Thesis Research Outline

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There is a tendency to provide too much background information in the introduction.

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.

Clearly, the intricacies of the way to do it would call for a distinct book, but here are a couple techniques I’ve found helpful over time.

You are going to have an idea regarding how you will structure your synthesis paper if you know its objective.

Think of a newspaper article: the first couple of paragraphs provide a brief overview of the story. On the flip side, some students don't provide enough detail.

The danger here is that the reader is left asking questions at the end of the introduction.

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.

Keep things simple here; it's fine to overlook some of the more technical detail at this stage.

Read through your own introduction; is it clear what your contribution is and why it is important? For example, if you present too much background information and literature review before you outline the aim and purpose of the research the reader will struggle to follow, because they won't know why the background information is important.

What we see often is important information being spread throughout the introduction in such a way that the reader has to hunt for it.


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