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Introduction Chapter

The INTRODUCTION should capture the reader’s attention and introduce everything you use in the dissertation and later explain.  It should not start to discuss the actual research findings so even when you are adding things to it at the end of your project, pretend that you have not yet conducted the study.

 

An examiner will often read the INTRODUCTION (specifically the Objectives) and CONCLUSIONS first and it is worth remembering this when you are writing these chapters.  When doing a project you almost always end up re-visiting some chapters to append extra work and/or modify the existing work and this is especially true for the introduction.  The Introduction Chapter should contain the following:

 

1)      Broad view of the general research area – you are trying to demonstrate how important this general area of research is to the world.

2)      Explanation of how your research fits into this broad area – now you are trying to demonstrate how your research is going to contribute to this general area.

3)      The research questions or hypotheses and the specific objectives of your research – usually under a separate sub-heading so that they stand out to the reader (and examiner).

4)      Guide to the subsequent chapters – 3 or 4 paragraphs explaining the content and reasons for including each chapter. These paragraphs must explain why your dissertation includes certain chapters, not what chapters are included.  Some students have shown these on a flow chart or diagram.  Do not, however, just re-iterate the contents page, if the reader wants to know the content of the dissertation he/she can read the CONTENTS.  Alternatively, if it is not clear from the CONTENTS what is in the dissertation, then the CONTENTS requires more work.