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A few weeks ago, I had a post on writing introductions, in which I discussed the standard three moves of an introduction.This model works very naturally in a short space such as a research proposal or article but can be harder to realize on the bigger canvas of a thesis introduction.
One possibility: look to see if your campus is having a Three Minutes Thesis competition this term; the first round at U of T is being held on March 22.
When I approach a thesis introduction, I start from the assumption that the reader shouldn’t have to wait to hear your guiding problem until they have the full context to that problem.
As we saw above, quite how much information you present in your thesis will depend on whether you have a standalone literature review or methods chapter.
What you want to avoid is any unnecessary repetition. You need to present just enough information to contextualise your study and to be able to situate your aims, research questions an argument, but not too much that you end up confusing and bombarding the reader.
Writers—especially writers in the throes of trying to conceptualize a book length research project—often forget that the audience’s ability to engage with the topic is mediated by the text.
There is a tendency to provide too much background information in the introduction.
While I realize that it may sound a little rigid, I think such an approach is warranted here.
Using this type of structure can give thesis writers an opportunity to come to a much better understanding of what they are trying to say.
Unless you are explicitly avoiding a standalone literature review chapter, the introduction is not the place to review the literature.
Sure, you will need to situate your study in a body of literature, but the introduction isn't the place to critically discuss it or justify its inclusion in that literature.