Q: What type of content should be included in the introduction section of a thesis?

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I am now writing the manuscript of my thesis to submit for publication. What type of content has to be included to make it a good introduction?

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Answer:

In a thesis, the idea of the introduction is to provide a roadmap of the study. At a broad level, the introduction should address the What, Why, and How of the study.

  • What: The topic you are studying
  • Why: The reason you are studying this topic (your interest in it and the relevance for the target population)
  • How: The methods you plan to use to study the topic

You can break down these broad points into the following structure and sequence. Note that this is only a suggested sequence; you may modify it to suit the purpose of your study.

  • Provide a short background to set the context for the study.
  • State the topic of the study.
  • Write a review of related literature to share key learning and insights.
  • Define terms as needed, that is, only new ones relevant to your study and not well-known ones.
  • Describe and analyze the existing situation or conditions.
  • Identify gaps based on the analysis of the existing situation or conditions.
  • Explain the significance of your study, for both the field and for the target population.
  • Explain the aim of the research.
  • Express the research problem and research question.
  • State the hypothesis.
  • Provide a brief explanation of the methodology, that is, the experiments and resources you will employ to conduct the study.

The introduction is meant to interest and draw in your reader to the rest of the paper. So, while you cover all the necessary points, ensure that you write in an engaging manner and provide just the right amount of information and details, neither too much nor too little.

To help you in drafting the thesis, here are some resources: