In order to complete any professional degree, you have to submit a dissertation. If you don’t already know, a dissertation is a research project and it is usually divided into five to seven chapters depending upon the university’s preferred practice. Regardless of the number of chapters you have to write, the “introduction” is always going to be the first chapter.
What is Dissertation Introduction?
The introduction is the very first chapter of your dissertation. The introduction helps your professors get the idea about the topic, the research problem, and the scope of the study. It also gives your supervisors a little background of the topic, its importance and the main objectives of your research.
You should know how to write an introduction for a dissertation in a way that will leave your evaluators impressed – which is the key to scoring a good grade in your thesis.
This blog will help you do exactly that – it will equip with all information and knowledge necessary to give your dissertation the start that it deserves by telling you what to include in a dissertation introduction and how to go about it.
The purpose of introduction
The main purpose of the introduction chapter is to set the stage for your research and set your readers (which most likely are going to be your supervisor and evaluator) up for what is to come.
Why you need to get the introduction right?
Getting your introduction right is important because it helps form the right first impression on your evaluator. Yes, the right first impression does improve your chances of getting an A.
On the contrary, if you do a sloppy job in the introduction chapter, you are putting your grade at risk.
Steps to write a perfect introduction
Your introduction must include the following sections:
This may seem too much. But don’t worry! This blog will explain, step-by-step, how to write each of these sections and what to cover in each of these headings of the “introduction” chapter of your thesis.
Step1: Research Background
The background informs the supervisor why the topic of your research is important.
The introduction of your research paper must start with the research background. Constructing the background research will not only help you understand the topic, but will also help your professors learn about the research problem and justify importance of your research.
How to write the research background?
While writing your research background, you must touch upon the important concepts related to your research topic. This will help create the right impression on your evaluators and they will know that you have thoroughly investigated the research problem and have understood all the aspects of your topic.
Here is an example of a well-written research background
For any organization that desires to thrives, change cannot be avoided. However, managing change and especially transformational change is always tough and challenging (Sirkin et al., 2005). A number of studies highlight that the majority of organizations introducing change initiatives fail to achieve the intended results (Kotter, 1996; Strebel, 1996). There is a consensus among management scholars and practitioners that the ability of an organization to adapt to and manage the process of change is crucial to its effectiveness (Brisson-Banks, 2010; Bridges and Michel, 2000).
Step2: Research Problem
The problem your research aims to solve must be clearly defined – though the background section and the portion in which you convince your professors of the significance of your research will touch on the research problem, this portion will present the problem statement.
The problem statement tells the evaluator why you are conducting this research and what purpose it will serve.
How to write a problem statement?
You must write your research problem in a clear and concise manner that will help your evaluators understand the purpose of your choosing a particular research topic and also give them the idea about what they should expect from your research.
If you want to persuade your professors to read other parts of your research paper (which by all means, you should, because you put a lot of effort into your research) you have to present the research problem in a convincing manner.
Problem statement holds the core importance in your dissertation because it lets the reader know the following key things:
- The direction your investigation is going to proceed in.
- The areas that your study will cover.
Here is what a problem statement looks like…
Non-profit organization X has been focused on retaining its existing support base, but lacks understanding of how best to target potential new donors. To be able to continue its work, the organization requires research into more effective fundraising strategies.
Step3: Aims and Objectives
Once you are done with the research problem, you have to tell how you are going to solve the problem. That, you are going to do, by listing the aims and objectives of your research.
Aims and objectives are the statements that inform your supervisor of the results that your research is going to yield.
How to write the aims and objectives?
You have to derive the aims and objectives from your topic, research question or hypothesis. These are in fact, an extension of your research questions.
The statements you use to convey aims and objectives of your research should clearly communicate to the supervisors, your research intentions and also help them understand how you plan to answer the research question.
Here is an example of an objective statement derived from a research question…
Consider this research question: What is the impact of price on the demand of luxury goods?
Now, an objective statement derived from research question will look like: To study the impact of price on the demand of luxury goods.
Before moving on to the next portion, there are a few things you need to keep in mind about the aims and objectives:
- Usually these statements start with phrases like, ‘to determine’, ‘to investigate’, ‘to assess’, ‘to critically assess’, ‘to understand’, ‘to evaluate’ etc.
- The statements you use to communicate the aims and objectives must be brief, concise and relevant.
- In the conclusion of your research, you will have to refer back to this section to determine whether you were able to meet these aims and objectives or not.
Now that you have covered the aims and objectives of your research, it’s time to learn about the significance of research.
Step4: Significance of the Research
Your introduction chapter must also include a section in which you justify how your research is going to add value to the scientific literature.
The purpose of this portion is to convince your supervisor that the research topic is worth investigating on and that the results of this investigation will actually be beneficial.
How to write the significance section?
Your significance section must include the following points:
- How this research helps solve a problem
- Fills a gap in the existing literature related to your research topic
- Builds on the research that has already been done.
Here is how you write the “significance of your research” in a convincing manner.
Young people will determine the future of climate policy, so it is essential to gain an in-depth understanding of their engagement with this issue. While there has been much research on youth attitudes to climate change in general (Corner et al., 2015; Holmberg & Alvinius, 2019; Lee et al., 2020), none has focused specifically on how teenagers understand and respond to current UK climate policy. The increasing prominence of youth climate activism, both in the UK and across the world, suggests that teenagers are highly aware of the issues at stake. However, it is unclear to what extent they directly engage with government policies in this area. To fully understand the current state of climate politics, it is important to gain a more complete picture of young people’s knowledge and perceptions of UK climate policy.
Scope of the study
This heading informs the reader exactly what aspects of the problem will be covered in your research, what population will be targeted and why. Here is what must be included in this section:
- The geographical area you are going to cover
- The time period your research covers
- Your target population.
- What specific aspects of the problem your dissertation addresses
Step5: Outline of the Dissertation
Your introduction may also include an outline for your whole research paper. An outline, as the name implies, should have the main headings of the chapters to come.
The outline enlists the headings included in each chapter.
Here is an example of dissertation outline…
Chapter 1: Introduction
- Issue & Its Background
- Issue Statement
- Research Purpose & Questions
- Glossary of Terms (optional)
- Limitations & Assumptions
- Concluding paragraph
Chapter 2: Literature Review
- Description of literature search
- Review of Literature
Chapter 3: Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative/Mixed)
- Research Design
- Research Hypotheses & Question
- Setting/Sample & Population
- Data Collection
- Data Analysis
- Concluding section
Chapter 4: Findings
Chapter 5: Discussion and Suggestions for Further Research
- Findings Summary
- Suggestions for Further Investigation
- Final Conclusion Part
Things to be careful of and things to avoid
Now you know how to write a dissertation introduction. And that leads us to the next thing – which is to learn about some common mistakes that students tend to make while writing the introduction of their dissertation.
The take aways
- Learned what a dissertation introduction is and why it is important to get right.
- Learned how to write the five portions of the introduction in five easy steps.
- Learned the things that should be avoided while writing the introduction chapter.
Now you know how to write a good dissertation introduction, close this tab and nail the introduction, so you can quickly move on the next chapter, which is the literature review.
Free presentation slides
If you are a course instructor willing to educate your class or a student who wants to learn then refer to our free presentation slides available for Google slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Meet Dr. Rafael
Hi, this is Dr. Rafal Lopez, Ph.D. in digital marketing from Loughborough University. I am a business research professional with over 15 publications in well-known business journals around the globe including “Journal of business research” and “Journal of Marketing”.
Contributing to the field of marketing through research is my passion and hence I have decided to write a series of blog posts to help marketing students understand the basic concepts of business research.