How to Write a Dissertation Abstract That Truly Matters

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

Writing an abstract for a dissertation can prove to be rather tricky work for most students. The process of writing a dissertation abstract demands time, effort, and a lot of hard work. Only with all these ingredients will your abstract provide the readers with maximum results.

Also, some technicalities need to be taken into consideration. By following some proven tips, you can make the abstract of your dissertation concise yet very knowledgeable.

Now all of this may sound overwhelming and confusing, but do not worry! Here, we will explain and guide you step by step with everything that you need to know before writing a dissertation abstract.

What is a Dissertation Abstract?

Before going into any further details, we should first clear all of our confusion regarding these two words to make a strong base.

In simple words, a dissertation is an article that presents research. Students in college, universities, and PhD programs compile their academic as well as practical knowledge to make a documentary based on their research. The dissertation may be their first publication as it will be the culmination of their doctoral studies. After graduating, the students will be able to call themselves independent researchers.

On the other hand, an abstract is a precise yet powerful statement that represents a more extensive work (dissertation). The components of an abstract will vary according to the dissertation it is representing, but generally, it consists of scope, purpose, results, and background.

One thing which must be noted about an abstract is that it is not a conclusion or review of a larger work. Although it may contain key phrases from the original document, it is not representative of the whole dissertation itself.

A good abstract should not be any lengthier than 1-2 pages. It should explain the purpose of your research, summarize your dissertation aptly so that people who are interested can learn about your research.

Basic requirements for writing a dissertation abstract

So what are the crucial points that need to be taken into consideration before writing a dissertation abstract? The points vary from one situation to the other. Generally, all dissertation abstracts should be compiled in such a way that:

  • It is concise
  • The language of the document should be simple
  • All the significant research questions should be clearly answered.

You can look at some dissertation examples (in your field of study) to help you understand better. It is essential that the abstract for a dissertation should only be written ‘after’ the completion of the dissertation itself.

The abstract should be such that it provides the readers with a clear idea of whether they should read the full paper or not.

What should be the goal of your dissertation abstract?

A tip for writing an outstanding dissertation abstract is to keep in mind the functions it should be fulfilling while writing it. The abstract should provide a reasonable explanation for the title of the dissertation it is representing. Also, it should be a brief compilation of the dissertation and the main topic of research. This will help to set the expectations of the readers.

How long should a dissertation abstract be?

An abstract for a dissertation should not be any lengthier than 5 percent of the dissertation text. Word count should be around 200 words at most. Comprising of 1-2 pages, it lets the readers quickly scan and get the gist of what the dissertation is about. To maintain a visual coherence, limit your dissertation abstract to a single double-spaced page that can fit around 280 words.

The structure of your abstract should sync with the structure of your dissertation and research. For example, if your research paper has ten chapters, then your abstract can have one or more sentences assigned to represent a summary of each of the chapters.

Format of dissertation abstract

So what exactly should one write in their dissertation abstract? A good way to know this is by looking up at dissertation abstract examples online. Choose samples that have a good flow and use them to outline a proper structure for your own abstract.

An excellent way to start your abstract is by addressing the main problem that your research is about and highlighting its importance. This will not only grab the readers’ attention but will also give them a reason as to why they should care about it. Hence, the chances that the reader will look into your dissertation would increase with a well-written dissertation abstract.

Next, write about the method, procedure, and approach to the solution of the problem. Add method statements, research implications, results/findings, and conclusion(s). The abstract should answer each and every possible question that a reader may have before going into the actual dissertation.

There are four main points that you should include while writing your abstract dissertation to give it a proper structure;

  • Aims: In the introduction, write about the main goal of your research. Define the problems or the queries you are acknowledging in your dissertation. You may also write about the topic of your dissertation but keep it concise and brief.

Do not include too many details about it. Rather keep your focus on the problems you are trying to solve and state the subject of the dissertation document. You can write all of this in the present or past simple tense.

  • Methods: It is very crucial to write about the types of methods you have used for your research. Keep in mind that in this part of the abstract, you are just going to describe the methods you have used. Do not go into details.

Keep it short and concise with just a couple of sentences about why you chose a certain method. Write this part in the past simple tense.

  • Results: Next, you will make a concise summary of the dissertation results you have included in the research. Your research paper may include several results, but you cannot include them all as you must not make your abstract too lengthy.

Only include the most significant results of your dissertation, summarize them, and then include them in your abstract. It is best to use present tense or past simple tense for this part.

  • Conclusion: This will be the last segment of your abstract. Also, in this part, you will need to state whether your research has proved a definite point or does it end in an argument.

You can make this part interesting by including certain limitations if your dissertation is about problem-solving. You can include recommendations, implementation, or suggestions too. You should write this part of your abstract using the simple present tense.

How to start your dissertation abstract?

So now that you have learned about the structure, how to start? Even though abstracts appear at the beginning of the document, the main function of an abstract is to provide a summary of your full research document.

In simpler words:

  • Provide a concise overview of all the contents included in your dissertation
  • It should not begin by introducing a topic as a dissertation does
  • Review your paper
  • Compromise of results and methods.

So, to start your abstract:

  • Learn about all the requirements given by the authority you are presenting it to; for example, your university professor

Take into consideration the rules and guidelines that have been given to you. Ask yourself if you need to follow any special style requirements? Is there a specified length? And then work accordingly.

  • Keep in mind the audience you will be catering to with your abstract

The purpose of your abstract is to help your audience decide whether your dissertation is in sync with their interests. Keep their requirements in mind while writing your abstract paper and try to make it relevant to them.

  • Find out its correct type

Abstracts have two main types: informative and descriptive. So decide which one you are going to use; choose before writing.