How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)

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The thesis introduction, usually chapter 1, is one of the most important chapters of a thesis. It sets the scene. It previews key arguments and findings. And it helps the reader to understand the structure of the thesis. In short, a lot is riding on this first chapter. With the following tips, you can write a powerful thesis introduction.

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Elements of a fantastic thesis introduction

Open with a (personal) story, begin with a problem, define a clear research gap, describe the scientific relevance of the thesis, describe the societal relevance of the thesis, write down the thesis’ core claim in 1-2 sentences, support your argument with sufficient evidence, consider possible objections, address the empirical research context, give a taste of the thesis’ empirical analysis, hint at the practical implications of the research, provide a reading guide, briefly summarise all chapters to come, design a figure illustrating the thesis structure.

An introductory chapter plays an integral part in every thesis. The first chapter has to include quite a lot of information to contextualise the research. At the same time, a good thesis introduction is not too long, but clear and to the point.

A powerful thesis introduction does the following:

  • It captures the reader’s attention.
  • It presents a clear research gap and emphasises the thesis’ relevance.
  • It provides a compelling argument.
  • It previews the research findings.
  • It explains the structure of the thesis.

In addition, a powerful thesis introduction is well-written, logically structured, and free of grammar and spelling errors. Reputable thesis editors can elevate the quality of your introduction to the next level. If you are in search of a trustworthy thesis or dissertation editor who upholds high-quality standards and offers efficient turnaround times, I recommend the professional thesis and dissertation editing service provided by Editage . 

This list can feel quite overwhelming. However, with some easy tips and tricks, you can accomplish all these goals in your thesis introduction. (And if you struggle with finding the right wording, have a look at academic key phrases for introductions .)

Ways to capture the reader’s attention

A powerful thesis introduction should spark the reader’s interest on the first pages. A reader should be enticed to continue reading! There are three common ways to capture the reader’s attention.

An established way to capture the reader’s attention in a thesis introduction is by starting with a story. Regardless of how abstract and ‘scientific’ the actual thesis content is, it can be useful to ease the reader into the topic with a short story.

This story can be, for instance, based on one of your study participants. It can also be a very personal account of one of your own experiences, which drew you to study the thesis topic in the first place.

Start by providing data or statistics

Data and statistics are another established way to immediately draw in your reader. Especially surprising or shocking numbers can highlight the importance of a thesis topic in the first few sentences!

So if your thesis topic lends itself to being kick-started with data or statistics, you are in for a quick and easy way to write a memorable thesis introduction.

The third established way to capture the reader’s attention is by starting with the problem that underlies your thesis. It is advisable to keep the problem simple. A few sentences at the start of the chapter should suffice.

Usually, at a later stage in the introductory chapter, it is common to go more in-depth, describing the research problem (and its scientific and societal relevance) in more detail.

You may also like: Minimalist writing for a better thesis

Emphasising the thesis’ relevance

A good thesis is a relevant thesis. No one wants to read about a concept that has already been explored hundreds of times, or that no one cares about.

Of course, a thesis heavily relies on the work of other scholars. However, each thesis is – and should be – unique. If you want to write a fantastic thesis introduction, your job is to point out this uniqueness!

In academic research, a research gap signifies a research area or research question that has not been explored yet, that has been insufficiently explored, or whose insights and findings are outdated.

Every thesis needs a crystal-clear research gap. Spell it out instead of letting your reader figure out why your thesis is relevant.

* This example has been taken from an actual academic paper on toxic behaviour in online games: Liu, J. and Agur, C. (2022). “After All, They Don’t Know Me” Exploring the Psychological Mechanisms of Toxic Behavior in Online Games. Games and Culture 1–24, DOI: 10.1177/15554120221115397

The scientific relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your work in terms of advancing theoretical insights on a topic. You can think of this part as your contribution to the (international) academic literature.

Scientific relevance comes in different forms. For instance, you can critically assess a prominent theory explaining a specific phenomenon. Maybe something is missing? Or you can develop a novel framework that combines different frameworks used by other scholars. Or you can draw attention to the context-specific nature of a phenomenon that is discussed in the international literature.

The societal relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your research in more practical terms. You can think of this part as your contribution beyond theoretical insights and academic publications.

Why are your insights useful? Who can benefit from your insights? How can your insights improve existing practices?

thesis introduction chapter example

Formulating a compelling argument

Arguments are sets of reasons supporting an idea, which – in academia – often integrate theoretical and empirical insights. Think of an argument as an umbrella statement, or core claim. It should be no longer than one or two sentences.

Including an argument in the introduction of your thesis may seem counterintuitive. After all, the reader will be introduced to your core claim before reading all the chapters of your thesis that led you to this claim in the first place.

But rest assured: A clear argument at the start of your thesis introduction is a sign of a good thesis. It works like a movie teaser to generate interest. And it helps the reader to follow your subsequent line of argumentation.

The core claim of your thesis should be accompanied by sufficient evidence. This does not mean that you have to write 10 pages about your results at this point.

However, you do need to show the reader that your claim is credible and legitimate because of the work you have done.

A good argument already anticipates possible objections. Not everyone will agree with your core claim. Therefore, it is smart to think ahead. What criticism can you expect?

Think about reasons or opposing positions that people can come up with to disagree with your claim. Then, try to address them head-on.

Providing a captivating preview of findings

Similar to presenting a compelling argument, a fantastic thesis introduction also previews some of the findings. When reading an introduction, the reader wants to learn a bit more about the research context. Furthermore, a reader should get a taste of the type of analysis that will be conducted. And lastly, a hint at the practical implications of the findings encourages the reader to read until the end.

If you focus on a specific empirical context, make sure to provide some information about it. The empirical context could be, for instance, a country, an island, a school or city. Make sure the reader understands why you chose this context for your research, and why it fits to your research objective.

If you did all your research in a lab, this section is obviously irrelevant. However, in that case you should explain the setup of your experiment, etcetera.

The empirical part of your thesis centers around the collection and analysis of information. What information, and what evidence, did you generate? And what are some of the key findings?

For instance, you can provide a short summary of the different research methods that you used to collect data. Followed by a short overview of how you analysed this data, and some of the key findings. The reader needs to understand why your empirical analysis is worth reading.

You already highlighted the practical relevance of your thesis in the introductory chapter. However, you should also provide a preview of some of the practical implications that you will develop in your thesis based on your findings.

Presenting a crystal clear thesis structure

A fantastic thesis introduction helps the reader to understand the structure and logic of your whole thesis. This is probably the easiest part to write in a thesis introduction. However, this part can be best written at the very end, once everything else is ready.

A reading guide is an essential part in a thesis introduction! Usually, the reading guide can be found toward the end of the introductory chapter.

The reading guide basically tells the reader what to expect in the chapters to come.

In a longer thesis, such as a PhD thesis, it can be smart to provide a summary of each chapter to come. Think of a paragraph for each chapter, almost in the form of an abstract.

For shorter theses, which also have a shorter introduction, this step is not necessary.

Especially for longer theses, it tends to be a good idea to design a simple figure that illustrates the structure of your thesis. It helps the reader to better grasp the logic of your thesis.

thesis introduction chapter example

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How To Write A Thesis Introduction Chapter

Crafting the introductory chapter of a thesis can be confusing. If you are feeling the same, you are the at right place.

This post will explore how you can write a thesis introduction chapter, by outlining the essential components of a thesis introduction. We will look at the process, one section at a time, and explain them to help you get a hang of how to craft your thesis introduction.

How To Write A Good Thesis Introduction?

The opening section of a thesis introduction sets the stage for what’s to come, acting as a crucial hook to capture the reader’s attention.

Unlike the broader strokes found in the table of contents, this initial foray into your research is where you must distill the essence of your thesis into a potent, digestible form.

A skillful introduction begins with a concise preview of the chapter’s terrain, delineating the structure of the thesis with a clarity that avoids overwhelming the reader.

This is not the stage for exhaustive details; rather, it’s where you prime the reader with a snapshot of the intellectual journey ahead.

In crafting this segment, insiders advise adhering to a quartet of foundational sentences that offer an academic handshake to the reader.

First Section: I ntroduces the broad field of research, such as the significance of organisational skills development in business growth. 

Second Section: Narrows the focus, pinpointing a specific research problem or gap — perhaps the debate on managing skill development in fast-paced industries like web development.

Third Section: Clearly state the research aims and objectives, guiding the reader to the ‘why’ behind your study. Finally, a sentence should outline the roadmap of the introduction chapter itself, forecasting the background context, research questions, significance, and limitations that will follow.

Such a calibrated approach ensures that every element from the research objective to the hypothesis is presented with precision.

This method, a well-guarded secret amongst seasoned researchers, transforms a mundane introduction into a compelling entrée into your dissertation or thesis.

Background To The Study

This section sets the tone for the research journey ahead. The goal here is to capture the reader’s attention by threading relevant background information into a coherent narrative that aligns with the research objectives of the thesis.

To write a good thesis introduction, one must carefully describe the background to highlight the context in which the research is grounded.

This involves not just a literature review but a strategic presentation of the current state of research, pinpointing where your work will wedge itself into the existing body of knowledge.

For instance, if the research project focuses on qualitative changes in urban planning, the introduction should spotlight key developmental milestones and policy shifts that foreground the study’s aims and objectives.

When writing this section, articulate the focus and scope of the research, ensuring the reader grasps the importance of the research questions and hypothesis.

This section must not only be informative but also engaging. By the end of the introductory chapter, the reader should be compelled to continue reading, having grasped a clear and easy-to-understand summary of each chapter that will follow.

It’s a good idea to address frequently asked questions and to clearly state any industry-specific terminology, assuming no prior expertise on the reader’s part.

This approach establishes a solid foundation for the rest of the thesis or dissertation, ensuring the reader is well-prepared to dive into the nuances of your research project.

Research Problem

Crafting the nucleus of your thesis or dissertation hinges on pinpointing a compelling research problem. This step is crucial; it is the keystone of a good thesis introduction chapter, drawing the reader’s attention and setting the stage for the rest of your thesis.

thesis introduction chapter example

A well-defined research problem addresses a gap in the existing literature, underscored by a qualitative or quantitative body of research that lacks consensus or is outdated, especially in rapidly evolving fields.

Consider the dynamic sphere of organizational skills development. Established research might agree on strategies for industries where skills change at a snail’s pace.

However, if the landscape shifts more quickly—take web development for example, where new languages and platforms emerge incessantly—the literature gap becomes evident. 

Herein lies the research problem: existing strategies may not suffice in industries characterized by a swift knowledge turnover.

When writing your introduction, your goal is to clearly state this gap. A great thesis introduction delineates what is known, what remains unknown, and why bridging this chasm is significant.

It should illuminate the research objectives and questions, laying out a roadmap for the reader in a language that’s clear and easy to understand, regardless of their familiarity with the topic.

You’ll be able to capture and maintain the reader’s interest by effectively communicating why your research matters—setting the scene for your hypothesis and subsequent investigation.

Remember, a good thesis introduction should not only provide background information but also articulate the focus and scope of the study, offering a preview of the structure of your thesis.

Research Aims, Objectives And Questions

This pivotal section lays out the foundation by providing relevant background information, but it is the articulation of research aims, objectives, and questions that clarifies the focus and scope of your study.

The research aim is the lighthouse of your thesis, illuminating the overarching purpose of your investigation.

For instance, a thesis exploring skills development in fast-paced industries might present an aim to evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies within UK web development companies. This broad goal sets the direction for more detailed planning.

Research objectives drill down into specifics, acting as stepping stones toward achieving your aim. They are the tangible checkpoints of your research project, often action-oriented, outlining what you will do.

Examples might include identifying common skills development strategies or evaluating their effectiveness. These objectives segment the monumental task into manageable portions, offering a clear and easy way to write a structured pathway for the research.

thesis introduction chapter example

Equally critical are the research questions, which translate your objectives into inquiries that your thesis will answer. They narrow the focus even further, dictating the structure of the thesis.

For instance:

  • “What are the prevalent skills development strategies employed by UK web development firms?”
  • “How effective are these strategies?”

Such questions demand concrete responses and guide the reader through the rest of the thesis.

Significance Of The Study

The “Significance of the Study” section within the introduction chapter of your thesis or dissertation holds considerable weight in laying out the importance of your research.

thesis introduction chapter example

This segment answers the pivotal question: “Why does this research matter?” It is strategically placed after the background information and literature review to underscore the contribution your study makes to the existing body of research.

In writing this section, you’ll be able to capture the reader’s attention by clearly stating the impact and added value your research project offers.

Whether it’s a qualitative or quantitative study, the significance must be articulated in terms of:

  • Theoretical
  • Academic, and
  • Societal contributions.

For instance, it may fill gaps identified in the literature review, propose innovative solutions to pressing problems, or advance our understanding in a certain field.

A good thesis introduction will succinctly convey three main things: the research objective, the hypothesis or research questions, and the importance of your research.

It’s a good idea to provide your reader with a roadmap, foreshadowing the structure of the thesis and offering a summary of each chapter, thus enticing the reader to continue reading.

When you write the introduction section, it should also serve as a concise synopsis of the focus and scope of your research.

