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Writing the Introduction to your Thesis
Title
• It identifies the important concepts of the paper and specifies the major findings or perspective
• Make the title informative and meaningful on its own
• Be specific
• Be concise (avoid “empty” words and phrases)
• Write the title with your audience in mind (don’t discourage or confuse potential readers)
• Avoid highly technical or specialized terminology
• Avoid abbreviations (except those widely recognized like DNA, RNA, etc.)
• The title is often one of the last things written
Introduction
• Sets the stage for your scientific argument and should grab the reader’s interest
• Orient the reader to the research topic by summarizing pertinent literature written and published by other scientists who are doing related research
• Go from general to specific
• Explain the rationale for your study; convince the reader that your research questions are important
• Place your study in the context of previous research
• State your objectives or your hypothesis
• Much of this section will be in the present tense. (The convention for verb tense is as follows: use the past tense when reporting your own immediate findings, and the present tense when discussing the published works of others.)
• The last sentences of the Introduction Section should include (1) a statement of the purpose of the study (the “why”) and (2) the “how” with respect to addressing the purpose. For example: The purpose of the present study was to …. In order to …, we….
• An important aspect of both the Introduction and Discussion sections is that by their nature they include a review of the published literature or a “Literature Review”
Which “Verb Tense” Do I Write In?
CONSISTENCY OF VERB TENSE helps ensure smooth expression in your writing.
USE PAST TENSE. . .
• To describe your methodology and report your results.
• When you write it, its already done.
• When referring to the work of previous researchers.
• To describe a fact, law or finding that is no longer considered valid and relevant.
USE PRESENT TENSE. . .
• To express findings that continue to be true.
• Use present tense to express general truths or facts or conclusions supported by research results that are unlikely to change – in other words, something that is believed to be always true:
• Genetic information is encoded in the sequence of nucleotides on DNA.
• Use the present tense in reference to the thesis or dissertation itself and what it contains, shows, etc.
• To discuss your findings and present your conclusions. Also use present tense to discuss results and their implications.

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