Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 18, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis ,  dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book or research proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services or use the paraphrasing tool .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

  • Anchoring bias
  • Halo effect
  • The Baader–Meinhof phenomenon
  • The placebo effect
  • Nonresponse bias
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, July 18). How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved December 18, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/abstract/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis or dissertation introduction, shorten your abstract or summary, how to write a literature review | guide, examples, & templates, what is your plagiarism score.

dissertation abstract writing

  • How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis
  • Doing a PhD

What is a Thesis or Dissertation Abstract?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines an abstract in academic writing as being “ a few sentences that give the main ideas in an article or a scientific paper ” and the Collins English Dictionary says “ an abstract of an article, document, or speech is a short piece of writing that gives the main points of it ”.

Whether you’re writing up your Master’s dissertation or PhD thesis, the abstract will be a key element of this document that you’ll want to make sure you give proper attention to.

What is the Purpose of an Abstract?

The aim of a thesis abstract is to give the reader a broad overview of what your research project was about and what you found that was novel, before he or she decides to read the entire thesis. The reality here though is that very few people will read the entire thesis, and not because they’re necessarily disinterested but because practically it’s too large a document for most people to have the time to read. The exception to this is your PhD examiner, however know that even they may not read the entire length of the document.

Some people may still skip to and read specific sections throughout your thesis such as the methodology, but the fact is that the abstract will be all that most read and will therefore be the section they base their opinions about your research on. In short, make sure you write a good, well-structured abstract.

How Long Should an Abstract Be?

If you’re a PhD student, having written your 100,000-word thesis, the abstract will be the 300 word summary included at the start of the thesis that succinctly explains the motivation for your study (i.e. why this research was needed), the main work you did (i.e. the focus of each chapter), what you found (the results) and concluding with how your research study contributed to new knowledge within your field.

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States of America, once famously said:

dissertation abstract writing

The point here is that it’s easier to talk open-endedly about a subject that you know a lot about than it is to condense the key points into a 10-minute speech; the same applies for an abstract. Three hundred words is not a lot of words which makes it even more difficult to condense three (or more) years of research into a coherent, interesting story.

What Makes a Good PhD Thesis Abstract?

Whilst the abstract is one of the first sections in your PhD thesis, practically it’s probably the last aspect that you’ll ending up writing before sending the document to print. The reason being that you can’t write a summary about what you did, what you found and what it means until you’ve done the work.

A good abstract is one that can clearly explain to the reader in 300 words:

  • What your research field actually is,
  • What the gap in knowledge was in your field,
  • The overarching aim and objectives of your PhD in response to these gaps,
  • What methods you employed to achieve these,
  • You key results and findings,
  • How your work has added to further knowledge in your field of study.

Another way to think of this structure is:

  • Introduction,
  • Aims and objectives,
  • Discussion,
  • Conclusion.

Following this ‘formulaic’ approach to writing the abstract should hopefully make it a little easier to write but you can already see here that there’s a lot of information to convey in a very limited number of words.

How Do You Write a Good PhD Thesis Abstract?

The biggest challenge you’ll have is getting all the 6 points mentioned above across in your abstract within the limit of 300 words . Your particular university may give some leeway in going a few words over this but it’s good practice to keep within this; the art of succinctly getting your information across is an important skill for a researcher to have and one that you’ll be called on to use regularly as you write papers for peer review.

Keep It Concise

Every word in the abstract is important so make sure you focus on only the key elements of your research and the main outcomes and significance of your project that you want the reader to know about. You may have come across incidental findings during your research which could be interesting to discuss but this should not happen in the abstract as you simply don’t have enough words. Furthermore, make sure everything you talk about in your thesis is actually described in the main thesis.

Make a Unique Point Each Sentence

Keep the sentences short and to the point. Each sentence should give the reader new, useful information about your research so there’s no need to write out your project title again. Give yourself one or two sentences to introduce your subject area and set the context for your project. Then another sentence or two to explain the gap in the knowledge; there’s no need or expectation for you to include references in the abstract.

Explain Your Research

Some people prefer to write their overarching aim whilst others set out their research questions as they correspond to the structure of their thesis chapters; the approach you use is up to you, as long as the reader can understand what your dissertation or thesis had set out to achieve. Knowing this will help the reader better understand if your results help to answer the research questions or if further work is needed.

Keep It Factual

Keep the content of the abstract factual; that is to say that you should avoid bringing too much or any opinion into it, which inevitably can make the writing seem vague in the points you’re trying to get across and even lacking in structure.

Write, Edit and Then Rewrite

Spend suitable time editing your text, and if necessary, completely re-writing it. Show the abstract to others and ask them to explain what they understand about your research – are they able to explain back to you each of the 6 structure points, including why your project was needed, the research questions and results, and the impact it had on your research field? It’s important that you’re able to convey what new knowledge you contributed to your field but be mindful when writing your abstract that you don’t inadvertently overstate the conclusions, impact and significance of your work.

Thesis and Dissertation Abstract Examples

Perhaps the best way to understand how to write a thesis abstract is to look at examples of what makes a good and bad abstract.

Example of A Bad Abstract

Let’s start with an example of a bad thesis abstract:

In this project on “The Analysis of the Structural Integrity of 3D Printed Polymers for use in Aircraft”, my research looked at how 3D printing of materials can help the aviation industry in the manufacture of planes. Plane parts can be made at a lower cost using 3D printing and made lighter than traditional components. This project investigated the structural integrity of EBM manufactured components, which could revolutionise the aviation industry.

What Makes This a Bad Abstract

Hopefully you’ll have spotted some of the reasons this would be considered a poor abstract, not least because the author used up valuable words by repeating the lengthy title of the project in the abstract.

Working through our checklist of the 6 key points you want to convey to the reader:

  • There has been an attempt to introduce the research area , albeit half-way through the abstract but it’s not clear if this is a materials science project about 3D printing or is it about aircraft design.
  • There’s no explanation about where the gap in the knowledge is that this project attempted to address.
  • We can see that this project was focussed on the topic of structural integrity of materials in aircraft but the actual research aims or objectives haven’t been defined.
  • There’s no mention at all of what the author actually did to investigate structural integrity. For example was this an experimental study involving real aircraft, or something in the lab, computer simulations etc.
  • The author also doesn’t tell us a single result of his research, let alone the key findings !
  • There’s a bold claim in the last sentence of the abstract that this project could revolutionise the aviation industry, and this may well be the case, but based on the abstract alone there is no evidence to support this as it’s not even clear what the author did .

This is an extreme example but is a good way to illustrate just how unhelpful a poorly written abstract can be. At only 71 words long, it definitely hasn’t maximised the amount of information that could be presented and the what they have presented has lacked clarity and structure.

A final point to note is the use of the EBM acronym, which stands for Electron Beam Melting in the context of 3D printing; this is a niche acronym for the author to assume that the reader would know the meaning of. It’s best to avoid acronyms in your abstract all together even if it’s something that you might expect most people to know about, unless you specifically define the meaning first.

Example of A Good Abstract

Having seen an example of a bad thesis abstract, now lets look at an example of a good PhD thesis abstract written about the same (fictional) project:

Additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium alloys has the potential to enable cheaper and lighter components to be produced with customised designs for use in aircraft engines. Whilst the proof-of-concept of these have been promising, the structural integrity of AM engine parts in response to full thrust and temperature variations is not clear.

The primary aim of this project was to determine the fracture modes and mechanisms of AM components designed for use in Boeing 747 engines. To achieve this an explicit finite element (FE) model was developed to simulate the environment and parameters that the engine is exposed to during flight. The FE model was validated using experimental data replicating the environmental parameters in a laboratory setting using ten AM engine components provided by the industry sponsor. The validated FE model was then used to investigate the extent of crack initiation and propagation as the environment parameters were adjusted.

This project was the first to investigate fracture patterns in AM titanium components used in aircraft engines; the key finding was that the presence of cavities within the structures due to errors in the printing process, significantly increased the risk of fracture. Secondly, the simulations showed that cracks formed within AM parts were more likely to worsen and lead to component failure at subzero temperatures when compared to conventionally manufactured parts. This has demonstrated an important safety concern which needs to be addressed before AM parts can be used in commercial aircraft.

What Makes This a Good Abstract

Having read this ‘good abstract’ you should have a much better understand about what the subject area is about, where the gap in the knowledge was, the aim of the project, the methods that were used, key results and finally the significance of these results. To break these points down further, from this good abstract we now know that:

  • The research area is around additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) of materials for use in aircraft.
  • The gap in knowledge was how these materials will behave structural when used in aircraft engines.
  • The aim was specifically to investigate how the components can fracture.
  • The methods used to investigate this were a combination of computational and lab based experimental modelling.
  • The key findings were the increased risk of fracture of these components due to the way they are manufactured.
  • The significance of these findings were that it showed a potential risk of component failure that could comprise the safety of passengers and crew on the aircraft.

The abstract text has a much clearer flow through these different points in how it’s written and has made much better use of the available word count. Acronyms have even been used twice in this good abstract but they were clearly defined the first time they were introduced in the text so that there was no confusion about their meaning.

The abstract you write for your dissertation or thesis should succinctly explain to the reader why the work of your research was needed, what you did, what you found and what it means. Most people that come across your thesis, including any future employers, are likely to read only your abstract. Even just for this reason alone, it’s so important that you write the best abstract you can; this will not only convey your research effectively but also put you in the best light possible as a researcher.

Browse PhDs Now

Join thousands of students.

Join thousands of other students and stay up to date with the latest PhD programmes, funding opportunities and advice.

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Scholars often write abstracts for various applications: conference presentations may require an abstract or other short summary for a program; journal articles almost always require abstracts; invited talks and lectures are often advertised using an abstract. While the application may necessarily change the length of the abstract (a conference program may only allow for 50-75 words, for instance), the purpose and structure remains fairly constant.

Abstracts are generally kept brief (approximately 150-200 words). They differ by field, but in general, they need to summarize the article so that readers can decide if it is relevant to their work. The typical abstract includes these elements:

  • A statement of the problem and objectives
  • A statement of the significance of the work
  • A summary of employed methods or your research approach
  • A summary of findings or conclusions of the study
  • A description of the implications of the findings

Regardless of field, abstract authors should explain the purpose of the work, methods used, the results and the conclusions that can be drawn. However, each field purports slightly different ways to structure the abstract. A reliable strategy is to write the abstract as a condensed version of your article, with 1-2 sentences summarizing each major section. This means that in many of the sciences and a large portion of the humanities, abstracts follow a version of the IMRAD structure: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.

Most scientific journals require authors to submit such abstracts. It is generally advisable to write the abstract in the English language. That is because most papers in other languages, especially Asian nations, tend to publish an English abstract with common search engines, such as, the MLA site.

Example Abstract

This example abstract follows the IMRAD structure closely. The first two sentences are the introduction and background information. Sentences 3-5 describe the methods used in the study. Sentence 6 summarizes the results, while the last two sentences summarize the discussion and conclusion of the study; they also indicate the significance of the results.

Usability and User-Centered Theory for 21 st Century OWLs — by Dana Lynn Driscoll, H. Allen Brizee, Michael Salvo, and Morgan Sousa from The Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices . Eds. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemlansky. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2008.

This article describes results of usability research conducted on the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The Purdue OWL is an information-rich educational website that provides free writing resources to users worldwide. Researchers conducted two generations of usability tests. In the first test, participants were asked to navigate the OWL and answer questions. Results of the first test and user-centered scholarship indicated that a more user-centered focus would improve usability. The second test asked participants to answer writing-related questions using both the OWL website and a user-centered OWL prototype. Participants took significantly less time to find information using the prototype and reported a more positive response to the user-centered prototype than the original OWL. Researchers conclude that a user-centered website is more effective and can be a model for information-rich online resources. Researchers also conclude that usability research can be a productive source of ideas, underscoring the need for participatory invention.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.

Why write an abstract?

You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.

Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:

This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.

From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.

Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.

When do people write abstracts?

  • when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
  • when applying for research grants
  • when writing a book proposal
  • when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
  • when writing a proposal for a conference paper
  • when writing a proposal for a book chapter

Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.

Types of abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.

Descriptive abstracts

A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.

Informative abstracts

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.

Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:

The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.

Informative abstract:

Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.

Which type should I use?

Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.

