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How to write a Dissertation abstract?

Purpose of an Abstract

The abstract is one of the most important components of a dissertation. It is presented at the beginning of the dissertation in the introduction. While your work isexamined by an external examiner it is likely to be the first substantive component that comes across. It is an opportunity to set appropriate expectations for the examiner.

An abstract can be highlighted as:

  • The abstract is a summary of the entire dissertation.
  • It sheds light on all major elements of the dissertation in a compressed form.
  • The abstract as a text gives an idea to the reader if required information is present in the dissertation.
  • An abstract does function as a stand-alone text, together with the dissertation title.
  • It is capable of substituting for the whole dissertation when and where there is insufficient time and space for the full text.
  • An abstract has the sense of a preface or a preamble, which prepares the reader for the dissertation andis not merely an introduction.
Size and Structure
  • Conventionally, the approximate word count for abstracts submitted forMasters Dissertation are 150 words and forDoctoral Dissertation are 350 words.
  • The structure of the abstract should be a reflection the structure of the whole dissertation, with all its major elements being reprsented.
  • The dissertation has quite a few chapters (introduction, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion), andeach chapter should be summarized by assigning at least sentence to it in the abstract.

A dissertation aims to answer at one or more research questions. Writing a dissertation as an answer to a research question gives it a proper structure and also helps the reader to understand it more easily.

The research questions are also critical in determining whether the layout of the abstract is coherent and logical. They form the skeleton to which other elements such as arguments, evidences etc. bind. The research questions should be presented somewhere near the beginning of the abstract. There is only room for one to three questions.

Things to keep in mind while writing the Abstract

  • One of the primary errorsthat occurs in abstracts is omission of the results.
  • The primary function of your abstract to tell the readers about your discoveries during the processand not to givethem an idea regarding the methodology, but. The findings and result should be emphasisedon.
  • Information, such as the account of your research methods, is needed mainly as an evidence to support the argument you make about the results obtained.
  • Avoid elaborate vocabulary or over technical language as much as possible. It is not advisable to demonstrate your sophistication in the field and in your research using language that your readers don’t have familiarity with.
  • Approximately the latter portion of the abstract should summarize the research and interpret its results.

The dissertation abstract should be thought out as an occasion to broadlymap out the configuration of your dissertation along with its targets such as the overarching concerns, the kind of influence you seek to make, the readers you aim to influence etc. It is a gist of the specific procedures through which you seek to pursue your research.

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