How to write a thesis introduction: 10 steps to a successful first chapter

How to write a thesis introduction: 10 steps to a successful first chapter

10 steps to a successful thesis introduction

Writing your thesis introduction will include some but perhaps not all of the following 10 steps. As I will explain they are also not necessarily written in this order – but they will appear in this order once the chapter is complete.

  1. State the general topic and give some background
  2. Provide a review of the literature related to the topic
  3. Define the terms and scope of the topic
  4. Outline then evaluate the current situation, identify the gap
  5. Identify the importance of the proposed research
  6. State the research problem/ questions
  7. State the research aims and/or research objectives
  8. State the hypotheses (if you have)
  9. Outline the methodology
  10. Outline the chapter structure of the thesis
What tenses should I use?
  • A variety of tenses can be used in the thesis introduction. Here are some examples:
  • For facts – simple present tense
  • For general statements about the level of research activity – present perfect tense (active or passive)
  • For referring to the findings of other authors – simple past tense
  • Stating the problem or gap in knowledge – simple present tense
  • Stating the contribution – modal auxiliary verbs (would, could, will, may, might etc.)
  • Stating the purpose of the report – simple present tense or simple past tense
  • Writing the structure of the thesis part – simple present
How long should it be?

The answer to this question very much depends on how much literature you are going to include. If your second chapter is an extensive literature review then there is no point including too much of it in the introduction. In this case 6-10 pages will probably be enough. If you are not having an extensive literature review as a separate chapter then your introduction could be as long as 30 pages.

If you need help with your thesis introduction or any other part of your thesis then contact me so we can discuss your requirements.