity to bring new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field of study.
The Lengths of Each Part of a Thesis and Dissertation
Factors determining the length of thesis or dissertation.
As we have seen, there is no definite length of a thesis and dissertation. Most of these two important academic documents average 100 to 400 pages. However, several factors determine their length.
Universities- we all know universities are independent bodies. Also, it’s important to know that each university is different from the other. As a result, the thesis and dissertation length varies depending on the set rules in a certain college or school.
Field of study- some fields of study have rich information, while others have limited information.
For example, you may have much to write about or discover when it comes to science compared to history.
As such, if you are to write a thesis or a dissertation in both fields, one will definitely be longer than the other. Check the time it takes to write a thesis or a dissertation to get more points.
Other factors that affect the length of a thesis or a dissertation include your writing style and the instructor’s specifications. These factors also come into play when it comes to the time taken to defend a thesis or your dissertation.
Tips for the Optimal Length for a Thesis or Dissertation
Instead of writing for length, write for brevity. The goal is to write the smallest feasible document with all of the material needed to describe the study and back up the interpretation. Ensure to avoid irrelevant tangents and excessive repetitions at all costs.
The only repetition required is the main theme. The working hypothesis seeks to be elaborated and proved in your paper.
The theme is developed in the introduction, expanded in the body, and mentioned in the abstract and conclusion.
Here are some tips for writing the right length of thesis and dissertation:
- Remove any interpretation portion which is only tangentially linked to your new findings.
- Use tables to keep track of information that is repeated.
- Include enough background information for the reader to understand the point of view.
- Make good use of figure captions.
- Let the table stand on its own. I.e., do not describe the contents of the figures and/or tables one by one in the text. Instead, highlight the most important patterns, objects, or trends in the figures and tables in the text.
- Leave out any observations or results in the text that you haven’t provided data.
- Do not include conclusions that aren’t backed up by your findings.
- Remove all inconclusive interpretation and discussion portions.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives, prepositional phrases, and adverbs.
- Make your sentences shorter – avoid nesting clauses or phrases.
- Avoid idioms and instead use words whose meaning can be looked up in a dictionary.
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Difference between a Thesis and a Dissertation
The most basic distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are written.
While a thesis is a project completed after a master’s program, a dissertation is completed at the end of doctorate studies.
In a thesis, you present the results of your research to demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of what you have studied during your master’s program.
On the other hand, a dissertation is your chance to add new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field while pursuing a doctorate. The goal here is to come up with a completely new concept, develop it, and defend it.
A master’s thesis is similar to the types of research papers you’re used to writing in your bachelor’s studies. It involves conducting research on a topic, analyzing it, and then commenting on your findings and how it applies to your research topic.
The thesis aims to demonstrate your capacity to think critically about and explain a topic in depth.
Furthermore, with a thesis, you typically use this time to elaborate on a topic that is most relevant to your professional area of specialization that you intend to pursue.
In a dissertation, on the other hand, you use other people’s research as an inspiration to help you come up with and prove your own hypothesis, idea, or concept. The majority of the data in a dissertation is credited to you.
Last but not least, these two major works differ greatly in length. The average length of a master’s thesis is at least 100 pages.
On the other hand, a doctoral dissertation should be substantially longer because it includes a lot of history and research information, as well as every element of your research, while explaining how you arrived at the information.
It is a complex piece of scholarly work, and it is likely to be twice or thrice the length of a thesis. To know the difference, check the best length for a thesis paper and see more about it.
Here is a Recap of the Differences
- While the thesis is completed at the end of your master’s degree program, a dissertation is written at the end of your doctoral degree program.
- Both documents also vary in length. A thesis should have at least 100 pages, while a doctoral dissertation is longer (over 200 pages)
- In the thesis, you conduct original research; in the dissertation, you use existing research to help you develop your discovery.
- For a thesis, you have to add analysis to the existing work, while a dissertation is part of the analysis of the existing work.
- In comparison to a thesis, a dissertation requires a more thorough study to expand your research in a certain topic.
- The statements in a thesis and a dissertation are distinct. While a thesis statement explains to readers how you will prove an argument in your research, a dissertation hypothesis defines and clarifies the outcomes you expect from your study. Here, you apply a theory to explore a certain topic.
- A dissertation allows you to contribute new knowledge to your field of study, while a thesis makes sure you understand what you have studied in your program and how it applies.
A thesis or a dissertation is a difficult document to compile. However, you should not be worried since your school assigns you a dissertation advisor who is a faculty member.
These advisors or supervisors help you find resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track when you get stuck.
