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Preface of a Dissertation

Every dissertation or thesis should include a preface that describes the role of a student in the work that is presented. The preface is the section where you talk about your experience that you had while writing your dissertation as well as thanking the people who helped you with your dissertation. Preface is usually written in a first person voice and should be written in a style which is personal and yet professional.

The preface of a dissertation is written after completion of a dissertation. It is primarily written in the first person and exhibits a strong personal character.

Parts of a Preface

A Preface has the following components:

  1. A brief personal background of the student
  2. A short note detailing the circumstances or personal experiences that motivated a student to write their dissertation
  3. The target group of people for which the dissertation has been written
  4. Mentioning the division of labor if more than one person has contributed in writing the dissertation.
  5. A note of acknowledgement to every individual as well as institutions who have guided and helped you in writing and checking the dissertation
  6. The preface culminates with your name, and the date at the time of writing your dissertation.

Difference between a Preface and Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements are usually a part of the preface of a dissertation. You acknowledge people who have helped you during the process of writing your dissertation and you thank them and show your gratitude to them for having helped you and supported you during the writing of your dissertation.

You can also write a separate page of acknowledgements section if there are a lot of people to thank. This usually happens in a doctoral dissertation as the process of writing a lengthy document like a doctoral dissertation entails a long duration of time and more often than not involves many people who have been involved in the process of writing your dissertation. .

It is advisable to write only a preface for your dissertation rather than writing both preface and acknowledgements.

Steps to keep in mind while writing a Preface for a Dissertation:

  1. Write a short note on what inspired you to research and write on this topic, if applicable.
  2. The preface should be no longer than four to five paragraphs.
  3. Elucidate on why your chosen topic is important.
  4. State your target audience
  5. Give your readers a glimpse or an idea of what to expect in your dissertation
  6. Interesting insights pertaining to your chosen topic
  7. Acknowledgements should follow a functional order wherein the people who have contributed the most to a dissertation are named first.
  8. There should be consistency in the use of first and last names.
  9. Although the preface is personal in nature, one should ensure that the dissertation is written in a professional style.
  10. Address your readers in a direct tone.
  11. The preface should culminate with your name, place name as well as include the date at the time of writing a dissertation.
  12. Ensure that your preface does not exceed two pages.

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