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All Secrets of How To Write A Thesis Introduction in One Manual

July 6, 2020
All Secrets of How To Write A Thesis Introduction in One Manual

Making a right start is a halfway to success, they say. But how to start a thesis or a Ph.D., the papers that crown your academic toil (and struggle), and define the degree you will be proud of, flaunting your diploma to a potential employer? The mem-like answer will be ‘start with an introduction.’ 

Usually, the recommendation is to write an intro after writing other parts of the paper. But if you have a ready intro at hand, you basically have the plan of a whole thesis, and so your writing goes faster and makes a coherent and logical whole, the quality so appreciated by reviewers and evaluators. So, in this guide, let’s unpick this tricky part of a thesis and see what elements it comprises (and what is better left out).  

Why Focus On The Intro, What’s Its Purpose?

Along taking up space and providing the necessary word count, a thesis introduction describes a whole thesis in a nutshell. The introduction opens the paper and briefly explains what it is all about. When properly written, an introduction can tell a researcher whether he/she needs to read the whole paper, or it will be of no use to their academic research. The introduction also reveals whether a student has mastered the basics of academic research and hypothesis testing and whether a student can write concisely and clearly about what the results of the research are. 

So when you ponder how to write a thesis introduction in a way that will be meaningful and academically correct, mind that it needs to hit three main goals. 

  1. Establish the context of research (where on the scholarly map you intend to do something). Namely, you mention the area of science and the broader scientific question that your research relates to. The key is not to go too deeply into details and create a literature review in the first paragraph. You provide the background but do it sparingly. 
  2. Describe your specific research and its goals (what you do and why). You point what is missing in the area you named, and how your specific question and research will help to fill it. Say that the gap in knowledge causes problems for this branch of science, and you will attempt to bridge the gap. 
  3. Establish the importance/significance of your research (why what you do is really important). You take up this question because it is important and significant.So you need to say why it is significant and show that you undertook unique research as no one did before. This is the value of what you do – the novelty andthe fresh look on the matter that may help find out missing pieces of the maze. The design of a research, its relation to theory and used methods all contribute to the significance of the paper – and your introduction. 

So how is it different from the abstract, you may ask? The abstract is very brief, just your question and findings (fit into a sentence or two). The introduction is broader and more detailed. It lists what each part of the paper will be about, but again, briefly. The abstract does not provide such information. 

The key task of a thesis introduction is to show that your thesis really matters, that it covers an important question, and that you contribute to the development of this field of knowledge. Let’s go over the key points of the introduction once again: 

  • Your thesis/research question;
  • Its importance;
  • Map of research – planning, and methods.

When you have all these ideas drafted in front of you, you can actually start writing. 

Structure and Outline Of A Thesis Introduction

When you look for information on how to write a thesis introduction, you definitely want a more detailed guide than just three key points. Now it is time to explore these details. Actually, when you are writing your own intro, you can mark sentences with numbers that correspond to sections in the following list. In such a way, you will not omit any important part and will really simplify your work. 

  1. Opening passage that provides context and general topic (like, sociology of aging, evidence–based medicine, etc.) and what is the concern in relation to this topic.
  2.  Formulated topic and goal (specific and narrow) of your research. Previous research/state of affairs on the matter (do not mix it up with the literature review). 
  3. Very often, it is recommended that here you place a very brief literature review, in the form of mentioning the most prominent scholars and ideas (2-3 of them usually). But mind the following.InHumanities and social sciences, the chapter of the introduction often contains the full legit section of the literature review. It is in the introduction, but it is ‘separate’ in the text. It is not included as a full separate chapter in the thesis and stops at that.Or else, each segment of introduction has its own small literature review that provides some context of the specific ideas you explain. So before including this small brief literature review, check with the supervisor what are the requirements.If any of the mentioned cases applies, yet another separate small review is not required. So skip it at this stage.
  4. Provide main concepts/terms and limits of the topic. 
  5. Current state of research and potential gap that you plan to fill. 
  6. Why it is important and significant, what’s new about it. 
  7. If required: provide epistemological and ontological position. 
  8. Shape your question for research and problems you explore. 
  9. Introduce the hypothesis (if it is required). 
  10. Mention methodology and data used. 
  11. Provide the road map of the thesis, i.e., what will be discussed in each chapter. 

That’s how you should proceed. Before starting to write, clarify with the supervisor whether you need to include findings into the introduction as well. 

