Is it common practise/frowned upon to have a figure in the introduction chapter of a thesis?

The figure is not a 'picture', but a relatively small tree diagram that in my opinion shows the structure I am talking about more effectively than describing it in words.

I ask this question because I do not think it is common practise but also can't think of a good reason not to do it.

  • 1
    What does the style guide say? What did your supervisors say? What have recent theses in your department done?
    – 410 gone
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:16
  • 1
    Hi. i understand that these things often dictate what is allowed/not allowed. But at the end of the day it is my thesis that i need to feel proud about. My study leader clearly told me that all his guidelines are just that, and at the end of the day I decide what my thesis looks like. That may seem counter-intuitive as i asked the question here, but I was simply hoping to find other peoples view on the subject (-:
    – Jonny
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:25
  • 1
    OK, but this isn't the place to solicit opinions.
    – 410 gone
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:32
  • I am sorry but I can literally not think of a more valid platform to ask such a question.
    – Jonny
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:37
  • 3
    Whatever you do, don't do this :-) Sep 12, 2015 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


If a graphic clearly gets across the message then why not use it? Just check what the regulations specify though,

To elaborate a bit more you need to think about what the introduction is for. If it is intended as an executive summary then a diagram that summarises the work could be very effective. If however it is setting the context of the work then I find it difficult to see how a diagram would help.


Having a figure in an introduction is a common practice, and one that I strongly recommend. Images are very good at conveying some ideas and relationships, and are also good for catching the eye and helping pick out key elements of a document (i.e., the things the author thinks are important enough to illustrate). There is nothing special about an introduction that means it should be image-free, especially in a thesis where there is a whole chapter dedicated to it.

Yes, some people do not put figures in their introductions. Indeed, some people don't put any figures in their scientific writing, and I really hate reading the documents that they produce.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .