What’s the purpose of a thesis introduction for a PhD?
Three things are essential to an effective introduction of a PhD thesis:
- You can establish your research area by putting your thesisintroduction.com research in a wider context
The introduction should include general statements about the topic. It should also provide sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand the context within which your research is situated. However, it should not be too detailed. This is covered in more detail below. You will need to refer to existing studies in order to do this.
- Establish your niche and explain why you are doing your research.
Your introduction should address the gaps that your research will fill.
Next, outline your research questions.
- Your research is important. Describe how you did it.
It is important to discuss in the introduction the contribution that the study makes to the wider discipline or field (i.e. Your contribution. This is done by describing the central argument, research goals, the structure of discussion (with reference of any theories or concepts), the methods used, the limitations of the study, and the layout of your thesis.
The introduction, like the abstract should give the reader all the information they need.
What is your thesis about?
It is vital
How it was done
How it is laid out
The introduction, however, is different from the abstract. It should provide more details and establish the research.
What does this all mean? The introduction should, in general, outline the importance and relevance of your thesis. The primary criteria for a PhD is that it is an original contribution to knowledge. Therefore, the introduction should clearly describe this contribution. Your thesis will clearly demonstrate the contribution you made by describing the research, its importance, the methods used and the results.
How to structure a PhD thesis introduction
The following format is typical for a PhD thesis introduction:
Introduction to the introduction: A brief summary (of only a few sentences) of the thesis’ research questions, aims, contribution, objectives, and findings.
Define the overall topic and the aims of your thesis.
A brief overview of the literature on the topic is required (if you have a separate literature chapter, this will be even shorter).
Define the scope and terms of the topic
Analyze the current literature on the topic and determine your gaps
Describe why research is important and what it can do to make a difference.
Describe your ontological and epistemological position
Define clearly the research questions and problems you are trying to solve
If you have any hypotheses, state them
Detail the most important concepts or variables
Please describe briefly your method
Discuss the main findings
Discuss the design of the thesis
The abstract should not take too long for the reader to understand your contribution, what it is, and how it is being done. In the first few paragraphs, present your research clearly and concisely. The opening paragraphs should summarize the goals, objectives, research questions and main argument.
It is a good idea to write the main elements of your introduction on a Postit note. Continue to try until they are right. Use the first few paragraphs that fit once they have. This is exactly the same method you use to fill out the PhD Writing Template.
As you read the chapter, you’ll find more and more details. This means that you will need to give context (steps 2-10).
This section provides all the details necessary to place the study and make sense the first few paragraphs.
There are two important things to remember.
It is important to slowly get into the details. Do not jump straight into detail from the opening paragraphs. You will find a gradual ease to your discussion if you follow the 13 steps.
Follow the instructions above.
Keep in mind, however, that the structure of your thesis will determine the depth of detail and the length of your introduction.
A standalone literature review will give you less information about the current state and gaps in the literature.
Similar to the previous example, if your chapter has a specific theory section, you won’t need to spend too much time developing your theory framework.
Same goes for your methods.
In any case, the goal is to provide enough context to place and make sense your research questions. However, the goal is not to overwhelm the reader with unnecessary information that may distract from the main goal of situating the research. This information will be repeated at a later time.