Now, what is the secret of a successful introduction? 

A successful intro almost immediately tells the readers what and why you do, and why it is really important (the contribution feature). So the first few openings paragraphs should tell the readers the specific topic and what you plan to explore. 

It is a good idea to try and fit the main elements to tell the readers (topic, goal, question, contribution, a key argument) on a small piece of paper. It will help you to center them around the beginning of the introduction. But always keep in mind what the templates of your college are, and stick to them. 

You will provide more details about your research (but in moderate amount) further in the introduction. Just do it carefully and gently, from more general to more specific points. Your goal is not to overburden your readers and not to keep them guessing what it is all about. Your goal is to say just enough. How – look at the 12 steps above and follow them. 

And one more reminder on how to write a thesis introduction: carefully explore the template and see, whether you have a standalone chapter of a literature review or theoretical framework. If yes, then these points will be reduced to a minimum in the introduction. If no, you will dedicate to them sufficient space, and it will be reasonable in the specific structure of your particular thesis. So it all depends, just apply some reason and do not be afraid to ask your supervisor about details. 

Errors to avoid in creating an introduction

What mistakes should you rule out even before you have made them?

Giving too much information 

Thisis the first mistake. In your worry about legibility and clarity, you may overdo on theory and previous research. Don’t. You need to provide context, not more. If you write all at once in the introduction, you do not need the rest of the paper. How to define when it is enough? Think in terms of a newspaper article. First passages talk about 5W – who, what, when, where, and why, and then they provide the background and details. So skip technicalities and details and speak in general, and briefly. 

 Giving too little information 

Thisis another mistake.When you are afraid to overdo, you can easily throw out even the necessary minimum of information. So remember that your introduction would say what you do, in which field, why, and what is the value of what you do. How to see if the readers will not be wrecking their brains over your introduction? Just ask a parent or a relative to read it. If, in general, they get it, then it is perfect. If they do not get it, ask why they need to know and ad information according to the feedback. 

Lack of clear and coherent structure 

Yet another pitfall to avoid.The 12 steps of how to write a thesis introduction are the solid logical path that goes from what to why and how. Proceed as mention, and you will not fail. What is illogical order? It is when you delve into literature critique before you say what your question and aim of the research is. Or providing methods and data sources before you even say what your hypothesis or question is.  

Usage of professional slang and terms without accompanying explanations and definitions 

It may be so that you use professional terminology, very particular names of theories, experiments, concepts, etc. It is highly recommendedthat youprovide definitions of the major concepts to the readers in the introduction so that they could have a clear view of everything right from the start.

Launching a full scope literature review in a situation where it is not required in the given section

We have said it several times and will repeat it again – see where the literature review needs to be placed according to your college template. If it is included as a separate part of the introduction, place it there, but not at the beginning of the intro. If it is supposed to be a separate chapter, the same applies. All you have to do here, in the opening part of the introduction, is to say that you will expand on the existing corpus of literature on the so-and-so matter and rely on prominent concepts and achievements available so far (name the key ideas, 2-3 of them). Cite several sources and stop here. 

Final touches of writing an intro 

These are letting the chapter rest of at least a day, proofreading it, and checking its scholarly value. Proofreading can be done with the help of online tools (do not skip this step, though). 

Scholarly value can be measured by you only (or by a relative or friend whom you will pester into reading and commenting on the chapter). Here is a list of questions to answer after reading it. 

  1. Does the first passage of the intro mention the topic and says what exactly you will explore? 
  2. Does the intro show why your research is interesting and promising (and deserving approval and high grade)?
  3. Does the intro clearly state the question and what each chapter will explore in relation to your question? 
  4. Have you provided problem, gap, question, and hypothesis, all easily found and located close to the beginning? 

If a homebred reviewer can answer them without you supplying the most answers, then you have conducted a great job. If not – poor you, get back to the laptop and edit.

Afterword 

Hope we have removed your fears of how to write a thesis introduction and not to fail and inspired you to sit down to your books and start drafting. Once you get into the groove, it goes easier with every next page. Use this guide extensively, and you will not miss the mark. 

If you are still unable for some reason to do the job, let us undertake this task. We have enough qualified experts to write this kind of assignment. Since they have all submitted their dissertations successfully, they will be glad – and capable – to provide you with an equally great introduction to your thesis. Just order it and stay safe and sound in your graduation efforts. 

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