How do I write an abstract?

The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:

  • Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
  • Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
  • Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
  • Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )

All abstracts include:

  • A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
  • The most important information first.
  • The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
  • Clear, concise, and powerful language.

Abstracts may include:

  • The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
  • Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
  • The same chronological structure as the original work.

How not to write an abstract:

  • Do not refer extensively to other works.
  • Do not add information not contained in the original work.
  • Do not define terms.

If you are abstracting your own writing

When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.

Reverse outlining:

This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .

For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.

Cut and paste:

To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.

If you are abstracting someone else’s writing

When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:

Identify key terms:

Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.

Highlight key phrases and sentences:

Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.

Don’t look back:

After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.

Revise, revise, revise

No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.

Example 1: Humanities abstract

Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998

This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.

What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.

How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.

What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.

Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation

Example 2: Science Abstract

Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998

The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.

Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.

What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.

Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .

Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the UK during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyse,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

Next, summarise the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalisability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarise the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 18 December 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/abstract/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis or dissertation introduction, thesis & dissertation acknowledgements | tips & examples, dissertation title page.

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

Published by steve tippins on may 25, 2020 may 25, 2020.

Last Updated on: 3rd June 2022, 04:27 am

The abstract is where you “sell” your dissertation. In over 95% of the cases, the first thing people see will be your dissertation’s abstract. If others (such as potential employers or fellow researchers) are going to be looking at your dissertation, you have to get their interest in the abstract. 

How do you get people’s interest? Think about what you wanted to know when you were searching, and that’s what needs to be in the abstract (in addition to anything that your school requires). 

Normally dissertation abstracts are a page or less. You’ll want to include the problem you were looking at, the questions you wanted to answer, and the methodology you used. Also include what you found and what it means (the implications). For a more in-depth explanation of what to include, see the sample outline below.

Advice for Writing a Dissertation Abstract

two blonde women sitting on the stairs and chatting

Every word is important in a dissertation abstract. Because the space you have is so limited, you want to make sure that every word and phrase helps the reader understand what they’re going to gain when they read the entire document. On the other hand, you don’t want to put everything in the abstract because you want them to read the actual paper.

Avoid the temptation to make it more than a page long. The truth is, people aren’t going to read a multiple-page abstract, which means they won’t read your dissertation. Don’t think of it as condensing 100+ pages of material down into one page. Rather, think of it as giving an introduction to what is contained in the pages of your dissertation.

Some schools have a rubric to follow. If they do have one, follow it to the letter. This will save you time and help you please your committee more easily. There’s also usually a good reason behind the requirements they set out, so it will improve the quality of your abstract overall.

While it takes a certain artfulness to be concise, the abstract should be a relatively easy section to write. Basically, you just have to tell people what you did. You don’t need to report any new information or do anything you haven’t already done while writing your dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract Sample Outline

woman sitting on the campus stairs and working on her laptop

Traditionally, abstracts are less than a page in length, are not indented, and contain no citations. While different universities may have slightly different requirements, most want to see some variation of the following:

  • Introduce the study topic and articulate the research problem.
  • State the purpose of the study
  • State the research method 
  • Concisely describe the overall research design, methods, and data analysis procedures.
  • Identify the participants.
  • Present key results 
  • Outline conclusions and recommendations

What Comes After Writing Your Dissertation Abstract?

Writing your dissertation abstract means you’ve completed your study. Congratulations! As you move through the final phases of getting your degree and into your new career path, you may need support navigating today’s competitive job market. 

Academic jobs are more competitive than ever, and starting your own business is best done with the guidance of someone who’s done it before. Take a look at my academic career coaching services and book a free 30-minute consultation .

If you’re still working on your dissertation, I also offer dissertation coaching and dissertation editing services.

Book a Free Consultation

Book a Free Consultation with one of our expert coaches today.

' src=

Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

Related Posts

grad student studying in the library

Dissertation

What makes a good research question.

Creating a good research question is vital to successfully completing your dissertation. Here are some tips that will help you formulate a good research question.  What Makes a Good Research Question? These are the three Read more…

concentrated grad student taking dissertation notes

Dissertation Structure

When it comes to writing a dissertation, one of the most fraught questions asked by graduate students is about dissertation structure. A dissertation is the lengthiest writing project that many graduate students ever undertake, and Read more…

professor consulting students in his office

Choosing a Dissertation Chair

Choosing your dissertation chair is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make in graduate school. Your dissertation chair will in many ways shape your experience as you undergo the most rigorous intellectual challenge Read more…

Make This Your Last Round of Dissertation Revision.

Learn How to Get Your Dissertation Accepted .

Discover the 5-Step Process in this Free Webinar .

Almost there!

Please verify your email address by clicking the link in the email message we just sent to your address.

If you don't see the message within the next five minutes, be sure to check your spam folder :).

Hack Your Dissertation

5-Day Mini Course: How to Finish Faster With Less Stress

Interested in more helpful tips about improving your dissertation experience? Join our 5-day mini course by email!

 alt=

Academic & Employability Skills

Subscribe to academic & employability skills.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 401 other subscribers.

Email Address

' src=

Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)

Posted in: abstract , dissertations

dissertation abstract writing

The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. It should provide a clear and succinct summary of your study, and encourage your readers to read more. An effective abstract, therefore should answer the following questions:

  • Why did you do this study or project?
  • What did you do and how?
  • What did you find?
  • What do your findings mean?

So here's our run down of the key elements of a well-written abstract.

  • Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words.
  • Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).
  • Purpose  - The abstract should also set out the purpose of your research, in other words, what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine (or what the paper seeks to present).
  • Methods - The methods section should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. It should include brief details of the research design, sample size, duration of study, and so on.
  • Results - The results section is the most important part of the abstract. This is because readers who skim an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.
  • Conclusion - This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcomes of the study. However, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:
  • The primary take-home message
  • Any additional findings of importance
  • Implications for future studies 

abstract 1

Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone.

bone

Abstract from: Dalstra, M., Huiskes, R. and Van Erning, L., 1995. Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 117(3), pp.272-278.

And finally...  A word on abstract types and styles

Abstract types can differ according to subject discipline. You need to determine therefore which type of abstract you should include with your paper. Here are two of the most common types with examples.

Informative Abstract

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgements about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarised. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.

(Adapted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/ )

Share this:

  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

Click here to cancel reply.

  • Email * (we won't publish this)

Write a response

' src=

Navigating the dissertation process: my tips for final years

Imagine for a moment... After months of hard work and research on a topic you're passionate about, the time has finally come to click the 'Submit' button on your dissertation. You've just completed your longest project to date as part...

Vanda Sigel and another HSS student working on laptops.

8 ways to beat procrastination

Whether you’re writing an assignment or revising for exams, getting started can be hard. Fortunately, there’s lots you can do to turn procrastination into action.

A post-it note reading 'Procrastination' surrounded by balls of screwed-up paper

My takeaways on how to write a scientific report

If you’re in your dissertation writing stage or your course includes writing a lot of scientific reports, but you don’t quite know where and how to start, the Skills Centre can help you get started. I recently attended their ‘How...

Person in a lab coat looking into a microscope doing an experiment in a laboratory. There's a row of test tubes on the bench. The person is writing on a clipboard.

How to Write an Abstract for Your Thesis or Dissertation What is an Abstract? The abstract is an important component of your thesis. Presented at the beginning of the thesis, it is likely the first substantive description of your work read by an external examiner. You should view it as an opportunity to set accurate expectations. The abstract is a summary of the whole thesis. It presents all the major elements of your work in a highly condensed form. An abstract often functions, together with the thesis title, as a stand-alone text. Abstracts appear, absent the full text of the thesis, in bibliographic indexes such as PsycInfo. They may also be presented in announcements of the thesis examination. Most readers who encounter your abstract in a bibliographic database or receive an email announcing your research presentation will never retrieve the full text or attend the presentation. An abstract is not merely an introduction in the sense of a preface, preamble, or advance organizer that prepares the reader for the thesis. In addition to that function, it must be capable of substituting for the whole thesis when there is insufficient time and space for the full text. Size and Structure Currently, the maximum sizes for abstracts submitted to Canada's National Archive are 150 words (Masters thesis) and 350 words (Doctoral dissertation). To preserve visual coherence, you may wish to limit the abstract for your doctoral dissertation to one double-spaced page, about 280 words. The structure of the abstract should mirror the structure of the whole thesis, and should represent all its major elements. For example, if your thesis has five chapters (introduction, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion), there should be one or more sentences assigned to summarize each chapter. Clearly Specify Your Research Questions As in the thesis itself, your research questions are critical in ensuring that the abstract is coherent and logically structured. They form the skeleton to which other elements adhere. They should be presented near the beginning of the abstract. There is only room for one to three questions. If there are more than three major research questions in your thesis, you should consider restructuring them by reducing some to subsidiary status. Don't Forget the Results The most common error in abstracts is failure to present results. The primary function of your thesis (and by extension your abstract) is not to tell readers what you did, it is to tell them what you discovered. Other information, such as the account of your research methods, is needed mainly to back the claims you make about your results. Approximately the last half of the abstract should be dedicated to summarizing and interpreting your results. Updated 2008.09.11 © John C. Nesbit

Illustration

  • Dissertation & Thesis Guides
  • Basics of Dissertation & Thesis Writing
  • How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples
  • Speech Topics
  • Basics of Essay Writing
  • Essay Topics
  • Other Essays
  • Main Academic Essays
  • Research Paper Topics
  • Basics of Research Paper Writing
  • Miscellaneous
  • Chicago/ Turabian
  • Data & Statistics
  • Methodology
  • Admission Writing Tips
  • Admission Advice
  • Other Guides
  • Student Life
  • Studying Tips
  • Understanding Plagiarism
  • Academic Writing Tips

Illustration

  • Essay Guides
  • Research Paper Guides
  • Formatting Guides
  • Basics of Research Process
  • Admission Guides

How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples

Dissertation abstract

Table of contents

Illustration

Use our free Readability checker

A dissertation abstract is a brief summary of a dissertation, typically between 150-300 words. It is a standalone piece of writing that gives the reader an overview of the main ideas and findings of the dissertation.

Generally, this section should include:

  • Research problem and questions
  • Research methodology
  • Key findings and results
  • Original contribution
  • Practical or theoretical implications.

You need to write an excellent abstract for a dissertation or thesis, since it's the first thing a comitteee will review. Continue reading through to learn how to write a dissertation abstract. In this article, we will discuss its purpose, length, structure and writing steps. Moreover, for reference purposes, this article will include abstract examples for a dissertation and thesis and offer extra guidance on top of that.

In case you are in a hurry, feel free to buy dissertation from our professional writers. Our experts are qualified and have solid experience in writing Ph.D. academic works.

What Is a Dissertation Abstract?

Dissertation abstracts, by definition, are summaries of a thesis's content, usually between 200 and 300 words, used to inform readers about the contents of the study in a quick way. A thesis or dissertation abstract briefly overviews the entire thesis. Dissertation abstracts are found at the beginning of every study, providing the research recap, results, and conclusions. It usually goes right after your title page and before your dissertation table of contents . An abstract for a dissertation (alternatively called “précis” further in the article) should clearly state the main topic of your paper, its overall purpose, and any important research questions or findings. It should also contain any necessary keywords that direct readers to relevant information. In addition, it addresses any implications for further research that may stem from its field. Writing strong précis requires you to think carefully, as they are the critical components that attract readers to peruse your paper.

Dissertation Abstract

Purpose of a Dissertation or Thesis Abstract

The primary purpose of an abstract in a dissertation or thesis is to give readers a basic understanding of the completed work. Also, it should create an interest in the topic to motivate readers to read further. Writing an abstract for a dissertation is essential for many reasons: 

  • Offers a summary and gives readers an overview of what they should expect from your study.
  • Provides an opportunity to showcase the research done, highlighting its importance and impact.
  • Identifies any unexplored research gaps to inform future studies and direct the current state of knowledge on the topic.

In general, an abstract of a thesis or a dissertation is a bridge between the research and potential readers.

What Makes a Good Abstract for a Dissertation?

