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Dissertation/thesis introduction chapter template
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What’s Included: Introduction Template

This template covers all the core components required in the introduction chapter/section of a typical dissertation or thesis, including:

  1. The opening section
  2. Background of the research topic
  3. Statement of the problem
  4. Rationale (including the research aims, objectives, and questions)
  5. Scope of the study
  6. Significance of the study
  7. Structure of the document

The purpose of each section is clearly explained, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required, along with links to additional free resources (articles, videos, etc.) to help you along your research journey.

The cleanly formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too.

Thesis Introduction FAQS
What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard format for academic research projects, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of dissertations and theses (especially those within the sciences), whether they are qualitative or quantitative in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the introduction chapter/section will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the introduction chapter to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

Can I share this template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, we kindly request that you reference this page as your source.

What format is the template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The dissertation introduction chapter template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What is the core purpose of this chapter?

The introduction chapter of a dissertation or thesis serves to introduce the research topic, clearly state the research problem, and outline the main research questions. It justifies the significance of the study, delineates its scope, and provides a roadmap of the dissertation’s structure.

In a nutshell, the introduction chapter sets the academic tone and context, laying the foundation for the subsequent analysis and discussion.

How long should the introduction chapter be?

This depends on the level of study (undergrad, Master or Doctoral), as well as your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, introduction chapters for Masters-level projects are usually 1,500 – 2,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects can reach multiples of this.

How specific should the research objectives be in the introduction chapter?

In this chapter, your research objectives should be specific enough to clearly define the scope and direction of your study, but broad enough to encompass its overall aims.

Make sure that each objective can be realistically accomplished within the scope of your study and that each objective is directly related to and supports your research question(s).

As a rule of thumb, you should leave in-depth explanations for later chapters; the introduction should just provide a concise overview.

Can I mention the research results in the introduction?
Generally, results are not detailed in the introduction but may be briefly mentioned if they are crucial for understanding the research’s significance. Double check with your research advisor/supervisor if you’re unsure.
How do I link the introduction to the literature review?

To transition smoothly from the introduction chapter to the literature review chapter in a thesis, it’s a good idea to:

  1. Conclude the introduction by summarising the main points, such as the research problem, objectives, and significance of your study.
  2. Explicitly state that the following chapter (literature review) will explore existing research and theoretical frameworks related to your topic.
  3. Emphasise how the literature review will address gaps or issues identified in the introduction, setting the stage for your research question or hypothesis.
  4. Use a sentence that acts as a bridge between the two chapters. For example, “To further understand this issue, the next chapter will critically examine the existing literature on [your topic].”

This approach will help form a logical flow and prepare the reader for the depth and context provided in the literature review.

Do you have templates for the other chapters?

Yes, we do. We are constantly developing our collection of free resources to help students complete their dissertations and theses. You can view all of our template resources here.

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Yes, you’re welcome to get in touch with us to discuss our private coaching services.

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