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How to Write an Abstract for Your Dissertation

UserMark time02 August,2014

The abstract of your dissertation can make or break your paper.  The quality of the abstract decides if the reader will spend his/her time to read the dissertation. According to the University of Melbourne, a well-written abstract lets the interested readers decide if the paper is related to their purposes.  If you want your dissertation to score the best grades, you need to create a great first impression via the abstract.

Abstract for Your Dissertation

Although the length of a dissertation abstract is small- approx 250 words lengthwise, it holds immense importance. In order to write a stellar abstract, you need to follow a few points, some of which are listed below:

Know the purposes/goals of writing the dissertation abstract

To write a great abstract, you need to know the purpose that it serves. The chief purposes are given below:

  • Assist the readers in deciding whether they should go through the entire paper or not
  • Assist the readers in comprehending the main essence of the dissertation
  • Assist the reader in remembering the major points of the dissertation

While writing the abstract, you should keep these purposes in mind and draft the piece accordingly.

Prepare the outline of the main dissertation

It is mandatory that the structure of your abstract follows the format of the actual dissertation. Having an outline will make it much easier for you to compose the abstract. When you are done with your research, you can create an outline for the main paper. It will include the main thesis statement and each section of the dissertation will be arranged in a logical order. Although you don’t need to include every point of your dissertation, you should incorporate the main points.

Read the dissertation

You should always write the abstract after you have composed the main dissertation. This way, you can refer back to the dissertation while writing the abstract. You should look at the major points used in the main paper so that you can write a brief summary in the abstract. While reading the dissertation, you should pay special attention to the headings, graph, tables, etc. used. By doing this, you will get a guide for writing the abstract.

Maintain the length

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that you have to follow the appropriate length and structure of an abstract. You should always check the instructions provided by your university or college. However, the typical length of an abstract is not more than one page. It can be a 250 words long paragraph.  If you fail to maintain the word length as mentioned in the instruction, you can lose points for that. You must follow the structure of the dissertations and highlight all the essential elements that make your paper unique

Know what the abstract should contain

Know what you should include in the dissertation abstract. Given below are the main sections of a general abstract:

  • Purpose of writing– In this section, you should mention the importance of the study. You can ask yourself, “Why should the readers be interested in reading the whole paper?” You can show the readers why they must go through the dissertation.
  • Research problem- The next part will contain the problem the dissertation is trying to solve. Along with this, you should also mention the scope of the work, and the claim or argument that you are making in the dissertation.
  • Methods- You can include this section if your work is on a scientific topic. You should mention different approaches or methods you have used in the dissertation. You can also mention the type of evidence used in the dissertation.
  • Findings- The result that you have received by should be included in the abstract. In the case of scientific works, you should write down the particular data you have found. You can discuss the findings in a general manner if it is an abstract that does not qualify as a scientific work.
  • Conclusion– You should end the abstract by discussing the implications of the work you have done. How does your work add to the specific subject? Can your work help in future study in the same field? You should consider these questions while writing the last part of your abstract.

Having knowledge of the elements that make a good abstract will help you in drafting a stellar one.

Edit the abstract

Once you have written the dissertation abstract, don’t forget to proofread and edit it. It is all the more important because you have to create a perfect abstract to grab the readers’ attention. You should revise the first draft multiple times to detect the errors in it.  At first, check for grammatical, typing, and grammatical errors. See if all the sentences are making sense, if you have used enough transitional sentences to maintain a flow, if the choice of words is correct, etc.

After you have proofread your abstract, you should edit it. Your main motive should be to make the abstract as concise and short as possible. You should also check if you have included all the main points of the dissertation.  Also, remove any confusing terms, abbreviations, lengthy information, reference to other studies, or any pictures or tables used or referenced.

If you keep the above mentioned tips in mind, you can easily draft an impressive and interesting abstract for your dissertation.  

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