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How to write the Introduction

INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND
This is the part that is supposed to give the reader a clear idea of what your research is all about. Remember,
clear idea. So you cannot just go discussing anything you come across without understanding how it relates to what
you want to achieve in the end.
Here are some of the points you have to cover to make sure that you are writing your Introduction properly.
A proper Introduction will give the reader a strong vision of the direction you want your project to take.
1. Present the problems and concerns which brought you to choose to work on your proposal. You should do this
without using the word I and without presenting your proposal just yet.
2. Inform your reader of the present scenario -- the present conditions and the problems that you feel need to be
solved . These would include such aspects such as technical problems; absence/incompatibility of present site;
need for proper planning; need for recognition of potentials; etc. Make sure, though, that you stick only to the
relevant factors. Try not to lose focus so early, okay?
3. State the reason/s why it is necessary to conduct the study which will lead to your solution. This is sometimes
called the RATIONALE (which is also a tip: this is where you rationalize what you are doing. Why in the world
must you do this!? Will it make the world a better place?)
4. Does your problem have a historical background? Most problems do. Trace it. Then present it clearly and
coherently. But be careful about delving too much on the historical context. Once you've connected the historical
events with present developments and the problem at hand, move on.
5. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have a clearer and deeper understanding of the conditions pertinent to your
problem? Do you want to find a way to solve it? If there are already existing ways of solving it, are you interested
in going the extra mile to come up with a better solution? If your answer to these questions is a resounding YES!,
then tell your reader so (again: do not use I and do not actually address your reader). All you have to do here is
convince your reader that your project is worth your effort and the readers attention.
6. Describe the conditions of your study locale. You should do this in an informative manner which is not too
technical for readers with no background in architecture. And you should do this whether the locality is being used
as a source of basic data or a targeted site for application.
7. Wrap up. Before you start with the next part, make sure that you have linked all the things youve discussed. Do
not leave the reader wondering where on earth you got the idea of conducting this study. If you can come up with
a clever parting statement here, then by all means, DO!

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


This is composed of a GENERAL STATEMENT of a MAJOR PROBLEM and SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
or SUB PROBLEMS pertaining to your research topic. If you have formulated them in the Introduction, you only
need to repeat them in this section.

Since you will be focusing on several RESEARCH TOPICS, you may be able to come up with different
specific needs that may be addressed by your thesis. The specific needs that you have identified are supposed to
make your project unique from other studies. Let your reader know this by stating your problem in a SIMPLE,
CLEAR and DIRECT manner.
ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH GOAL/OBJECTIVES/STRATEGIES
ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH GOAL. There is one very important word here and that is
ARCHITECTURAL. You can begin selling your project here by defining what kind of STRUCTURE you
want to see in the translation of your study. A brief description of the outcome could also help so that a conceivable
image may be formed. Keep in mind that you are doing an architectural thesis. Refrain from devising
PROGRAMS for the operations of your project.
OBJECTIVES Objectives are more SPECIFIC targets which eventually leads to the attainment of your
architectural goal. You may want to group them by certain categories as determined by your goal, or arrange them
according to importance. For time-specific objectives, a chronological arrangement may be more advisable.
Though you havent defined your conceptual and theoretical frameworks at this point, you must have a
clear idea of what their basis would be (clue: RESEARCH TOPICS?). Therefore, make sure that your objectives
are consistent with the topics that you want to work on. Again remember the keyword: architectural!
Strategies are simply particular actions you have to do to achieve each specific objective. Forget about
architectural for a while and focus on RESEARCH WORK. What do you need to know, study, research on, survey,
observe, estimate or program in order to create a body of knowledge that will lead to meeting your objectives.
It would, therefore, be more comprehensible if you follow the succeeding outline in stating your thesis
goals, objectives and strategies.
As you enumerate the objectives and strategies, keep checking their relevance to your goal. If you do not
see a direct relationship, scrap the objective before you get carried away identifying the strategies. And please be
consistent with your sentence structure. If you begin the GOAL and the first OBJECTIVE with To + verb...., use
the format until you ran out of objectives to state. Strategies are a totally different thing. They are structured in
the imperative form (the better to scare you into doing them, perhaps?).