Making a good dissertation abstract requires excellent organization and clarity of thought. Proper specimens must provide convincing arguments supporting your thesis. Writing an effective dissertation abstract requires students to be concise and write engagingly. Below is a list of things that makes it outstanding:

  • Maintains clear and concise summary style
  • Includes essential keywords for search engine optimization
  • Accurately conveys the scope of the thesis
  • Strictly adheres to the word count limit specified in your instructions
  • Written from a third-person point of view
  • Includes objectives, approach, and findings
  • Uses simple language without jargon
  • Avoids overgeneralized statements or vague claims.

How Long Should a Dissertation Abstract Be?

Abstracts should be long enough to convey the key points of every thesis, yet brief enough to capture readers' attention. A dissertation abstract length should typically be between 200-300 words, i.e., 1 page. But usually, length is indicated in the requirements. Remember that your primary goal here is to provide an engaging and informative thesis summary. Note that following the instructions and templates set forth by your university will ensure your thesis or dissertation abstract meets the writing criteria and adheres to all relevant standards.

Dissertation Abstract Structure

Dissertation abstracts can be organized in different ways and vary slightly depending on your work requirements. However, each abstract of a dissertation should incorporate elements like keywords, methods, results, and conclusions. The structure of a thesis or a dissertation abstract should account for the components included below:

  • Title Accurately reflects the topic of your thesis.
  • Introduction Provides an overview of your research, its purpose, and any relevant background information.
  • Methods/ Approach Gives an outline of the methods used to conduct your research.
  • Results Summarizes your findings.
  • Conclusions Provides an overview of your research's accomplishments and implications.
  • Keywords Includes keywords that accurately describe your thesis.

Below is an example that shows how a dissertation abstract looks, how to structure it and where each part is located. Use this template to organize your own summary. 

Dissertation Abstract

Things to Consider Before Writing a Dissertation Abstract

There are several things you should do beforehand in order to write a good abstract for a dissertation or thesis. They include:

  • Reviewing set requirements and making sure you clearly understand the expectations
  • Reading other research works to get an idea of what to include in yours
  • Writing a few drafts before submitting your final version, which will ensure that it's in the best state possible.

Write an Abstract for a Dissertation Last

Remember, it's advisable to write an abstract for a thesis paper or dissertation last. Even though it’s always located in the beginning of the work, nevertheless, it should be written last. This way, your summary will be more accurate because the main argument and conclusions are already known when the work is mostly finished - it is incomparably easier to write a dissertation abstract after completing your thesis. Additionally, you should write it last because the contents and scope of the thesis may have changed during the writing process. So, create your dissertation abstract as a last step to help ensure that it precisely reflects the content of your project.

Carefully Read Requirements

Writing dissertation abstracts requires careful attention to details and adherence to writing requirements. Refer to the rubric or guidelines that you were presented with to identify aspects to keep in mind and important elements, such as correct length and writing style, and then make sure to comprehensively include them. Careful consideration of these requirements ensures that your writing meets every criterion and standard provided by your supervisor to increase the chances that your master's thesis is accepted and approved.   

Choose the Right Type of Dissertation Abstracts

Before starting to write a dissertation or thesis abstract you should choose the appropriate type. Several options are available, and it is essential to pick one that best suits your dissertation's subject. Depending on their purpose, there exist 3 types of dissertation abstracts: 

  • Informative
  • Descriptive

Informative one offers readers a concise overview of your research, its purpose, and any relevant background information. Additionally, this type includes brief summaries of all results and dissertation conclusions .  A descriptive abstract in a dissertation or thesis provides a quick overview of the research, but it doesn't incorporate any evaluation or analysis because it only offers a snapshot of the study and makes no claims.

Critical abstract gives readers an in-depth overview of the research and include an evaluative component. This means that this type also summarizes and analyzes research data, discusses implications, and makes claims about the achievements of your study. In addition, it examines the research data and recounts its implications. 

Choose the correct type of dissertation abstract to ensure that it meets your paper’s demands.

How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis?

Writing a good abstract for a dissertation or thesis is essential as it provides a brief overview of the completed research. So, how to write a dissertation abstract? First of all, the right approach is dictated by an institution's specific requirements. However, a basic structure should include the title, an introduction to your topic, research methodology, findings, and conclusions. Composing noteworthy precis allows you to flaunt your capabilities and grants readers a concise glimpse of the research. Doing this can make an immense impact on those reviewing your paper.

1. Identify the Purpose of Your Study

An abstract for thesis paper or dissertation is mainly dependent on the purpose of your study. Students need to identify all goals and objectives of their research before writing their précis - the reason being to ensure that the investigation’s progress and all its consequent findings are described simply and intelligibly. Additionally, one should provide some background information about their study. A short general description helps your reader acknowledge and connect with the research question. But don’t dive too deep into details, since more details are provided when writing a dissertation introduction . Scholars should write every dissertation abstract accurately and in a coherent way to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the area. This is the first section that potential readers will see, and it should serve as a precise overview of an entire document. Therefore, researchers writing abstracts of a thesis or dissertation should do it with great care and attention to details.

2. Discuss Methodology

A writer needs to elaborate on their methodological approach in an abstract of PhD dissertation since it acts as a brief summary of a whole research and should include an explanation of all methods used there. Dissertation and thesis abstracts discuss the research methodology by providing information sufficient enough to understand the underlying research question, data collection methods, and approach employed. Additionally, they should explain the analysis or interpretation of the data. This will help readers to gain a much better understanding of the research process and allow them to evaluate the data quality. Mention whether your methodology is quantitative or qualitative since this information is essential for readers to grasp your study's context and scope. Additionally, comment on the sources used and any other evidence collected. Furthermore, explain why you chose the method in the first place. All in all, addressing methodology is a crucial part of writing abstracts of a thesis or dissertation, as it will allow people to understand exactly how you arrived at your conclusions.

3. Describe the Key Results

Write your abstract for dissertation in a way that includes an overview of the research problem, your proposed solution, and any limitations or constraints you faced. Students need to briefly and clearly describe all key findings from the research. You must ensure that the results mentioned in an abstract of a thesis or dissertation are supported with evidence from body chapters.  Write about any crucial trends or patterns that emerged from the study. They should be discussed in detail, as this information can often provide valuable insight into your topic. Be sure to include any correlations or relationships found as a result of the study. Correlation, in this context, refers to any association between two or more variables.  Finally, write about any implications or conclusions drawn from your results: this is an essential element when writing an abstract for dissertation since it allows readers to firmly comprehend the study’s significance.

4. Summarize an Abstract for a Dissertation

Knowing how to write an abstract for dissertation is critical in conveying your work to a broad audience. Summarizing can be challenging (since precis is a summary in itself), but it is an essential part of any successful work. So, as a final step, conclude this section with a brief overview of the topic, outline the course of your research and its main results, and answer the paper’s central question.  Summarizing an abstract of your dissertation is done to give readers a succinct impression of the entire paper, making an accurate and concise overview of all its key points and consequent conclusions. In every PhD dissertation abstract , wrap up its summary by addressing any unanswered questions and discussing any potential implications of the research.

How to Format an Abstract in Dissertation

Format depends on the style (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago), which varies according to your subject's discipline. Style to use is usually mentioned in the instructions, and students should follow them closely to ensure formatting accuracy. These styles have guidelines that inform you about the formatting of titles, headings and subheadings, margins, page numbers, abstracts, and tell what font size and family or line spacing are required. Using a consistent formatting style ensures proper readability and might even influence paper’s overall structure. Another formatting concern to consider when writing dissertation and thesis abstracts is their layout. Most commonly, your paper should have a one-inch margin on all sides with double spacing. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the right guidelines to get the correct information on how to write dissertation abstract in APA format and ensure that it meets formatting standards.

Keywords in a Dissertation Abstract

When writing thesis abstracts, it is essential to include keywords. Keywords are phrases or words that help readers identify main topics of your paper and make it easier for them to find any information they need. Keywords should usually be placed at the end of a dissertation abstract and written in italics. In addition, include keywords that represent your paper's primary research interests and topics. Lastly, use keywords throughout your thesis to ensure that your précis accurately reflect an entire paper's content.

Thesis and Dissertation Abstract Examples

When writing, checking out thesis and dissertation abstracts examples from experts can provide a valuable reference point for structuring and formatting your own précis. When searching for an excellent sample template, engaging the assistance of a professional writer can be highly beneficial. Their expertise and knowledge offer helpful insight into creating an exemplary document that exceeds all expectations. Examples of dissertation abstracts from different topics are commonly available in scholarly journals and websites. We also encourage you to go and search your university or other local library catalogue -  multiple useful samples can surely be found there. From our part, we will attach 2 free examples for inspiration.

Dissertation abstract example

Dissertation Abstract Example

Thesis abstract example

Thesis Abstract Example

Need a custom summary or a whole work? Contact StudyCrumb and get proficient assistance with PhD writing or dissertation proposal help .

Extra Tips on Writing a Dissertation Abstract

Writing a dissertation or PhD thesis abstract is not an easy task. You must ensure that it accurately reflects your paper's content. In this context, we will provide top-class tips on how to write an abstract in a dissertation or thesis for you to succeed. Combined with an example of a dissertation abstract above, you can rest assured that you'll do everything correctly. Below are extra tips on how to write a thesis abstract:

  • Keep it concise, not lengthy - around 300 words.
  • Focus on the “what”, “why”, “how”, and “so what” of your research.
  • Be specific and concrete: avoid generalization.
  • Use simple language: précis should be easy to understand for readers unfamiliar with your topic.
  • Provide enough relevant information so your readers can grasp a main idea without necessarily reading your paper in its entirety.
  • Write and edit your abstract several times until every sentence is clear and concise.
  • Verify accuracy: make sure that précis reflect your content precisely.

Bottom Line on How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Abstract

The bottom line when it comes to how to write a dissertation abstract is that you basically need to mirror your study's essence on a much lower scale. Specifically, students should keep their précis concise, use simple language, include relevant information, and write several drafts. Don't forget to review your précis and make sure they are precise enough. In addition, make sure to include all keywords so readers can find your paper quickly. You are encouraged to examine several sample dissertation abstracts to understand how to write your own.

Illustration

Are you still struggling with your abstract? Contact our dissertation writing service and our qualified writers will gladly help you with this uneasy task. They will make sure it is delivered strictly on time and meets all requirements!  

FAQ About Dissertation Abstract Writing

1. why is a dissertation abstract important.

Dissertation abstracts are important because they give readers a brief overview of your research. They succinctly introduce critical information and study’s key points to help readers decide if reading your thesis is worth their time. During indexing, an abstract allows categorizing and filtering papers through keyword searches. Consequently, this helps readers to easily find your paper when searching for information on a specific topic.

2. When should I write an abstract for a dissertation or thesis?

You are supposed to write a dissertation or thesis abstract after completing research and finishing work on your paper. This way, you can write précis that accurately reflects all necessary information without missing any important details. Writing your thesis précis last also lets you provide the right keywords to help readers find your dissertation.

3. What should a dissertation abstract include?

A dissertation abstract should include a research problem, goals and objectives, methods, results, and study implications. Ensure that you incorporate enough information so readers can get an idea of your thesis's content without reading it through. Use relevant keywords to ensure readers can easily find your paper when searching for information on a specific topic.

4. How to write a strong dissertation abstract?

To write a strong abstract for a dissertation, you should state your research problem, write in an active voice, use simple language, and provide relevant information. Additionally, write and edit your précis several times until it is clear and concise, and verify that it accurately mirrors your paper’s content. Reviewing several samples is also helpful for understanding how to write your own.

Joe_Eckel_1_ab59a03630.jpg

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

You may also like

Dissertation appendix

dissertation abstract writing

  • Plagiarism checker Do The Check
  • Academic editing Ask For Help
  • Samples database View Samples Base

How to Write a Concise Dissertation Abstract

27 Dec 2022

Quick Navigation

❓What Is the Dissertation Abstract?

📋Abstract: Size and Structure

✏️Practical Tips on How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

📕What Makes a Good Abstract?

📑Perfect Abstract Example

You may be wondering why you even need to bother writing the abstract in your dissertation. Among all the other elements in the assignment, what role does the abstract play and how to create a perfect one?

Is writing essays your hobby?

Participate in our "Independence Day of the United States" essay writing competition and get a 12-month Quizlet subscription.

  • Deadline: July 24, 2023
  • Topic: Declaration of Independence
  • Language: English
  • Length: 1000-5000 words
  • Font size: 11 or 12

Writing essays

What is the Dissertation Abstract?

