Efficient Guidelines on How to Compose Your PhD Dissertation's Introduction

The chapter of introduction is the main entrance into your dissertation. Like a good entrance of a house, it should be interesting and should give a general outline and “feel” of your body of work. Like a pyramid, the introduction should be built on a broad base describing the general context of your thesis and in a few steps lead to the narrow point of your thesis statement.

Your introduction can be organized in various different ways, one of the most efficient structure to follow is:

  1. Start with the relevance of your work. Describe why you chose the topic and your motivation behind it.
  2. The context of your work and efforts by others
  3. Summarize how you developed your thesis. This does not require you to write a formal “hypothesis.”
  4. A general outline and overview of the body of your research

After writing about the general field you are working in and the available knowledge in the area, go on to identify the gap in knowledge that you are attempting to fill. The rest of the paragraph should describe exactly how you plan to solve the problem and bridge the gap you have identified.

The broader view of the introduction is also the view you want your results in. when describing the context and other related work done on the topic of your dissertation, cite a good number of results of other people’s researches. This will convey to the reader that your thesis is important enough to have been studied by other researchers.

Every research has its flaws and limitations, for example, a small sample size. The introduction is the best place to mention the limitations of your work and get it out of the way. This step gives your reader a heads-up so that they factor the limitations while analyzing your work.

Define all technical terms you are going to use in the research. This will improve the reading experience for your reader. Write about any adaptations you have made.

Now that you have all the necessary elements to write the introductory chapter, put it all together in a coherent and systematic way. Read your introduction a few times to improve upon the structure and to add or subtract content. Proofread your introduction thoroughly. A spellchecker helps but it does not know the context. The best way is to do this manually. Beware: small mistakes of punctuation etc. can end up destroying the credibility of your work on account of carelessness!