SCOPE and LIMITATIONS


SCOPE OF THE STUDY
It is very important that you state in the clearest manner possible the coverage of your study and project.
To do this, you must first ask yourself what you need to do and why you need to do them. Once youve identified
these you can again categorize or group them to gauge the task better.
Lets say you will be covering a lot of investigation with respect to the site. Identify what you need to know
as required by your project. Then lets say again that you also have to conduct deeper research about your thesis
topic/s. Do you know why? Of course, you do. Write your purposes. Elaborate if possible. Then lets say further
that youll be conducting case studies. What will be your subjects? What will you be looking into? Will it be the

locale, the users, the activities, what? Then (as you may have already guessed) you have to explain why. Then lets
say you stop. Good.

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY


Most researchers make the mistake of using this part of the paper to state simply what their project will
NOT be about. But then again, who said that you are like most researchers? Youre not, right? Right. So make this
a statement of the constraints or limiting factors that might affect your research, and therefore, the final output.
Some examples would be budgetary limits (dont we all have this??), unavailability or inaccessibility of data, and
of course our favorite excuse: time constraints
However, these limitations are determined only to keep your study at a realistic level and in no way should
be used as an excuse for personal shortcomings or blocks in the outcome of the project.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY


Who will benefit from your studies? How can this study be of any help in fostering a better architecture?
These are few of the questions you have to take into consideration in writing the significance of your thesis. This
may deal with the social, economic or cultural aspects of the project. You can even combine or address all of the
aspects if you like. But HOLD IT! Do not think of yourself as some kind of a God who can actually SOLVE the
problems with your research in blink of an eye. You can not alleviate poverty nor improve the whole bureaucratic
system through your study. But it can be a TOOL. ( and it MUST be a tool if that is what you aim). Always keep
in mind that you are an architect, not a psychologist, sociologist, physician nor a politician. And so you must always
direct your discussions on the ARCHITECTURAL aspect of your work. Oftentimes, you are carried away by the
description drawn from the clients project proposals and thereby forgetting the architectural contributions you
want your project to have. Example, if you are working on a Rehabilitation Center for Drug Dependents, you will
not say that your thesis can actually heal these addicts. Instead, you can state your possible contributions, as an
architect, to meet this concern.
ASSUMPTIONS
The research, though a theoretical exercise which need no immediate application, should however be as
REALISTIC and ACHIEVABLE as possible. It would only mean that you will be dealing with assumptions which
will support your study and give substance to your work. These may be conditions where you base your study that
need some validation through key informants you have interviewed. Your clients name, the possible funding
source, the organization who will run the proposal and the likes are examples of these. Your assumptions can be of
great help when dealing with programming and cost analysis. Further, it can bring your project into a more realistic
sense and create a more formidable framework for the design.

DEFINITION OF TERMS and CONCEPTS


One caution in doing this: This is NOT a mini-dictionary. And so you are reminded that you will just write
words that you believe are TOO TECHNICAL for your readers. Do not include terms which are only unfamiliar
to you. You might end up doing a list of terms for you and not your readers.
The following are some guidelines in writing an effective definition of terms:
1. Only terms, words or phrases which have special or unique meanings in the study are defined. Example:
Learning areas may be defined as a classroom, but may take another meaning as to what your study is all about,
say a laboratory or a drafting room.
2. Terms should be defined operationally, that is, how they are used in your study. For instance the study is about
accessibility. What do you mean by accessibility? To make the meaning clear you have to define what covers the
term, essential for a clearer understanding of your study.
3. You may develop your own definition from the characteristics of the term defined. Thus, a house made of light
materials may be defined as one made of bamboo, nipa, buri, etc. This is also an operational definition.
4. Definitions may be taken from valid sources. Encyclopedias, reference books, magazines and newspapers are
samples of these. And hey, because these are printed and published materials, you need to acknowledge them in
any form possible. Definitions taken from these kinds of materials are called conceptual or theoretical definitions.
5. Acronyms should always be spelled out especially they are not commonly known or if they were used for the
first time. You may be using and typing the same long meaning of Department of Environment and Natural
Resources for a hundred times or even more along your work. So dont you think DENR would be a better
alternative?
6. Use simple words in defining your terms. It would be more complicated if you will not, and therefore building
another bulk of things to be defined.
7. Definitions should be as brief, clear and direct as possible.