An abstract is a concise summarization of all identified and important points in the academic paper. It can be 300 to 500 words long, which can take up an entire page! However, some universities may prefer an abstract that is shorter. The purpose of an abstract is to state what the research paper is all about contrary to the findings and executive summary.

Having said that, the abstract format consists of the aim of the research, methodology, findings, and implications of the findings. Since it covers all of these points, the reader doesn’t have to go through the entire paper to understand what the topic is about.

Professors will look at the abstracts first. If they like them, they will proceed with reading the entire research paper!

Abstract: Size and Structure

Honestly speaking, there are plenty of things that must be shortened and summarized while writing a dissertation abstract. For that reason, your professor may tell you to divide the different parts of the dissertation outline and organize them before getting them on paper!

Therefore, note down these points in proper order:

Your reason to research this issue.

What is the crucial issue?

Summarize how you conducted the research.

Your research findings.

Mention the solutions that you have found.

Challenges and limitations faced during the research.

You may also want to reserve a separate page for the abstract. The sentences must be double-spaced as well. If you are still struggling with the structure of research abstracts, dissertation writers are the way to go to get some help from. They’re professionals in this area, and they can surely help.

Besides, a PhD student must invest 200 to 300 words into the abstracts in order to get the approval of their professors. In most cases, your professor will provide all the information regarding how to write a dissertation abstract. But it doesn’t hurt to study some internet content for more information!

When it comes to the structure of the abstract, it should mirror what you discussed in the entire thesis. So, don’t forget to mention all the chapters in the paper in the abstract including a small summary of each.

Practical Tips on How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

We can all use some useful tips to come up with the best abstracts for our research paper. Having said that, here are some useful tips that you can follow if you are serious about how to write an abstract!

Begin with Why and What

Remember that this is a research paper. You must study and find problems in particular dissertation topics , conduct thorough research, and provide solutions. For that reason, always start writing with Why and What questions. However, don’t go into details here. You can save the details for some other time.

Showcase What You Found

To master the art of writing an abstract, you must present the findings of your research to the reader. You will find many solutions, but only use the ones that are relevant and gives you credibility. Depending on the topic of the literature, don’t forget to add some calculations and statistics for better grades!

Spend Time Reviewing Every Sentence

No matter how many points you gather for your academic paper, you don’t have to include all of them. What you are writing must be relevant to the topic, and it must be able to produce useful findings.

Keeping this in mind, you must go through each and every sentence many times for originality and relevance. Whenever you read your work, you may feel like making adjustments here and there to bring out the best version!

Maintain Consistency

Needless to say, a requirement of any university assignment is to maintain consistency. This is especially true when you are writing a dissertation . Since you are dealing with different data and analytics, you have to make sure that the whole project remains centered.

Avoid Repeating

Now, this factor can vary based on the subject. But in most cases, professors allow some repetition on the paper. You may have to repeat the questions to reach a new conclusion about the research. But avoid verbosity.

What Makes a Good Abstract?

If you are trying to learn how to write an abstract for a dissertation, you need to make sure that you produce a good one. It must be structured, present accurate terminology to the reader, and use proper methods as assigned by the professor.

An abstract is an important part of your thesis, no matter how you look at it. When an external examiner reads, he automatically gets informed about how the rest of the assignment will flow. If we’ve learned one thing from experience, writing a perfect dissertation requires that you give your professor a positive first impression.

Make sure that you understand the content of the paper and present them in a concise manner for the reader. Naturally, your thesis will contain several chapters, and they must all be mentioned in the abstract.

One of the reasons for the abstract is that it can highlight your findings from the research topic. You need to back up the claims that you made in the paper as well. Usually, you should leave the last section of the abstract to summarize and interpret your findings.

Besides, we encourage you to write it at the end of your work because you have to provide a concise summary of what you know. Therefore, it must be a self-contained text which must be understandable on its own.

Some professors may give you some qualitative dissertation help , so make sure you take notes of that. It also helps to study other abstracts written by other people. Don’t copy anything directly but take some hints, that’s all!

Perfect Abstract Example

Here is an example of how to write a dissertation abstract for the purpose of review and clarity for your next thesis paper. It doesn’t matter how long it will take to get this together, just do your best, and that should be enough!

Understand how the structure has been constructed and create write the best research paper. If not, get in touch with the customer support of PapersOwl today, so they can create it for you! Having said that, here is an example:

In modern days, demand and competition dominate the corporate atmosphere. By allowing autonomy among employees, organizations can see high-quality performance and motivation in the team while ensuring the well-being and a proper work-life balance. This research employs an analysis of ‘autonomy-thwarting’ and ‘autonomy-supporting’ motivational techniques. In fact, this research was conducted for the next generation of workers in society. Findings include participants in an autonomy-supportive condition possess a greater intrinsic motivation to carry out their tasks and are also able to present superior performance skills. These types of behavior are not seen in a controlling motivational style. Moreover, this research paper also uncovered that there is more to motivation and that understanding the quality of motivation can help in various areas of your life. To end, this paper can also demonstrate that autonomy can be influenced to achieve better results in motivation, performance, and business success.

Custom dissertation writing services can provide you with the invaluable help and support you need to write a successful dissertation abstract. They can provide you with expert advice and guidance and even help you craft a comprehensive and well-written abstract. With their assistance, you can be sure of producing a dissertation abstract that meets the highest standards.

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Check the originality of a paper with just a couple of clicks.

  • Free unlimited checks
  • Accurate results
  • All common file formats
  • Intuitive interface

Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback.

Article author picture

Dr. Karlyna PhD

I am a proficient writer from the United States with over five years of experience in academic writing. I comfortably complete given assignments within stipulated deadlines and at the same time deliver high-quality work, which follows the guidelines provided.

Readers also enjoyed

Best ideas for dissertation topics.

Dissertation Writing Guides 37 likes

Good Human Resources Dissertation Topic Ideas

Dissertation Writing Guides 121 likes

Difference Between a Thesis And a Dissertation

Dissertation Writing Guides 90 likes

WHY WAIT? PLACE AN ORDER RIGHT NOW!

Simply fill out the form, click the button, and have no worries!

dissertation abstract writing

Dissertation Writing

Dissertation Abstract

Cathy A.

Dissertation Abstract Writing - A Quick Guide

Published on: Nov 5, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 12, 2023

Dissertation Abstract

People also read

Dissertation Writing - Guide, Examples & Template

Dissertation vs. Thesis - Differences & Similarities

Extensive Dissertation Topic Ideas for Valuable Research

Dissertation Structure - A Complete Guide on Layout

Dissertation Proposal: Writing Guide & Examples

Easy Dissertation Examples for All Students

How to Cite a Dissertation in Different Citation Styles

Write Dissertation Introduction With Expert Tips

Share this article

Many students face challenges when it comes to writing an effective dissertation abstract. They often struggle to condense their extensive research into a concise yet informative summary.

A well-crafted abstract can draw readers in, provide a clear overview of your work, and leave a lasting impression. On the other hand, a poorly written abstract may deter potential readers, making it imperative to get it right.

In this blog, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to write a dissertation abstract that not only meets the necessary academic standards but also captivates your audience. 

With expert insights and step-by-step instructions, you'll gain the skills and knowledge needed to create an abstract that stands out.

Let's dive into the art of crafting a winning dissertation abstract.

On This Page On This Page -->

What Exactly is a Dissertation Abstract?

A dissertation abstract is a concise summary that provides a snapshot of your entire dissertation . 

It's a crucial component, typically found at the beginning of your dissertation, and serves as a teaser or trailer for your research. Think of it as the first impression your work makes on your readers.

In essence, the abstract is your opportunity to convey the essence of your study in a succinct and engaging manner. It should cover the main objectives, methodology, findings, and conclusions of your research. While it might seem like a mere formality, it plays a pivotal role in the academic world and beyond.

Purpose of a Dissertation Abstract

The dissertation abstract has a distinct purpose, serving several vital roles in the academic and research world:

  • Snapshot of Your Work

It acts as a concise snapshot of your entire dissertation, giving readers a quick overview of your research. This is especially useful for busy academics and researchers who want to evaluate the relevance of your work to their own studies.

  • Discoverability

A well-crafted abstract includes keywords and phrases relevant to your research, making your work more discoverable in academic databases and search engines..

  • Clarity and Conciseness

It challenges you to communicate your research effectively in a limited word count. This exercise encourages you to distill complex ideas into simple, clear language, promoting a deeper understanding of your work.

  • Decision-Making Tool

For those deciding whether to read your full dissertation, the abstract plays a critical role. It helps readers determine if your research aligns with their interests and needs, saving them time and guiding their choices.

  • Academic Significance

In academic and research circles, the abstract can act as a standalone work. Researchers often use abstracts to quickly assess the value and relevance of a study before committing to reading the entire paper.

  • Professional Applications

Beyond the academic world, a dissertation abstract can also have professional implications. Potential employers and organizations often use them to assess a candidate's research abilities, critical thinking, and the potential for future contributions.

Dissertation Abstract Structure

The structure of a dissertation abstract is a critical aspect of creating an effective summary of your research. 

A well-structured abstract ensures that your readers can quickly grasp the key elements of your study. Here's a typical structure to follow:

  • Introduction
  • Objective or Hypothesis
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Conclusions and Implications

Remember that while your abstract should be structured, conciseness is the key. It's a challenge to convey all of this information effectively within a limited word count. 

Each section should be using clear and straightforward language. Aim to give readers a sense of what your dissertation is about without overwhelming them with details.

How Long Should a Dissertation Abstract Be?

The ideal length of a dissertation abstract can vary depending on institutional guidelines, but a typical abstract should be concise and to the point. 

It's often recommended to keep it within the range of 150 to 300 words. While some institutions might allow slightly longer abstracts, it's crucial to remain as concise as possible. 

The goal is to provide a comprehensive summary of your research while being mindful of the limited word count. 

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

Writing an abstract is an art that requires precision and conciseness. To create an abstract that engages readers and accurately represents your research, follow these guidelines for each section:

1. Introduce the Research Problem

Begin with a compelling introduction that clearly states the research problem or question your dissertation addresses. 

Provide context by briefly explaining the background of the study and why it's important. The introduction should draw readers in and make them want to learn more.

2.  State the Main Objective or Hypothesis

After the introduction, present the main objective or hypothesis of your research. This should be a clear and specific statement of what you intended to achieve in your study. 

This section sets the stage for what readers can expect in terms of the study's focus.

3.  Describe Your Research Methods

Provide a concise description of the research methods you used. Mention whether your research employed qualitative , quantitative , or mixed methods. 

Briefly explain the data collection techniques, sampling methods, and any analytical tools or software used. Keep it informative while being succinct so readers understand your approach.

For instance , if your thesis abstract involved surveys and data analysis, you could say:

4. Summarize Key Findings

Summarize the most significant findings of your research. Focus on the main results, trends, or discoveries that emerged from your study. 

Use quantitative data, statistics, or qualitative insights, as appropriate, to support your findings. Highlight the key takeaways that contribute to your field of study.

For example , your thesis or dissertation revealed a concerning trend, you could state: 

5.  Conclude and Discuss Implications

Conclude your abstract by summarizing the conclusions you drew from your research. Discuss the broader implications of your findings and their significance.

Answer the "so what" question – explain why your research matters, both academically and practically.

6.  Include Relevant Keywords

Include a list of relevant keywords or phrases. These are crucial for ensuring your work is discoverable in academic databases and search engines. 

Choose terms commonly used in your field and reflect the main themes of your research.

Take a look at this dissertation abstract example for a more comprehensive understanding

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Dissertation Abstract Sample

The best way to understand how to write a great dissertation abstract is to look at some examples. These dissertation examples will help you understand how a good abstract is constructed.

Law Dissertation Abstract Example

Dissertation Abstract Humanities

Thesis Dissertation Abstract

Tips for Writing an Effective Dissertation Abstract

Crafting a compelling dissertation abstract is essential to grab the attention of your target audience and provide a clear overview of your research. 

