Observe to what extent these different openings inspire you, and choose the approach most appropriate to your topic. For example, do you want to spur emotions, or remain as neutral as possible? How important is the historical background? The exercise can be done in small groups or pairs. Discuss what makes an opening paragraph successful or not. How does your opening paragraph shed light on what is to follow? One of the first tasks of a researcher is defining the scope of a study, i. Narrowing the scope of your thesis can be time-consuming.
Paradoxically, the more you limit the scope, the more interesting it becomes. This is because a narrower scope lets you clarify the problem and study it at greater depth, whereas very broad research questions only allow a superficial treatment. The research question can be formulated as one main question with a few more specific sub-questions or in the form of a hypothesis that will be tested. Your research question will be your guide as your writing proceeds. If you are working independently, you are also free to modify it as you go along.
How do you know that you have drafted a research question? Most importantly, a research question is something that can be answered. If not, you have probably come up with a theme or field, not a question. The outline gives an overview of the main points of your thesis. It clarifies the structure of your thesis and helps you find the correct focus for your work. The outline can also be used in supervision sessions, especially in the beginning.
You might find that you need to restructure your thesis. Working on your outline can then be a good way of making sense of the necessary changes. A good outline shows how the different parts relate to each other, and is a useful guide for the reader. It often makes sense to put the outline at the end of the introduction, but this rule is not set in stone.
Use discretion: What is most helpful for the reader? The information should come at the right point — not too early and not too late. The theory used in an empirical study is meant to shed light on the data in a scholarly or scientific manner.
Introductions | Thesis structure | UNSW Current Students
It should give insights not achievable by ordinary, everyday reflections. The main purpose of using theory is to analyse and interpret your data. Therefore, you should not present theoretical perspectives that are not being put to use. Doing so will create false expectations, and suggests that your work is incomplete. Not all theses have a separate theory section.
Writing an Introduction to a Research Paper – What to Include
In the IMRaD format the theory section is included in the introduction, and the second chapter covers the methods used. What kind of theory should you choose? Since the theory is the foundation for your data analysis it can be useful to select a theory that lets you distinguish between, and categorise different phenomena.
Other theories let you develop the various nuances of a phenomenon. In other words, you have a choice of either reducing the complexity of your data or expanding upon something that initially looks simple. How much time and space should you devote to the theory chapter? This is a difficult question. Some theses dwell too long on theory and never get to the main point: the analysis and discussion. But it is also important to have read enough theory to know what to look for when collecting data.
The nature of your research should decide: Some studies do not require much theory, but put more emphasis on the method, while other studies need a rich theory section to enable an interesting discussion. In a scholarly research article, the section dealing with method is very important. The same applies to an empirical thesis. For students, this can be a difficult section to write, especially since its purpose may not always be clear. For example, if you have carried out interviews, you do not need to list all the different types of research interview. You also do not need to describe the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods, or list all different kinds of validity and reliability.
What you must do is to show how your choice of design and research method is suited to answering your research question s. Demonstrate that you have given due consideration to the validity and reliability of your chosen method. This way, the method section is not only able to tie the different parts of your thesis together, it also becomes interesting to read!
Your analysis, along with your discussion, will form the high light of your thesis. This is where you report your findings and present them in a systematic manner. The expectations of the reader have been built up through the other chapters, make sure you fulfill these expectations. To analyse means to distinguish between different types of phenomena — similar from different. Importantly, by distinguishing between different phenomena, your theory is put to work. Precisely how your analysis should appear, however, is a methodological question.
Finding out how best to organise and present your findings may take some time. In this case it will be important to choose analytical categories that correlate to your chosen theory. Engaging emotions is not the main point, but a way to elucidate the phenomenon so that the reader understands it in a new and better way. In many thesis the discussion is the most important section. Tags: how to write a phd , introduction , PhD thesis , phd writing template , writing guide , writing your phd thesis. He is an expert in presenting PhD research in the best possible way and maximising students' chances of success.
I was struggling with writing the introduction chapter.
Really had no idea on how to organise my ideas. Completely lost and desolate.
I have no one to encourage or support me. I prayed to God to give me knowledge and wisdom and guide me. After a while I found this site. Praise the Lord. Thank you.
Glory be to God for directing me to this site. All we aim to do here is to make life a little bit easier for PhD students. I know how hard I found it when I was completing mine, so I want to give something back to the community.
Structuring a Thesis Introduction
Good luck with writing up. Please enter an answer in digits:. The introduction is the place to factually recount what it is you will be discussing in the thesis.
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In this guide we discuss how to write a thesis introduction. We'll show you how to structure it in a way that allows anyone who reads it to understand the entire thesis and how to impress your examiners as you do so. One of the first things the introduction should do is to provide general statements that outline the importance of the topic and provide enough background information so that the reader can understand the context in which your research sits although being careful not to enter into an in-depth review of the literature. More on this below.
In doing so, you will need to reference existing studies. Then, you outline your research questions and the problems the study addresses. The introduction needs to also discuss the value that this study brings to the broader field or discipline i. You do this by detailing the central argument, the research aims, the structure of the discussion with reference to any theories or concepts you used , the methods employed, the study's limitations and the layout of the thesis. Like the abstract , the int roduction should provide the reader with all they need to know about:. What your thesis is about Why it is important How it was conducted How it is laid out.
Unlike the abstract though, in the introduction you need to go into more detail and set the research up. What does this mean? Well, above all, the introduction as a whole should outline the significance and relevance of the thesis. The main criteria for a PhD is its role as an original contribution to knowledge, so the introduction is the space in which you very clearly outline that contribution.
By talking about what the research is about, why it is important, how it was conducted and what you found, you will, all being well, clearly show the contribution that your thesis makes. This is not a normal blog subscription. Each day we send a short, thought-provoking email that will make you think differently about what it means to be a PhD student. It is designed to be read in thirty seconds and thought about all day. A typical PhD thesis introduction follows the following format:.
Introduction to the introduction: a short version of only a few paragraphs of the thesis' aims, research questions, contribution, objectives and findings. Much like the abstract, the reader shouldn't have to wait long before they understand the contribution, what you are doing and how you are doing it. So, you'll start by presenting your research in a clear, concise way in the opening few paragraphs.
These opening paragraphs should briefly summarise the aims, objectives, research questions, main argument and contribution.