It’s often beneficial to include examples of introductions that clearly state the research objectives and questions, offering a snapshot of the whole thesis, and setting the stage for the rest of your thesis.

Limitations Of The Study

A thorough thesis introduction lays out specific research objectives and questions, yet it also sheds light on the study’s inherent boundaries. This is the purpose of the Limitation of The Study section.

The limitations section is not a confession of failure; instead, it’s a good idea to see it as demonstrating academic maturity.

Here, you clearly state the parameters within which the research was conducted.

For instance, a qualitative study might face scrutiny for subjectivity, or a quantitative one for potentially oversimplifying complexities. Other common constraints include the scope—perhaps focusing on a narrow aspect without considering variable interplay—resources, and generalizability.

For example, a study concentrated on a specific industry in Florida may not hold water in a different context, for example in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s essential to write this section with transparency. A good thesis introduction doesn’t shy away from limitations. Instead, it captures the reader’s attention by laying them out systematically, often in a dedicated paragraph for each chapter.

This honesty allows the reader to understand the research’s focus and scope while providing a clear and easy-to-follow structure of the thesis.

This approach also serves to manage the reader’s expectations. By preempting frequently asked questions about the scope of your research, the introductory chapter establishes a trust that encourages the reader to continue reading, aware of the contours shaping the body of research.

Thus, a well-articulated limitations section is not just part of the thesis; it is an integral piece of a responsibly woven research narrative.

Structural Outline Of Thesis, Thesis Statement

Within the thesis or dissertation, the structural outline section is akin to a compass, orienting the reader’s journey through the academic landscape laid out within the pages.

Crafting this section is a strategic exercise, one that requires an understanding of the work’s skeleton.

In essence, it’s the blueprint for the construction of a scholarly argument, and writing a good thesis necessitates a clear and easy-to-follow outline.

When you write a thesis outline, it’s not only about catching the reader’s attention; it’s also about holding it throughout the rest of the thesis.

This is where the structural outline comes into play, often beginning with an introduction chapter that presents the thesis statement, research objectives, and the importance of your research.

Following the introduction, a typical outline might proceed with Chapter 2, offering a literature review to acquaint the reader with existing literature and how this piece of research fits within it.

Subsequent chapters, each with a paragraph in the outline, detail the methodological approach—whether it’s qualitative or quantitative—and the research’s focus and scope.

A well-thought-out outline should also preview the structure of the thesis, succinctly:

  • Summarizing the main aim and objectives of each chapter, and
  • Indicating the type of data and analysis that will be presented.

This roadmap reassures the reader that the dissertation or thesis will cover the necessary ground in a logical progression, continuing from where the introduction first captivated their interest.

The structural outline is not only part of the thesis—it’s a strategic framework that informs the reader what to expect in each subsequent chapter.

Done correctly, this section allows the reader to understand the whole thesis in a nutshell and can often serve as a checklist for both the reader and the writer.

This ensures that the key stages of the research project are clearly stated and that the reader is provided with a roadmap to guide them through the detailed landscape of your scholarly work.

Write An Introduction Chapter With Ease

Mastering the thesis introduction chapter is a critical step towards a successful dissertation. It’s about striking a balance between engagement and information, presenting a snapshot of your research with clarity and intrigue.

Remember to start with a hook, establish the context, clarify your aims, and highlight the significance, all while being mindful of the study’s scope and limitations.

By adhering to these principles, your introduction will not only guide but also inspire your readers, laying a strong foundation for the in-depth exploration that follows in your thesis or dissertation.

thesis introduction chapter example

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

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  • How it works

How to Write the Thesis Or Dissertation Introduction – Guide

Published by Carmen Troy at August 31st, 2021 , Revised On January 24, 2024

Introducing your Dissertation Topic

What would you tell someone if they asked you to introduce yourself? You’d probably start with your name, what you do for a living…etc., etc., etc. Think of your dissertation. How would you go about it if you had to introduce it to the world for the first time?

Keep this forefront in your mind for the remainder of this guide: you are introducing your research to the world that doesn’t even know it exists. Every word, phrase and line you write in your introduction will stand for the strength of your dissertation’s character.

This is not very different from how, in real life, if someone fails to introduce themselves properly (such as leaving out what they do for a living, where they live, etc.) to a stranger, it leaves a lasting impression on the stranger.

Don’t leave your dissertation a stranger among other strangers. Let’s review the little, basic concepts we already have at the back of our minds, perhaps, to piece them together in one body: an introduction.

What Goes Inside an Introduction

The exact ingredients of a dissertation or thesis introduction chapter vary depending on  your chosen research topic, your university’s guidelines, and your academic subject – but they are generally mixed in one sequence or another to introduce an academic argument.

The critical elements of an excellent dissertation introduction include a definition of the selected research topic , a reference to previous studies on the subject, a statement of the value of the subject for academic and scientific communities, a clear aim/purpose of the study, a list of your objectives, a reference to viewpoints of other researchers and a justification for the research.

Topic Discussion versus Topic Introduction

Discussing and introducing a topic are two highly different aspects of dissertation introduction writing. You might find it easy to discuss a topic, but introducing it is much trickier.

The introduction is the first thing a reader reads; thus, it must be to the point, informative, engaging, and enjoyable. Even if one of these elements is missing, the reader will not be motivated to continue reading the paper and will move on to something different.

So, it’s critical to fully understand how to write the introduction of a dissertation before starting the actual write-up.

When writing a dissertation introduction, one has to explain the title, discuss the topic and present a background so that readers understand what your research is about and what  results you expect to achieve at the end of the research work.

As a standard practice, you might work on your dissertation introduction chapter several times. Once when you’re working on your proposal and the second time when writing your actual dissertation.

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Many academics argue that the Introduction chapter should be the last section of the dissertation paper you should complete, but by no means is it the last part you would think of because this is where your research starts from.

Write the draft introduction as early as possible. You should write it at the same time as the proposal submission, although you must revise and edit it many times before it takes the final shape.

Considering its importance, many students remain unsure of how to write the introduction of a dissertation. Here are some of the essential elements of how to write the introduction of a dissertation that’ll provide much-needed dissertation introduction writing help.

Below are some guidelines for you to learn to  write a flawless first-class dissertation paper.

Steps of Writing a Dissertation Introduction

1. research background – writing a dissertation introduction.

This is the very first section of your introduction. Building a background of your chosen topic will help you understand more about the topic and help readers know why the general research area is problematic, interesting, central, important, etc.

Your research background should include significant concepts related to your dissertation topic. This will give your supervisor and markers an idea that you’ve investigated the research problem thoroughly and know the various aspects of your topic.

The introduction to a dissertation shouldn’t talk only about other research work in the same area, as this will be discussed in the literature review section. Moreover, this section should not include the research design  and  data collection method(s) .

All about  research strategy  should be covered in the  methodology chapter . Research background only helps to build up your research in general.

For instance, if your research is based on job satisfaction measures of a specific country, the content of the introduction chapter will generally be about job satisfaction and its impact.

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2.     Significance of the Research

As a researcher, you must demonstrate how your research will provide value to the scientific and academic communities. If your dissertation is based on a specific company or industry, you need to explain why that industry and company were chosen.

If you’re comparing, explain why you’re doing so and what this research will yield. Regardless of your chosen research topic, explain thoroughly in this section why this research is being conducted and what benefits it will serve.

The idea here is to convince your supervisor and readers that the concept should be researched to find a solution to a problem.

3.     Research Problem

Once you’ve described the main research problem  and the importance of your research, the next step would be to present your  problem statement , i.e., why this research is being conducted and its purpose.

This is one of the essential aspects of writing a dissertation’s introduction. Doing so will help your readers understand what you intend to do in this research and what they should expect from this study.

Presenting the research problem competently is crucial in persuading your readers to read other parts of the dissertation paper . This research problem is the crux of your dissertation, i.e., it gives a direction as to why this research is being carried out, and what issues the study will consider.

For example, if your dissertation is based on measuring the job satisfaction of a specific organisation, your research problem should talk about the problem the company is facing and how your research will help the company to solve that.

If your dissertation is not based on any specific organisation, you can explain the common issues that companies face when they do not consider job satisfaction as a pillar of business growth and elaborate on how your research will help them realise its importance.

Citing too many references in the introduction chapter isn’t recommended because here, you must explain why you chose to study a specific area and what your research will accomplish. Any citations only set the context, and you should leave the bulk of the literature for a later section.

4.     Research Question(s)

The central part of your introduction is the research question , which should be based on your research problem and the dissertation title. Combining these two aspects will help you formulate an exciting yet manageable research question.

Your research question is what your research aims to answer and around which your dissertation will revolve. The research question should be specific and concise.

It should be a one- or two-line question you’ve set out to answer through your dissertation. For the job satisfaction example, a sample research question could be, how does job satisfaction positively impact employee performance?

Look up dissertation introduction examples online or ask your friends to get an idea of how an ideal research question is formed. Or you can review our dissertation introduction example here  and  research question examples here .

Once you’ve formed your research question, pick out vital elements from it, based on which you will then prepare your theoretical framework  and literature review. You will come back to your research question again when  concluding your dissertation .

Sometimes, you might have to formulate a hypothesis in place of a research question. The hypothesis is a simple statement you prove with your  results ,  discussion and analysis .

A sample hypothesis could be job satisfaction is positively linked to employee job performance . The results of your dissertation could be in favour of this dissertation or against it.

Tip: Read up about what alternative, null, one-tailed and two-tailed hypotheses are so you can better formulate the hypothesis for your dissertation. Following are the definitions for each term, as retrieved from Trochim et al.’s Research Methods: The Essential Knowledge Base (2016):

  • Alternative hypothesis (H 1 ): “A specific statement of prediction that usually states what you expect will happen in your study.”
  • Null hypothesis (H 0 ): “The hypothesis that describes the possible outcomes other than the alternative hypothesis. Usually, the null hypothesis predicts there will be no effect of a program or treatment you are studying.”
  • One-tailed hypothesis: “A hypothesis that specifies a direction; for example, when your hypothesis predicts that your program will increase the outcome.”
  • Two-tailed hypothesis: “A hypothesis that does not specify a direction. For example, if you hypothesise that your program or intervention will affect an outcome, but you are unwilling to specify whether that effect will be positive or negative, you are using a two-tailed hypothesis.”

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Interesting read: 10 ways to write a practical introduction fast .

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Uk’s best academic support services. how would you know until you try, 5.     research aims and objectives.

Next, the research aims and objectives. Aims and objectives are broad statements of desired results of your dissertation . They reflect the expectations of the topic and research and address the long-term project outcomes.

These statements should use the concepts accurately, must be focused, should be able to convey your research intentions and serve as steps that communicate how your  research question  will be answered.

You should formulate your aims and objectives based on your topic, research question, or hypothesis. These are simple statements and are an extension of your research question.

Through the aims and objectives, you communicate to your readers what aspects of research you’ve considered and how you intend to answer your research question.

Usually, these statements initiate with words like ‘to explore’, ‘to study’, ‘to assess’, ‘to critically assess’, ‘to understand’, ‘to evaluate’ etc.

You could ask your supervisor to provide some thesis introduction examples to help you understand better how aims and objectives are formulated. More examples are here .

Your aims and objectives should be interrelated and connect to your research question and problem. If they do not, they’ll be considered vague and too broad in scope.

Always ensure your research aims and objectives are concise, brief, and relevant.

Once you conclude  your dissertation , you will have to revert back to address whether your research aims and objectives have been met.

You will have to reflect on how your dissertation’s findings , analysis, and discussion related to your aims and objectives and how your research has helped in achieving them.

6.     Research Limitations

This section is sometimes a part of the  dissertation methodology section ; however, it is usually included in the introduction of a dissertation.

Every research has some limitations. Thus, it is normal for you to experience certain limitations when conducting your study.

You could experience  research design limitations, data limitations or even financial limitations. Regardless of which type of limitation you may experience, your dissertation would be impacted. Thus, it would be best if you mentioned them without any hesitation.

When including this section in the introduction, make sure that you clearly state the type of constraint you experienced. This will help your supervisor understand what problems you went through while working on your dissertation.

However, one aspect that you should take care of is that your results, in no way, should be influenced by these restrictions. The results should not be compromised, or your dissertation will not be deemed authentic and reliable.

After you’ve mentioned your research limitations, discuss how you overcame them to produce a perfect dissertation .

Also, mention that your limitations do not adversely impact your results and that you’ve produced research with accurate results the academic community can rely on.

Also read:   How to Write Dissertation Methodology .

7.     Outline of the Dissertation

Even though this isn’t a mandatory sub-section of the introduction chapter, good introductory chapters in dissertations outline what’s to follow in the preceding chapters.

It is also usual to set out an  outline of the rest of the dissertation . Depending on your university and academic subject, you might also be asked to include it in your research proposal .

Because your tutor might want to glance over it to see how you  plan your dissertation and what sections you’d include; based on what sections you include and how you intend to research and cover them, they’d provide feedback for you to improve.

