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Dissertation introductions are key pieces of dissertations and should always be written after the other chapters have been completed. Why? Because you will have a total perspective on your work, and the information to be included in your Chapter 1 will be much easier to write. Of course, when a dissertation is on the way a future graduate is expected to be a professional at academic writing. If you may happen among those, who take their time to make a preliminary research - be certain to search on improving your writing skills. Further on proceed to this guide that will take you through an explanation of the sections of chapter 1, so that you will have a much better idea of how to write an introduction for dissertation projects.
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Purpose of the Dissertation Introduction
Chapter 1 is to provide your reader with an empirical opening to the research study that is to follow. While it may contain a few personal comments, such as the reasons for your interest in the specific research question, it must still be scholarly in tone and language. It is, above all, the prologue to your work, n much the same way that a prologue is written for a book. It is to whet the appetite of the reader for what is to come without divulging the ending.
The Dissertation Introduction Structure
While departments and institutions may require different sequencings of the parts of an introduction of dissertation projects, the parts themselves must all be included. The following will provide a brief explanation of the sections to be included.
- Introductory Paragraph: In 1-2 paragraphs, you need to state and describe the general area of interest from which your specific study has come. Suppose, for example, that the general area is at-risk students – students who, by various criteria, have been identified as those who are at-risk for not graduating from high school. You can even provide some figures and statistics here to demonstrate that it is a major issue in a society that will insist upon a trained and skilled work force. At the end of this paragraph, you will speak to the specific topic field within this broader area that will be the subject of your research study
- Background of the Problem: Writing dissertation introduction problem backgrounds requires that you summarize the current literature that relates to your specific topic field. If your specific field of interest within the broader field of at-risk students is students at the middle school level, your research summary will all relate to that age group and to what has been empirically known by earlier research. This section should be 3-4 pages in length and stick to the major research findings, with citations provided. Note: Much of this literature will show up again in Chapter 2, so you do not have to provide a large amount of detail. What you are trying to demonstrate is that there may be some unresolved issues or some conflicting research findings that bear further research – some gap in current knowledge.
- Statement of the Problem: First of all, you must understand that this is NOT your research question. It is a statement of the gap in knowledge that your study intends to address. This very small section of introduction to dissertation works is perhaps the most mis-understood, but if you keep yourself focused on the word gap, you should be fine. For example, a gap in the knowledge about at-risk middle school students may be that there is not enough research yet on which types of programming with a school environment improve their performance and thus their prognosis for high school completion.
- Purpose of the Study This part of an introduction to a dissertation will be quite short – only a paragraph or two, and it may come in a different spot than is here placed. Again, this is only a 1-2 paragraph explanation of what you want to do research-wise. Do you want to conduct a qualitative or a quantitative study? What is the population you intend to use? Do not go into your research design here – that comes a bit later. In the case of the at-risk middle school students, for example, the purpose will be to conduct a quantitative study of performance following a specific treatment, and you may state that there will be an experimental and control group.
- Importance of the Study: Here you need to justify that your research is important to the general field of interest and that it will contribute to the “filling in” of the gap you have identified, and its relationship to improving the “human condition” in some way. You will also identify who will benefit and be able to use the results of your research. All dissertation introductions must prove significance of a proposed study or they are of no value.
- The Primary Research Question(s): Every introduction for dissertation chapter must clearly, precisely, and succinctly state the research question. For example, “Will specific differentiated educational programming for at-risk middle school student impact academic performance?”
- Statement of the Hypothesis: In writing a dissertation introduction, you have to let the reader know what you intend for the outcome to be without stating that this is the outcome you actually got (or did not get). “Specific differentiated programming will positively impact academic performance of at-risk middle school students over a one-year period.” This is a hypothesis statement.
- The Research Design: The details of your research design are provided in Chapter 3 of the work, so here you want to give little more than what you did in your initial proposal. You will briefly state whether the study will involve qualitative or quantitative analysis, whether it will involve a random sampling or experimental and control groups, and how the demography of those groups will be identified. If you are using specific instruments, such as surveys or interviews, how have they been validated? If, as in the case of the at-risk middle school students, how will you ensure that the treatment given the experimental group is consistently given to each member of that population? If you are using anything other than humans, your groups are comprised of subjects not participants. The research design portion of writing an introduction to a dissertation should leave the real details to Chapter 3. Be as brief as possible.
- Scope, Assumptions, and Limitations: This section will speak to the size of the participant groups, the length of the study, and the geographic location of the study. It will also cite any assumptions (e.g., if a survey it to be given, you will have to assume that participants will respond truthfully); and you will address any limitations, sometimes called “nuisance factors,” over which you will have no control.
The end of Chapter 1 may be quick and simply prepare the reader for Chapter 2 – the Literature Review.
- If you are still unsure of how to write a dissertation, you would be well-advised to study examples of dissertation introductions that relate to your general area of interest. Such a dissertation introduction example can be found by going back to dissertations that you used as a part of your literature review and thoroughly reviewing the introductions.
- You may also find dissertation introduction examples all over the Internet. Most university graduate programs will publish at least one dissertation introduction sample so that their students can see how it must be structured to meet their requirements.
- You may also want to seek quality help with dissertation introduction writing from our professional writing service. ProEssayService has the Ph.D. consultants who can provide any level of service you need.
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