How to Write an Introduction for a Dissertation

dissertation introduction and conclusion

How to Write a dissertation step by step

Although the introduction appears at the start of your dissertation, it is not always the very first thing you write — in fact, it is frequently the final thing you write; along with the abstract.

It's a good idea to jot down a rough copy of your introduction early on in your study to help you stay on track. You can use this as a template if you produced a research proposal because it contains many of the same aspects. However, you should update your introduction as you write to ensure that it corresponds to the substance of your chapters. 

This part should entice the reader by using clear, concise language that is simple to understand and consume. If the reader (your marker!) has to work hard to get through it, they'll lose interest, making it more difficult for you to get good grades. You can't ignore the basic concepts of compelling writing utilized by marketers, bloggers, and journalists just because you're writing an academic paper. You're all trying to sell an idea at the end of the day, and yours is just a research idea.

So, what exactly goes into this first section?

While there is no set pattern, using the following four basic sentences in your introductory section is an excellent idea:

1. The First Paragraph 

The table of contents is followed by the introduction, which is the first chapter of your thesis or dissertation. It's vital to immediately capture the reader's attention. Establish a clear focus, purpose, and direction for your investigation. One needs to keep the following things in mind - 

  • What does the reader need to know about the topic and context in order to understand the dissertation?

  • What specific component of the issue will you address? What will be your focus and scope?
  • Relevance and significance: how does the research relate to previous work on the subject?
  • What are the research questions and objectives, and how will they be answered?
  • An overview of the structure: how does each dissertation chapter contribute to the overarching goal?

2. Theme and setting

Begin by introducing your topic and providing any background information that is required. It's critical to place your study in perspective and pique people's attention; try to demonstrate why the topic is timely or essential for instance, by mentioning a relevant news item, academic debate, or practical problem. 

The attitude of young people about climate change is an example of a topic.
For example - 
Recent news reports have highlighted the importance of youth engagement in climate politics, as well as the children's climate strike.

3. Importance and relevance

It's critical to demonstrate why you're conducting this study, how it links to previous work on the subject, and what fresh insights it will provide.

Give a quick review of the current state of research, identifying the most relevant literature and describing how your research will solve an issue or fill a gap in the field. In the literature review section or chapter, you will undertake a more in-depth search of appropriate sources.

Depending on your discipline, the value of your study may be measured in terms of its practical application (for example, in policy or management) or in terms of expanding scholarly understanding of the subject for example by developing theories or adding new empirical data. In many circumstances, it will do both functions. 

4. Describe how your dissertation is structured

This step includes the way you have included your content in the dissertation. This step gives a clear picture to your readers that what are they in for exactly so that they know what are they going to be reading next. This helps in maintaining the readership of your dissertation. Apart from this, it also aids in the solution of a practical or theoretical problem. A structured dissertation fills a gap in the literature and builds on previous studies and proposes a new perspective on the subject.

5. Objectives and questions

This is the most crucial portion of your introduction because it establishes the tone for the rest of your dissertation. Your research questions and objectives will vary depending on your discipline, topic, and concentration, but the main goal of your study should always be stated clearly.

You can discuss the research methods you used to answer your questions quickly, but if a separate methodology chapter is included, don't go into too much detail here.

If you want to test hypotheses in your research, you can do it here, along with a conceptual framework that establishes correlations between variables. Hypotheses may appear later in the dissertation, following your literature review.

6. A Research Question

How do British high school students react to the UK government's climate change policies?
An Introduction with a research question has more capacity to engage readers on the first go than otherwise. The opening of the dissertation with a research question will do wonders for your piece of work as it possesses a question in front of your readers. This forces your readers to think which further leads to their piqued interest. In the end, this fulfills your purpose of writing your thesis. Some of the examples of how can you possess the research question in your introduction are as follows - 

Conduct surveys to gather information on students' levels of knowledge, comprehension, and positive/negative attitudes toward government policy.
Determine whether sentiments about climate policy are influenced by factors like age, gender, geography, or socioeconomic class.
Conduct interviews with students to learn more about their ideas and behaviors with respect to climate policy.

7. A summary of the structure

End your introduction with a review of the dissertation's structure, summarising each chapter to clearly explain how it relates to your major goals. It's critical to grab the reader's interest right away. The dissertation introduction and conclusion should be covered in a jiffy. Each chapter's topic should usually be described in one or two sentences.

Although, if your research is a bit more complicated than the usual or does not follow the standard procedure, it may require up to a paragraph to explain. A humanities dissertation, for example, can develop an argument thematically rather than splitting the research into methods/results/discussion. Make it clear how everything goes together if your structure is unusual.

To Conclude - 

A final word on this section: it's critical to just be precise the about scope of your research. To put it another way, what you WILL and WILL NOT cover. You risk losing focus or studying an issue that is too large to tackle in a single dissertation if your research aims, objectives, and questions are too wide.

Simply put, in your research, you must define clear boundaries. You can accomplish this by limiting it to a given sector, country, or time period, for example. That way, you'll be able to ringfence your research, allowing you to dig deep and wide into your subject - which is what gets you good grades! 

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