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In writing the background information, one to two pages is plenty.
There are opportunities to combine these sections to best suit your needs.
There are also opportunities to add in features that go beyond these four points.
For example, some students like to add in their research questions in their dissertation introduction so that the reader is not only exposed to the aims and objectives but also has a concrete framework for where the research is headed.
Other students might save the research methods until the end of the literature review/beginning of the methodology.
While you may have a glossary or list of abbreviations included in your dissertation, your background section offers some opportunity for you to highlight two or three essential terms.
When reading a background section, there are two common mistakes that are most evident in student writing, either too little is written or far too much!
It’s fair to assume that because the abstract and introduction are the first chapters to be read by someone reading your dissertation, it means they must be written first also. You’ll actually be far better off writing your dissertation introduction, conclusion and abstract after you have written all the other parts of the dissertation. Firstly, writing retrospectively means that your dissertation introduction and conclusion will ‘match’ and your ideas will all be tied up nicely. If you write your introduction before anything else, it’s likely your ideas will evolve and morph as your dissertation develops.
And then you’ll just have to go back and edit or totally re-write your introduction again.
We’ve also identified some common mistakes often made by students in their writing so that you can steer clear of them in your work.
While the ‘background information’ usually appears first in a dissertation introduction, the structure of the remaining three points is completely up to you.