Usually, this section discusses what sections you plan to include and what concepts and aspects each section entails. A standard dissertation consists of five sections : chapters, introduction,  literature review ,  methodology ,  results  and  discussion , and  conclusion .

Some  dissertation assignments do not use the same chapter for results and discussion. Instead, they split it into two different chapters, making six chapters. Check with your supervisor regarding which format you should follow.

When discussing the  outline of your dissertation , remember that you’d have to mention what each section involves. Discuss all the significant aspects of each section to give a brief overview of what your dissertation contains, and this is precisely what our dissertation outline service  provides.

Writing a dissertation introduction might seem complicated, but it is not if you understand what is expected of you. To understand the required elements and make sure that you focus on all of them.

Include all the aspects to ensure your supervisor and other readers can easily understand how you intend to undertake your research.

“If you find yourself stuck at any stage of your dissertation introduction, get introduction writing help from our writers! At ResearchProspect, we offer a dissertation writing service , and our qualified team of writers will also assist you in conducting in-depth research for your dissertation.

Dissertation Introduction Samples & Examples

Check out some basic samples of dissertation introduction chapters to get started.

FAQs about Dissertation Introduction

What is the purpose of an introduction chapter.

It’s used to introduce key constructs, ideas, models and/or theories etc. relating to the topic; things that you will be basing the remainder of your dissertation on.

How do you start an introduction in a dissertation?

There is more than one way of starting a dissertation’s introductory chapter. You can begin by stating a problem in your area of interest, review relevant literature, identify the gap, and introduce your topic. Or, you can go the opposite way, too. It’s all entirely up to your discretion. However, be consistent in the format you choose to write in.

How long can an introduction get?

It can range from 1000 to 2000 words for a master’s dissertation , but for a higher-level dissertation, it mostly ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 words ’ introduction chapter. In the end, though, it depends on the guidelines provided to you by your department.

Steps to Writing a Dissertation Introduction

You may also like.

The list of figures and tables in dissertation help the readers find tables and figures of their interest without looking through the whole dissertation.

If your dissertation includes many abbreviations, it would make sense to define all these abbreviations in a list of abbreviations in alphabetical order.

Make sure that your selected topic is intriguing, manageable, and relevant. Here are some guidelines to help understand how to find a good dissertation topic.





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How to write an introduction chapter for a thesis

Louisa Hill is a Senior Teaching Fellow and delivers workshops for Postgraduate Researchers who want to teach.

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When writing a thesis, you will need to write an introductory chapter. This chapter is critical as it is the first thing that the examiner will read and it is therefore important to make a good first impression. 

A good introduction chapter should incite the reader to read the rest of the thesis by establishing the context of your topic, the motivation for undertaking your work and the importance of your research.

As a lecturer and supervisor, I have read many introductory chapters for research projects such as theses. Here is my advice to those undertaking a research project and writing a thesis.

Capture the reader’s interest

Initially you need to capture the reader’s attention with a discussion of a broader theme relating to your research. To add impact draw on research, data and quotations from international or national professional bodies, governmental organisations or key authors on the topic of study.

Give an overview of your research topic

Your discussion should then begin by detailing the broader aspects of the topic more, before focussing on the specific topic of your research. It is a good idea when you do this to assume that the reader knows nothing about your topic. Therefore definitions, drawing on key research, need to be clarified and explained. Alternatively, if having read key literature for the literature review chapter, you are not satisfied with existing definitions, then draw on these, to devise your own (but make it clear you have done this).

Detail how your research is going to make a contribution

You must then sell your idea for undertaking the research topic, demonstrating the main reasons why the research will make a significant contribution to the current body of research. This can be achieved by demonstrating a gap or limitation with existing research, then showing how your research will resolve this. There are different types of contribution (see  Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research ).

Explain what your interest is in the topic

Next you need to demonstrate your personal reasons for choosing the topic. These could relate to your previous research, work or experiences.

List your research objectives

You need to include your three or four overarching research objectives. Also include corresponding research questions if it is a qualitative piece of research or hypotheses if it is quantitative-based. The former are usually derivatives of the research objectives. Note though that these objectives and questions or hypotheses are fluid in nature and can be tweaked as you undertake the research.

Give a forthcoming chapter overview

The final part of the introduction is an overview of the rest of the chapters in the thesis. The other sections can go in any order, providing it is a logical sequence.

Learn from others

Look at other theses for example from  White Rose etheses  or your university library’s website. The majority of journal articles that you will read in the content of your topic will also provide useful insights.

Speak with your supervisor

Remember to always speak with your supervisor and have regular catch-ups. They will be able to offer guidance and encouragement, and steer you in the right direction.

Related content

  • Writing a research PhD proposal
  • Presenting with impact
  • The benefits of undertaking a placement alongside your PhD

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thesis introduction chapter example

How to Write Thesis Introduction Chapter: An Ultimate Guide

If you’ve landed here, you might be in the early challenging phase of penning down the dissertation introduction chapter. Well, we all know that it’s not an easy feat.

In this post, we will learn and review all the essential ingredients necessary for writing a strong dissertation and the details on which you should focus in this section.

Let’s get started by finding out what a thesis introduction is!

What Is Thesis Introduction?

The introduction is the first chapter of your dissertation that is placed right after the table of content. Your introduction should be intriguing and informative enough to draw your readers’ attention and set up the ground for your research with clarity, direction, and purpose on a relevant topic.

Your dissertation introduction should include;

  • Topic Introduction And Subject Background: This initial part serves as an introduction, providing a broad overview of your research and the necessary context for your project, explaining the factors surrounding it.
  • Research problem: This section highlights the gap or deficiency in current research that your study aims to address.
  • Focus And scope: Clearly articulate the specific achievements and inquiries your research intends to accomplish.
  • Relevance And importance: Justify the worth and value of your research, explaining why it is important to undertake and the contributions it will make.
  • Questions And objectives: Outline the specific research questions or objectives that this dissertation will address and achieve.
  • Limitations: Acknowledge and address the potential limitations inherent in your project and approach.
  • Structure Overview: Briefly outline the organisation and framework of your dissertation or thesis, helping the reader navigate its contents.

How To Start Writing The Dissertation Introduction

While the dissertation introduction traditionally serves as the opening section, it is not mandatory to write it first. In fact, it is often one of the final components to be written, usually preceding the abstract.

But we suggest you write a rough draft of your dissertation introduction before starting the research to guide you throughout the writing process. However, revise the introduction from time to time to ensure that it matches the content of all sections.

1.    Topic Introduction And Subject Background

Start by introducing your dissertation subject and providing essential contextual details. Define the significance of your research to educate your readers and grab their interest. It’s better to demonstrate the timeliness or importance of your topic, potentially by referring to a pertinent news article, ongoing academic discussion, or practical issue.

2.    Focus And scope

After providing a concise introduction to the broader field of study, it is essential to narrow your research focus and clearly delineate your investigation’s specific boundaries and objectives.

There are several ways through which you can narrow down your research focus, including:

  • Time period
  • Demographics
  • Geographical area
  • Topics, themes, and aspects

3.    Research Problem

Once you have provided your readers with an overview of your research area, it becomes essential to delve into the specifics of the research problem that your dissertation or thesis will address. While the background section may have hinted at potential research problems, this section aims to narrow down the focus and emphasise the specific research problem you will concentrate on.

Now, you might wonder, what exactly constitutes a research problem?

A research problem arises when there is a need to address a question or set of questions, but there exists a gap in the current literature, or the existing research presents conflicting or inconsistent findings.

To present your research problem effectively, it is crucial to clarify what is missing in the current literature and why it poses a problem. It is generally advisable to structure this discussion into three sections, namely:

  • The Current State Of Research: This entails highlighting what is already well-established in the existing literature.
  • The Literature Gap: Here, you identify the aspects or areas that are missing or inadequately addressed in the literature.
  • The Significance Of The Problem: This section elucidates why filling this gap in the literature is important and emphasises the implications and potential contributions of addressing the research problem.

By structuring your discussion in this manner, you can effectively convey the specific research problem and its importance within the existing academic landscape.

4.    Relevance And importance

To establish a strong foundation for your research, it is crucial to articulate your motivation behind undertaking this study and highlight its connection to existing scholarship. It is also important to outline the anticipated contributions and novel insights your research aims to offer.

Begin by providing a concise overview of the current state of research, including relevant literature citations. While it is important to acknowledge key sources, keep in mind that a more comprehensive survey of relevant literature will be conducted in the literature review section, thus avoiding excessive detail in the introduction.

Ultimately, your dissertation introduction should

  • Contributes to resolving the theoretical or practical problem.
  • Fills a gap in the existing literature.
  • Expands and builds upon previous research.
  • Introduces a new understanding of the topic.

5.    Questions And Objectives

Formulating research questions and objectives is critical to any introduction, as it establishes the framework for the subsequent thesis or dissertation. How you craft these questions and objectives will vary based on your field of study, subject matter, and specific focus.

Moreover, if your objective in conducting research is to evaluate hypotheses, you can express them in this section. Additionally, your introduction provides an opportune space to present a conceptual framework that proposes associations among variables.

6.    The limitations

After successfully defining your dissertation’s subject area and objectives, it is important to address the potential limitations of your research in a brief discussion.

Scope: It is crucial to acknowledge any narrow focus in your research that may overlook the interaction between certain variables.

Research Methodology: Critiques may arise regarding the subjectivity of qualitative methodologies or the oversimplification associated with quantitative methodologies.

Resources: It is important to consider limitations such as time constraints, financial constraints, equipment availability, and personal research experience.

Generalisability Of Findings: Keep in mind that findings obtained from studying a specific industry or country may not be readily applicable or generalised to other industries or countries.

7.    Structure Overview

The structural outline is the last component after effectively conveying the research topic, significance, and limitations. Its purpose is to give the reader a clear idea of the dissertation or thesis structure.

In this section, a concise summary of each chapter, including the introduction chapter, is necessary. A sentence or two that outlines the purpose and contents of each chapter will suffice to guide the reader. It’s important to avoid excessive detail as this section serves as an outline, not a comprehensive research summary.

Introduction Checklist

☐  I have captivated the reader with an interesting introduction to my research subject.

☐  I have presented essential background information to aid the reader’s comprehension of the topic.

☐  I have precisely indicated the main focus of my research.

☐  I have demonstrated the significance and relevance of the dissertation topic.

☐  I have clearly defined the problem or question my research aims to tackle.

☐  I have outlined the specific goals and objectives of the research.

☐  I have given a brief overview of the structure of the dissertation.

Wrapping Up!

By incorporating these elements into your dissertation introduction chapter, you will create a compelling opening that establishes a strong framework for the rest of your dissertation. It’s important to note that your university might have specific requirements or additional components for the introduction, so make sure to review your project guidelines thoroughly.

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Thesis Writing

Writing A Thesis Introduction

Caleb S.

Thesis Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide With Examples

11 min read

Thesis Introduction

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Thesis Format Essentials: Structure, Tips, and Templates

You're staring at a blinking cursor, trying to figure out where to start your introduction for your thesis writing. 

It's hard to know where to start, and even harder to keep your introduction engaging and on-topic.

We've written this guide that will take you step-by-step through the process of writing an amazing introduction. You'll also find examples of introductions for different types of papers.

So let's get started! 

Arrow Down

  • 1. What is a Thesis Introduction?
  • 2. Components of Thesis Introduction
  • 3. Thesis Introduction Outline
  • 4. How to Start a Thesis Introduction?
  • 5. How to Write a Thesis Introduction?
  • 6. Thesis Introduction Examples
  • 7. Thesis Introduction Writing Tips
  • 8.  Introduction Writing Checklist

What is a Thesis Introduction?

A thesis introduction is the opening section of a research paper or thesis writing that serves as a roadmap for the entire study.

It provides context and background information for the research topic. The introduction outlines the study's purpose, problem statement, and methodology.

It engages readers, captures their interest, and sets expectations for the rest of the paper.

Importance of Writing a Good Thesis Introduction

Let’s see why a good introduction is important in thesis writing:

  • First Impressions: The introduction is your first opportunity to make a positive impression on readers. It's crucial in piquing their interest.
  • Contextual Understanding: It offers the necessary background information, ensuring that readers comprehend the research's significance and relevance.
  • Problem Statement: The introduction presents the research problem, outlining what the study aims to address, and emphasizing its importance.
  • Clarity: A well-structured introduction enhances the clarity of your work, making it easier for readers to follow your thesis.
  • Guidance: It serves as a guide for the reader, providing a clear path of what to expect throughout the research, including the methodology and expected outcomes.

How Long is a Thesis Introduction?

The introduction of your thesis paper makes up roughly 10% of your total word count. Therefore, a PhD thesis paper introduction would be 8000 - 10000 words. However, a Master's thesis would be 1500 - 2000 words long.

Although the thesis introduction length can be increased if the writer includes images, diagrams, and descriptions.

Components of Thesis Introduction

The thesis introduction format comprises several essential components that collectively set the stage for your research. These components include:

  • Hook or Attention-Grabber
  • Background Information
  • Problem Statement
  • Purpose of the Study
  • Significance of the Research
  • Overview of the Methodology

Thesis Introduction Outline

A thesis introduction chapter structure contains the following sections:

Thesis Introduction Outline Sample

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How to Start a Thesis Introduction?

