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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!
As you will have already written the literature review, the most prominent authors will already be evident and you can showcase this research to the best of your ability.
One of the main purposes of the background section is to ease the reader into the topic.
It is generally considered inappropriate to simply state the context and focus of your study and what led you to pursue this line of research.
The reader needs to know your research is worth doing.
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.This should set you up well to present your aims and objectives.The ‘value’ section really deserves its own sub-section within your dissertation introduction.You are going to want to begin outlining your background section by identifying crucial pieces of your topic that the reader needs to know from the outset.A good starting point might be to write down a list of the top 5-7 readings/authors that you found most influential (and as demonstrated in your literature review).One key point to remember is that your research focus must link to the background information that you have provided above.While you might write the sections on different days or even different months, it all has to look like one continuous flow.You can do this successfully by identifying the gap in the research and the problem that needs addressing.One common mistake made by students is to justify their research by stating that the topic is interesting to them.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.