Skip Nav

How to write a dissertation introduction

How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

❶Research is, by its nature, unpredictable. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the post!

Table of contents

Just like the horse whisperer – but with more pages
Purpose of the dissertation introduction:
What is a dissertation?

To write an effective thesis statement, choose a statement that answers a general question about your topic. Check that your thesis is arguable, not factual, and make sure you can back it up your with evidence. For example, your thesis statement could be something like "Computers allow fourth graders an early advantage in technological and scientific education. Start with a question -- then make the answer your thesis. Regardless of how complicated the subject is, almost any thesis can be constructed by answering a question.

Tailor your thesis to the type of paper you're writing. Not all essays persuade, and not all essays teach. The goals of your paper will help you find the best thesis. Breaks down something to better examine and understand it. Teaches or illuminates a point. Makes a claim, or backs up an opinion, to change other peoples' minds. Take a specific stance to make your thesis more powerful.

You should address a single issue in great detail so that your points can be fully supported in the body of the paper. Make the argument you've never seen before.

The best theses find a novel, exciting way to approach the topic. They're fresh and dynamic, which makes your essay fresh and dynamic. Ensure your thesis is provable. Do not come up with your thesis and then look it up later. The thesis is the end point of your research, not the beginning. You need to use a thesis you can actually back up with evidence. Ultimately, the only way for his poems to have faith is to temporarily lose it.

The scope of "every human interaction" is just too big "Paul Harding's novel Tinkers is ultimately a cry for help from a clearly depressed author.

State your thesis statement correctly. Someone should be able to argue an alternate position , or conversely, support your claims. Get the sound right. You want your thesis statement to be identifiable as a thesis statement. You do this by taking a very particular tone and using specific kinds of phrasing and words. Use words like "because" and language which is firm and definitive. Example thesis statements with good statement language include: Know where to place a thesis statement.

Because of the role thesis statements play, they appear at the beginning of the paper, usually at the end of the first paragraph [5] or somewhere in the introduction. Although most people look for the thesis at the end of the first paragraph, its location can depend on a number of factors such as how lengthy of an introduction you need before you can introduce your thesis or the length of your paper.

Limit a thesis statement to one or two sentences in length. Pick a topic that interests you. This must be the first step in writing your paper and your thesis statement because all direction of the paper will depend on what topic you are writing about. Unfortunately, you must ignore this step if the topic is decided for you. The goal of this step is to find a particular narrow subject in your topic which you can make an argument about.

For example, take the topic of computers. There are many aspects of computers that can be expanded on such as hardware, software, and programming. However, vague topics like these do not make good theses. But something more narrow, such as the effects of Steve Jobs on the modern computer industry, allows for a much clearer focus. Know the type, purpose, and audience of the paper. These are usually assigned by the instructor, but even if you get to choose them, you must understand that these will affect your thesis statement considerably.

If you are writing a persuasive paper, your purpose will be to prove something to a specific group. The Ph factor is somewhat elusive and hard to describe, but basically it means you have to make some knowledge claims. This can feel risky because, if you have been approaching the thesis in the right spirit, you are likely to be experiencing Doubt.

The second source of anxiety is the need to think creatively. Most of the rest of the thesis asks us to think analytically; or, if you are in a practice based discipline, to make stuff; or perhaps, if you are an ethnographer, to observe the world in some way.

Creative thinking involves your imagination , which means you have to switch gears mentally. So the problem of the discussion chapter is a problem of creative thinking and confidence, but there are some stylistic conventions and knowledge issues that complicate the task. Every thesis needs to have discussion like elements, but they may do it in different ways. In a conventional thesis, what we call the IMRAD type introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusion the discussion chapter appears a discrete chapter.

Before you worry about the discussion chapter too much, consider whether you need to treat the discussion as a separate section at all. You need to keep in mind that the IMRAD structure is best used to write up empirical research work the type where you collect data of some kind. Many students try to make their research fit into the IMRAD format, when it is not appropriate to do so. Remember there are many ways to skin the discussion cat.

For example, an artist may discuss each project and what it means separately. An ethnographer might devote a chapter to each theory they have built from observation. Likewise a historian may break the thesis up into time periods and do critique and evaluation throughout the whole. So I have diagnosed some of the problems, are there any easy solutions? Well, the best way to start in my view is just to write, but perhaps start to write without the specific purpose of the discussion chapter in mind.

