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How to Write an Abstract of Your Work: Guide + Examples

How to write an abstract that impresses from first sight and makes readers want to get to the end of the text? Before giving an example, let’s dig into theory. Firstly, an abstract should be entirely self-contained. It means that its summary shouldn't have the remaining text of your dissertation or thesis.

An abstract is like a small version of a research paper or any other assignment. The simplest way to write one is emulating the format of some bigger work. This usually implies that your summary must have four primary features. These art aims, methods, results, and conclusions. Read on to find valuable writing tips and great examples!

What is an Abstract?

An abstract is summary of a lengthy piece of writing, such as thesis or dissertation. Primary goal of your dissertation abstract is to assist readers in grasping key ideas and the purpose of an assignment. It generally appears after a title page and before the main text of document. Sometimes, these summaries may function as stand-alone work rather than part of an academic paper. It happens mostly when one wants to run through your paper and hasn't got time for examining the whole text.

Its length depends on type. For example, you should keep it under under 200-300 words if you are doing an informative summary. Requirements may be different when it comes to descriptive abstracts. They usually are very short – 100 words or less.

Why Write an Abstract

When is writing an abstract for a dissertation or thesis essential? When you want to grasp your audience's attention and keep them interested till the end! Main goal of an abstract is giving readers information about the content, its aims, and outcomes.

Information in your summary helps in identifying and understanding crucial questions and points. Any reviewer should be able to tell if study is of interest just by reading it.

Abstract: Dissertation vs Thesis

Many students and aspirants wonder if there is any difference between an abstract for a dissertation or a thesis. Basically, a thesis is for master's degree, while a dissertation is for doctoral degree. Structure and general requirements remain the same. Keen on writing a great abstract? State an idea, and give reasons on why your work is compelling enough. After all, readers can understand concepts better via strong abstract.

What to Include in an Abstract

What does an abstract structure look like? Its key elements are as follows:

  • Objective. It serves as a way of determining the goal and is represented by 1-2 sentences that depict some general purpose of your work.
  • Dissertation methodology is used for discussing the approaches. It is part of the special strategy and rationale of students’ projects. It deals with principles and theories that fit objectives.
  • Results is a section where you share your findings. It's the most important part of your summary and nothing should compromise its range and quality. This is because readers are usually interested primarily in findings of the study you conducted.
  • Conclusions. Basically, it is that part where you sum things up.
  • Keywords serve as useful list at the end.

You should be aware of criteria of your dissertation’s abstract. This includes writing style, length, and overall aim. Also, please remember that you should have your paper prepared first. Only then you should introduce and describe your text’s function. Keep your target audience in mind when deciding on the type of your summary.

Abstract Example

Check out our following dissertation abstract example! It will help in understanding ways of making your brief overview just right. Many students find a simple template much more helpful, especially in comparison with detailed instructions. An example works both for thesis and dissertation. It should be mentioned that there are different styles for different subjects. We suggest examining several examples. That's how you can learn and use key characteristics for your summary.

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How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis

How to write a good abstract for a dissertation or thesis? Here is a step-by-step guide for those who are keen on doing things perfectly! Strict structure of an outline is an excellent idea if you are going for that successful summary. Hence, we recommend that you study steps given below.

State Objective in Your Abstract

How to start an abstract? First, explicitly define the purpose of your dissertation. What is research trying to solve? Or what do you want to find out? It's a good idea if you give a little context on any social or academic aim of your work. On the other hand, including a full background description is not necessary. After finding an issue, be clear about what a research question is.

Define Methodology Used in Dissertation or Thesis

Now it’s time we mention methods. Explain how you answered your question using your techniques. A dissertation abstract should provide a concise explanation of what an author accomplished and how they did it.

At the same time, there is no use in analyzing strengths and flaws of your strategy or explaining details. A brief answer in a few sentences is enough. We recommend paying special attention to quantitative and qualitative data collection, and hypothesis testing. Measuring secondary and primary data should be taken into account. Such methods as experiment, observation, and survey can take place here. These methods should help in understanding and answering more essential statements, and not become primary in your whole study.

Mention Results in Your Abstract

Next step is in sharing findings of your dissertation or thesis. What should you do if your research is too complex or long? Concentrate on emphasizing just the most significant results that readers can comprehend. One should state some “insights” that immediately connect to some “central idea” here. The quicker people can understand information they were looking for, the better. One should provide some data while giving conclusions based on found information.

Draw a Conclusion in Ph.D. Abstract

Implications of a dissertation in an abstract are a crucial part of work. This final piece gives an answer to how you plan to deal with an issue. Readers should understand the primary topic that was argued. Choose important statements from each part of your summary when you create a smooth transition to your overall topic. Conclusions may suggest putting things into practice. If relevant, one may recommend a few ideas for further research. An excellent abstract has no waste in it. Every word is essential here.