Here are some valuable tips to ensure your abstract is effective:

  • Clarity and Brevity : Keep your dissertation or thesis abstract clear and concise. Avoid jargon or overly technical language. 
  • Focus on Key Information : Highlight the most significant aspects of your research questions. Readers should grasp the main points and relevance of your work quickly.
  • Stay within Word Limit : Adhere to the word limit specified by your institution or guidelines. Typically, abstracts are limited to 150-300 words.
  • Be Accurate and Honest : Ensure that your abstract accurately represents your research. Don't make exaggerated claims or overstate your findings.
  • Edit and Proofread : Carefully proofread your abstract for grammar and spelling errors. A well-edited abstract demonstrates professionalism.
  • Consider Your Audience : Keep in mind your target audience, whether it's academic peers, potential employers, or a general readership. Tailor your abstract to their level of understanding.
  • Write in the Past Tense: Abstracts typically use past tense when referring to your research, as it has already been completed.
  • Seek Feedback : Before finalizing your abstract, get feedback from peers, advisors, or writing experts. Their insights can help refine your content.

In conclusion, the dissertation abstract serves as a powerful gateway in the world of academia. It's the gateway to your research, the lens through which your work is viewed by others. 

By following a structured approach, focusing on key elements, and adhering to word limits, you can write a dissertation abstract that stands out.

Ready to create an outstanding dissertation abstract that leaves a lasting impression? Get in touch with our dissertation writing service for expert guidance.

Our online paper writing service has a team of highly qualified writers for all subjects. We can assist you at every step, from formulating a research question to writing a draft and ensuring accurate formatting and citations. 

Simply reach out to us and get excellent custom dissertation writing help!

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Dissertation Abstract

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

dissertation abstract writing

How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation that Captivates Readers

dissertation abstract writing

Did you know that the first scientific abstracts can be traced back to the 17th century when scholars like Sir Francis Bacon began to condense their research findings into concise summaries? Abstracts have come a long way since then, becoming an essential component of scholarly articles, research papers, and conference presentations. Learning how to write an abstract for a dissertation is a skill that can greatly enhance the visibility and impact of your work.

Short Description

In this informative article, our dissertation writer will delve into the world of abstracts and uncover their significance in the realm of academic and scientific writing. Discover what an abstract is, why it's essential, and how to craft one effectively. We'll provide you with practical tips and expert guidance to ensure your abstracts not only meet the mark but also captivate your audience. Whether you're a seasoned researcher or just starting out, this article has something valuable to offer.

Are You Tired of Drowning in a Sea of Academic Jargon?

Look no further! Dive into the world of precision with our Dissertation Abstracts!

Understanding What is a Dissertation Abstract

At its core, a dissertation abstract is a brief but comprehensive overview of the main points, findings, and contributions of a larger piece of work. Its primary goal is to convey the essence of the research in a condensed form.

It typically covers key aspects of the research, such as the problem or question being addressed, the methodology used, the main results or findings, and the broader implications of the work. It's the appetizer before the main course, the map before the journey, and it plays an integral role in helping others decide if your research is worth their time and attention. Let's explore this in more detail:

what is a dissertation abstract

  • Conciseness: A brief summary, typically 150 to 250 words, must adhere to precise and economical writing, where each word carries weight. Authors must distill the core of their research into this restricted word count, making each sentence a vital element.
  • Self-Sufficient Synopsis: This self-contained summary offers a comprehensive understanding of the research, even when read independently from the main document. It should encompass key elements such as the research query, methodology, primary findings, and broader implications.
  • Impersonality: Abstracts are generally composed in the third person, avoiding personal pronouns. The focus is on the research itself, maintaining objectivity to help readers evaluate the work without authorial bias.
  • Transparency and Accessibility: A well-crafted summary should be lucid and approachable to a wide audience. While it may include technical jargon, it should strive for comprehensibility by both experts and non-specialists.
  • Precision: Accuracy is paramount in a summary. It's crucial to faithfully represent the research without exaggeration or unsupported claims.
  • Framework: Summaries often adhere to a structured format, encompassing sections like an introduction (introducing the research problem), methodology (detailing the research approach), results (highlighting main findings), and conclusion (addressing research implications). The specific format may vary according to publication or conference guidelines.
  • Key Terms: Summaries frequently incorporate a list of relevant keywords or phrases. These aid readers and search engines in locating the work efficiently. Selecting appropriate keywords is pivotal for effective indexing and discoverability.

Exploring What's the Purpose of the Dissertation Abstract

Understanding the purpose of an abstract of dissertation is essential for any academic or scientific writer. It serves as the compass that guides the composition of this concise summary. Let's delve into the specific reasons behind the creation of this piece:

  • Information Filtering: In today's information-rich age, researchers, students, and professionals often face a deluge of academic papers and articles. Abstracts play a pivotal role in helping individuals sift through this sea of information. They serve as a swift evaluation mechanism, allowing individuals to discern whether a specific research paper focuses on subjects that align with their interests and requirements.
  • Decision-Making Tool: These summaries aid decision-making at various stages, helping readers decide whether to invest time in reading the full document. Journal editors and conference organizers use descriptive and informative abstracts to select an entire paper for publication or presentation. Thus, the quality and appeal of an abstract can significantly impact the visibility and recognition of a research contribution.
  • Search and Retrieval: Abstracts facilitate the organization, cataloging, and retrieval of academic works in databases and libraries. They are key elements for search engines, enabling precise indexing, categorization, and accessibility. When you search for scholarly articles on a specific topic, the presence of keywords in abstracts greatly influences the results you receive.
  • Quick Reference: A descriptive abstract offers a swift reference point for scholars who want to recall the core findings and insights of a particular study. Researchers and students often use abstracts to determine whether a work is worth exploring in-depth for their own research.
  • Global Accessibility: In an increasingly globalized academic community, English has become the lingua franca for scholarly communication. Descriptive abstracts provide a bridge for non-English speakers to access research findings, enabling a wider dissemination of knowledge.

Dissertation Abstract Example

In our exploration of dissertation abstract examples, we've crafted a practical sample, which, in this case, would span approximately 100 pages. This abstract of dissertation example showcases the key components of a comprehensive research summary and demonstrates how to effectively condense extensive research into a concise yet informative format.

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract with 4 Key Steps

In the world of academia and research, your dissertation abstract is your first impression, your elevator pitch, and your ticket to engaging your audience. But crafting the one that truly captivates can be an art form in itself. In this guide, we'll unveil the key steps to help you master this art, from deciphering the essential components to weaving a compelling narrative that leaves a lasting impact.

how to write an abstract for dissertation

Step 1: Introduction

The introduction in your dissertation abstract is the gateway, the moment you capture your audience's attention and set the tone for what follows. It's where you frame the research question, highlight its relevance, and give your readers a compelling reason to delve further into your work.

Imagine your research paper is about a groundbreaking energy-efficient building material. Instead of a mundane start, consider opening with a captivating question: 'What if we told you that buildings of the future could be constructed with a material that not only slashes energy costs but also helps combat climate change?'

The introduction is your chance to engage, inspire, and intrigue your audience while writing an abstract, prompting them to explore the innovative and significant research that lies ahead.

Step 2: Methods

If you are wondering how to write an abstract for a dissertation, remember to provide a concise but informative glimpse into how you conducted your research in the methods section. This is where you let your readers know the tools and techniques you employed to gather your data or evidence.

For instance, if your research involves using advanced machine learning algorithms to predict financial market trends, you would describe your methods as 'We harnessed cutting-edge machine learning algorithms to analyze market data from the past decade.'

In a scientific paper on the impact of a new teaching approach on student learning, your informative abstract could state, 'Our research involved implementing a novel blended learning model, combining in-person instruction with interactive online modules.'

By offering a brief but explicit insight into your research methods, you allow your audience to grasp the rigor and innovation behind your work, setting the stage for forthcoming results and discussions.

Step 3: Results

In the results section of your dissertation abstract, you showcase the heart of your research – the findings and outcomes. This is where you provide a glimpse of the impact of your work.

Instead of vague terms like 'significant' or 'notable,' be precise and quantitative. For example, if your research has identified a reduction in energy consumption due to a new lighting technology, you might say, 'Our study revealed a remarkable 40% reduction in energy consumption when implementing the innovative LED lighting system.'

Or, for a dissertation topic on the effects of a vaccination program, you could state, 'The vaccination initiative led to a substantial 65% decrease in the incidence of the target disease within the studied population.'

By quantifying your findings and presenting specific measurements or statistics, you make your results more tangible and impactful, allowing your audience to grasp the significance of your research at a glance.

Step 4: Discussion

The discussion section of your dissertation abstract is where you connect the dots, providing insights into the broader implications of your research. It's your opportunity to convey the 'So what?' of your findings.

For example, in a study exploring the environmental impact of urban transportation changes, your abstract could conclude, 'These findings highlight the potential for sustainable urban planning to significantly reduce carbon emissions, offering a blueprint for cities to combat climate change.'

Or, in a study on the psychological effects of art therapy in elderly populations, your discussion might emphasize, 'Our research underscores the value of art therapy as an innovative approach to enhancing the mental well-being of the aging population, with implications for a more holistic and effective approach to senior care.'

In the discussion section, you should address the long-term consequences and the significance of your research, whether it's in terms of policy changes, practical applications, or fundamental shifts in the field. It's where you convey the transformative power of your work and inspire your audience to recognize its value.

3 Useful Strategies for Writing a Dissertation Abstract

In the vast landscape of academic and research publications, a dissertation abstract is often your first and, sometimes, only chance to make an impact. It's the trailer that either entices the audience to watch the full movie or lets them move on. But writing dissertation abstract is not just about summarizing your work; it's about engaging your readers, leaving them curious and eager to explore further.

To help you navigate this intricate process, we gathered three indispensable strategies. These practical approaches are designed to not only make your abstract informative but also to give it a unique edge that will linger in the minds of your audience. 

Recall the WWHS Principle

Crafting an effective abstract requires you to recall the WWHS principle: 'What, Why, How, and So What.' These four pillars from our professional essay writing service are the foundation of an abstract that informs, engages, and leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

Articulating the 'What' with Context

  • In the 'What' segment, provide a succinct yet comprehensive overview of your research. This is where you outline the central focus of your study, encompassing not only the 'what' but also the 'who' and 'where.' Clarify the subject matter of your research and introduce the key participants or elements involved. Additionally, establish the geographical context by specifying where your research took place. By presenting this contextual information, you paint a vivid picture of the setting and the essential actors within your study.

Significance Unveiled: The 'Why' in Your Research

  • Within the 'Why' section, dive into the importance of your research. Explore the motivations that fueled your research journey. What critical questions or knowledge gaps ignited your curiosity and propelled your investigation? Reveal the rationale behind your study, emphasizing its relevance to your field, practical applications, or its role in addressing pressing issues. This portion acts as the driving force behind your research, bridging the objectives of your study with the larger academic or practical context.

Mastering Research Methodology: The 'How' of Your Study

  • The 'How' component delves into the mechanics of your research methodology. Succinctly describe the methods you employed, whether it involved a qualitative case study, a quantitative survey, or an experimental design. Offer sufficient detail to grant readers a glimpse into your methodological approach without overwhelming them. This is where you underscore the rigor of your methodology, assuring your audience of the sound foundation of your research.

Discovering Meaning: The 'So What' in Your Findings

  • Finally, the 'So What' segment encapsulates the pivotal findings and the broader implications of your research. Even if you prefer the option to buy dissertations , you should remember to highlight the significant discoveries, results, or insights uncovered in your study. Explain the broader implications of these findings and their potential influence in the larger context. How might your research shape future inquiries, contribute to practical applications, or expand the existing knowledge in your field? The 'So What' segment elevates your abstract beyond mere information, transforming it into a source of invaluable knowledge.

Embrace Simplicity

Simplicity enhances clarity. It ensures that your abstract can be understood by experts and non-experts alike. Complex language or convoluted sentences can obscure your core message, so using clear and simple language is essential. Furthermore, when you're working with a limited word count, simplicity is your ally. It allows you to convey your message efficiently, ensuring that every word serves a purpose. In contrast, using complex language can quickly eat up your word limit.

An abstract isn't just for the academic community. Policymakers, journalists, and individuals from diverse backgrounds may take an interest in your work. So, simple dissertation abstracts broaden the audience, making the research relevant beyond academia.

Lastly, simplicity helps you distill the essence of scientific journals. It forces you to identify the key findings, implications, and fundamental message. In a world flooded with information, simplicity ensures that your research stands out and effectively informs, engages, and inspires.

