How Can You Write an Abstract for Your Dissertation?

An abstract usually summarizes a lengthier work (including a dissertation, thesis, research paper, or review). The abstract should explicitly state the objectives and results of your research. Thus, readers can learn what your research addresses.

30.10.2022

How Can You Write an Abstract for Your Dissertation?

What is an abstract?

An abstract usually summarizes a lengthier work (including a dissertation, thesis, research paper, or review). The abstract should explicitly state the objectives and results of your research. Thus, readers can learn what your research addresses.

Even though varied abstract structures exist depending on your discipline, your abstract should specify your study’s objective, the methodologies used, and the conclusions drawn.

Abstracts can have a number of words anywhere between 150 and 300; a specific limit is available if you check your publication guide. You have to ensure that the relevant requirements are met. The abstract is on a separate page in a dissertation or thesis. It is usually after the title page and acknowledgments but before the table of contents.

When should you write an abstract?

It would be best if you penned an abstract when writing a dissertation or thesis, sending a manuscript to an academic journal, applying to an institution for research funding, and composing a research proposal or book. It would help if you wrote the abstract after you have finished your study. It should be an independent text from the paper and utterly understandable by itself. More importantly, it should contain the structure of your dissertation or thesis.

Stage 1: Introduction

You must begin by specifying the objective of your dissertation. Two relevant questions are as follows.

1) What down-to-earth problems does your study address?

2) What was your overall objective in conducting this research?

You should briefly present your topic’s social or academic relevance without elaborating on the background information excessively. Try to avoid specialized terms. However, if you feel you have to do so, specify the meaning of these words explicitly. After recognizing the problem, define the objective of your research. You may use verbs like “explore,” “test,” “analyze,” “assess,” or “evaluate” to designate exactly what you wish to do in this study. You can use present or past simple tense in this part of the abstract. Nonetheless, do not refer to the future tense, as you have already completed the work.

Stage 2: Methods

You should designate the research methods you employed to address your research question. Plainly define what you conducted in one or two sentences. This part is usually written in the simple past tense because it is about completed actions. It would be best if you did not elaborate on the validity or challenges here. The objective is not to present the methodology's strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, it gives the reader a quick insight into your study's approach and the procedures you utilized.

Stage 3: Results

This step involves summarizing the main research results. Based on your study's extensive and complicated, you may only contain some results here. Try to highlight only the most critical findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions. You can use present or simple past tense.

Stage 4: Discussion

Ultimately, it would help if you deliberated the primary conclusions of your dissertation. State your answer to the problem or question. The reader should understand what the central point of your research is. The usual tense is the present simple tense. If important limitations to your study concerning your sample size or methods exist, you must cite them briefly in the abstract. Then, the reader evaluates your research's credibility. If your objective were to elucidate a practical problem, you might discuss recommendations for implementation. Moreover, you can include suggestions for further investigation.

Do you need keywords?

If you will get your paper published, adding a list of keywords at the end of the abstract is a must. These keywords cannot and should not be chosen arbitrarily. They should reflect the most relevant elements of the research. More importantly, some publication manuals such as APA,MLA, or Harvard may have specific formatting issues for these keywords. Then, potential readers can readily find your paper while searching the literature.

Hints for penning an abstract

Downsizing your whole study into a few hundred words is challenging. However, the abstract is the first part people read about your dissertation or thesis. Therefore, it must be concise and accurate. The following points may help you.

Peruse other abstracts

Read other people's work to learn how to write an abstract in your discipline. While doing your literature review, you may have already read many journal article abstracts. If so, use them as a framework for your abstract. You may also resort to various thesis and dissertation databases.

Write plainly and concisely

Penning impactful abstracts is challenging due to word limitations. Therefore, ensure that every word counts. Each sentence must communicate one primary issue. You can keep your abstract short and to the point by sticking to the following points.

1) You can avoid passive voice.

2) You can choose not to write too-long sentences.

3) You can evade obscure language.

4) You can elude repetition and filler words.

5) You can shun too many details.

Should you struggle to edit down to the required length, you can get help from professional editing and proofreading services.

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Abstract for dissertations and theses

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This article explains how to write an abstract for a dissertation or thesis. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

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