List Keywords at the End of Dissertation Abstract

Adding keywords in abstract is something you should do if your text is going to be published. You should reference your paper's main concepts, this will make your study very easy to locate. Keywords make your thesis searchable and ensure that students can find and use more citations. They should be descriptive and represent core concepts. We also recommend using synonyms.

Listing your keywords is important for readers, because it helps other researches find your work. They are the pivot of abstract because many literature editorial boards screen manuscripts only based on keywords.

Tips on Writing an Abstract

Writing a good abstract is challenging even if a student has plenty of time. It may be difficult to summarize a whole dissertation into 200-300 words. Nevertheless, it's critical for your overall dissertation's success. Here are some strategies that might help in writing a flawless summary.

Write an Abstract at Last

Abstract for a thesis or dissertation is the very last thing you should write. It's important that you finish the paper first. Only after having the whole work done one can summarize it and create a catchy outline. As was mentioned before, an abstract should be independent of the paper’s text. An easy way of writing an abstract is using the same framework as the rest of the work. Imagine it as a shrunken-down replica of your dissertation or research paper.

Keep Your Abstract Concise

A dissertation abstract has to be concise. So don't forget to set some sentence or word restriction for your abstract. Explain necessary details clearly enough to encourage people to keep reading. Contents of your work will only be interesting for readers if you make a conscious effort to keep it engaging. That being said, what can your reader do after reading the paper? If your summary strikes a chord with them, making them want to know more, they may decide whether or not to read your text.

Experiment with Abstract Structure

A dissertation's abstract structure isn’t always the same. A lot depends on the subject here. For example, Humanities give writers more freedom for placement of chapters, together with other different elements in writing. Think about reverse outlining. To summarize each argument, make a list of relevant keywords and compose 1-2 lines describing your primary point. This can make things condensed and offer a framework of how an abstract's overall structure will look like.

Pay Attention to Your Contribution

Purpose of an abstract is to focus on the contribution you bring. You should avoid plagiarizing. Moreover, consider sticking to what you know best. Your summary must stand on its own, meaning that readers shouldn't need to check references and other sources for further details.

Follow Abstract Format

Dissertation abstract format is as important as main content. It can considerably influence your final grade. APA style is one of the most popular ones. It is used in academic papers in Social Sciences, such as Psychology. More rarely, MLA is needed. However, both styles include a detailed list of formatting requirements that cover many aspects. This concerns the structure of your work, the way to include sources, and how to cite them.

Bottom Line

How to write a good dissertation abstract? Above all, you should be concise. Nobody likes reading lengthy and complicated material. Think about using short, straightforward phrases, avoid passive voice, and steer clear of complex ideas. Everything is on the line. Therefore one should work very hard to make their reader care. You may, for instance, integrate a fun fact, rhetorical questions, etc.

To wrap up, it is common to explain the overall content of the essay in the thesis abstract, but you must refrain from being completely straightforward in order to inspire relevant curiosity.

Don’t know how to write an abstract and structure it correctly? Contact our dissertation writing service! Our academic assistants will gladly help you with your assignment. They will make sure it will be delivered before the deadline and meet all the necessary requirements!
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Students Also Ask

1. What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction in a dissertation?

In a writing dissertation abstract, many things are covered: purpose, methodology, findings, and conclusions. A good summary discusses a project briefly, giving just some basic details about its background. A dissertation introduction is more detailed. Anyway, the best way to write a summary is to use as few words as possible, while still being clear. Summarize the facts that made you formulate your hypothesis and achieve study results.

2. Can I cite sources in the abstract for the dissertation or thesis?

It’s better to avoid citing sources in dissertation abstract. There are few instances when reference is necessary:

  1. If you are focusing on the work of a certain author;
  2. If you are trying to answer someone else's research.

So if you have to cite a source in your summary, do so only when required. To have a well-rounded paper, you should narrow your topic and include your own research results in a paper. The abstract should be clear without extra references.

3. Where does the abstract go in a dissertation?

An abstract in the dissertation appears on its own page. It’s located after the title page and dissertation acknowledgments but before the table of contents. The same goes for the summary in the thesis.

4. What is the purpose of an abstract?

Purpose of an abstract lies in providing a context for readers who are trying to decide whether your work is relevant to their study and interests. A good summary is like a one-time contribution to the paper’s submission. It can be read apart from your work. It exists to help your readers develop an opinion about your study topic.

Joe Eckel is an expert on Dissertations writing. He makes sure that each student gets precious insights on composing A-grade academic writing.

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