Writing an introduction for your thesis: here’s how to do it!
The introduction of your thesis is a crucial piece of text. It serves to introduce your topic and captivate the reader’s interest. In addition to introducing the subject, you also describe the background, objectives, problem statement and research design.
The introduction of your scientific research is also intended to announce the research, informing the reader of what to expect from the dissertation. In this blog, we explain what should be included in an introduction and provide you with some tips for writing it.
The first thing you describe in the introduction of your thesis is the background of the research. This is a brief description of what inspired you to investigate your topic. The purpose of the background is to grab the reader’s attention. You can describe the background in various ways:
- A recent event that has appeared in the media.
- Your own experience or interest that led to the problem statement.
Ensure that the background is written in an engaging manner. This will encourage the reader to continue reading the rest of your dissertation.
Delimiting the topic
Delimiting the topic is an important part of the introduction in your scientific research. The pitfall for many doctoral candidates is wanting to investigate too much. This can be avoided by delimiting the topic based on time period, target audience demographics, themes or aspects of the subject, and geographical area.
By delimiting your topic, you can delve deeper into your research. Dare to make choices and make it clear to your reader what you will and won’t be investigating.
Scientific and practical relevance
A thesis involves scientific research, so it is important to indicate its scientific relevance in the introduction. This is done using arguments. For example, your thesis may:
- Offer a new perspective on the topic.
- Help solve a theoretical problem.
- Fill a gap in the literature.
- Contribute to existing literature.
Additionally, you explain the practical relevance of your research. This refers to its practical implications for the industry or field. In essence, you answer the question: “What does the research contribute to the industry?”
The problem statement typically consists of a description of the problem, the established objectives, and your research questions. Instead of research questions, you can also use hypotheses.
It is important that the problem statement, objectives and research questions logically follow from what you have already discussed in the introduction of your research. Ultimately, the introduction of your thesis forms a cohesive whole.
After describing the problem statement, objectives, and research questions, you will describe the research design. This includes a brief summary of the type of research you are conducting, how data will be collected, and how it will be analyzed. You don’t need to go into detail here: that will come later in the methodology section of your thesis.
Guide to reading
Conclude the introduction of your thesis with a guide to reading. In a few sentences, indicate the structure of your thesis. However, be careful not to delve too much into the content itself. Show how each chapter contributes to the previously described objectives.
Use a maximum of one paragraph, preferably a few sentences, to announce and briefly describe each chapter. Additionally, ensure that the guide to reading doesn’t become monotonous. Avoid using the same words or sentence structure repeatedly.
3 tips for writing an introduction
Now that you know what should be included in the introduction of your thesis, it’s important to keep a few things in mind while writing it. Below are three tips for writing the introduction of your scientific research.
Write the introduction at the end
When writing your thesis, it doesn’t mean you have to do it chronologically. Despite the introduction being one of the first parts of your thesis, it’s actually smarter to write it at the end. As you progress in your research and describe it, it becomes easier to write a good introduction.
Tip: After completing your research, read the introduction again to check if it still aligns with the rest of your thesis. This ensures a cohesive whole.
Use the correct verb tenses
Pay attention to using the correct verb tenses in the introduction of your research. When introducing the topic and discussing what you will cover, use the present tense. Provide background information in the past tense. By using the appropriate verb tenses, you create a logical and coherent narrative.
Keep the introduction concise
Good news: there are no strict guidelines regarding the length of the introduction. However, we recommend keeping it as concise as possible. Avoid repetition and only include what is truly essential.
Done with your dissertation?
The introduction of your thesis will often be one of the last things you finalize. It provides a brief summary of your topic. If you’re already (almost) finished with your dissertation, we’d be happy to assist you in creating a fantastic version of it. Contact us or ask your questions on our website to Magnificus!
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