Introduction

Confirmation Reports >> Introduction

The Introduction contextualises the proposed research by outlining the background to the research, the approach adopted to achieve the objectives of the study and its expected contribution to the field. A well-written Introduction provides the reader with a good understanding of the study, its aims, and its theoretical basis and rationalises the research approach that is proposed. 

Pre-reading activity
The following extract is the Introduction to a Confirmation Report in Electrical Engineering.
Use the palette below to colour the sentences which provide the following information.
Click on the button ‘Check answers’ to see the answer. Click on the numbers in superscript in the answer key to see the answers explained.

  1. A definition
  2. The research topic
  3. The research gap
  4. An overview of the information included in the report
  5. The objective of the proposed study
  6. The expected contribution of the proposed study

 

High Frequency AC (HFAC) power distribution system concerns the delivery of power at multi-kHz frequency via electric cables.1 Early work on HFAC has demonstrated the many potential benefits of HFAC systems. Compared with traditional AC and DC systems, the merit of HFAC is distinct; including flexibility to meet different voltage levels, ease of electrical isolation using high frequency transformers, as well as the prospect of significant savings in component size, count and weight. High frequency operation can also improve the dynamic response and reduces or eliminates high-frequency acoustic noise.

Despite the many perceived benefits, the application of HFAC is still rare. The main disadvantages are the additional challenges of higher EMI and higher crosstalk, skin and proximity effect losses in cable, as well as the difficulty of PFC and harmonic compensation.2 In view of the deficiency and challenges, the application of HFAC is limited.3

This report first discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the HFAC system, the shortage for application extension and then provides a detailed account of the proposed study of the HFAC distribution system.4 It is envisaged that there will be considerable interest in the application of HFAC in the emerging markets such as in microgrids and in renewable energy areas, where there increasing demands for high power conversion efficiency and system flexibility.5

Adapted from J. Liu. “Investigation of Power Conversion and Control Scheme for High Frequency AC Power Distribution System”, Dept. of Elect. Eng., Hong Kong Polytechnic University (no date).
 

The ‘purpose’ of an Introduction to a Confirmation Report refers to its communicative function –to present a concise picture of the proposed research and justify its methodological approach as a viable solution to the research gap it aims to address. It allows the Confirmation Panel and supervisor to understand the background to the study and the suitability of the proposed research for a doctoral thesis. In order to achieve this purpose, an Introduction needs to introduce the research problem, its proposed solution and a justification of why the solution is appropriate. An Introduction for a Confirmation Report has six main communicative functions. To fulfil these functions, the author needs to complete the six moves as outlined below.

 

General
  1. To identify the specific research topic and establish its significance
  2. To review and evaluate the literature that informs the proposed research
  3. To identify the research gap (also sometimes termed ‘statement of the problem’), the study aims to address
  4. To outline the objectives/indicate how the general research approach to the study addresses the research gap being investigated
  5. To identify the expected contribution of the proposed study
  6. To signal the organisation of information in the report
Specific

Note: Although the Introduction to a Confirmation Report is normally expected to include the above six moves, in some Engineering disciplines the contribution of the study and the organisation of the report (the last two moves) are often not included. Candidates are advised to check with their supervisor and follow the disciplinary conventions in their field.

Activity 1

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