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“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

– Mother Teresa

Starting Research: How to Write a Dissertation Introduction

Your academic writing introduction is a key chance to hook your reader into your work. This section should highlight the crux of your paper, helping the reader to gauge how well your paper scratches their intellectual itch. 

It is thus best to avoid long explanations and jejune flowery language within your introduction. You might be wondering then, how do I hook a reader without resorting to these? This article will guide you toward writing an outstanding dissertation introduction. 

How to write an introduction for a thesis

Unlike composition writing, research papers are geared to solve issues within a scholarly field. These papers adhere to the rules of formal writing and should give the reader a gist of the problem you intend to tackle and your justification for the research. 

For the most impact, your dissertation should be short, and precise and highlight your key points of discussion. Your introduction should thus contain the essential portions discussed below. 

Dissertation introduction outline

The thesis introduction should have a hook, a background study, a statement of a research problem, aims, significance, limitations, and structure. These parts make it easy for you to determine the information to tackle in your introduction chapter to convey all the essential information required by your reader. 

  1. Hook

The research paper hook may either be a rhetorical question, a statistic, or a fact that pulls your reader’s attention to your research problem. This section should magnify the extent of a research problem, showing your reader why the research is relevant. 

Ideally, the hook should not exceed three sentences of your introduction. The hook should also be relevant to the topic and include a reference in the case of statistics and facts. 

  1. Background information

Has your topic been investigated before? How will your research improve upon the field of knowledge? Why is your research relevant?

After writing your hook, segue into the discussion of the existing research and highlight the major research gap that necessitates your study. However, this part should not highlight each material and critique as you had in your literature review. 

Instead, highlight the overall idea you intend to challenge within your paper. You may also cite the key resource that defines your topic and refer to the limitations mentioned in the research which you’ll cover within your paper. 

Properly stating the background information within your paper shows that you have done ample research to conduct a thorough examination of a problem. 

  1. Research problem

After highlighting the background study, mention the research gap you intend to tackle within your paper. This helps readers to determine the relevance of your paper to their needs and also allows for the assessment of how well your paper has addressed its purpose. 

The research problem is a statement that highlights the research gap that your paper aims to bridge. Placing your problem after the background study and hook makes it easier to justify your research issue. 

  1. Aims, objectives, and research questions

Next, state your desired dissertation results and highlight the questions you intend to answer within your paper and the approaches that you’ll take to examine these aims. This information will give your reader a gist of the data you intend to collect and your analysis methods, helping them gauge the feasibility of your research. 

  1. Significance

This section of your thesis introduction justifies your research by highlighting the reason behind your research and the results you hope to yield. Here, tackle the gaps you will cover and mention the impact your results, whether positive or negative will have on the research field.

  1. Limitations

Before diving into your research, mention some of the limitations that are deterring you from addressing the entirety of a research problem. These may be financial constraints or the lack of equipment to examine each minute variable in your study.

  1. Structure

The last step of writing a dissertation introduction is to summarize each section of your research, showing how each contributes to the overall argument. Here, use short sentences to outline each chapter of your paper and show the flow of your research.

Tips for writing a dissertation introduction

Writing the introduction to a dissertation often proves a challenge for students. Considering the vast amount of information contained in this section, you may find it hard to express the essence of your paper. These tips should come in handy to help you overcome any challenges you may face when writing your research paper. 

  • Write your introduction last to gauge the key points you should mention from each chapter within your paper.
  • Avoid the use of jargon in your introduction as this may limit your reader’s understanding of the ideas you’ve discussed.
  • Limit your introduction to 10% of the paper’s total wordcount
  • Design the last sentence of the introduction to smoothly transition to the idea within the first body paragraph.
  • Read sample introductions to gain an idea of how you can structure your introduction for the most impact on a reader.