A Thesis or Dissertation Preface – Definition & Examples
A dissertation or a thesis preface is your chance to reflect on your experience during the writing. A preface is similar to reflective essay writing and mainly written in the first person. It is an informal style of connecting with your audience before getting to the actual contents of the thesis or dissertation.
Writing the preface in a thesis or a dissertation is usually the final step of the process.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Dissertation or Thesis Preface
- Reflect on your experiences with the study participants your thesis or dissertation was based around.
- Include any personal affiliations, relationships or circumstances that encouraged you to research in the chosen study area.
- Provide your brief personal background.
- Write your name, date of writing and place of writing at the end of the preface.
- Write either the preface or the acknowledgements. It is a rare practice to write both for the same paper in a dissertation or a thesis. Check your dissertation handbook to avoid making any errors.
- Many students choose to thank the institutions and people who were involved in the research and writing process. However, it is best to acknowledge the professional and personal contacts in a thesis or a dissertation in the acknowledgements section.
Dissertation Preface Example
Here is an example of how to write a thesis or a dissertation preface. A preface is the only place in the dissertation where you can use the first person, so consider adopting a personalised yet formal style.
Dissertation Preface Example
You are reading the Master’s dissertation on “The Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis on the Chinese Economic Development – A Case Study of the Chinese Imports Industry”. I completed this thesis to fulfil the requirements of the Masters in Business Administration Programme at Birmingham University. I worked on this project for six months, starting in August 2021 and ending in February 2022.
In the past, I was reluctant to work in research areas that forced me to step outside my comfort zone. However, while working on a Master’s thesis, I wanted to research a unique and different topic that challenged me. Collecting data about the Chinese import industry is a complex area to crack because China limits the availability of sensitive data that might be important to the government. However, I am delighted to have faced this challenge head-on, which improved my ability to research complex issues more efficiently. Indeed, this dissertation has helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Words cannot express my gratitude for my supervisor and Dr James Alexander, whose role was instrumental throughout the research and writing process. Dr James remained patient with me even when I was panicking. He provided excellent guidance and regular feedback, enabling me to enhance my knowledge and polish my research skills. I would also like to thank Ms Xao from the BGC Trade Group of Beijing for her contribution in arranging the means for the data collection.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge my friends, family members, parents, and my per for their emotional support. I couldn’t have made it this far without their help. I hope you enjoy reading this thesis.
Loughborough Town, August 3, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
The preface of a thesis or dissertation is usually written at the end as a final step of the process. Generally, the preface is written after the main body of the thesis or dissertation is completed but before the appendices and references. It is usually included in the table of contents and is often the first section of the thesis or dissertation that readers will encounter.
A preface in a dissertation is an introductory section that appears before the main body of the dissertation. It is typically a brief statement that provides context and background information for the research presented in the dissertation.
A preface is a place where the author can acknowledge the contributions and support of others who helped in the research process, as well as explain the purpose and scope of the project. It may also include a statement of the author’s motivation for undertaking the research or a discussion of any challenges or limitations encountered during the research process.
You should avoid the following in the dissertation or thesis preface.
- Either write the preface or the acknowledgements.
- You should also acknowledge the professional and personal contacts.