The limitations where you explain what the potential shortcomings and limitations of your research may be.
So, to present your research problem, you need to make it clear what exactly is missing in the current literature and why this is a problem. It’s usually a good idea to structure this discussion into three sections – specifically:
How to structure the Introduction of my Master’s thesis? [closed]
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My question is not about the structure of an entire thesis, but just about the Introduction chapter. At the moment, it consists of the following sections:
It’s very short (I’m trying to keep the complete thesis below ~50 pages), but there is more or less everything I wanted to say.
I disagree on the second point. Since I’m introducing different stuff, it’s nice to be able to quickly understand what I’m talking about. Second, I never read that you should not put images or tables in the Introduction. So my questions are: (1) should I remove the Sections? and (2) should I remove the only image I have in the Introduction (it’s more of a diagram that I describe in the main text)?
P.S. My supervisor does not work in academia and I’m not sure how many theses he has supervised. Moreover, my Department does not have any sort of guidelines for writing a thesis.
Usually introductions don’t have images as a general rule. Usually introductions are written to outline the conceptual background. Images tend to be in the results and discussion..
3 Answers 3
Declare why the problem needs solving, what the problem is and what a solution will look like, and how you have intended to go about the business of getting from the former to the latter. In addition to this, it can be relevant to quote specific earlier research that you will be building your thesis upon. Maybe a reaction path, a lemma, whatever depending on which field it of course is.
1.1. Background: Basic issues in the field and history/related science. Few pages, WITH numbered subsections of 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc. (Subsections are good–don’t do a text splat!) A few basic clarifying images (from the field, not from your research) are totally fine here. In a teaching, explanatory mode, "here’s the lay of the land", but not a deep analysis. If you feel the need/tendency to debate or discuss the historical work (or images) versus your results, I would do that in the results chapters, in the context of comparison to your research, not in Background. But simple clarifying images of the basic background are fine and even desirable.
1.2. Research objective: What you tried to do. And/or how the study evolved over time. E.g. narrowing/shifting scope, pursuit of a discovery. This should be a single short paragraph. No images or tables.
1.3. Thesis overview: This is also a single short paragraph, with no images or text. Do NOT call it "conclusion". And don’t really summarize the findings. That belongs in the meat of the report, in the abstract or in the actual Conclusions CHAPTER. All you are doing here is giving a road map, describing the document. For example:
"Chapter 1, Introduction, reviews the history of dilithium research and the objectives of this project. Chapter 2, Experimental Methods, describes how the research was conducted. Chapters 3 through 5, respectively discuss the microstructure, macrostructure and Scottish dialect responsiveness of dilithium. Chapter 6, Conclusions, contains a brief summary of key findings as well as ideas for future research."
- Experimental methods [May not need to be a separate chapter. If you have methods that go from chapter to chapter, then I would do a methods chapter. For instance if you do a test that is used in 3 systems. But actually in this dilithium example, the methods are probably more different by section, so you might be better off doing them within the individual results chapters.]
6.2. Future research ideas (extension of the work, fixing things you couldn’t fix during the project, etc.)
6.3. Implications [A carefully caveated discussion of how the research might affect dilithium vendors or spaceship captains/engineers. The idea is not to claim something you haven’t proven, but also not the "hide the light under a bushel". Try to translate something to people in other fields. Of course with ample caveats if you have not done economic or operational assessments.]
Don t make assumptions about the reader s knowledge in most cases, your markers will not be able to ask you questions if they don t understand something. Just because you re writing an academic paper doesn t mean you can ignore the basic principles of engaging writing used by marketers, bloggers, and journalists.
1 – A sentence or two introducing the overall field of your research.