Starting a thesis introduction can be overwhelming, but there are some steps you can follow to make it easier:

  • Choose a Topic Select a topic that you are passionate about and that aligns with your research interests. Your topic should also be relevant to your field of study and have enough existing research to support your thesis. You can also choose unique ideas from our compiled list of thesis topics .
  • Research the Content Conduct thorough research on your topic by reviewing the literature, collecting data, and analyzing existing research in your field. This will help you identify gaps in the literature that your thesis will address.
  • Organize the Ideas Organize and compile the main arguments, ideas, and claims in the next step. These thoughts will be helpful to describe and present the thesis statement . Logically organizing your thoughts is crucial for developing an effective and coherent paper. You can create a clear story from the start of your paper to the end. Also, include a table of contents at the beginning of your thesis. It serves as a mind map to discuss the layout of your research proposal .
  • Define the Subject and Relevant Themes Define the subject and the relevant themes before starting your thesis introduction. The subject of a thesis is the central topic or idea that it addresses. It should be specific enough to be covered by the scope of the thesis, yet broad enough to allow for meaningful discussion. Relevant themes are those ideas that are most applicable to the subject of the thesis. These themes often come from other fields and add depth to the argument being made in the thesis. This way it would be easier for the reader to skim and get a good idea by going through it.
  • Define Your Thesis Statement Once you have conducted your research, define your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should clearly articulate the main argument or point you will be making in your thesis.

Check out this video to learn more about writing a good introduction for your thesis!

How to Write a Thesis Introduction?

Once you are done with the prewriting steps discussed above, you are now ready to dive into actual writing. Here is a step-by-step guide for you to follow while writing a thesis introduction.  

Steps to write a thesis introduction -

A detailed description of the steps to write an introduction is given below.

Step 1: Hook the Reader’s Interest

A writer should begin writing the introduction with a hook statement to draw the reader’s interest. It can be a question, quotation, or interesting transitions into your arguments.  Also, make a list of interesting, current events or controversies related to your topic. It will help in creating a strong introduction and thesis statement.

Step 2: Mention the Research Gap

Review and evaluate the existing literature critically. It will help the researcher in finding and addressing the research gap. 

Step 3: State the Background Information

A good introduction to the thesis always states the historical background of the chosen topic. It is usually cited in the first paragraph and shows the current position of the subject.   

Step 4: Back Your Topic with Relevant Literature

The introduction is a mix of previous research and a literature review. Thus, the topic should be backed with relevant resources.  It is also used to explain the context and significance of previous studies. Moreover, it further acknowledges credible sources of information to solidify your claim.

When choosing relevant literature, there are a few things to consider. 

  • Firstly, the literature should be from reputable sources such as scholarly journals or books. 
  • Secondly, it should be related to your topic and provide evidence for your claims. 
  • Lastly, it should be up-to-date and accurate. 

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your work is well-informed and credible.

Step 5: Mention the Hypothesis

Formulate a hypothesis for your research work. It will discuss what you aim to achieve along with the possibilities.

A valid hypothesis must be testable, measurable, and based on evidence from existing literature or theoretical frameworks. 

The hypothesis should also provide a logical explanation for the relationship between the variables in question.

Step 6: Provide Significance of Your Research

The gap will help to evaluate the situation and explain the significance of the current research. Thus, add the purpose of your paper explaining why the research is done. It will also demonstrate the possible contributions of the research work in the future.

Step 7: Outline the Research Questions

The next step is to outline your research questions. These should be relevant to the purpose of your study. Moreover, it will also help you discuss the problems that you seek to address. 

Step 8: State Research Objectives

State the research aims and objectives to define the primary purpose of the work. It should give a direction to the research by providing an overview of what it aims to achieve.

Step 9: Discuss the Research Methodology

The next step is to define the terms and methodology you are going to apply in your research. It is a good technique to make your study authentic, credible, and useful.

Step 10: Finalize your Introduction

Ask yourself the following questions after finishing writing the introduction.

  • Does your introduction discuss the problem your thesis is addressing?
  • Does this section address the contribution the research work is making?
  • Does it provide a detailed overview of your thesis?
  • Does it end by briefly discussing the content of each chapter?
  • Does it make a case for the research?
  • Does it outline research questions, problems, and hypotheses clearly?

Thesis Introduction Examples

Below are sample thesis introductions to help you compose perfect introductions.

Ph.D. thesis introduction

Master thesis introduction example

Bachelor thesis introduction example

Thesis introduction sample for criminology

Thesis Introduction Writing Tips

The following are some writing tips to help you draft perfect thesis introductions.

  • Highlight the importance of your research early on to engage the reader's interest.
  • Introduce the key aspects of the topic to provide context and understanding.
  • Craft a dissertation introduction that clearly sets the stage for your research.
  • Offer a concise overview of the structure to help the reader navigate your thesis effectively.
  • It must follow a coherent thesis format by providing concise information.
  • Do not use technical language as it will leave the reader confused.

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 Introduction Writing Checklist

Use the below checklist to assess your introduction and identify what information is missing. This should help you ensure that your intro has all of the necessary components for a successful outcome.

In conclusion, crafting a strong thesis introduction is a crucial element of any academic paper. It sets the tone for your entire essay and provides a roadmap for your reader to follow. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can create a well-structured introduction for your thesis. 

However, if you are still struggling to write a compelling thesis introduction, don't worry. is here to help. With qualified writing experts, we provide the best thesis writing service at student-friendly costs. 

So, contact us today to discuss your thesis paper, and let us help you achieve your academic goals. Using our online paper writing service , you can be confident that your thesis introduction will be crafted perfectly to help you succeed.

Caleb S.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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What’s Included: Introduction Template

This template covers all the core components required in the introduction chapter/section of a typical dissertation or thesis, including:

  • The opening section
  • Background of the research topic
  • Statement of the problem
  • Rationale (including the research aims, objectives, and questions)
  • Scope of the study
  • Significance of the study
  • Structure of the document

The purpose of each section is clearly explained, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required, along with links to additional free resources (articles, videos, etc.) to help you along your research journey.

The cleanly formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too .

Thesis Introduction FAQS

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for.

The template follows the standard format for academic research projects, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of dissertations and theses (especially those within the sciences), whether they are qualitative or quantitative in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the introduction chapter/section will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the introduction chapter to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

Can I share this template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, we kindly request that you reference this page as your source.

What format is the template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The dissertation introduction chapter template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What is the core purpose of this chapter?

The introduction chapter of a dissertation or thesis serves to introduce the research topic, clearly state the research problem, and outline the main research questions. It justifies the significance of the study, delineates its scope, and provides a roadmap of the dissertation’s structure.

In a nutshell, the introduction chapter sets the academic tone and context, laying the foundation for the subsequent analysis and discussion.

How long should the introduction chapter be?

This depends on the level of study (undergrad, Master or Doctoral), as well as your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, introduction chapters for Masters-level projects are usually 1,500 – 2,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects can reach multiples of this.

How specific should the research objectives be in the introduction chapter?

In this chapter, your research objectives should be specific enough to clearly define the scope and direction of your study, but broad enough to encompass its overall aims.

Make sure that each objective can be realistically accomplished within the scope of your study and that each objective is directly related to and supports your research question(s).

As a rule of thumb, you should leave in-depth explanations for later chapters; the introduction should just provide a concise overview.

Can I mention the research results in the introduction?

How do i link the introduction to the literature review.

To transition smoothly from the introduction chapter to the literature review chapter in a thesis, it’s a good idea to:

  • Conclude the introduction by summarising the main points, such as the research problem, objectives, and significance of your study.
  • Explicitly state that the following chapter (literature review) will explore existing research and theoretical frameworks related to your topic.
  • Emphasise how the literature review will address gaps or issues identified in the introduction, setting the stage for your research question or hypothesis.
  • Use a sentence that acts as a bridge between the two chapters. For example, “To further understand this issue, the next chapter will critically examine the existing literature on [your topic].”

This approach will help form a logical flow and prepare the reader for the depth and context provided in the literature review.

Do you have templates for the other chapters?

Yes, we do. We are constantly developing our collection of free resources to help students complete their dissertations and theses. You can view all of our template resources here .

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Yes, you’re welcome to get in touch with us to discuss our private coaching services .

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How to write a good thesis introduction

thesis introduction chapter example

1. Identify your readership

2. hook the reader and grab their attention, 3. provide relevant background, 4. give the reader a sense of what the paper is about, 5. preview key points and lead into your thesis statement, frequently asked questions about writing a good thesis introduction, related articles.

Many people struggle to write a thesis introduction. Much of your research prep should be done and you should be ready to start your introduction. But often, it’s not clear what needs to be included in a thesis introduction. If you feel stuck at this point not knowing how to start, this guide can help.

Tip: If you’re really struggling to write your thesis intro, consider putting in a placeholder until you write more of the body of your thesis. Then, come back to your intro once you have a stronger sense of the overall content of your thesis.

A good introduction draws readers in while providing the setup for the entire project. There is no single way to write an introduction that will always work for every topic , but the points below can act as a guide. These points can help you write a good thesis introduction.

Before even starting with your first sentence, consider who your readers are. Most likely, your readers will be the professors who are advising you on your thesis.

You should also consider readers of your thesis who are not specialists in your field. Writing with them in your mind will help you to be as clear as possible; this will make your thesis more understandable and enjoyable overall.

Tip: Always strive to be clear, correct, concrete, and concise in your writing.

The first sentence of the thesis is crucial. Looking back at your own research, think about how other writers may have hooked you.

It is common to start with a question or quotation, but these types of hooks are often overused. The best way to start your introduction is with a sentence that is broad and interesting and that seamlessly transitions into your argument.

Once again, consider your audience and how much background information they need to understand your approach. You can start by making a list of what is interesting about your topic:

  • Are there any current events or controversies associated with your topic that might be interesting for your introduction?
  • What kinds of background information might be useful for a reader to understand right away?
  • Are there historical anecdotes or other situations that uniquely illustrate an important aspect of your argument?

A good introduction also needs to contain enough background information to allow the reader to understand the thesis statement and arguments. The amount of background information required will depend on the topic .

There should be enough background information so you don't have to spend too much time with it in the body of the thesis, but not so much that it becomes uninteresting.

Tip: Strike a balance between background information that is too broad or too specific.

Let the reader know what the purpose of the study is. Make sure to include the following points:

  • Briefly describe the motivation behind your research.
  • Describe the topic and scope of your research.
  • Explain the practical relevance of your research.
  • Explain the scholarly consensus related to your topic: briefly explain the most important articles and how they are related to your research.

At the end of your introduction, you should lead into your thesis statement by briefly bringing up a few of your main supporting details and by previewing what will be covered in the main part of the thesis. You’ll want to highlight the overall structure of your thesis so that readers will have a sense of what they will encounter as they read.

A good introduction draws readers in while providing the setup for the entire project. There is no single way to write an introduction that will always work for every topic, but these tips will help you write a great introduction:

  • Identify your readership.
  • Grab the reader's attention.
  • Provide relevant background.
  • Preview key points and lead into the thesis statement.

A good introduction needs to contain enough background information, and let the reader know what the purpose of the study is. Make sure to include the following points:

  • Briefly describe the motivation for your research.

The length of the introduction will depend on the length of the whole thesis. Usually, an introduction makes up roughly 10 per cent of the total word count.

The best way to start your introduction is with a sentence that is broad and interesting and that seamlessly transitions into your argument. Consider the audience, then think of something that would grab their attention.

In Open Access: Theses and Dissertations you can find thousands of recent works. Take a look at any of the theses or dissertations for real-life examples of introductions that were already approved.

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How to write a thesis introduction chapter | How masters and PhD students can impress their examiner from the start!

Knowing how to write a thesis introduction chapter well is your key to impressing your examiner from the get-go and ensuring they’re super keen to read the rest of your masters or PhD thesis.

So, what exactly should your introduction entail? Let's delve into the key components.

To kick things off, you need to grab your reader's attention. This can be achieved by opening with a compelling quote, statistic, or anecdote that not only captures interest but also underscores the significance and relevance of your chosen topic.

Following this attention-grabbing opener, it's essential to provide a succinct yet informative overview of your research. Avoid simply restating your dissertation title; instead, expand upon it, offering insights that hint at the depth and breadth of your thesis.

Next, clarify your aims and objectives. Distinguish between your overarching goals and the specific steps you'll take to achieve them. If you're in need of assistance in crafting aims and objectives, consider referring to my dedicated blog post on the topic for helpful guidance.

Now, let's address the "So What?" question. Why should your reader care about your topic, especially now? Highlight the broader significance of your research within the context of recent events or developments in your field, emphasizing its timeliness and relevance. Why is now an important time to be looking at this topic or tackling this question?

Moving forward, introduce key terms and definitions, laying the groundwork for a more in-depth exploration in your literature review. Clearly define the terms you'll be using and establish boundaries to delineate the scope of your thesis. For example, if your research focuses on older women's experiences of domestic abuse, acknowledge that other genders and age groups are also affected by this harm, and why your focus lies specifically on older women.

Finally, offer your readers a roadmap of your dissertation's structure. Provide a concise overview of what each subsequent chapter entails, offering readers a clear understanding of your content's organization and flow.

Mastering these elements in your introduction can significantly enhance your examiner's initial impression and set a positive tone for the rest of your dissertation. Remember, a captivating introduction lays the groundwork for a compelling academic journey ahead.

Thesis introduction chapter guide

Need more detailed guidance?

For more insights and assistance in crafting your introduction, explore our Introduction Chapter PhD Survival Guide . With practical tips and strategies, you'll be well-equipped to captivate your readers and navigate the complexities of dissertation writing with confidence. Happy writing!

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How to write a reflective essay in grad school: write reflectively about your masters or phd journey with template examples.

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How to Write a Thesis Introduction

What types of information should you include in your introduction .

In the introduction of your thesis, you’ll be trying to do three main things, which are called Moves :

  • Move 1 establish your territory (say what the topic is about)
  • Move 2 establish a niche (show why there needs to be further research on your topic)
  • Move 3 introduce the current research (make hypotheses; state the research questions)

Each Move has a number of stages. Depending on what you need to say in your introduction, you might use one or more stages. Table 1 provides you with a list of the most commonly occurring stages of introductions in Honours theses (colour-coded to show the Moves ). You will also find examples of Introductions, divided into stages with sample sentence extracts. Once you’ve looked at Examples 1 and 2, try the exercise that follows.

Most thesis introductions include SOME (but not all) of the stages listed below. There are variations between different Schools and between different theses, depending on the purpose of the thesis.

Stages in a thesis introduction

  • state the general topic and give some background
  • provide a review of the literature related to the topic
  • define the terms and scope of the topic
  • outline the current situation
  • evaluate the current situation (advantages/ disadvantages) and identify the gap
  • identify the importance of the proposed research
  • state the research problem/ questions
  • state the research aims and/or research objectives
  • state the hypotheses
  • outline the order of information in the thesis
  • outline the methodology

Example 1: Evaluation of Boron Solid Source Diffusion for High-Efficiency Silicon Solar Cells (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering)

Example 2: Methods for Measuring Hepatitis C Viral Complexity (School of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences)

Note: this introduction includes the literature review.

Now that you have read example 1 and 2, what are the differences?

Example 3: The IMO Severe-Weather Criterion Applied to High-Speed Monohulls (School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering)

Example 4: The Steiner Tree Problem (School of Computer Science and Engineering)

Introduction exercise

Example 5.1 (extract 1): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)

Example 5.2 (extract 2): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)

Example 5.3

Example 5.4 (extract 4): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)

Example 5.5 (extract 5): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)

Example 5.6 (extract 6): The effects of Fluoride on the reproduction of three native Australian plant Species (School of Geography)

Well, firstly, there are many choices that you can make. You will notice that there are variations not only between the different Schools in your faculty, but also between individual theses, depending on the type of information that is being communicated. However, there are a few elements that a good Introduction should include, at the very minimum:

  • Either Statement of general topic Or Background information about the topic;
  • Either Identification of disadvantages of current situation Or Identification of the gap in current research;
  • Identification of importance of proposed research
  • Either Statement of aims Or Statement of objectives
  • An Outline of the order of information in the thesis

Engineering & science

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  • Writing lab reports
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  • Literature review
  • Writing up results
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How to Write an Introduction for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples


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A dissertation introduction is the opening chapter of a doctoral-level research project, which serves as an overview of the entire study. The purpose of the introduction chapter is to provide readers the context, objectives and scope of research.

When writing a dissertation intriduction, you should cover the following aspects: 

  • Problem statement and research questions
  • Review of relevant literature
  • Research methodology
  • Significance of the study.

A good introduction is essential to engage readers by convincing them regarding your credibility and authority on the topic. That's why you should clearly know how to structure an introduction for thesis or dissertation.

In this guide by the best dissertation writing service , we will review how to write a dissertation introduction and make it outstanding. To reinforce your grasp of ideas, dissertation and thesis introduction examples will also be provided.

What Is a Dissertation Introduction?

A dissertation introduction is your first point of departure for a project. Here, you should describe the research topic, offer an overview of your work briefly, and keep readers interested in your study. It usually goes right after your thesis table of contents . An introduction to a dissertation directs your audience from the general focus areas to a specific inquiry issue. It highlights the scope, context, and importance of a study by including a summary of the current and background knowledge about your subject, research problem, study question/hypothesis, methodological approaches utilized, potential results, and thesis organization or structure.  Further in this blog, we will tell you all ins and outs of composing an introduction chapter for both thesis and dissertation. The writing process is identical for these 2 types of works. However, if you want to know the difference between a thesis and a dissertation , visit our guide. 

What Makes a Good Dissertation Introduction?

Use the following strategies to write an effective introduction of a dissertation or thesis:

  • Write this section last to craft a good beginning because you will have a well-rounded idea about your arguments.
  • You can also compose a draft of this part. If you do this, ensure to return later and revise accordingly.
  • Consider a question you want to answer because your whole report will be responding to this issue. It’s the first step towards the dissertation or thesis introduction.
  • Use attention grabbers , especially for technical or dry topics.
  • Attend carefully to your first sentence and make sure you state engaging and useful points without errors.
  • Be direct by asserting your claims confidently.
  • When writing the introduction of a dissertation, you must place your points in a specific context. Avoid being too broad.

How Long Should a Dissertation Introduction Be?

While it is vital to offer a roadmap for your study, a dissertation introduction should make up about 10% of the entire project. As a rule, the introductory chapter is around 10-15 pages long. However, the extent of a thesis or dissertation introduction varies based on your field and the nature of your work.  Therefore, it is wise to consider an assignment’s specific requirements and seek assistance from your supervisor regarding content expectations before writing a dissertation introduction chapter. You must still ensure that you provide a good overview of your project regardless of the length limit.

When to Write an Introduction to a Thesis or Dissertation?

It is common for students to write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis last or at least after completing the literature review chapter. This is because you cannot introduce a thesis or a dissertation until you have largely written your major sections, understood the whole work, and possessed exact information about what to present. By writing an introductory part and dissertation abstract at the end of your investigation, you will be able to reflect on an entire manuscript and present it coherently and fully. 

Thesis/ Dissertation Introduction Structure

Like other sections of your study, an introduction to dissertation writing follows a specific structure. While organizational patterns differ when composing your beginning chapter, these are necessary components that you will cover:

  • Topic Present your focus area, state why it matters, and who will benefit from reading the work.
  • Context Offer contextual and background information about your subject. You may write a brief review of existing literature. Also, include relevant concepts and theories.
  • Research problem When writing a dissertation introduction chapter, you must identify which issue is being investigated. Also identify prevailing problems, shortcomings, and gaps in research.
  • Aims Explain what you wish to achieve and what or how your work will contribute to the issue.
  • Objectives Determine your primary goal, including an outcome you intend to achieve and specify what you will look at.
  • Research Questions What is your hypothesis or research question(s)? Mention them.
  • Methodology Describe your dissertation methodology and approach briefly, including which techniques you will employ in attaining your study objectives.
  • Significance Explain how your work will assist in bridging the gaps you identified, solving the issue, or contributing to what is already known. Besides, include in a dissertation introduction an explanation of how your project benefits the real-world.
  • Limitations . Identify any constraints you faced while conducting your investigation. These are usually outside your control.
  • Synopsis of the study’s structure Offer a brief framework of your study to help readers understand its organization.

How to Write a Dissertation Introduction Step-by-Step?

Introducing your research to readers can be tricky particularly if you are unaware of how to write an introduction to a dissertation or thesis. This section is one of the most important because it establishes a groundwork for the rest of your work. Thus, a poor start can ruin a flawless report. It should be simple, concise, consistent, and helpful. Below are 8 steps on how to write a good dissertation introduction. 

1. Introduce a Topic

Start a dissertation or thesis paper introduction by announcing your topic. Doing this educates your readers about the substance and what questions you will be probing. Use a few sentences to indicate the wider issue under investigation. This hooks your audience by demonstrating what content the work will cover and encouraging them to continue reading. You can then focus on specific points when writing introduction for dissertation, which will lead to a research question(s). If possible, mention those people who will be interested in looking at your report. Example of hook in a dissertation introduction

2. Offer a Background of Your Study

This is the second part of your dissertation introduction. Here, you should set an effective scene for your work. Also, present relevant studies that have been conducted already on your dissertation topics to contextualize your project within the wider, current research. It is unnecessary to offer a lot of details in this part because this will be covered in your literature review chapter. When writing a dissertation introduction background, identify which works informed your study, highlight how your subject developed, and recognize which knowledge gaps you will address. Doing this informs your audience about the prevalent understanding of your focus area, why you should investigate the issue, and places your inquiry in perspective. It also offers a narrative, showing how various constructs, theories, and ideas are connected logically. For example, you can refer to specific research and describe how your investigation addresses its problems and limitations or why using alternative techniques is important. Write this section by summarizing how you interpret previous investigations and what you intend to accomplish on your own. However, do not create a large background. The key is to show how your manuscript fills a particular gap. Learn more about how to write dissertation introduction background section by looking at this sample: Example of dissertation introduction background

3. Present a Research Problem

The next step towards writing dissertation introduction is explaining your problem statement . For this part, state the specific issue that you will investigate and possibly solve. Consider how your work fills an existing gap. Use one or two lines to write this section of a dissertation or thesis intro effectively before elaborating further by explaining a potential answer and why your topic requires serious attention. Remember, whatever you are researching must be so grave that it creates questions demanding urgent responses. Your solutions will help in proving or disproving your research subject. Thus, this part is crucial in an introduction of a dissertation. State it plainly, competitively, and wholly, using prompts such as what are you investigating and what is your purpose? This helps readers understand your intentions and what to expect from the project. Example of dissertation introduction research problem

4. Discuss Your Aims and Objectives

The next step concerning how to write a thesis introduction is identifying your aims and objectives. This involves stating broadly what findings you desire to achieve. Specifically, demonstrate what others should expect of your work and topic as well as highlight long-term outcomes. Keep in mind that aims and objectives are not the same thing. Specifically, write your dissertation introduction by presenting a general aim or the key purpose of a project. You can then extend it by stating several research objectives in bullet points. These should be realizable, distinct, and applicable. Avoid being ambiguous and remember to explain your intentions and convey how you will answer the research question. Also, link statements in this segment of your dissertation introduction with your subject and research problem or question to demonstrate a specific focus and your study's scope. This helps your readers comprehend which inquiry aspects you have considered and how the study question will be answered. In particular, the number of objectives and questions should be aligned since you will need to state at the end of your work whether an objective for a specific question has been achieved. Use words such as “to assess”, “to examine”, “to study”, “to understand” or “to critically evaluate”, etc. when declaring sentences in this subdivision. Aims and objectives in a dissertation introduction example

5. State Your Research Question in the Introduction of a Dissertation

Once you have identified your purpose and goals in an introduction of thesis or dissertation, it is time to pose which research questions you will address. These are what you will answer to attain study objectives and form the main part of this chapter. You may also postulate hypotheses in your introduction to a dissertation if you have a different research paradigm. Check how to write a hypothesis to nail your research. Use the above-mentioned steps as a framework for this subheading of your first chapter because the aims and objectives section affects its nature. This helps you avoid surprising your audience as you write an introduction for a dissertation. While you can recall some key terms from earlier parts of your work, be focused, unambiguous, and concise. Example of thesis introduction research questions

6. Emphasize the Importance of Your Study

Apart from identifying your research questions, it is necessary to describe in a thesis introduction why the study is important or its rationale. Start by explaining which issues your project addresses before outlining why this investigation is important and why you must conduct it. However, do not reveal everything about your outcomes when writing an introduction for a dissertation. Focus instead on hinting at the possible implications and impact your investigation could create for society or your field. Employ personal expertise and strong arguments by determining gaps in knowledge relating to your research problem before listing concerns that have not been addressed previously. Then, tell your readers how your report bridges the gap, resolves the issue or contributes to what is already known. In other words, how will your work be valuable to an academic community or society? Understanding how to write an introduction for a thesis or dissertation in this segment requires that you persuade your audience about why the topic requires an investigation to address an actual problem.  Example of how to write about significance in a dissertation introduction

7. Mention Limitations in the Introduction for Thesis

You cannot write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis without mentioning which constraints were encountered when conducting your study. Experiencing limitations is a normal part of the research process. The types of challenges you might be subjected to include financial, data, time, topic, evidence, or research design. This will affect your work in some way, which highlights why you should identify them in the introduction chapter. Start this introductory section by stating clearly the kind of hindrances you met. This helps readers understand the issues you endured while completing your project before they go through the rest of your work. Be sure to describe why you faced them and why you could not overcome each limitation even after applying specific techniques. Also, evaluate the effect of individual restraints on the overall study outcomes and explain how these problems point to a need for additional research if necessary. You should also clarify how you addressed them as this assures your supervisor that the outcomes in the results section were not influenced negatively by any restrictions and are accurate. As you write your dissertation introduction, remember that you are conducting the study to demonstrate both practical and impractical things/those requiring further examination. Examples of thesis introduction limitations:

8. Map Out Your Thesis or Dissertation

This is the last step regarding how to write introduction in dissertation. In particular, since readers should be impressed by your first section, informing them about the rest of the work is essential. Your professors might need to have a glimpse of your article and see how your intro of a thesis or dissertation is planned and divided. Your instructor can offer helpful feedback that will improve your study. The outline demonstrates your project’s organization and how it flows logically. Thus, conclude a dissertation introduction by giving a brief overview of each chapter. Think of these as mini summaries of each heading that give your supervisor a focused and firm idea about what comes next and how all the parts are related. Provide short explanations regarding your report framework using a handful of phrases without being very detailed. Concentrate mostly on the ideas and components that you will include in each section of your introduction to a thesis paper or dissertation. Example of a dissertation overview

Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Format

It is also vital to format a dissertation introduction properly and according to a specified style such as APA, Chicago, or MLA. The design mostly depends on requirements. Writing a thesis introduction involves complying with rules related to aspects like headings and subheadings, layout of pages, font selection and size, and in-text citations. It is also common for schools or professors to provide free templates for the relevant introduction of a thesis or dissertation outline, which you can simply take and fill in your details.

