Easily understand how to write a thesis introduction
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.
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How to structure an PhD thesis introduction
- 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
Your PhD Thesis.
On one page.
Use our free PhD Structure Template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.
Common problems when writing your introduction
Providing too much detail
Not providing enough detail
Launching into too much detail
Not following a coherent structure so that the reader is left confused
Using too much technical language not properly defined
Conducting a literature review
Finalising your thesis introduction
- 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)?
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