Check out my guide on the differences between a research paper, proposal, and thesis to understand more about these issues.
Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.
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How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
Table of Contents
Writing an introduction for a research paper is a critical element of your paper, but it can seem challenging to encapsulate enormous amount of information into a concise form. The introduction of your research paper sets the tone for your research and provides the context for your study. In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing an effective introduction that grabs the reader's attention and captures the essence of your research paper.
Understanding the Purpose of a Research Paper Introduction
The introduction acts as a road map for your research paper, guiding the reader through the main ideas and arguments. The purpose of the introduction is to present your research topic to the readers and provide a rationale for why your study is relevant. It helps the reader locate your research and its relevance in the broader field of related scientific explorations. Additionally, the introduction should inform the reader about the objectives and scope of your study, giving them an overview of what to expect in the paper. By including a comprehensive introduction, you establish your credibility as an author and convince the reader that your research is worth their time and attention.
Key Elements to Include in Your Introduction
When writing your research paper introduction, there are several key elements you should include to ensure it is comprehensive and informative.
- A hook or attention-grabbing statement to capture the reader's interest. It can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote that relates to your research topic.
- A brief overview of the research topic and its significance. By highlighting the gap in existing knowledge or the problem your research aims to address, you create a compelling case for the relevance of your study.
- A clear research question or problem statement. This serves as the foundation of your research and guides the reader in understanding the unique focus of your study. It should be concise, specific, and clearly articulated.
- An outline of the paper's structure and main arguments, to help the readers navigate through the paper with ease.
Preparing to Write Your Introduction
Before diving into writing your introduction, it is essential to prepare adequately. This involves 3 important steps:
- Conducting Preliminary Research: Immerse yourself in the existing literature to develop a clear research question and position your study within the academic discourse.
- Identifying Your Thesis Statement: Define a specific, focused, and debatable thesis statement, serving as a roadmap for your paper.
- Considering Broader Context: Reflect on the significance of your research within your field, understanding its potential impact and contribution.
By engaging in these preparatory steps, you can ensure that your introduction is well-informed, focused, and sets the stage for a compelling research paper.
Structuring Your Introduction
Now that you have prepared yourself to tackle the introduction, it's time to structure it effectively. A well-structured introduction will engage the reader from the beginning and provide a logical flow to your research paper.
Starting with a Hook
Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing hook that captivates the reader's interest. This hook serves as a way to make your introduction more engaging and compelling. For example, if you are writing a research paper on the impact of climate change on biodiversity, you could start your introduction with a statistic about the number of species that have gone extinct due to climate change. This will immediately grab the reader's attention and make them realize the urgency and importance of the topic.
Introducing Your Topic
Provide a brief overview, which should give the reader a general understanding of the subject matter and its significance. Explain the importance of the topic and its relevance to the field. This will help the reader understand why your research is significant and why they should continue reading. Continuing with the example of climate change and biodiversity, you could explain how climate change is one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, how it affects ecosystems, and the potential consequences for both wildlife and human populations. By providing this context, you are setting the stage for the rest of your research paper and helping the reader understand the importance of your study.
Presenting Your Thesis Statement
The thesis statement should directly address your research question and provide a preview of the main arguments or findings discussed in your paper. Make sure your thesis statement is clear, concise, and well-supported by the evidence you will present in your research paper. By presenting a strong and focused thesis statement, you are providing the reader with the information they could anticipate in your research paper. This will help them understand the purpose and scope of your study and will make them more inclined to continue reading.
Writing Techniques for an Effective Introduction
When crafting an introduction, it is crucial to pay attention to the finer details that can elevate your writing to the next level. By utilizing specific writing techniques, you can captivate your readers and draw them into your research journey.
Using Clear and Concise Language
One of the most important writing techniques to employ in your introduction is the use of clear and concise language. By choosing your words carefully, you can effectively convey your ideas to the reader. It is essential to avoid using jargon or complex terminology that may confuse or alienate your audience. Instead, focus on communicating your research in a straightforward manner to ensure that your introduction is accessible to both experts in your field and those who may be new to the topic. This approach allows you to engage a broader audience and make your research more inclusive.
Establishing the Relevance of Your Research
One way to establish the relevance of your research is by highlighting how it fills a gap in the existing literature. Explain how your study addresses a significant research question that has not been adequately explored. By doing this, you demonstrate that your research is not only unique but also contributes to the broader knowledge in your field. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize the potential impact of your research. Whether it is advancing scientific understanding, informing policy decisions, or improving practical applications, make it clear to the reader how your study can make a difference.
