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How to write your dissertation

Writing your introduction

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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.

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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.

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