Thesis/ Dissertation Introduction Examples

Be sure to consult a dissertation introduction example from journal papers to learn about the layout of this section. Even if you can find a good dissertation introduction sample, remember to always seek assistance from your professor or supervisor as they will offer valuable support and advice in addition to pointing you on the right path. You can also read how to write a good thesis introduction examples below to gain more insights about which strategies you can use when composing this section. Thesis introduction example

Dissertation introduction example 1

Dissertation introduction example 2

Tips on Writing an Introduction to a Dissertation

Here are some extra dissertation introduction writing tips:

  • Avoid overlapping your dissertation or thesis introduction too much with other sections. For example, do not offer an extensive background or detailed information about your methods.
  • Also, when writing the introduction to a dissertation, you cannot initiate it with a research question. Rather, provide adequate context before identifying your question.
  • Keep it short. Since you already know how to write a good thesis introduction, stick to its main purpose.
  • While you can cite sources in this section, include only a few studies with a focus on mostly past research as this situates your work in a specific context.
  • Remember to quote multiple studies as a group using semicolons for separation. This enhances your argument’s credibility or shows the validity of specific sources.

Checklist for Introduction to Dissertation

Use this checklist to ensure you have grasped all ideas about how to write an introduction for a dissertation or thesis:

Bottom Line on How to Write Introduction for Dissertation

You are now familiar with how to write an introduction for dissertation or thesis. Readers use this section to understand what you are up to, why, and how. They can decide to continue or stop based on your presentation. Hence, ensure to make your dissertation or thesis introduction engaging and relevant. Look at an example of a thesis introduction provided to learn more about the major points in this article. However, you will gain more by practicing what you have learned. Thus, start writing as soon as you finish reading all sections. More information about PhD writing (literature review, results, dissertation discussion , limitations, dissertation acknowledgments , etc.), you can read in the Dissertation Guide of our blog. From insights on how to write a dissertation conclusion to formatting your thesis appendix you will find detailed step-by-step instructions, tips and examples.


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  • checkbox I stated my study’s focus and topic.
  • checkbox I told why I conducted this research and explained its significance.
  • checkbox My introductory chapter covers all questions.
  • checkbox I have provided a problem statement.
  • checkbox I have justified the scope of my work.
  • checkbox I demonstrated how important my study is.
  • checkbox The background section is extensive enough.
  • checkbox My background section is relevant in terms of aims and objectives.
  • checkbox I included a chapter-by-chapter overview of my work.
  • checkbox No other questions aren’t needed for more clarification.

Characteristics of a Good Dissertation Introduction

This study investigates the role a CEO plays within an organizational management structure in a company in Berlin, Germany. The research examines to what extent the limitations of this role assist or hinders organizational policies and agendas.
The position of CEO is considered to significantly influence the organizational success and play a proactive role in building healthy relationships between the board members. Some studies highlight why CEOs are important but fail to state the fundamental impact of CEOS on organization overall performance. Other researchers primarily focus on the principal functions a CEO fulfills. Therefore, the usefulness of this role is unclear. The present study examines various ways through which CEOs benefit or hinder organizational efficiency.
CEOs have been shown to have a huge impact on organization performance, sustainability and maintenance at all levels. Existing empirical studies are affected by methodological issues that underestimate the influence of CEOs on firm performance and efficiency. This research seeks to address these methodological issues and redefine the impact of CEO. Understanding the relationship between the role of CEOs and firm performance will have practical advantages and contribute to further development of efficient organization management strategies.
Aim This study aims to determine the impact CEOs have on firm performance. Objectives: •  Conduct surveys to gather data on CEO’s effect on firm efficiency and board performance. • Identify whether performance is linked with such variables as age, gender and work experience in the company. • Carry out interviews to determine qualitative information on the role of CEOs in organization performance.
• How does compensation affect employee performance positively? • What practical ways can firms use to enhance their revenues? • Why do employees prefer working remotely rather than going to work physically?
Most senior citizens are troubled by frequent joint pains, which makes their lives uncomfortable. It is essential to find the most effective solution to help them live happy lives. The results of this study will contribute to the wider literature about joint pain management among seniors by identifying a suitable therapeutic approach .
• Denied or limited access to documents, organizations, or people. • Time limits as board members tend to reduce performance over certain periods • Biases, particularly cultural ones.
The first chapter introduced the topic and offered background information. The rest of the study is organized as follows. In Chapter 2 the theoretical underpinning of this study will be identified and a literature review will be conducted followed by a description of the methodological choices of this research in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 will focus on data analysis and the presentation of results. Chapter 5 will provide a conclusion and explanation of the work’s implications.


1. How long should a thesis introduction be?

Your thesis introduction should make up about 10 percent of the total word count of your work. However, the provided guidelines by your supervisor or school department, the nature of your task, and your subject area may influence how long this section is. Read the requirements carefully and adhere to them.

2. Should I write an introduction to a dissertation first or last?

You should wait and write a dissertation introduction last. This ensures that you only focus on the arguments and points you know. While you might have a clear idea about what you want to study, the whole research process may reveal new details that you will want to include in your introduction.

3. How to start a thesis introduction?

Start your thesis introduction with a hook to grab the attention of your readers. One of the main objectives of this segment is to engage the audience by making them want to go through your work. However, use one strategy to avoid giving the impression that your manuscript lacks substance.

4. What tense should I use when writing a dissertation thesis?

Write a dissertation or thesis introduction in the present tense because you are talking about factual information regarding your topic. Presenting it in this way shows that you are sure about the correctness of your research. Even if your study is related to historical themes, you must still use this tense.

thesis introduction chapter example

Module 3, Chapter I - Introduction

The introductory chapter of a dissertation is crucial because it is the first section that readers will read. In this module, you will learn how to write the perfect introduction chapter for your dissertation.

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Module 3, Chapter I - Introduction: How to Write the Introduction Chapter for a Dissertation

The first chapter of your dissertation or thesis is the introduction. It comes right after the table of contents, and its main goal is to explain the background of your research topic, your focus and scope, the importance of your research, your questions and goals, and a brief summary of your structure. Your introduction chapter gets the reader interested by making it clear what your research is about, what your goal is, and where you want to go with it. If well written, the introduction chapter will help the supervisor build reading momentum for your dissertation. This module will guide you on how to write the introduction chapter of your dissertation and explain what should be included and what needs to be left out. Further, we’ll talk about how to organize the background of your research, write your problem statement, write the goals and objectives of your research, and explain why your research is important. The idea is to help you create a picture of what you would like to see and what details you appreciate when you read the introductory chapter of a dissertation and try to recreate that same clarity for your supervisor. Therefore, folks, grab your coffee, sit back, and learn how to write the perfect introduction chapter for your dissertation.

Section in this module:

3.1 understanding the purpose of the introduction chapter, 3.2 the opening section of the introduction, 3.3 the background of the research, 3.4 the problem statement, 3.5 the aim and objective of the research, 3.6 significance of the research, 3.7 the limitations of the research, 3.8 the structure of the dissertation, let's get started....

To write an excellent dissertation introduction, you should understand the essential elements of the chapter. The purpose of the introduction chapter is to orient the reader of the dissertation and give them an understanding of what the research seeks to accomplish or discover. What do you need to address in the introduction n chapter?

  • What is the topic of the research?
  • What justification are you giving to conduct the research (Why is the study critical)
  • What will be the extent of your study? (The things to be covered and those that should be left out)
  • What are the constraints and limitations of your study?

The dissertation introduction is set to provide an overview of the anticipated study. It is also set to outline a clear rationale for the research. The introduction chapter is meant to answer what the research entails and why it is essential to conduct it. The chapter should be detailed and contain the required depth of information. Often, you can be easily distracted by other fields of study connected to the topic of interest. While writing the introduction part of a dissertation, it is important to note other related fields as pieces knowledge that the reader would need to know and not as the focus of the research. The introduction is set to be less detailed but precise. Details of the study are unfolded in other chapters of the dissertation.

Having gained an understanding of what is needed from the introduction chapter of a dissertation, you can now delve into the details of the introduction. The specific requirements of the introduction chapter may vary based on the needs of different institutions and departments. However, the essential parts that inform an excellent dissertation introduction are:

  • The opening section. In this section, you should introduce the readers to your study and highly orient them on the precise purpose of the study.
  • The background of the research. This portion position the dissertation in its proper context.
  • The problem statements. This section explains the main problem or issues existing in the study.
  • The aim and objective of the research. This explains the things the study seeks to achieve.
  • The importance of the study. It gives an understanding of why the research should be conducted. This section seeks to share satisfactory evidence on why the research is worthwhile.
  • The limitations of the research. This portion unveils the possible problems and constraints that could be experienced during the study.
  • The structure of the dissertation. This section gives an outline of how the dissertation will be structured.

These sections will ensure that the introduction is written smoothly and logically. It builds a friendly interface between the reader and the research, which is key to shaping the reader’s attitude throughout the dissertation.

When writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, the opening section is one of the essential parts. This section seeks to engage the readers with the research by representing it in language and a manner they can easily understand. The opening session should be simple, precise, and attractive. It should be simple enough to understand as the reader may lose interest. There is no specific way to write the opening section of the dissertation introduction. However, there are vital elements that you can consider while writing an engaging introduction section:

  • A sentence orienting the reader on the general field of study. For instance, “ Organizational skills development involves identifying current or potential skills gaps within a business and developing programs to resolve these gaps. Management research, including X, Y and Z, has clearly established that organizational skills development is an essential contributor to business growth.”
  • A sentence about the specific research topic derived from the field of study. For instance, “However, there are conflicting views and an overall lack of research regarding how best to manage skills development initiatives in highly dynamic environments where subject knowledge is rapidly and continuously evolving – for example, in the website development industry.”
  • A sentence explaining the aims and objectives of the dissertation. For instance, “This research aims to identify and evaluate skills development approaches and strategies for highly dynamic industries in which subject knowledge is continuously evolving.”
  • A sentence giving the structure of the dissertation introduction chapter. For example, “This chapter will provide an introduction to the study by first discussing the background and context, followed by the research problem, the research aims, objectives and questions, the significance and finally, the limitations.”

TIP: The opening section of the dissertation introduction should be short, preferably a paragraph. The points above serve as a guideline for composing a neat and clear opening section.

While the opening section offers an overview of the research at hand, the background of the dissertation seeks to lay a foundation for the topic of study. When writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, the background of the study provides a broader understanding of the topic of choice. It also sheds light on the present contextual variables of the study. The section entails a brief history of the desired field of study, the changes and improvements that may have occurred throughout the history of the research conducted, and the fundamental findings that have been documented. The background of the study gives the relevant information needed to equip the readers with a basic understanding of the area of study.

For example, sticking with the skills development topic addressed in the opening section of the introduction, the background of the research would begin by providing a general outlook of the skills development field. The section would then give an outline of the existing studies conducted. The background of the research section would then examine how the current day context has affected the efficacy of previously developed skill development processes. In our case, the section would examine how the rapid growth in technology has affected the traditional skill-developing trainers due to the struggle to keep up with new-age development.

While writing the background of the research section, you should assume that the reader has yet to gain any prior knowledge or expertise in that field of study. Therefore, you are expected to include a ‘Definition of Terms’ session with some of the technical terms associated with the topic of study. This would help the reader quickly understand the rest of the paper since most of the terms are repeated. Also is essential to avoid assuming the readers’ level of knowledge. In many cases, the readers do not have a platform to communicate directly with you or ask questions in opaque areas. Therefore, it is crucial for you to explain all terms that cannot be identified as common knowledge.

