This post will provide step by step guide on how you can commence the Background to the Study in chapter one of your research thesis or dissertation with ease. Before we proceed to the topic proper, I will like to ask a question: Is it Background to the Study or Background of the Study? Well, you can drop the answer using the comment section.

Every research thesis or dissertation starts with a background to the study. The Background of the study provides the reader with essential background information and explains why the research was (will be) conducted in the first place.

What is Background to the study?

Background to the study is these segment that grabs the readers’ attention by establishing information that the reader need to gain a deeper understanding of the selected research topic. Hence, it is not surprising that it needs to be in the first chapter of the research.

The context of the study is set by the background of the study. This section explains why this particular research topic is crucial to understanding the main parts of the study. Usually, the background is the first part of a research article or thesis. It explains why the study needs to be done and what it hopes to achieve.

No matter how surprising and important the findings of your study are if you do not give the reader enough background information, they won’t be able to understand why you chose to study the problem you did and why you think your study is important.

When you are trying to write a background to study for your research, you might think about what makes up “Background Information” in a thesis, dissertation or research paper.

The background to the study primarily explains where the research journey began, why you were interested in the topic, and how you formulated the research question that will be specified later. This means that you should first establish the background of the study by providing a broad overview of the topic or subject, followed by a discussion of the significant issues that led to your decision to study that specific problem you identified.

Once the reader understands where you are coming from and why the research you are going to present is needed probably because there was a gap in the current research or because there is an obvious problem with a currently used process or technology you can move on to forming your research question and summarizing how you are going to answer it in the rest of your research work.

Also, it is important to know what the background to the study in the research work should Include.

You ought, to begin with, a general overview, which is as follows: When the reader has a firm grip on the primary topic (or issues), you should then comment on the current state of the field (in basic research) or the procedure, practice, or product application that you explain (in practical or applied research). Cite all relevant research that has previously reported on the topic of interest, but has either been unable to expose specific functions of it or has hinted that it may be engaged in more processes than we presently understand it to be involved in.

Alternately, you may make a list of the reports that were produced by the education ministries of the country that are of interest, putting extra emphasis on the data that illustrates the requirement for research into the effects of either teaching or learning.

Is there anything that could be considered controversial concerning the topic that you’re interested in, that needs to be stated or addressed? Have earlier claims or assumptions been made about this topic by other scholars, institutions, or politicians? If so, do you think these statements need to be clarified?

When producing this list of details, you are also required to what strategies or approaches have been employed in the course of previous research, and then explain why you plan to employ the same or a different strategy this time around.

The reader should have had no trouble following you from the general information presented first to the specific details that you will present later in your research thesis because you arranged the background of your study in such a way that it is logically consistent with the rest of the dissertation.

You are now able to describe why your research is essential, how it fits into the wider picture, as well as what its goals and objectives are simply and straightforwardly. You can accomplish all of this through your research work. In research papers, the background to the study may be followed by the statement of the problem or Problem Statement whereas in a dissertation or thesis, it comes after the background to the study.

There is a need for coherence and as such, your Background to the study needs to be arranged as if you are telling a story with your Research objectives. I recommend drafting the research objectives first before any other part of the thesis/dissertation. The reason behind this is that it helps you to organize your content chronologically.

Steps to writing Background to the Study in Thesis/dissertation

A good Background to the study should include the following:

The background section should include broad information on the subject of your research and highlight its primary objectives. It should provide reviews of the study field. Please ensure to highlight only the most important components of the study that led to your objectives. They should be elaborated upon in the section on the literature review.

The background section should present your findings in chronological order to emphasize the field’s advancements and the gaps that need to be addressed. It should contain current information regarding the problem of the study as well as past research on the subject. It must provide a history of the issue of the study based on past research on the topic.

Do not forget to avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing.

The background should be composed of a summary of your interpretation of prior research and the objectives of your investigation.


Errors to avoid while writing Background to study:

When you are composing the background, try to avoid making it either too long or too short. Include all of the relevant facts while keeping your writing brief (3-6pages maximum. Please refer to your school guideline for proper direction).

Avoid being disorganized. If you do not cover the topics in chronological order, the reader may become confused about the development of the field/research topic. Therefore plan your writing carefully.

Don’t be unclear. Avoid writing in a manner that undermines the objective of the thesis/dissertation, and bear in mind that the reader is unfamiliar with your study. It is assumed that you are teaching them what you know and about to carry out.

Avoid discussing unrelated topics. Try to focus your discussion on the most important parts of your research issue, such as the literature gaps, the novelty of the study, and the need to undertake the research.

Summary -Steps to writing Background to the Study

In summary, below are the key information you need to go home with (Oh! sorry, I thought you are in the classroom).

Start your thesis/dissertation/Research paper by developing your objectives. This serves as a roadmap.

Introduce the topic by stating what’s already known

Discuss the keywords as presented in your research objectives, chronologically

End it with a paragraph that can easily connect to your next section which is problem Statement.

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