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How to Write an Introduction for an PhD Research

Right after the table of contents, the first chapter of your thesis or dissertation is the introduction. Being the starting, it deems to do an impact and leave an impression on the reader’s mind to lure him/her in to the dive deeper sections of your research. The introduction of your research should be written well with a clear focus, purpose, and direction

Step Table of Content
1 Starting your introduction
2 Topic and context
3 Focus and scope
4 Relevance and importance
5 Questions and objectives
6 Overview of the structure

The first thing to know about writing an introduction is that it doesn’t have to be the first thing to be written, though it is at the beginning of your dissertation. In fact, it is mostly the very last thing to be done (along with the abstract).

A good practice is to make a rough draft of the introduction near the beginning of your research for guidance. While writing a research proposal, you can use it as a template piece that can be reviewed repetitively and filled with more elements as you write the rest of the research proposal. Doing this throughout the writing process would ensure that its content matches with the content of the rest of the chapters.

To get the best out of your introduction, make sure to include all of the following elements in it.

Make sure that the topic is properly introduced and the necessary background information is mentioned along with it. Contextualizing your research will reel in the readers better and will pique their curiosity to learn more about the topic . You can do so by mentioning things such as relevant news items, academic debates, or a practical problem.

Focus and scope

After piquing the interest in the environment, narrow the content to state the focus and scope of your research. For example:

  • Stating the geographical area being investigated.
  • The time period of the covered research topic.
  • Communities or demographics are being targeted in the research.
  • Aspect or theme that your dissertation is based upon.

The relevance and the motivation behind the research should be properly stated along with its relation with its predecessors’ works and what new edge it provides to those previous works.

Along with giving a brief overview of the current state of research. And how it will address a problem or loophole in the file by linking it with the necessary literature pieces. The literary sources will be further surveyed by you in the literature review section or chapter of your dissertation.

Whether the aim of your research will be the topic’s practical application (e.g. policies and management) or on advancing its scholarly understanding (e.g. deriving new theories through collected data) will be depending upon your field of study. Your aim can also be the fusion of these two.

You can explain the importance of a dissertation by stating how it:

  • Can help achieve an answer to a practical or a theoretical problem.
  • Notifies of a loophole in the literature.
  • Embraces one of the existing research.
  • Provide a different perspective on the topic.

The most important aspects of the introduction are the questions you raise and answer, and the objectives that you aim on following throughout the dissertation. These depend on the formulation of the research questions and objectives. The expectation of the readers are set after reading this section, so it would be wise to be crystal clear about the aim of your research here.

This can be done by making a brief mention of the research methods and including a separate methodology chapter without writing a lot about them.

When aiming to test a hypothesis in your research, formulate them here, along with a conceptual framework that displays the relationship between its variables. Often, the hypotheses would be presented after the literature review in the dissertation.

To make sure that the reader receives proper guidance throughout the dissertation, conclude it with an overview of it that consists of its whole structure, along with a short summary to display its aim and how it contributes to the whole research. It should not comprise more than one or two lines.

But you can write up to a paragraph for each chapter if your research topic is complex or complicated. For example, a dissertation based on a humanities topic can consist of a thematic argument rather than the usual conventional method of dividing the research into methods, results, and discussions. The unconventional structure can be used but it should clearly display how its elements go alongside each other.

Literature Review

A literature review can be a compulsion for you to write if you’re writing an undergraduate dissertation. Evaluation of the existing literature on the given or choice of the topic of your dissertation is referred to as a literature review. It is the documentation of the state of existing literature concerning the subject or topic of your dissertation.

  • Surveying the required existing literature in the field of study, depending upon its topic.
  • Synthesizing the required information of its literature into a summary, that consists of every important detail of its literature.
  • Critical analysis of the information gathered by the identification of gaps with the help of current knowledge, by stating the limitations of the existing literature, and by the formulation of areas that are considered controversial for further research.
  • Presenting all the gathered literature up to this point in an organized way. A literature review shows your readers that you have an in-depth grasp of your subject; and that you understand where your research fits into and adds to an existing body of agreed knowledge.
  • It demonstrates a familiarity with an existing knowledge body and establishing your work’s credibility along with it.
  • It summarizes the prior researches in it along with stating its relationship with your project.
  • It provides integration and a summary of the subject that is covered in your dissertation.
  • It demonstrates how the previous works have helped you learn more about the specified topic as well as how your research picks it up and provides a new perspective to it and hence, concluding its specified gap or loophole with a solution.

  • The procedure of measuring, collecting, and analyzing the required data stores for the purpose of research using the standard validation techniques, is known as data collection.
  • This collected data is the foundation on which a researcher can evaluate their hypothesis with. Mostly, the collection of data is the primary and the most essential task for a researcher to do for the research, irrespective of the topic of the research.
  • There are different approaches taken for different fields of study, based on the data that is required for your research.
  • Collecting information-rich and reliable data is the most critical objective for carrying out the statistical analysis as it ensures that the decisions that are to be taken for the research are data-driven and hence, reliable

Data Collection Methods

There are mainly four ways by which you can collect data for your research. It includes in-person interviews, mail surveys, phone surveys, and online interviews. They are chosen on the basis of their respective pros and cons.

Pros: Detailed and qualitative form of data along with being somewhat reliable.

Cons: Takes too much time, resources, and can be unreliable at many times.

Pros: Doesn’t have any kind of barriers on its reach.

Cons: Is expensive, consists of a lot of errors and can take a lot of time from the surveying side.

Pros: Consists of a high degree of confidence in its data and can be collected from nearly anywhere in the world.

Cons: Costs a lot, cannot be handled by one’s own self, requires third-party assistance.

Pros: Costs a lot less compared to the others, can be handled by one’s own self, and has a negligible amount of data errors.

Cons: unavailability of the required field consistency by the customer side and the fear of customers from getting their personal information leaked on the internet

Another way of taking surveys is by collecting them from different modes, such as paper, phone. Online, etc. These modern methods are much straightforward as well as easy to be executed. The data from the surveys taken through phone and paper is stored in the system by a data entry operator who types it out in the computer. The same way can also be followed to take the data right from the customer.

Result and Discussion

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