Writing your introduction
when you've finished this page you will be able to...
- decide whether the introduction to your dissertation or project contains all the necessary information
It's important to make a good first impression by giving your dissertation or project a strong introduction. The job of the introduction is to set the scene and help your readers to navigate through your work.
It's a good idea to start drafting your introduction at an early stage, as it provides a statement of your objectives for your dissertation and it'll be useful to get these down on paper.
Your introduction may include a review of the existing research in your area in the form of a literature review, or the literature review may be in a separate section. You should seek guidance on this from your supervisor.
Activity: A strong introduction - 20 minutes
This activity gives you a list of questions you should try to answer in your introduction to ensure that you have the vital ingredients for a strong introduction.
1. As you draft the introduction to your dissertation or project, make sure you can answer the following questions:
- What problem are you attempting to address, or what are you trying to find out?
- Why is it important that this issue or problem is investigated?
- What's your hypothesis - what do you think is going on?
- What will be the benefits of your study?
- How will you contribute to existing knowledge?
- How are you going to investigate the issue, or try to solve the problem? What research methods will you use?
- Are there any limitations or constraints on your study (for example, did you only have a small sample?)
If you've already written your introduction, check that you have answered all of the questions above.
Different disciplines put different emphases on Literature Reviews but the term generally refers to a designated part of a larger research project such as a dissertation or paper. In it, you produce a written critical survey of the already available published work on the topic you are researching.
Producing a Literature Review on a specific topic will sometimes be set as an assignment on your course, and the phrase can also refer more generally to the process of assessing published material in preparation for an essay. Here, though, we are focussing on the Literature Review as it forms a part of a dissertation or other research project.
Do you want to find out about the following (and more):
- Strategies for conducting a Literature Review
- The structure of the Literature Review
- What to cover and what to ignore
- Different ways of organising your material
If so, click on the links in the box below: