At the beginning of the Introduction Chapter you will briefly want to inform the reader in one or two paragraphs of the basic issue by presenting a brief overview of the current study. This introduction is normally untitled because it will stand out from the rest of the chapter.

Statement of the Problem

Next, I suggest you include a section called the Statement of the Problem, which will define the condition in society that is a legitimate problem. It will almost always cause pain and suffering for a particular group of individuals as well as a loss of money.

Background of the Problem

Without a legitimate verifiable problem, there would be no need for the study. At many universities, a section entitled the Background of the Problem is mandated. Here, you can also provide a description of the conditions or circumstances that led to the identifiable the problem.

When possible it is best to trace chronologically the point in time when there was no problem through the events that led to the present problem. In making your case, you will need to rely on journal articles and/or government reports to validate the problem.

Purpose of the Study

The next section is usually the Purpose of the Study, which will attempt to answer the “central question of research.” This should be a comprehensive statement that includes the research approach, the subjects/participants or data sources, and the constructs of the study.

Here is an example of a fictitious Purpose of the Study:

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to identify the perceptions, thoughts, and experiences of elementary school teachers in Southern California regarding their successful strategies and techniques used to teach students who score high on standardized tests in language arts (reading, writing, and comprehension).

Theoretical Framework

The Theoretical Framework is an additional section in this chapter where you can present the theories or theoretical conceptualizations that become the foundation upon which the study will be built. I suggest you propose two or more theories that you have integrated. If you propose one theory, the risk is that someone on the committee will ask you to collect enough data to validate that theory.

This is a risky and difficult approach, as I have learned from previous clients who have had difficulty trying to validate a theory. If possible you may want to adapt two or three theories to your design, which is more creative.

Additional sections usually include:

  • Research Questions
  • Importance of the Study
  • Definition of Terms

Each dissertation is unique; therefore, you need to custom design it. You can’t simply plug in a formula. Many dissertations are seen as a recipe, wherein everything needs to be done in a certain sequence. You must understand that it actually doesn’t work that way. All parts of the dissertation should always be open for revision.

When the Statement of the Problem, Purpose of the Study, and Research Questions are written in alignment with one another, you will have the foundation of the critical three components of your dissertation.