In this session, you should begin to get more precise about the research problem. The background of the research section may have opened the reader to a wide range of the issues solved by other scholars in the same field of study. However, the problem statement helps you to make the scope of the study narrower and more specific. The research problem can be termed as the issue or field of study where there needs to be more well-rounded and conclusive information based on research. A research problem emerges when questions that need answers arise, yet the present literature is limited in offering a satisfactory answer to the question(s) at hand. While writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, the problem statement should be clear on what could be missing in the existing literature and why the deliberation issue is a problem. You can plan the research problem presentation by answering the following questions:

  • What is the current state of research in the field of choice? (What has already been established by other scholars?)
  • Where is the literature gap? In the research conducted, what is the missing outcome?
  • Is the missing literature posing a problem that needs to be solved?

For example , research that has already been established can be acknowledged as follows, “ Organizational skills development is critically important for employee satisfaction and company performance (reference). Numerous studies have investigated strategies and approaches to manage skills development programs within organizations (reference).”

The missing information from literature stemming from studies done by other researchers in the same field can be presented as, “However, these studies have traditionally focused on relatively slow-paced industries where key skills and knowledge do not change particularly often. This body of theory presents a problem for industries that face a rapidly changing skills landscape – for example, the website development industry – where new platforms, languages and best practices emerge on an extremely frequent basis.”

Presenting reasons why the missing literature is a problem that needs to be solved can be done as, “As a result, the existing research is inadequate for industries in which essential knowledge and skills are constantly and rapidly evolving, as it assumes a slow pace of knowledge development. Industries in such environments, therefore, find themselves ill-equipped in terms of skills development strategies and approaches.”

As outlined in the examples above, the present research status has been acknowledged, the missing gap in the research conducted has also been clearly stated, and finally, the evidence as to why the missing literature is a problem that needs analysis has been given.

TIP: When you incorporate this format to focus on the research problem, clarity informs and compels the reader to agree on the need to conduct the research.

            The research aims and objectives explain what you plan to do to solve the research problem defined by the problem statement. This section also includes the research questions. When writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, the aims and objective session of the research begin by clearly stating the primary goal of the dissertation. The study’s main purpose is a well-thought-out and structured statement that clearly details what you are willing to achieve through your study. For example, the skills and development topic used in previous models can have the primary goal of the study presented as, “ Given the lack of research regarding organizational skills development in fast-moving industries, this study will aim to identify and evaluate the skills development approaches utilized by web development companies in the United Kingdom.” As shown in the example, the aim of the study is clearly stated. It shows the precise context in which the research is set to be conducted: web development firms in the United Kingdom.

            After the main aim of the research has been outlined, the other study objectives are outlined. The research objectives help support and achieve the main purpose of your study. They are more specific and practical. They outline practical developments that should be carried out to accomplish your study’s main aim. Based on the main goal outlined in the previous paragraph, the research objectives can be as follows:

  • To examine the main skill development systems and the principal approach employed by website development firms in the United Kingdom.
  • To analyze the efficacy of the skills development systems enacted
  • To analyze the effectiveness of the main approaches used by website development firms in the United Kingdom.
  • To determine the pros and cons of the different systems and approaches to check the best versus the worst.

From the examples shown, the objectives outlined should show the actions that you intend to undertake and the precise areas of study that will help in achieving the primary goal of your research. The objectives can be termed as a breakdown of the leading research goal. They are more practical and specific.

Once the research objectives have been stated, the next step is to outline the research questions. The research question is a further breakdown of the aims and objectives of the study. They are termed as the specific queries that the study will be answering. Research questions should be precise and theoretical. At the conclusion chapter of the dissertation, the research questions should be directly answered based on the evidence you will have gathered in the research. From the research objectives in the skills development example, some of the research questions determined can be:

  • What skills development systems and methods are used by website developers in the United Kingdom?
  • How successful are these systems and methods?
  • What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the specified systems and methods?

The examples above show that the research questions are directly linked to the research objectives outlined. Research questions can be termed as the force propelling the dissertation as they determine what you will cover in all the other parts of the dissertation and the direction of the research. It is also crucial to be clear on the scope of the study. While writing the aim and objectives of the study, you should be clear on what will be covered in the dissertation and what will not. Consequently, having extensive research goals, objectives, and questions poses the possibility of deviating from the topic of interest. Establishing clear boundaries for the research is crucial to writing a dissertation that focuses on the study’s primary purpose.

When writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, it is essential for you to state the significance of the research. So far, there has been an alluding to the importance of the study throughout the other sections of the introduction. However, the significance of the research sections gives a broader perspective of the importance of the research. It shows how the research will benefit the entire world. For example, based on the skills development topic, the significance of the study can be as follows, “ This study will contribute to the body of knowledge on skills development by incorporating skills development strategies and approaches for industries in which knowledge and skills are rapidly and constantly changing. This will help address the current shortage of research in this area and provide real-world value to organizations operating in such dynamic environments.” As shown in the example, the significance of the research should show that your study intends to fill the missing literature and provide actionable plans.

After convincing the reader of the significance of the research, the next part involves identifying the study’s limitations. When writing the introduction chapter of a dissertation, it is essential to note that no research is perfect. Many dissertations are surrounded by factors that may affect their effectiveness. The fact that the time limit set to complete the study is tight, financial constraints that make it difficult to finance the research, and the fact that you may need more experience in writing dissertations are all factors that may limit your dissertation. Constraints and limitations in dissertation writing are expected and accepted. It is essential for you to identify the limitation and document. This helps to inform scholars in the future and caution them to be aware of the limitations hence improving future research. Once the research is improved, the findings for future research will be strengthened more than those of the past.

While writing the introduction chapter of the dissertation, you are expected to include a clear outline of the structure of the dissertation. The session acts as a map that the reader can use to understand what to expect throughout each part of the dissertation. The structure of the dissertation provides an overview of the aim of each chapter and the content to be shared. To help the reader, you can have a sentence for every dissertation chapter stating what would be done in each chapter.

How to Write the Introduction Chapter for a Dissertation or Thesis

The introduction chapter of a dissertation or thesis serves as the gateway to your research, setting the stage for what lies ahead. Crafting a well-structured and engaging introduction is essential to captivate your readers and establish the purpose and significance of your study. This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights on how to write an effective introduction chapter that will make a lasting impression.

What is the Purpose of a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter?  The purpose of the introduction chapter is multifaceted. It introduces your research topic, provides the context and background of your study, and highlights its significance within the academic field. This chapter also outlines the objectives, research questions, and the overall structure of your dissertation or thesis.

How to Structure the Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter:  To create a cohesive and engaging introduction chapter, consider the following structure:

Opening: Begin with a compelling hook that grabs the reader’s attention and creates an interest in your research.

Background and Context: Provide a concise overview of the existing literature and theories related to your research topic. This section should establish the context and lay the foundation for your study.

Problem Statement: Clearly state the research problem or gap in the current knowledge that your research aims to address. This statement should be focused, specific, and supported by existing literature.

Objectives and Research Questions: Clearly outline the objectives of your study and the research questions that will guide your investigation. These should be concise, measurable, and aligned with the problem statement.

Significance of the Study: Explain the relevance and significance of your research. Discuss how your study contributes to the existing knowledge, addresses the research gap, and potentially impacts the field or society.

Stages in a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter:  The introduction chapter can be divided into stages to ensure a logical flow:

Establishing the Field: Introduce the broader field of study and its key concepts, theories, and methodologies. Provide a foundation for readers to understand the context of your research.

Focusing the Research: Narrow down the scope by identifying the specific aspect or area you will explore. Explain why you chose this particular focus and how it relates to the larger field.

Identifying the Gap: Highlight the existing research gap or problem in the literature. Emphasize the need for your study and explain how it fills this gap or contributes to the knowledge in the field.

Defining Objectives: Clearly state the objectives of your research, outlining what you aim to achieve through your study. These objectives should be clear, specific, and aligned with the problem statement.

What Types of Information Should You Include in Your Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter?  Your introduction chapter should include the following essential information:

Background and Context: Provide a brief overview of the existing literature, theories, and research related to your topic.

Problem Statement: Clearly articulate the research problem or gap that your study addresses. This statement should be concise and focused.

Objectives and Research Questions: State the specific objectives and research questions that guide your investigation. These should be measurable and aligned with the problem statement.

Significance of the Study: Explain the relevance and potential impact of your research. Discuss how it contributes to the existing knowledge and addresses the research gap.

Common Problems When Writing Your Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter:  When writing the introduction chapter, be aware of the following common issues:

Lack of Clarity: Ensure that your problem statement, objectives, and research questions are clear and concise. Ambiguity can confuse readers and undermine the effectiveness of your introduction.

Overloading with Information: Avoid overwhelming readers with excessive details or too much background information. Focus on providing the necessary context and maintaining a balance between brevity and relevance.

Inadequate Significance: Clearly articulate the significance of your study, highlighting its potential contributions to the field. Failure to do so may undermine the reader’s understanding of the importance of your research.

How Long is a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter?  The length of the introduction chapter can vary depending on institutional guidelines and the complexity of your research. However, as a general guideline, it is typically recommended to be around 10% to 15% of the total word count of your dissertation or thesis. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter? The time required to write the introduction chapter depends on various factors, including your research process, familiarity with the topic, and writing proficiency. On average, it may take several weeks to develop a well-crafted introduction chapter. However, this timeframe can vary based on individual circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Dissertation or Thesis Introduction Chapter:

  • Can I revise and make changes to the introduction chapter after it is completed?  Yes, you can revise and make changes to the introduction chapter even after it is completed. In fact, it is quite common for writers to revisit and refine their introduction as they progress with the rest of their dissertation or thesis. As you gain a deeper understanding of your research and its implications, you may identify areas that require further clarification or adjustment. Revision is an integral part of the writing process, allowing you to enhance the coherence, clarity, and overall effectiveness of your introduction chapter.
  • Should the introduction chapter be written before or after the other chapters?  The general recommendation is to write the introduction chapter after completing the other chapters of your dissertation or thesis. By doing so, you will have a comprehensive understanding of your research, findings, and conclusions, which will enable you to provide a more accurate and informative introduction. Writing the introduction last allows you to summarize and highlight the main points of your work, ensuring that it aligns seamlessly with the content of the subsequent chapters.
  • How can I ensure coherence and flow between the introduction chapter and the subsequent chapters?  To ensure coherence and flow between the introduction chapter and the subsequent chapters, consider the following strategies:

Outline a clear roadmap: In your introduction, provide a concise overview of the structure and organization of your dissertation or thesis. This will help readers navigate through your work and understand how each chapter contributes to the overall narrative.

  • Maintain consistency in terminology and concepts: Use consistent terminology and concepts throughout your introduction and subsequent chapters. This helps to establish a cohesive thread and avoids confusion or contradictions.
  • Reference and build upon the introduction: As you progress with your research, refer back to the key points and objectives outlined in the introduction. Continuously link your findings and discussions to the initial framework established in the introduction, reinforcing the logical progression of your work.
  • Transitions and signposting: Use transitional phrases and clear signposting to guide readers from one chapter to the next. Highlight connections between ideas, methodologies, and findings, ensuring a smooth transition and logical progression from the introduction to subsequent chapters.
  • Seek feedback: Share your work with peers, advisors, or colleagues and seek their feedback on the coherence and flow between the introduction and subsequent chapters. Their insights can help identify any gaps or inconsistencies that need to be addressed.

By employing these strategies, you can maintain a cohesive and seamless flow between the introduction chapter and the rest of your dissertation or thesis, allowing readers to navigate your work with clarity and understanding.

The introduction chapter of your dissertation or thesis plays a pivotal role in engaging readers and providing a solid foundation for your research. By following the recommended structure, addressing common problems, and incorporating the necessary information, you can create an introduction chapter that sets the stage for a successful and impactful study. Remember, the introduction is your opportunity to make a strong first impression, so invest time and effort into crafting it effectively.

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If you find it tricky to write the introduction chapter of a PhD thesis, rest assured that you’re not alone. The introduction can be one of the hardest sections to write for any piece of research writing. However, the introduction is also one of the most important sections as it lays the groundwork for the following chapters and offers a first impression of the rest of the research that you are about to share. This article discusses some of the key things to consider as you write your introduction.

Write your introduction last

It is very common practice for most researchers to write the introduction chapter last. You might be wondering why that is, since it is the first chapter of the thesis. However, think of it in this way: you cannot introduce something until you know exactly what you are introducing .

You will have a complete overview and understanding of the entire project only when you have largely completed it and written all the other constituent parts. By writing the introduction at the end of your project, you’ll be able to look back over your initial research questions , the way you conducted the research, the results you generated and the conclusions you formed. You will then be in a better position to present and introduce the research as a whole, coherent piece of work. 

Provide an overview 

The introduction should offer the reader an overview of the research that you have conducted. You are setting the scene for your reader and giving them a broad idea of what they can expect throughout the rest of the thesis. As such, you don’t need to go into too much depth at this stage – the details can come later in the following chapters. In particular, you need to talk about what you are studying and why.

What are you studying?

The introduction is the best place to outline your working hypothesis and/or research questions . After all, this is what the rest of your thesis will entail.

Make it very clear for your reader exactly what you are setting out to investigate.

What are you trying to find out? What are you testing? What answers or results are you hoping to obtain by doing this study?

You might find it easier and clearer to outline your research questions as distinct bullet points . Then, you can follow this list with a more detailed discussion of each of the questions or hypotheses – for example, why you are asking each question, what you hope to find out from each question and what methods you will use to answer those questions. 

