Dissertation Preface – Components & Guide

19.05.23 Dissertation structure & sections Time to read: 6min

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A dissertation preface allows the author to share personal reflections with the reader. It’s like an introduction to your dissertation. So, unlike other academic writing, it tends to be more conversational and informal. In this article, we’ll go over what a dissertation preface is, what to include in it, and why it’s important. So, whether you’re just starting your dissertation or you’re almost done, understanding how to write a good preface can make your work even stronger.

In a nutshell: Dissertation preface

  • Planning what to include in the dissertation preface is important before you start writing.
  • Identifying your audience ahead of time can help them better connect to the content you will be producing.
  • An effective introduction will do more than summarize the work that follows; it will also draw the reader in.

Definition: Dissertation preface

A dissertation preface is used to introduce the reader to the major body of your work. Its major purpose is to familiarise the reader with the dissertation’s subject and to provide a synopsis of the content, rationale for writing, and overall organization. Typically, a dissertation’s preface will introduce you to the author, the research methodology, and the overall objectives of the work.

The preface goals are to set the stage for the reader, establish the relevance of the issue at hand, and offer a synopsis of the relevant prior research. Moreover, this section allows the author to publicly thank and recognize anybody who had a role in facilitating the study. Generally, a dissertation preface establishes the work’s tone and introduces the reader to the work’s structure.

On the other hand, the format and arrangement of a dissertation preface may change based on the academic institution’s specifications or rules.

I. Introduction

    • Background information and research justification
    • Research goals or questions
    • Methodology
    • Study’s importance

II. Acknowledgments

    • In the acknowledgments section, you write an appreciation for all who helped or supported the dissertation project.

III. Personal statement

    • Here is where consideration of one’s background and interests in the study area.

IV. Organization of the dissertation

    • This part includes summaries of the chapters and their contents.

How to write a dissertation preface

Composing a preface could present challenges because it calls for carefully balancing your words to inform and captivate readers. So, if you are struggling with writing a dissertation preface, consider these helpful tips.

  • Introduce your topic:
    Start by briefly presenting the subject of your dissertation and outlining the overall scope of the subject area, justifying why you chose it. This approach will enable readers to comprehend the context and significance of your study.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others:
    First, thank your supervisor and others who have helped you throughout your research journey. This section is also an excellent opportunity to explain any ethical or logistical issues you encountered during your research and how you resolved them.
  • Provide a brief overview of the structure:
    This will help readers understand the organization of your research and how the various chapters of your dissertation fit together.
  • Write in a clear and concise style:
    Your preface should be easy to read and understand, so avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your readers. Remember that your preface reflects your dissertation, so take the time to write it well.
  • Describe how you conducted your study:
    Including the methods you used to gather and analyse data, in the introduction. The reader will appreciate this clarification of your work’s background.
  • End on a note of gratitude:
    To wrap off your introduction, express gratitude to everybody who has aided you. Similarly, you may discuss the significance of being given the chance to write a dissertation.

Following these steps will help you write a thorough preface for your dissertation preface that sets the scene and gives credit where credit is due.

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 What is included in a dissertation preface?

In a dissertation preface, writers usually explain why they did the study, the things they researched, and why they wanted to do the project. The writer can thank people or places that helped with the research. Some things you might want to write at the beginning of your dissertation are:

  • The author chose the topic for its relevance to the subject or personal interest.
  • The author’s question or ideas for investigation.
  • This is how we did our research.
  • Thanking individuals or organizations who helped or supported.
  • Any restrictions on gathering or studying data during research.
  • A short description of how the dissertation is organized.

Basically, the beginning of a dissertation preface should tell readers what the writer is studying and what they hope to accomplish in the rest of the dissertation.

Example of a dissertation preface

Example 1: Dissertation preface by a single writer

The motivation for undertaking this research project initially stemmed from my longstanding desire to create a written work centred around our nation’s cultural legacy. As we move forward into the future, we must also appreciate and honourour previous experiences. My firm conviction is that the events of the past shape the present, and this document intends to demonstrate this notion.

The collabouration of our institution (named) was essential to achieve this extensive project. Their level of dedication and effort is highly praiseworthy. I am grateful to my dear family for their unwavering support during challenging moments.

Example 2: Dissertation preface by two or more writers

It’s never too late to learn about the culture we belong to. The interesting parts of my community’s way of life motivated me and my colleagues to finish this research paper. The thesis wants to tell people that even though science is important, what brings us together are things we have in common because of our culture. I wrote the beginning part, and my friend (name) wrote the rest, focusing on issues we face today.

We would like to thank our parents for always believing in us and our fellow students, who motivated us. We are fortunate to be connected to this organization. We are genuinely thankful to everyone.


The preface ought to contain details concerning background information about the project. Financial support (if available) is a significant aspect covered in the report.

A brief preface is sufficient, as it does not summarize the main argument. For your thesis to be evaluated by the examiners during the final examination, your supervisor must scrutinize the preface first.

An engageing preface is essential. The information provided should be captivating for the reader, but not critical for comprehending the content. Notable research methodologies are frequently incorporated in the preface.

The author typically writes a preface at the book’s beginning and often communicates in the first person. This outlines the reasons behind the author’s decision to write the book, their journey towards creating it, and the obstacles they encountered.

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