In English literature, it is common to use roman page numbering for the preface and then the Arabic for the actual content of a given book. Then, should the introduction belong to the preface or not? My impression is that, in case of books, the introduction is usually paginated roman, while in theses, it has usually already the Arabic numbers. I am aware this may not be so important. Although, I suppose this rule has some reason; therefore I am wondering, what exactly is this reason?

(I am finishing my thesis now. That's why I ask. Our university does not have any rules regarding this.)

  • 2
    What does your supervisor say?
    – astronat
    May 27 '20 at 14:03
  • 1
    I doubt that it matters at all.
    – Buffy
    May 27 '20 at 14:27

It depends what you mean by introduction.

If your introduction is similar to introductions found in research manuscripts, then the introduction is part of the main body and should use Arabic numbering. On the other hand, if your introduction is metadata, then the introduction is part of the front matter. (Metadata introductions are common in textbooks.)

That said, first and foremost, you should follow your institutes required style.

  • I am not entirely sure, what you mean by the types of introductions. I think usually the introduction includes (1) informal introduction to the topic (in all paper, thesis, book) (2) summary of the main results (in paper and thesis) (3) remarks on the structure and notation (in thesis, book and maybe longer papers). In books, the introduction, as a separate chapter, is often missing with (1) being incorporated to some ordinary chapter(s) and (3) contained in the preface.
    – Daniel
    May 28 '20 at 10:43
  • @Daniel Looking at two books: One has a preface in the front matter, the other has an introduction, both use roman numerals and serve the same purpose-to briefly describe what the book is about, explain structure, conventions, refer to online material, etc. There's no main body content in either and both can be skipped. By comparison, introductions in research papers are more important, they contain material that rightly belongs in the main body and can be crucial.
    – user2768
    May 28 '20 at 13:05

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