Dissertation Introduction

What is a dissertation introduction?

The dissertation introduction is the first proper part of your dissertation. First it sets out what the reader should expect from your research. Then it explains why you are conducting the research. It also gives an overview of the issue you are examining. Finally, it describes how you have structured your work.

The dissertation introduction usually contains the following sections:

  • Statement of the problem your study will address
  • A brief overview of how the study will be conducted
  • Why this study needs to be conducted and what knowledge it will contribute to the area
  • Constraints and limitations of the study
  • The structure of the dissertation, usually set out as an overview of what each of the chapters will contain

Why is the dissertation introduction important?

The introduction to a dissertation is important as it allows readers immediately to orient themselves. They will be given a clear overview of WHY the dissertation is being written,  and HOW it will be presented. The dissertation introduction therefore gives the reader a descriptive overview of the whole study.


When writing your dissertation introduction you should not go into too much detail. The aim is to present the information, not to go into a lot of depth explaining it. For example, if you are using a case study for your dissertation, you can simply write “This study will examine the problem using the case study approach”. You will go into a lot more detail about anything you say here later in the dissertation. Using the same example, the case study approach will usually be referred to in the literature review alongside a number of other approaches along with the reasons you chose that approach over the other possibilities.

Dissertation introductions are often written in the future tense, such as  “This dissertation will examine…”. This is because your dissertation introduction is talking about what the rest of the dissertation will hold. The assumption is that the introduction is coming “before” the study, even if it is being written after most of the work has been done.

Further reading

What next?

The next section we will be looking at in this series of posts on dissertation structure will be the literature review.

This post is part of a series of posts about each of the sections of a dissertation. Get access to them all from here: https://studentproofreading.co.uk/blog/dissertation-structure/

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