Precision is Key

Precision plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your message is not just heard but understood with utmost clarity. It's not about verbosity or complexity; rather, it's the art of choosing the right words and framing your ideas with meticulous accuracy. Precision eliminates ambiguity, allowing your readers to grasp your message precisely as intended. Whether in a dissertation abstract, academic paper, or any form of communication, it is the beacon that guides your audience through the intricate maze of ideas, ensuring that your message lands with the impact it deserves.

Ready to Enchant Your Readers from the First Glance?

Our expert writers are here to distill your thesis into a concise and engaging summary that will leave your readers intrigued and eager to delve deeper!

Related Articles

How to Write a Spooky Essay on Halloween

  • How It Works

How to Craft a Killer Dissertation Abstract 2023

dissertation abstract

Learn how you can write a top-rated dissertation abstract thick and fast, with our professional guide.

Special tip – maintain a hawk-eye to the end.

What is an Abstract in a Dissertation?

A dissertation abstract is a summary of the entire thesis. It gives the significant proponents of your paper in a highly condensed form.

An abstract in a dissertation serves the following functions:

  • Acts as an introduction to your dissertation article
  • Sets the stage for the thesis
  • Can substitute the whole thesis

The elements of an abstract include:

  • Research problem and objectives
  • Major results
  • The conclusion

It is an essential component of the thesis that can either earn you a top grade or be the reason for your academic downfall.

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

It is essential to determine the type of abstract for your dissertation. In writing a dissertation abstract, take note of the following types:

  • Descriptive Abstract

It gives the kind of information found in your paper. A descriptive outline is usually concise and can be about 100 words or less.

  • Critical Abstract

It describes the main findings and, additionally, a comment on the validity, completeness, or reliability of the study. Due to its interpretive nature, it generally contains 400-500 words in length.

  • Informative Abstract

As the name suggests, this type presents and explains the main arguments, essential results, and evidence in the thesis. Although the length varies, it is not more than 300 words in length.

  • Highlight Abstract

It serves to attract the reader’s attention to the paper. It uses leading remarks to spark the interest of the audience.

We are now going to see how to write an abstract for a dissertation in ten significant steps:

Ten Top-Notch Steps to Writing an Abstract for a Dissertation

Step 1: Define the purpose of your research

Start by making plain the purpose of your study. State the research question you are going to handle or the practical problem of your paper.

Do not delve into much detailed information here. For starters, you can have a brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic.

Write the objectives of your research after stating the problem. When indicating the goals, use verbs such as:

To test To investigate, To evaluate To analyze

Use either the present or simple past tense for this section. Do not use the future tense in any case since the research is complete already.

Dissertation abstract example for this section:

Correct: This study evaluates the relationship between COVID-19 and flu. Incorrect: This study will determine the relationship between COVID-19 and influenza.

Step 2: Identify the methods you are going to use for your research

Now in this stage, clearly make mention of the ways you are going to use to answer your research question.

Write it in one to two sentences without making it too long. Ensure that the points are precise and to the end.

It should be in the simple past tense. Why? Because you have already done your research and completed it using these methods.

Do not go into the strengths and weaknesses of the research methods. The reader should be able to read through it fast and still understand the strategy and methodology of your thesis.

Correct: Direct observation was conducted on 40 COVID-19 patients. Correct: Questionnaires were administered to 20 doctors dealing with COVID-19 patients. Incorrect: Laboratory experiments will be done with ten specimens.

Step 3: Make a summary of the results

After collecting data, it is time to give brief but elaborate results in the abstract for the dissertation.

The results section depends on the length and complexity of the research. However, ensure that it doesn’t make the abstract longer than is recommended.

Do not include irrelevant results which may not add any value to your paper. Strive to point out the essential outcomes of the article which support or answer your research question.

Write the results in either the present or simple past tense.

Correct: Our findings show a substantial similarity in the symptoms of both COVID-19 and flu. Correct: Our analysis showed a significant similarity between the symptoms of both COVID-19 and flu. Incorrect: Our study has shown a considerable similarity in the symptoms of both COVID-19 and flu. Incorrect: Our findings will be showing a substantial similarity in the symptoms of both COVID-19 and flu.

Step 4: Finish off with the conclusions from your research

Your abstract should have an answer to the research question, which is in this part. Your reader should get the main point of your thesis at this point. What has your research found or proved? The conclusion should be able to tell this to the reader.

Improve the credibility of your dissertation by adding any relevant limitations in this section of the abstract. From the thesis abstract examples, we are going to see below; it is evident that the conclusion is as brief as possible.

You can also have recommendations or suggestions for further research in your conclusion. Nevertheless, they should be as brief as possible. Do not write a long list that will interfere with the length of the abstract.

Write the conclusion in the present simple tense. Here are examples for your inspiration:

Correct: We conclude that flu is a primary symptom of COVID-19. Incorrect: We found that influenza is a primary symptom of COVID-19.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Dissertation Abstract

Now that we have looked at the essential steps to follow, here are some expert tips to crank up your abstract:

Follow the recommended formatting requirements for the abstract. The format will include; word limit, length, and spacing, style (APA, MLA, etc.)

The standard formatting requires that you do not write more than one double-spaced page.

  • Avoid verbosity

Each word in a sentence counts due to the brevity of an abstract. Therefore, use short but communicating sentences.

Do not add unnecessary words or jargon, as this will obscure your abstract. Remember that the reader should be able to understand your abstract in the shortest time possible.

Ensure that you maintain the proper balance between the different elements of the abstract.

Checklist for Writing an Abstract

  • The type of abstract identified
  • The conformity of the abstract to the conventions of the type chosen
  • Is the problem interesting to write on
  • What is your approach? (Prototype models, analytical models, etc.)
  • What’s the answer (results)
  • What is the implication of your solution? (Conclusion)

Writing a successful abstract requires both hard work and determination, but its fruits are worth the struggle. As you plan to write yours, ensure that all the elements discussed above appear in your paper.

For expert writing help , we have professional dissertation writers to get you started. What are you waiting for now?

results section of a research paper

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment * Error message

Name * Error message

Email * Error message

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

As Putin continues killing civilians, bombing kindergartens, and threatening WWIII, Ukraine fights for the world's peaceful future.

Ukraine Live Updates

TrueEditors

dissertation abstract writing

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract?

A dissertation or thesis abstract is a short summary outlining the purpose and scope of a dissertation or a thesis. An abstract succinctly explains the outcomes and the goal of a longer work so that the reader would know what to expect out of it.

A dissertation abstract reflects the author’s grasp of the research topic and sets the tone for the dissertation.

It is always a good idea to write your thesis abstract or the abstract for your dissertation at the very end after you’ve completed your research. However, many universities ask for an abstract before you begin work on your dissertation so as to grasp your understanding of the topic. In that case, you are expected to form an abstract based on your preliminary research and based on how you plan to carry out your research.

This Article Covers:

What does a dissertation or thesis abstract include, how long should an abstract be, when to write an abstract, what should a dissertation abstract include, example of a dissertation abstract, how to structure your dissertation or thesis abstract, tips for writing an abstract.

  • An outline of the research problem and the proposed objectives
  • The research methodology
  • Key arguments or results
  • The conclusion of the dissertation

The length of an abstract for a dissertation might vary from university to university as well as from program to program. Ideally, the length of an abstract is between 300 words to 500 words. It is always a good idea to check the requirements a university or journal might have about the word count of the dissertation abstract before submitting it.

An abstract is often included on a separate page in a dissertation or thesis. It should come after the title page as well as the acknowledgments but should be placed before the table of contents.

An abstract is always included when you are submitting a thesis, research, or a research paper or while sending a research paper to an academic journal.

In most cases, an abstract is something that you write at the very end of your research. It should not seem like an extension of your research or a disjointed portion and should be complete by itself. It should be a stand-alone piece that strokes the reader’s curiosity to read your paper. Sometimes, universities might ask for an abstract before approving your topic for a dissertation or thesis. In that case, an abstract is submitted to show that the student has a clear idea about how to go about the research.

As an abstract reflects the quality of a larger work, it should contain 4 key components.

dissertation abstract writing

1. Aim of the research :

If the aim or purpose of the research is not clear from the abstract section of your dissertation, it might leave the impression that your research has nothing new to offer. So, the abstract should be able to tell the reader or the examiner about what practical or theoretical problem the research is responding to (in other words, the research question) and what outcomes you expect to derive or what is the new thing that makes your dissertation stand apart.

You can write the aim of the dissertation or thesis in your abstract after proving the context or background for the research. A detailed background is not necessary and not possible, so only the most relevant information should be included. Once the background of your study is established and the gap in the existing literature is analyzed, you should propose the objective of your study.

dissertation abstract writing

It is usually preferred to use the present or simple past tense while stating the objective. This is because an abstract should be as precise and concise as possible and should reflect the same kind of rigorousness and objectivity that your dissertation will have. Find below examples of how to frame an objective for your abstract based on the use of language.

2. Method of research (the research methodology) :

After the objective of the study is stated, we move on to the methods used to conduct the research. This part should be a straightforward description of the kind of research methodology that you have used (quantitative or qualitative) in one or two sentences.

If the full thesis or dissertation is submitted, then the methodology is usually written in the simple past tense as it indicates the past action. There is no need to explain the validity of the methodology or the obstacles faced during the process in this part. Those parts only need to be included in the research methodology section of the dissertation. The goal is just to give the reader a basic insight into how you have conducted the research.

3. Outcomes of the research :

The results or the outcomes section should be included in the concluding paragraph of the abstract. This part summarizes the resolutions offered to the problem statement identified initially in the abstract. The outcome of the study should be indicated in clear terms.

Depending on the length and complexity of your research, you can decide what to include in this part. Ideally, it should not exceed 3-4 sentences. If the outcomes are complex, you could just mention the relevant ones that the reader would be able to understand without wanting further elaboration. Results are often written in the present or simple past tense.

4. The conclusion of the abstract

Particular care should be given to the way you frame the conclusion of your abstract. In this part, the main conclusions of your research should be stated. The conclusion should clearly answer the problem statement that you have proposed initially in your abstract.

The conclusion should tell the reader what your research has accomplished and what new knowledge it is adding to the existing ones. Conclusions are usually written in the simple present tense.

Keywords are added at the end of a dissertation or abstract if it is going to be published. The keyword gives the reader an idea about the essential concepts in the dissertation or thesis. They also provide visibility to your paper when others search the related words on a search engine. So, you should make sure that you add only the most important and relevant words related to your dissertation in the keywords’ section.

dissertation abstract writing

Abstract for the dissertation can be structured in the following way:

  • As the abstract would be around 300-500 words, it is better to divide it into 2-3 paragraphs.
  • More than three paragraphs might not be recommended as the abstract is of very short length.
  • The aim of the research should be mentioned in the first paragraph or the introductory paragraph of the abstract.
  • You should not start writing the abstract by directly stating the aim. Instead, provide background information about your area of research in 2-3 lines.
  • You could even start your abstract by stating the problem statement.
  • The background information on the existing literature would give the reader information about where your dissertation or thesis is situated.
  • The background information or short literature review would be followed by the problem statement or vice versa according to your arguments.
  • The problem statement identifies the gap in the existing literature.
  • Following the problem statement, you should propose what research question you aim to answer.
  • The last paragraph mentions the results or the outcomes/conclusion of the study. You could even make suggestions for future studies in this part.

Writing an abstract can be challenging as you need to filter down the most relevant aspects of your dissertation into 300-500 words. This means that you will have to omit a lot of information while providing enough to interest the reader or evaluator. Here are some tips to get started on your abstract:

Tips to help you write an abstract :

  • Chapter by chapter method :

List the keywords and draft a few sentences outlining the relevance of each chapter of your dissertation or thesis. The short summary of each chapter should be related to your central argument. Combine them together and fill in the gaps. Add in more information and remove the unnecessary ones as you revise the draft.

  • Read other abstracts:

This is the best way to learn the conventions of abstract writing in your area of research. Notice how other well-accepted research abstracts present their ideas. Make a list of what you find interesting in those.

  • Write many versions of the rough drafts:

Ultimately, it is important not to wait for the perfect version. The perfect version won’t happen unless you keep writing. Write mediocre abstracts and notice what is wrong with those versions. Write multiple versions of the abstract in different ways and work on that which you think reads the best.

