The fundamental question of how to write a thesis introduction that leaves the reader curious and excited to find out more and keep on reading is one of the most challenging and overwhelming tasks for all thesis writing students. When you start to work on your thesis opening, you should have a clear idea of what goes into it, how to structure it and how to make a good first impression. If you struggle to formulate the crucial initial words, this post will help you. Even if there is no recipe for how to write a thesis introduction for every topic, the following key issues and tips will enable you to craft yours.
How to write a thesis introduction for your dissertation
Your introduction is a key section that needs special attention! Representing the opening part of your thesis, it is the point of start for your reader, indicating the direction which your work will take, presenting your thesis statement, arguments, and making him understand your ideas in a concise way, in order to showcase your writing skills. Fulfilling such an important function, you need to know, how to write a thesis introduction that is simply perfect.
Your approach: How to write a thesis introduction for chapter 1
The first chapter is the right and only place for your initial words. Your goal is not only to introduce your research to the reader, but far behind: Addressing also the main key points and sections of your dissertation, such as the Literature review, scientific method, and relevance of your topic and writing, it´s your opportunity to leave a brilliant first impression and catch the interest.
If you struggle to find initial words, or to structure your opening section and still don´t know, how to start a dissertation introduction, start to work out yours by completing the following steps and stages:
- 1 – Start with a presentation of the general topic and provide some background information.
- 2 – Continue with a short overview of the actual literature related to the topic
(briefly! keep the extension for your literature review).
- 3 – Introduce the principal idea and name the scope of the topic.
outline the current state of research & evaluate the situation and arrive at the gap.
- 4 – Include a topic-comment, that showcases and clearly explains the relevance and importance.
- 5 – Name your research question, and formulate aims & objectives.
- 6 – Condense and place your thesis statement & arguments (if you like to know, how to write a thesis statement in an introduction paragraph and how to introduce a thesis statement in the best manner, consult my related post).
- 7 – Provide a brief description, that explains your methodological approach.
- 8 – Finish the introduction by outlining the structure of your dissertation.
How to write a thesis introduction that is well-structured
Writing a strong introduction means providing a condensed outline and definition of the principal sections which make up your dissertation. When you think about how to write a thesis introduction, be pragmatic: Open with some words on the topic introduction and provide readers with background information. Show the reader, why the subject is important the topic is worth and the relevant topic to be discussed. Your paragraphs should follow a logical structure, leading from one point to the next, until arriving at the main arguments and contribution.
How to highlight your research question & its relevance
To explain the famous “So what” and “Why does it matter” that motivated you for this specific research, introduce some hard facts: Present a brief overview of your studies’ contextual background and current state of research, founded by citing relevant sources.
Caution: Only the relevant! Don´t stuff the section, there is plenty of time for a detailed view of all sources in the literature review of your manuscript.
Write a dissertation introduction with the right length
Referring to the question of how to write a thesis introduction with adequate length, please consider, that there is no precise formula or required number of sentences or paragraphs. Try to cover all the essential points and leave all additional and unnecessary information out. Don´t overstuff the section or squeeze all points and arguments into one page. Instead, consider an extension of about five to seven pages (at least a 10% of your thesis).
Secrets to open your thesis in a brilliant way
1 – To make your dissertation an outstanding one from the very beginning, surprise your reader by including some particular and unexpected details: Introduce a unique point of view, drop some curious, special facts or surprising perspectives. I collected some further key points, which are also indicated by the Harvard University (to give you examples of how to write a good thesis introduction:
- 2 – Keep your writing short and concise.
- 3 – Check and present the best examples.
- 4 – Don’t make use of (too) specific vocabulary.
- 5 – Outline the principal key points, keep the highlights for the central body.
- 6 – Choose the right verb tense: use the present tense to state your topic, reserve the past tense for a description of the background and context.
- 7 – Avoid including a lot of quotation (this goes specially for direct quotes).
In a nutshell, the secret of how to write a thesis introduction, that will get your reader excited and interested is not an easy one, even if the components are clear. In fact, it´s a process, that requires addressing your research question and problem concisely, from different angles, and making decisions. To get to know how to start in a practical way, consult the related samples section from how to write a good thesis introduction: examples, and collect ideas to get yours done!
Frequently Asked Questions on how to write a thesis introduction
In a nutshell, the secret and best way of how to write a thesis introduction, that will get your reader excited and interested is not an easy one, even if the components are clear. In fact, it´s a process, that requires addressing your research question and problem concisely, from different angles, and making decisions. To get to know how to start a practical way, consult the related samples section from how to write a good thesis introduction: examples, and collect ideas to get yours done!
Introduce your topic, research question, and main sections/chapters of your thesis in a condensed way. Before you start writing, get a clear idea of the structure, crystallize your main arguments, and clear the contribution that your thesis will make.
The overall structure of a Ph.D. thesis introduction is very similar to an introduction for a Master´s thesis. Even though it should be a way more elaborated and the paragraphs provided with more depth and detail (extension).
Surprise your reader! That’s key if you want to keep him interested! Above the official requirements which are demanded such as a certain structure and a brief layout of your conception, the brilliance is to go behind the common expectation. Add some interesting, curious details, surprise your reader and get him excited to continue reading.
First of all, follow the steps which are provided above. Start to introduce your topic smoothly, provide some contextual background information, get over to the current state and figure out, which the gap is. Then, make clear, why it matters (research question & contribution), how you aim to approach it (methodologically) and close with a brief overview of your thesis structure.
Don´t try to squeeze all the information into one page, but avoid extending it by adding unnecessary details. There is no general rule for the length, but the expectation is around two to three pages.
There are a lot of examples provided in research papers and publications, you can also consult the section on concrete examples which is related to this post!