How to write a thesis or dissertation – Table of contents/Introduction

Table of Contents

The table of contents is built using your word processing software. It is constructed automatically from your titles and sub-titles. Do not think about writing your dissertation any other way.


The table of contents allows you to visualise the structure of your document. Use it, from the moment you start writing.

Introduction and context

Length : 5 to 8 pages

Here is some typical content for this section:

  • This is what we will focus on, this is the question to be studied.
  • This is the context – the company or domain.
  • Why is this an issue for this company in this field?
  • How is it treated?
  • What do we hope to discover?

The purpose of this part is only to provide context. Results should not appear here.

The business, the field

  • Describe as applicable: the company, the branch, the site, the market sector, the personnel, etc.
  • Give a quick overview of key figures, activities, history.
  • What is special about the company, or the field, that led naturally to the problem being studied?

The question

  • How does the problem manifest?
  • Who is affected?
  • What are the consequences?
  • Why fix it?
  • What do we need to know?
  • What is the issue at hand?
  • To discover what?
  • What are the hidden issues behind this and how to respond?

Explain the outline of the dissertation, as if you were telling a story.


Don’t be boring and inefficient. Avoid lines such as: “First we will review the literature. Then we will present the methods used, etc.” Instead, tell a story that shows the questions and answers presented as a quest, a journey


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