Why are you doing this research? 

Apart from giving your reader an idea of what your thesis is about, it is important to explain in the introduction why you are doing this research. Start by highlighting exactly what issue(s) you are addressing in this research, then outline why this research is important and why there is a need for this study to be conducted.

Although you shouldn’t give everything away and reveal all your findings and conclusions at the beginning of the thesis, you can begin to hint at the potential impact and implications that such a study could create, either for your specific field, or for society more generally. This will again emphasise the significance and relevance of this research. 

Offer some background

In order to effectively set the scene, you can also begin to introduce some of the most prominent work that has already been done on the subject. This chapter is a good place to contextualise your research within the broader, existing body of work. Again, you don’t need to go into great detail – that will be covered in the literature review – but it can be helpful to briefly mention some of the existing relevant work that has informed and motivated your unique study.

For example, perhaps your research responds directly to a recent scientific discovery. You can use the introduction to refer to this previous study and explain how you are addressing the limitations and problems of that study or exploring the effects of using an alternative method.

How are you conducting this research?

When you’ve introduced the reasons informing your study and explained what you will be investigating, you will then want to offer a brief explanation of how you have designed and conducted this research. Again, as you are only giving an overview at this stage, you don’t need to go into too much detail – further explanations will come later in your methods /methodology chapter.

Remember that you want to offer your reader a broad idea of what the overall research project entails. Naturally, this includes some discussion of the main approaches and directions you took in your research to adequately answer the questions that you set out to investigate.

Offer a clear chapter outline

It is a good idea to include a section within your introduction that clearly outlines what each of the proceeding chapters will include. As you write these chapter outlines, think of them as small summaries, or mini abstracts, of each chapter .

Your reader will then have a much firmer and focused idea of what is to come next, and how each chapter will connect with and links to each other. Think of the chapter outline as something like a recipe or a roadmap laying out the steps that the reader will follow. 

In conclusion

Although it can feel a bit overwhelming to have to summarise all your research into a single introductory chapter, it might help to place yourself in the position of your ideal reader or examiner .

What would you like them to know as they start reading your thesis? What important pieces of information would they need here in order to fully appreciate and understand the rest of your paper?

Think about what you would like to see and what details you appreciate when you read introductory chapters, and try to recreate that same clarity for your reader.

Read next (final) in series:  PhD Writing 4: How to write the conclusion chapter of your thesis

Read previous in series: PhD Writing 2: How to improve your writing skills in preparation for writing your thesis

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Chapter introductions

Your overall thesis objectives or questions can be distinguished from specific objectives of each chapter, however, it should be broad enough to embody the latter. So whenever you have difficulty deciding what information to include in the thesis introduction and what to include in the introductory sections of individual chapters, remember it's primarily a matter of scale (see the table below).


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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your topic and get the reader interested
  • Provide background or summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.

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Table of contents

Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.

The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.

For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:

A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:

Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.

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This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.

In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.

Argumentative paper: Background information

After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.

Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .

Empirical paper: Describing previous research

For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.

This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.

Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.

The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.

Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance

In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.

Empirical paper: Relate to the literature

In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:

  • What research gap is your work intended to fill?
  • What limitations in previous work does it address?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?

You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.

Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.

The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).

Argumentative paper: Thesis statement

The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.

Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis

The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.

Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.

A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.

  • This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
  • We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.

If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.

For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:

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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.

In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.

If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.

  • This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
  • This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …

Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

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How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)   

essay introduction

The introduction of an essay plays a critical role in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. It sets the stage for the rest of the essay, establishes the tone and style, and motivates the reader to continue reading. 

Table of Contents

What is an essay introduction , what to include in an essay introduction, how to create an essay structure , step-by-step process for writing an essay introduction , how to write an introduction paragraph , how to write a hook for your essay , how to include background information , how to write a thesis statement .

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction Example: 
  • Expository Essay Introduction Example 

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Check and revise – checklist for essay introduction , key takeaways , frequently asked questions .

An introduction is the opening section of an essay, paper, or other written work. It introduces the topic and provides background information, context, and an overview of what the reader can expect from the rest of the work. 1 The key is to be concise and to the point, providing enough information to engage the reader without delving into excessive detail. 

The essay introduction is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire piece and provides the reader with a roadmap of what to expect. Here are key elements to include in your essay introduction: 

  • Hook : Start with an attention-grabbing statement or question to engage the reader. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a compelling anecdote. 
  • Background information : Provide context and background information to help the reader understand the topic. This can include historical information, definitions of key terms, or an overview of the current state of affairs related to your topic. 
  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. Your thesis should be concise and specific, providing a clear direction for your essay. 

Before we get into how to write an essay introduction, we need to know how it is structured. The structure of an essay is crucial for organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly and logically. It is divided as follows: 2  

  • Introduction:  The introduction should grab the reader’s attention with a hook, provide context, and include a thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.  
  • Body:  The body should consist of focused paragraphs that support your thesis statement using evidence and analysis. Each paragraph should concentrate on a single central idea or argument and provide evidence, examples, or analysis to back it up.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis differently. End with a final statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid new information or arguments. 

thesis introduction chapter example

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay introduction: 

  • Start with a Hook : Begin your introduction paragraph with an attention-grabbing statement, question, quote, or anecdote related to your topic. The hook should pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue reading. 
  • Provide Background Information : This helps the reader understand the relevance and importance of the topic. 
  • State Your Thesis Statement : The last sentence is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, and directly address the topic of your essay. 
  • Preview the Main Points : This gives the reader an idea of what to expect and how you will support your thesis. 
  • Keep it Concise and Clear : Avoid going into too much detail or including information not directly relevant to your topic. 
  • Revise : Revise your introduction after you’ve written the rest of your essay to ensure it aligns with your final argument. 

Here’s an example of an essay introduction paragraph about the importance of education: 

Education is often viewed as a fundamental human right and a key social and economic development driver. As Nelson Mandela once famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to unlocking a wide range of opportunities and benefits for individuals, societies, and nations. In today’s constantly evolving world, education has become even more critical. It has expanded beyond traditional classroom learning to include digital and remote learning, making education more accessible and convenient. This essay will delve into the importance of education in empowering individuals to achieve their dreams, improving societies by promoting social justice and equality, and driving economic growth by developing a skilled workforce and promoting innovation. 

This introduction paragraph example includes a hook (the quote by Nelson Mandela), provides some background information on education, and states the thesis statement (the importance of education). 

This is one of the key steps in how to write an essay introduction. Crafting a compelling hook is vital because it sets the tone for your entire essay and determines whether your readers will stay interested. A good hook draws the reader in and sets the stage for the rest of your essay.  

  • Avoid Dry Fact : Instead of simply stating a bland fact, try to make it engaging and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of exercise, you could start with a startling statistic like, “Did you know that regular exercise can increase your lifespan by up to seven years?” 
  • Avoid Using a Dictionary Definition : While definitions can be informative, they’re not always the most captivating way to start an essay. Instead, try to use a quote, anecdote, or provocative question to pique the reader’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing about freedom, you could begin with a quote from a famous freedom fighter or philosopher. 
  • Do Not Just State a Fact That the Reader Already Knows : This ties back to the first point—your hook should surprise or intrigue the reader. For Here’s an introduction paragraph example, if you’re writing about climate change, you could start with a thought-provoking statement like, “Despite overwhelming evidence, many people still refuse to believe in the reality of climate change.” 

Including background information in the introduction section of your essay is important to provide context and establish the relevance of your topic. When writing the background information, you can follow these steps: 

  • Start with a General Statement:  Begin with a general statement about the topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific focus. For example, when discussing the impact of social media, you can begin by making a broad statement about social media and its widespread use in today’s society, as follows: “Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users worldwide.” 
  • Define Key Terms : Define any key terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers but are essential for understanding your argument. 
  • Provide Relevant Statistics:  Use statistics or facts to highlight the significance of the issue you’re discussing. For instance, “According to a report by Statista, the number of social media users is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.” 
  • Discuss the Evolution:  Mention previous research or studies that have been conducted on the topic, especially those that are relevant to your argument. Mention key milestones or developments that have shaped its current impact. You can also outline some of the major effects of social media. For example, you can briefly describe how social media has evolved, including positives such as increased connectivity and issues like cyberbullying and privacy concerns. 
  • Transition to Your Thesis:  Use the background information to lead into your thesis statement, which should clearly state the main argument or purpose of your essay. For example, “Given its pervasive influence, it is crucial to examine the impact of social media on mental health.” 

thesis introduction chapter example

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here’s how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Identify the topic:  Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise for overall health, your topic is “exercise.” 
  • State your position:  Next, state your position or claim about the topic. This is the main argument or point you want to make. For example, if you believe that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, your position could be: “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health.” 
  • Support your position:  Provide a brief overview of the reasons or evidence that support your position. These will be the main points of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of exercise, you could mention the physical health benefits, mental health benefits, and the role of exercise in disease prevention. 
  • Make it specific:  Ensure your thesis statement clearly states what you will discuss in your essay. For example, instead of saying, “Exercise is good for you,” you could say, “Regular exercise, including cardiovascular and strength training, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” 

Examples of essay introduction 

Here are examples of essay introductions for different types of essays: 

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example:  

Topic: Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

“The question of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 has sparked nationwide debate. While some argue that 16-year-olds lack the requisite maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions, others argue that doing so would imbue young people with agency and give them a voice in shaping their future.” 

Expository Essay Introduction Example  

Topic: The benefits of regular exercise 

“In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. From improving physical health to boosting mental well-being, the benefits of exercise are numerous and far-reaching. This essay will examine the various advantages of regular exercise and provide tips on incorporating it into your daily routine.” 

Text: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 

“Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is a timeless classic that explores themes of racism, injustice, and morality in the American South. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the reader is taken on a journey that challenges societal norms and forces characters to confront their prejudices. This essay will analyze the novel’s use of symbolism, character development, and narrative structure to uncover its deeper meaning and relevance to contemporary society.” 

  • Engaging and Relevant First Sentence : The opening sentence captures the reader’s attention and relates directly to the topic. 
  • Background Information : Enough background information is introduced to provide context for the thesis statement. 
  • Definition of Important Terms : Key terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to the audience or are central to the argument are defined. 
  • Clear Thesis Statement : The thesis statement presents the main point or argument of the essay. 
  • Relevance to Main Body : Everything in the introduction directly relates to and sets up the discussion in the main body of the essay. 

thesis introduction chapter example

Writing a strong introduction is crucial for setting the tone and context of your essay. Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3  

  • Hook the Reader : Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. 
  • Provide Background : Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion. 
  • Thesis Statement : State your thesis, which is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be concise, clear, and specific. 
  • Preview the Structure : Outline the main points or arguments to help the reader understand the organization of your essay. 
  • Keep it Concise : Avoid including unnecessary details or information not directly related to your thesis. 
  • Revise and Edit : Revise your introduction to ensure clarity, coherence, and relevance. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Seek Feedback : Get feedback from peers or instructors to improve your introduction further. 

The purpose of an essay introduction is to give an overview of the topic, context, and main ideas of the essay. It is meant to engage the reader, establish the tone for the rest of the essay, and introduce the thesis statement or central argument.  

An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

An essay introduction is critical in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. To ensure its effectiveness, consider incorporating these key elements: a compelling hook, background information, a clear thesis statement, an outline of the essay’s scope, a smooth transition to the body, and optional signposting sentences.  

The process of writing an essay introduction is not necessarily straightforward, but there are several strategies that can be employed to achieve this end. When experiencing difficulty initiating the process, consider the following techniques: begin with an anecdote, a quotation, an image, a question, or a startling fact to pique the reader’s interest. It may also be helpful to consider the five W’s of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how.   For instance, an anecdotal opening could be structured as follows: “As I ascended the stage, momentarily blinded by the intense lights, I could sense the weight of a hundred eyes upon me, anticipating my next move. The topic of discussion was climate change, a subject I was passionate about, and it was my first public speaking event. Little did I know , that pivotal moment would not only alter my perspective but also chart my life’s course.” 

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your introduction paragraph is crucial to grab your reader’s attention. To achieve this, avoid using overused phrases such as “In this paper, I will write about” or “I will focus on” as they lack originality. Instead, strive to engage your reader by substantiating your stance or proposition with a “so what” clause. While writing your thesis statement, aim to be precise, succinct, and clear in conveying your main argument.  

To create an effective essay introduction, ensure it is clear, engaging, relevant, and contains a concise thesis statement. It should transition smoothly into the essay and be long enough to cover necessary points but not become overwhelming. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to assess its effectiveness. 


  • Cui, L. (2022). Unit 6 Essay Introduction.  Building Academic Writing Skills . 
  • West, H., Malcolm, G., Keywood, S., & Hill, J. (2019). Writing a successful essay.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education ,  43 (4), 609-617. 
  • Beavers, M. E., Thoune, D. L., & McBeth, M. (2023). Bibliographic Essay: Reading, Researching, Teaching, and Writing with Hooks: A Queer Literacy Sponsorship. College English, 85(3), 230-242. 

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