Writing and structuring the introduction of your thesis or dissertation

Write the introduction after you have completed the rest of the paper. You can’t write a good introduction until you know what the rest of the paper reveals.

Include a hook at the beginning of the introduction. This is a statement of something interesting enough to motivate your reader to read the rest of the paper. It is a significant, important and interesting problem or issue that your paper addresses. Make the reader want to read further.

The next paragraphs in the introduction should cite previous research in the subject area. They should cite the prominent contributors to the subject area, and cite those who have done the most relevant and recent research. You should go on to explain why your work in the subject area was necessary.

Elements that belong in your introduction

  1. A statement of the goal of the study: why the study was undertaken, or why the paper was written. Try not to repeat the abstract.

2. The Literature Review. The Literature Review has the following functions:

  •  Demonstrate understanding of your subject.
  •   Create a new hypothesis.
  •  Reveal gaps in previous research.
  •  Justify your own research and place it in a wider context.
  •  Evaluate the significance of past and current research.
  •  All cited work should be directly relevant to the goals of the thesis.

3. A short road map guiding the reader to what lies ahead.
4. Explain the scope of your study. What will be included or excluded.
5. Divide the the introduction section into logical segments by using subheadings.

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