Write to try and work out what you think and then re-write it later. I hope some of these suggestions help to get you started. Do you have any more? The Dead Hand of the Thesis Genre?

Interesting and excellent read! A long and thorough discussion with my Professor made me realize I did present some new elements, but it took a while before I really believed him. In stead of writing one discussion chapter, each chapter in which I present my results or approach contains a discussion. This had the advantage that when writing the chapter, you are better able to consider the differences with other findings and you have the best knowledge of your own findings.

The conclusions then summarized the most important elements of these discussions. The null hypotheses was also mentioned by my professor, in an other form. He asked me if I could falsify my own conclusions with the same data, but with other approaches or models, and how I would actually do so. It really helped me in writing the discussion. I remember being very jealous of them when i was writing one. Each aspect of my methodology has implications for utopianism and utopian scholarship, so I discuss that in each chapter.

The last was a hard sell. How does it add to existing scholarship? If I were to write a sequel to this thesis, what might come next? Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the post! Any suggestions would help! I know exactly what you mean. The most traumatic example was a poorly-theorized section of my prospectus.

I ended up spending the whole summer researching, taking notes, and thinking about the new material my prof required me to read, then the entire fall semester figuring out what it meant for my thesis.

But now that I look back at my original material, I absolutely cringe. The new research may have added months to my work, but it also improved it dramatically.

I still cringe at the fear of a negative reception from my committee, but at least I know they criticize in order to help. The thing is, he has always ended up liking the result. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results. In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to. This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results.

If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes. If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data. This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity.

At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to. In other words, you'll answer those questions.

In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results. Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice.

Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages.

You'll need another timeline, but this one will be focused on the writing process. Plan how to complete your dissertation chapter by chapter. When you have attainable goals, it will be easier for you to write the project without getting overwhelmed by its length and complexity.

There is no life-changing advice to give at this point. You just need to stay away from distractions, stick to your timeline, follow the outline, and complete the first draft.

You already have what it takes; now you're ready to do the real work. Now that you've completed the first draft of the paper, you can relax. Don't even think about dissertation editing as soon as you finish writing the last sentence. You need to take some time away from the project, so make sure to leave space of at least few days between the writing and editing stage. When you come back to it, you'll be able to notice most of its flaws.

There is a substantial difference between editing and proofreading: You need to deal with the essence first, since it would be silly to proofread the dissertation to perfection and then start getting rid of unnecessary parts and adding more details.

Pay attention to the logical connection between each argument. Are there any gaps in information? Fill them in with more details you collected through the research stage. Maybe you got carried away with the explanations at some point?

Make sure to reduce the volume of those parts and clarify them as much as possible. The point is not in quantity; it's in quality and clarity. Finally, it's time to do the final few readings and catch all spelling, grammar, and style errors you made. Read word by word, sentence by sentence, and consult a dictionary or thesaurus if you have any doubts.

If you notice that you're struggling through the stages of editing and proofreading, you should know you're not the only one with such problem. You are too attached to this project and it's difficult for you to see the flaws in it.

Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Discuss few alternatives of the dissertation title with your mentor before you start writing the proposal. Structure of the dissertation proposal If you want to make the proposal convincing, its format has to be clean and easy to follow.

Privacy FAQs

The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time. Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in .

About Our Ads

How to start preparing a dissertation. The first stage is to decide on the topic that you wish to write about. You have an opportunity to explore and research in depth, using any previous study, a subject that is of personal interest to you and also helps you develop your interest even further. The topic can be related to a career aspiration. The dissertation, start to finish Worrying about the dissertation has caused many sleepless nights for graduate students. But fear not: This article is the first in a six-part gradPSYCH guide to starting, .

Cookie Info

Sep 08,  · The introduction is the first chapter of your dissertation and thus is the starting point of your dissertation. You describe the topic of your dissertation, formulate the problem statement and write an overview of your dissertation/5(). The introduction provides the rationale for your dissertation, thesis or other research project: what you are trying to answer and why it is important to do this research. Your introduction should contain a clear statement of the research question and the aims of the research (closely related to the question).