By employing these two writing techniques in your introduction, you can effectively engage your readers. Take your time to craft an introduction that is both informative and captivating, leaving your readers eager to delve deeper into your research.
Revising and Polishing Your Introduction
Once you have written your introduction, it is crucial to revise and polish it to ensure that it effectively sets the stage for your research paper.
Review your introduction for clarity, coherence, and logical flow. Ensure each paragraph introduces a new idea or argument with smooth transitions.
Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structures.
Ensure that your introduction aligns with the overall tone and style of your research paper.
Seeking Feedback for Improvement
Consider seeking feedback from peers, colleagues, or your instructor. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improving your introduction. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to refine your introduction and make it more compelling for the reader.
Writing an introduction for a research paper requires careful thought and planning. By understanding the purpose of the introduction, preparing adequately, structuring effectively, and employing writing techniques, you can create an engaging and informative introduction for your research. Remember to revise and polish your introduction to ensure that it accurately represents the main ideas and arguments in your research paper. With a well-crafted introduction, you will capture the reader's attention and keep them inclined to your paper.
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Exploring The Ideal Length For A Thesis Introduction
- by Le giang
- October 6, 2023
How Long Should Your Thesis Be? I Share Some Thoughts And My Own Numbers
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How Long Should An Introduction Be For A 10000 Word Thesis?
When crafting the introduction for a 10,000-word thesis, it’s important to strike the right balance in terms of length and content. Typically, an introduction for a thesis of this length should span around 800 to 1,000 words. This serves as a guideline to ensure that the opening section provides a comprehensive overview of the research topic and its significance. In the context of a larger research project, such as one involving primary research, it’s essential to remember that the introduction sets the stage for the entire thesis. It should succinctly introduce the research problem, highlight its importance, provide a brief overview of the research objectives, and perhaps offer a glimpse of the methodology to be employed. This prepares readers for the subsequent sections, which include a more extensive literature review (1,200 to 2,000 words) and a detailed methodology description (1,500 to 2,000 words), ensuring they have a clear understanding of the research scope and context.
How Do You Write An Introduction For A Thesis?
When crafting an introduction for a thesis, it is crucial to follow a structured approach to effectively engage your readers and provide them with a clear understanding of your research topic. This process involves several key stages:
Setting the Stage : Begin by introducing the general topic you will be exploring in your thesis. Offer some background information to provide context and make your readers aware of the broader subject matter.
Reviewing the Literature : Conduct a comprehensive review of the existing literature relevant to your research topic. This step is essential for demonstrating your awareness of prior work and research in the field.
Defining Key Terms and Scope : Clearly define any essential terms or concepts related to your thesis. Additionally, establish the scope of your research by outlining the specific boundaries within which your study will operate.
Presenting the Current Situation : Describe the current state of affairs within the field or area of study you are investigating. This involves highlighting the status quo and key developments.
Evaluating the Current Situation : Evaluate the current situation by discussing its advantages and disadvantages. This critical analysis helps to lay the foundation for identifying gaps or shortcomings in the existing knowledge or practices.
Identifying the Research Gap : Conclude the introduction by explicitly identifying the gap in the current literature or knowledge. Explain why this gap is significant and why your thesis aims to address it.
By following these stages, you can construct a well-structured and informative thesis introduction that guides your readers through the context, purpose, and significance of your research. Please note that the provided date, “25th March 2022,” seems to be unrelated to the content and can be omitted.
Update 27 How long should an introduction be for a thesis
Categories: Top 100 How Long Should An Introduction Be For A Thesis
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The introduction to the whole thesis can make up roughly 10 per cent of the total word count . So if you are doing a PhD of 80,000 – 100,000 words, you may have a 8,000 – 10,000 word introduction. And if you are writing a Masters thesis of 15,000 – 20,000 words, your introduction could be 1,500 – 2,000 words long. A project that involves an element of primary research with an 8,000 to 10,000 word limit would typically contain the following elements: Introduction ( 800 to 1,000 words ) Literature review (1,200 to 2,000 words) Methodology (1,500 to 2,000 words) There are no special length requirements for thesis introduction, just be clear and don’t provide unnecessary information here. At the same time, there is no need to squeeze all your points in one page. Two or three pages will be quite enough.
- state the general topic and give some background.
- provide a review of the literature related to the topic.
- define the terms and scope of the topic.
- outline the current situation.
- evaluate the current situation (advantages/ disadvantages) and identify the gap.
Learn more about the topic How long should an introduction be for a thesis.
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