Introducing the PhD Introduction

When writing your PhD it is understandable that your focus will be on the research and arguments necessary for the main body of your thesis. However, you should not underestimate the importance of the introduction. To begin with, beyond the abstract, the introduction will be the first bit of substantive writing that your examiner will read. As such, it sets the tone for the thesis as a whole. A good introduction will serve to get your examiner on your side, inclining him or her to give you the benefit of any doubts that may arise as they progress through your work. On the other hand, a bad introduction will put the examiner off side and will create an uphill battle to regain his or her support.

Apart from helping to create a strong and good first impression, the introduction serves two roles as part of the standard three element structure of any piece of writing introduction; main body or argument; conclusion). The first role is to provide the reader with the context of the research. To fulfil this role, the introduction provides the reader with the relevant background information that helps him or her to make sense of the research and its need to be carried out. This context helps the reader understand and interpret the results as well as any inferences or arguments that originate from the research. The second role of the introduction is to set out your study’s research questions and explain how you will address and answer these questions in the thesis. In other words, the introduction acts as a guide that explains the structural, and perhaps methodological, approaches taken in the thesis, allowing the reader to successfully navigate through your arguments to the final conclusion.

The introductory chapter is an essential part of the thesis, and one that demands an adequate investment of time and effort. If you need additional support in this regard, the experts at the PhD Consultancy can help you with any aspect of creating a powerful introduction for your PhD thesis.