Right after the table of contents, the first chapter of your thesis or dissertation is the introduction. Being the starting, it deems to do an impact and leave an impression on the reader’s mind to lure him/her in to the dive deeper sections of your research. The introduction of your research should be written well with a clear focus, purpose, and direction
Writing an Introduction for PhD Research Paper
|Step||Table of Content|
|1||Starting your introduction|
|2||Topic and context|
|3||Focus and scope|
|4||Relevance and importance|
|5||Questions and objectives|
|6||Overview of the structure|
Starting your introduction
The first thing to know about writing an introduction is that it doesn’t have to be the first thing to be written, though it is at the beginning of your dissertation. In fact, it is mostly the very last thing to be done (along with the abstract).
A good practice is to make a rough draft of the introduction near the beginning of your research for guidance. While writing a research proposal, you can use it as a template piece that can be reviewed repetitively and filled with more elements as you write the rest of the research proposal. Doing this throughout the writing process would ensure that its content matches with the content of the rest of the chapters.
To get the best out of your introduction, make sure to include all of the following elements in it.
Topic and context
Make sure that the topic is properly introduced and the necessary background information is mentioned along with it. Contextualizing your research will reel in the readers better and will pique their curiosity to learn more about the topic . You can do so by mentioning things such as relevant news items, academic debates, or a practical problem.
Focus and scope
After piquing the interest in the environment, narrow the content to state the focus and scope of your research. For example:
- Stating the geographical area being investigated.
- The time period of the covered research topic.
- Communities or demographics are being targeted in the research.
- Aspect or theme that your dissertation is based upon.
Relevance and importance
The relevance and the motivation behind the research should be properly stated along with its relation with its predecessors’ works and what new edge it provides to those previous works.
Along with giving a brief overview of the current state of research. And how it will address a problem or loophole in the file by linking it with the necessary literature pieces. The literary sources will be further surveyed by you in the literature review section or chapter of your dissertation.
Whether the aim of your research will be the topic’s practical application (e.g. policies and management) or on advancing its scholarly understanding (e.g. deriving new theories through collected data) will be depending upon your field of study. Your aim can also be the fusion of these two.
You can explain the importance of a dissertation by stating how it:
- Can help achieve an answer to a practical or a theoretical problem.
- Notifies of a loophole in the literature.
- Embraces one of the existing research.
- Provide a different perspective on the topic.
Questions and objectives
The most important aspects of the introduction are the questions you raise and answer, and the objectives that you aim on following throughout the dissertation. These depend on the formulation of the research questions and objectives. The expectation of the readers are set after reading this section, so it would be wise to be crystal clear about the aim of your research here.
This can be done by making a brief mention of the research methods and including a separate methodology chapter without writing a lot about them.
When aiming to test a hypothesis in your research, formulate them here, along with a conceptual framework that displays the relationship between its variables. Often, the hypotheses would be presented after the literature review in the dissertation.
Overview of the structure
To make sure that the reader receives proper guidance throughout the dissertation, conclude it with an overview of it that consists of its whole structure, along with a short summary to display its aim and how it contributes to the whole research. It should not comprise more than one or two lines.
But you can write up to a paragraph for each chapter if your research topic is complex or complicated. For example, a dissertation based on a humanities topic can consist of a thematic argument rather than the usual conventional method of dividing the research into methods, results, and discussions. The unconventional structure can be used but it should clearly display how its elements go alongside each other.