  • Make it compact:

Revision is an important aspect of perfecting any academic writing. Revise, change the words, and write in different ways but keep it compact. An abstract is a condensed piece of your dissertation so it should reflect that compactness.

  • Keep editing:

This is one of the most important steps in writing an abstract for any academic piece. Even if you think the abstract looks perfect, come back to it after a while, and let someone else, a professional editor or a senior, have a look over it.

Let’s Conclude

So, there you go! We have outlined all the steps and tips we consider necessary before you write your dissertation . We have covered what a dissertation abstract should include, the dissertation abstract structure that you need to keep in mind, and have included tips and an example of a dissertation to help you get to it!

-Lily Brooke

dissertation abstract writing

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Formatting Examples

Use the formatting checklist to check that all of your content is formatted according to Graduate College requirements. Also, schedule a format check  with a CCE thesis/dissertation consultant to get feedback on your formatting.

dissertation abstract writing

 Title Page

Including a Title Page is required . Some of the most common thesis/dissertation mistakes are made on the title page. Follow the bullets below, paying close attention to capitalization, spacing, line breaks, actual date of graduation, and copyright statement. These bullets will guide you through the title page.

  • No page number is displayed on the title page.  It is always assumed page 'i'
  • Title is at top of page, formatted with Heading 1, Thesis/Dissertation Title style
  • Title is single spaced
  • Title does not contain a period
  • The first word in the title and the first word following a colon are capitalized
  • Proper nouns and acronyms in the title are capitalized
  • The word "by" is lowercase
  • BOLD  your name and the title
  • Student name should match name in AccessPlus
  • If student name does not match name in AccessPlus, include AccessPlus name in parenthes is under the name you are using
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “fulfillment of requirements” statement
  • The phrase “MASTER OF...” or “DOCTOR OF...” is used
  • Only the Major(s) and (if applicable) the specialization(s) are listed (minors are  not listed)
  • Do not include Dr., Esq., Ph.D., AIA, or other titles or affiliations before or after your name or faculty names
  • “Major Professor” is listed after the respective faculty’s name
  • For Co-major Professors, list both as “Co-major Professor”; do not use “Major Professor”
  • Committee member names are single spaced
  • Either the word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “responsibility of content” statement
  • Iowa State University is listed
  • Ames, Iowa is listed
  • Graduation year is listed
  • Copyright statement is written as: Copyright © [Name as Shown on AccessPlus], [Graduation Year]. All rights reserved.

Annotated Examples

Sample Title Page

Master's Title Page

Master's Title Page_Co-Majors

Master's Title Page_Specialization

Master's Title Page _2 Specializations

Master's Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Mater's Title Page_Double Degree

PhD Title Page

PhD Title Page_Co-Majors

PhD Title Page_Specialization

PhD Title Page_2 Specializations

PhD Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Sample Title Page with Alternative Student Name  

  Table of Contents

Including a Table of Contents is required . The Table of Contents shows the reader the organization of the document as well as displays the correct page numbers. The bulleted items explain various heading styles for you to follow. They also demonstrate various preliminary pages' formats.

  • DEDICATION, if used, precedes the table of contents. Its heading is formatted with  Heading 0 ( not in ToC) style, and the page number is 'ii'
  • Page is numbered using lower case Roman numerals, top center
  • The heading TABLE OF CONTENTS, is formatted with  Heading 0 ( not in ToC) style
  • Do not list 'DEDICATION' or 'TABLE OF CONTENTS' in the Table of Contents
  • The order for the preliminary pages that follow the table of contents are LIST OF TABLES (optional), LIST OF FIGURES (optional), NOMENCLATURE (optional), ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (optional), ABSTRACT (required)
  • Preliminary page numbers are lower case Roman numerals in the same font as the document's text, top center
  • Single-space chapter headings and subheadings. Double-space before a new chapter
  • Chapter titles are uppercase letters, same size and font
  • Chapter 1 begins with Arabic numeral '1' in the same font as the text
  • Indent first and second level headings below the major headings. No underlining, boldface, or italics
  • Ensure page numbers in the Table of Content agree with the text
  • All headings must match the corresponding headings in text

Traditional Format Table of Contents

Journal Format Table of Contents

Single Journal Format Table of Contents

MFA Format Table of Contents

  List of Tables or Figures

Including a List of Tables and/or a List of Figures is optional . If you have one list, you must have the other list. Each list starts on a new page regardless of how many entries are on the page.

  • The headings LIST OF FIGURES or LIST OF TABLES are formatted in Heading 0 ( included in TOC) style
  • If you have one of these lists, then you have the other as well
  • Page number columns are right justified
  • "Page" is written above the page numbers column (only on the first page of the list) and is right justified
  • The word “Table” or “Figure” comes before the title or figure number (e.g., “Table 1. Title”)
  • Titles have all the same capitalization, size, and same font
  • Single-space list entries
  • Double-space between list entries
  • Entries should not be bolded or italicized
  • Traditional format: Continue numbers throughout the document (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3)
  • Option 1:  Restart Figure/Table caption number for each chapter (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1),  write "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", Chapter X, etc. to separate each chapter section in the List of Figures and/or List of Tables. 
  • Option 2: Use Figure/Table caption number with each chapter number, (e.g. Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2, etc. or Table 2.1, Table 2.2, etc.), write Figure/Table + Chapter number followed by figure/table number for the respective chapter.

List of Tables Traditional Format

List of Figures Traditional Format

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

An abstract is required . The abstract is a concise summary of the dissertation or thesis’s purpose, highlights the main points, states the method used, provides findings, and states conclusions. Oftentimes, readers only read the abstract to determine if they should read the document.

  • ABSTRACT in Heading 0 ( included in ToC)
  • Double-spaced 
  • Indent paragraphs like other paragraphs in your dissertation/thesis
  • There is no word limit for the ABSTRACT

Abstract Page

 Traditional Body Format

There are two format styles—traditional and journal. The traditional format is basically one document; whereas, journal is a compilation of several manuscripts for journal publication. See the Journal Article Format  section for instructions for papers including journal publications.

  • Begin first page of Chapter 1 with ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text
  • All chapter titles are written in Heading 2, Chapter Title style, which is centered, bold, and uppercase
  • All non-chapter, high-level section (Preliminary Pages, Reference/Bibliography, and Appendix) titles are formatted in Heading 0 , which is centered, bold, and uppercase
  • Indent all paragraphs
  • No blank pages
  • Recommended: no excessive white space in text. Pages should be ¾ filled, unless it’s the last page of the chapter
  • Recommended: Chapter section headings are bold and centered with title case. Use Heading 3, Chapter Section  style
  • Recommended: Chapter subsection headings are bold, left flush, sentence case. Use Heading 4, Chapter Subsection  style
  • Format headings consistently throughout the manuscript
  • Differentiation exists between heading levels
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page before a paragraph is continued to the next page
  • Headings or subheadings must include at least two lines of text at the bottom of a page
  • Include the first page of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in the appendix. Refer to it in the text

 Journal Article Format

This manuscript format refers to the use of articles and/or book chapters to replace the standard thesis/dissertation chapters. Publication of the manuscript(s) is not a requirement of this format. The graduate student is the major contributor and writer of the manuscript(s). In the case of multiple authorship, the contribution of each author is detailed in the Introduction or footnotes.

  • Begin CHAPTER 1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION with page ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text
  • Chapter 1 must be titled “GENERAL INTRODUCTION” and the final chapter must be titled “GENERAL CONCLUSION”
  • Author affiliations
  • References or Bibliography
  • Figures and Tables 
  • Continue the text of the paper on the same page as the title and abstract. Chapter titles should not stand alone on a page
  • The References section should appear continuously after the manuscript text; it does not start on a new page
  • Format headings consistently throughout each chapter
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page. This includes paragraphs that carry over to the next page
  • Appendices must be included within the respective chapters, NOT as sections at the end of the thesis/dissertation. See the Appendix section  for more details on specific formatting requirements

Author Affiliation

 Bibliography or References

Including a bibliography or reference section is required . Every thesis/dissertation that uses other sources, either by direct quotation or reference, must have a bibliography or listing of these sources at the end before the Appendices. The organization of references or bibliography according to specific disciplines can be accepted if approved by the committee.

  • For Journal Article format, use Heading 3, Chapter Section at the end of each chapter before any appendix(ces). The references continue after the body of the text (not start on a new page)
  • For Traditional format, use Heading Level 0 ( included in ToC) after the final chapter, before any appendix(ces). Start on a new page

Citation Style Guides

Traditional Format References

Journal Format References

Discipline-specific Organization

Use one or more appendices for materials that do not pertain directly, but are relevant, to the main text. Examples of appendix material include survey instruments, Institutional Review Board approval, permission forms, additional data, or raw data. The material within the appendices may be in a different font or use different spacing from the main text of the dissertation/thesis.

  • Appendix. Title
  • Appendix A. Title
  • Appendix B. Title
  • Lettering schema restarts in every chapter
  • APPENDIX. TITLE
  • APPENDIX A. TITLE
  • APPENDIX B. TITLE
  • Number all pages with the same font and location as body of thesis/dissertation pages
  • Fonts may be different

 Tables, Figures & Schemas

  • Include tables, figures, and schema in the text below their first reference in the text or they can be grouped at the end of each chapter. Use a consistent style throughout
  • Table, figure, and schema margins should be the same as the manuscript’s pages
  • Position table and figure captions relative to the table/figure consistently throughout the manuscript (Traditional) or chapter (Journal Article).
  • Position schema captions at the top or bottom consistently
  • There must be 2 lines of the caption on the same page as the figure or table
  • Table/figure/schema too large to fit on one page: use “Table X continued' at the top of the table on each subsequent page. “Figure X continued” above or below the figure on each subsequent page
  • Turn landscape tables, figures, and schema so the top of the table/figure is located to the left
  • Page numbers on landscape pages should not turn with the table/figure. Locate on the 8.5' end of the page in the same position and orientation as the other page numbers

Table Example

Table Continued Example

Figure Example

Figure Continued Example (Long Caption)

Figure Continued Example (Long Figure)

Figure in Portrait and Landscape Orientation

Page Numbers of Landscape Pages

Thesis Helpers

dissertation abstract writing

Find the best tips and advice to improve your writing. Or, have a top expert write your paper.

How To Write A Great Dissertation Abstract

dissertation abstract

Table of Contents

  • 1. What is a dissertation abstract?
  • 2. Dissertation abstract sample
  • 3. How to write a dissertation abstract
  • 3.1. Objective and research problem of the dissertation
  • 3.2. Research methods
  • 3.3. Results of the study
  • 3.4. Conclusion to the study
  • 4. Tips for writing a dissertation abstract
  • 5. Dissertation abstract checklist

Definition Of A Dissertation Abstract

A dissertation abstract is a crucial part of this complex type of academic paper. Coming at the start of the dissertation, an abstract is a short description (call it summary) of your work that helps to get the reader up to speed on the aim and outcome of the study.

Although the abstract is located at the beginning of the dissertation, you should write it at the very end so that you have the entire report to summarize. So, here are the main things that you need to include in an abstract.

  • Dissertation objective and research problem
  • Research methods
  • Study results

In most cases, the abstract in dissertation is pretty short, about 150-300 words. However, different universities have varying limitations on length, so check the guideline from your department.

Dissertation Abstract Sample

Osho, also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was a significant spiritual leader of the late 20th century. His teachings relied heavily on Buddhism, but were an amalgam of belief systems, philosophy, and spiritual practice. Osho wrote prolifically and focused on assisting his followers in attaining enlightenment through various means, including meditation and physical movement such as spontaneous dance.

Introduction

When writing an abstract, you start by providing a clear purpose of your study. Here, you need to be as precise as possible and answer the questions: What exact practical and or theoretical problem does your study address? What research questions did you want to answer?

Although he died in 1990, his teachings live on, and his followers can be found world-wide, and at his ashram or university located at Pune, India. Osho endured some negative publicity concerning his ashram in the United States, but was never shown to be complicit in any wrong-doing.

Research problem

When working on the research problem, it is prudent to appreciate that the research problem comes in Chapter One of the dissertation, right? Therefore, you should craft the abstract as the last item on your dissertation. This means that you will have already formulated the questions, answered them, and made realignments where necessary. With the problem clear, you also need to use the right tenses. Think of the reader as a person you are guiding in the journey through the dissertation. As such, you should ensure that the abstract is done in past or simple tenses. Because the study is already completed, you should not refer to the future.

