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Introduction Chapter


As one may guess, the introduction chapter is the chapter that introduces the thesis's material and provides a brief overview of the argument; the research methods; and, if it seems useful, the history of the thesis's idea (for example, for an English literature thesis, the history of interpretations of the work of literature that the thesis discusses). Students often find introduction chapters to be difficult, because the writing must immediately engage the reader's attention and must be a clear, concise, and accurate reflection of what the thesis does. However, using a two-stage process for the writing of an introduction chapter may ease whatever difficulty the student may feel.

In this two-stage process, one writes a working introduction chapter before writing the rest of the thesis, but he or she then returns and rewrites the introduction as the last step before completing a first draft. In this way, one can review the layout of the argument during the writing process as often as necessary, but he or she does not have to feel pressure to summarize the argument accurately before having composed the argument in full.

According to this two-stage process for developing an introduction chapter, then, the student first writes a few pages that overview the aforementioned elements. These pages do not have to sound eloquent or even grammatically correct; they are for the writer's use only, so that the writer may refer to them in order to remember what points the thesis is arguing and in which sequence.

Then, after the student has completed a first draft of all the subsequent chapters, he or she should return to the introduction pages and rewrite them in earnest. By this time, the student should have an excellent grasp of the material and of the organization of the thesis, which will help him or her write a concrete and effective summary of the argument. The student should write as efficiently but as eloquently as possible in the introduction chapter; he or she may certainly include any relevant anecdotes or witty quotes, but the introduction should verily introduce the thesis.


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