His teachings have endured, and in addition to providing spiritual uplifting, can be used in the context of encouraging emotional and mental stability. This study will review original writings of Osho, using Chaudhuri’s writings about depression, suffering and death as a framework. Its intent is to provide both academic information and practical guidance.

Once you have presented the aims of the study, you should move on to highlight the methods briefly. The goal is to show the reader what research methods were used to answer the study questions. Try to make this part straightforward because most of the details will be provided in the Methods Chapter. Again, the part is also written in the simple past tense. • Wrong: Observations will be conducted on …. • Right: Observations were done on the …. Note that at this point, you should not start analyzing the validity of the study. Simply offer a quick view of the approach and procedures that were used. After the methods, you should also briefly outline the results that you got during the study. This implies that by the time a reader is through with the abstract, he should be able to know the objectives, study methods, and results. Again, the results should be presented in the past simple or present tense. Note that it might not be possible to capture all the results if your study was very complex or long. So, what should you do in such a situation? Make sure to highlight the most important parts of the results.

Data will be collected using qualitative methods of transcendental phenomenology, combined with content analysis, and subjectively reviewed through participatory epistemology.

Use of tenses

Your abstract, as shown here, should tell the reader what study methods were used during the study. Remember that the study has already been done, therefore, you are reporting, so, you should use past or present tenses.

This study will add to the literature concerning Osho’s many works, with the practical application regarding depression and other emotional issues underlying the review.

Because the abstract is an independent part, it should be complete, which means that it should also have a concluding part. In this part, you should highlight what the conclusion of your – research was. Simply put – what was the answer to the study question of the study? Make sure to present the conclusion in the present simple tense. If there were important limitations that impacted the study findings, ensure to include them here too.

Keywords: Osho, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Meditation, Enlightenment, Depression, Spirituality

Finally, list the major keywords to be addressed in the further study.

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

Once done with the dissertation, the abstract should be on its own page, immediately after the dissertation title page, and acknowledgements, but prior to the table of content. So, how do you write an abstract?

To craft a winning abstract, you should start by defining the study purpose. So, tell the reader about the theoretical or practical problem that the study is responding to. Also, indicate the research questions that the study seeks to answer.

Note that when writing the abstract, you can either use past or present tense. See the two examples below, showing two things: how not to write it, and how to write it.

The next item on writing an abstract for a dissertation is indicating the research methods that you used. Indeed, you should make this as straightforward as possible. Note that you should not go into details of analyzing the validity of the study or obstacles. See the examples below:

When it comes to the results, you need to summarize them. You can do this part in the past simple tense or present tense. See the example below:

This is the last section of your dissertation abstract. Here, you need to provide a direct answer to the research question in your study. The goal is to ensure that the reader will clearly understand the core argument in the study. Note that conclusions in abstracts are done in past participle.

If your dissertation will be published, your department might require that you provide a list of keywords at the bottom of the abstract. The keywords reference the most crucial elements of the study to help readers to easily navigate through your paper to search for specific details.

You might want to check other top dissertations to understand how to write a winning dissertation abstract.

Pro Tips for Writing Abstract for Dissertation

At this point, we must indicate that summarizing a whole dissertation using a few paragraphs is not a simple task. But because the abstract is the first thing that readers get when reading your dissertations, it is very important that you get it right. So, here are some useful tips to guide you.

  • The abstract of a dissertation should give a summary of the entire dissertation. So, consider summarizing every section of the dissertation, and putting the summaries together to form the abstract.
  • Read other dissertation abstract examples to learn how other writers did their abstracts. Take a keen interest in how another top writer summarized his work in the abstract example dissertation. Then, try to make a better abstract for your dissertation.
  • Make sure to write concisely. A great abstract should be short and to the point. Therefore, you need to ensure that every word you use when writing a dissertation counts.
  • Strictly follow the guidelines provided by your department. In most universities, the guidelines for writing dissertations are provided by individual departments. So, make sure that you understand these formatting guidelines and strictly follow them.
  • Work with your supervisor. When writing your dissertation, it is important to involve your supervisor at every stage. Having supervised other dissertations, your supervisor will be able to tell you if you are on the right track or not. If he/she recommends that you make changes, stick to the recommendations.

Dissertation Abstract Checklist

In addition to the above tips and guide, use the checklist below to ensure your dissertation abstract has all the required components. You might also want to check how a different dissertation abstract example brought out the components in the checklist.

Abstract Checklist

Seek help from professional dissertation writers.

The abstract is one of the most important parts of a dissertation because it helps to introduce the whole argument in the dissertation to the reader. Therefore, you have to get it right. Using our guide and expert tips, you can now get started with crafting a winning dissertation abstract. But even with the guide and a good dissertation abstract example, many students still find it a challenge. Well, do not get stuck or stressed about writing a dissertation abstract because help is only a click away. Seek help from professional dissertation writers.

Expert thesis writers have a deep understanding of what is an abstract in a dissertation, and vast experience in similar works. Whether it is your dissertation which was complicated, time is limited, or feel worn out after the lengthy writing process, professional help is all that you need. Well, why risk getting it wrong when expert writing help is easily available?

thesis literature review

Make PhD experience your own

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Grad Coach

Writing A Dissertation Or Thesis Abstract

5 Common (& Costly) Mistakes To Avoid

By: David Phair (PhD) & Peter Quella (PhD) | February 2022

Writing a quality abstract is important as the abstract tells the reader what to expect in your thesis or dissertation, and it helps them to decide whether they should read the rest of your document. Over the years, we’ve reviewed thousands of abstracts . In this post, we’ll unpack five common mistakes we see and explain how you can avoid them when crafting your dissertation or thesis abstract.

Overview: 5 Abstract Mistakes

  • Not understanding exactly what an abstract is (and does)
  • Failing to cover the key aspects of your study
  • Using body content verbatim instead of paraphrasing
  • Having formatting and language -related issues
  • Failing to include relevant keywords

1. Not understanding what an abstract is

A recurring issue we see is that students often don’t have a clear understanding of what an abstract is and the purpose it serves . This naturally has a major knock-on effect. Simply put, an abstract is a concise summary of your research project , and it should include a bit of everything from your thesis or dissertation. The purpose of the abstract is to tell the reader what to expect in your document and entice them to read the full document (or at least the parts that are relevant to them).

A good abstract should summarize the key components of your study, which means that it should include a brief introduction to your study, a summary of the key insights from your literature review, a high-level overview of your methodology , and a summary of the key findings . Importantly, your abstract should summarise the body content, not present new information . Never present any information in your abstract that is not presented in your main document.

When writing up your abstract, aim to do so as concisely as possible. You can think of your abstract as an elevator pitch – you want it to be short, sweet and representative of everything you want to get across. Less is more. Also, much like an elevator pitch, your abstract needs to tell a clear story on its own. So, it’s vital to create a clear narrative within your abstract that paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Your abstract is a summary. So, you should never present any new information that is not already presented in your main document.

2. Not covering the key aspects of your study

Another common mistake we see students making is not covering the key aspects of their studies in the abstract. While you don’t have much space to work with, an abstract still needs to cover the main details of your study. So, when you’re crafting this section, try to allocate 2-3 sentences toward each of your chapters.

Importantly, your abstract needs to explain what your study focuses on (i.e., your research aims and questions ) and how that is unique and important . In other words, it needs to justify your research . To do this, you can mention how your research connects to prior studies, and what differences justify the existence of your project. This should be rooted in the content presented in your introduction and literature review chapters.

The abstract should also provide insight regarding the methodological approach . Remember, the abstract is a summary, so while it’s important to outline your research methodology, don’t try to detail the entire design here. You just need to cover the high-level details , such as the methodological approach (e.g., qualitative), sampling strategy , data collection and data analysis methods.

Finally, your abstract needs to discuss your key findings and the implications thereof. It should address questions such as:

  • What did you find?
  • Why is it important?
  • What implications (and applications) are there for your findings?

The word “key” is vital here – you don’t have to discuss every finding , just the ones that are central to your research aims and research questions.

Need a helping hand?

dissertation abstract writing

3. Using body content verbatim

Since the abstract is a summary of your work, you’ll generally write it last (although you can of course create an outline earlier in the dissertation writing process). Because of this, there is a tendency amongst students to copy and paste content from their body chapters (e.g., the literature review chapter, methodology chapter, etc.) to create an abstract. This is problematic, as the abstract needs to be an original piece of writing , not a hodgepodge of the existing body content.

A good abstract should present a be a smooth, clear narrative of what you set out to discover (i.e., the research topic and justification), how you approached it (i.e., the methodology), and what the results were. Importantly, you need to tell an engaging story with your abstract, as that is what will attract them to read the rest of your thesis or dissertation. To achieve this, you cannot simply copy-paste content from the body section of your document. You need to craft a unique piece of content that can stand alone and engage potential readers with an enticing narrative.

All that said, when crafting your abstract, a good starting point can be to copy-paste some key insights from each chapter so that you have everything in one place. You could, for example, have a few bullet points for each chapter. However, that is purely a starting point . From there, you need to craft an original piece of writing that will form a smooth, engaging narrative.

A good abstract should present a be a clear narrative of what you set out to discover, how you approached it, and what the results were.

4. Formatting and language-related issues

Another common issue we encounter is that of formatting and language -related issues in abstracts. Understandably, students are generally quite worn out by this stage of the dissertation and may slip up on the finer details. However, the abstract is your “shop window” – the first thing a new reader will encounter – so it needs to be very well polished . If you write a brilliant abstract but it’s riddled with spelling and grammar issues, you’re going to lose the reader’s interest (and, of course, marks).

So, what sort of issues do you need to avoid?

First – typically, an abstract doesn’t make use of citations , as these are reserved for the body content of the dissertation or thesis. However, you can use author names when referring to seminal work. For example, if your study is a response to prior research, you can name the researchers (but you don’t need to include a full citation). Of course, it’s worth noting that some institutions may have a different preference, so be sure to look at past dissertations and theses from your university program to gauge what the norms are.

Second – when writing up your abstract, try to avoid using excessive jargon , complex terminology and abbreviations. Always assume that you are writing for the intelligent layman . In other words, an intellectually curious outsider to your field of research. Ultimately, your abstract needs to be understandable to your audience and using excessive jargon or complex terminology may lose the reader . If you must use jargon or abbreviations to accurately represent a concept, be sure to explain each piece of terminology first.

Third – since your abstract needs to be concise, it can be tempting to write using bullet points and numbered lists. Typically, however, an abstract shouldn’t have bullet points , numbered lists, figures, or tables as it is a textual summary. So, avoid these at all costs.

Lastly – it may sound obvious, but your abstract needs to be “perfect” in terms of language use. All too often, we see spelling, punctuation, grammar and tense errors in the abstract. Since it is your “shop window”, these types of issues are inexcusable. So, be sure to carefully edit and proofread your abstract before submission.

If you write a brilliant abstract but it’s riddled with spelling and grammar issues, you’re  going to lose the reader’s interest.

5. Not including relevant keywords

Another common mistake that we see students make is not including relevant keywords at the end of the abstract. Sometimes the keywords aren’t relevant, and sometimes they’re just altogether absent.

But what exactly are keywords?

Keywords are what make your research discoverable in search engines and academic databases – they’re like academic hashtags that connect research and make it possible to navigate through similar studies. An example of a keyword would be something like, “cognition” or “addiction”.

Typically, keywords can be quite vague or broad , so you’ll likely need to make use of key phrases to more accurately represent your research. Key phrases consist of multiple keywords, for example, “temporal cognition” or “Dutch sentence negation”. While key phrases provide more specificity than individual keywords, never use whole sentences as key phrases, these just look bad and make your research very hard to find. Ideally, you should try to stick to key phrases of 2-3 words.

In general, you should aim for 5-6 keywords/key phrases for your research project. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your institution to find out how many keywords/phrases they prefer. While it may be tempting to go full Instagram and use every keyword you can come up with, this is not advised as this can make your research look like it lacks credibility and specificity . It can also appear that you’re trying to game the system.

To identify relevant keywords, think about the research process and the kinds of search terms you used when performing your literature review, as these terms are a good start. Further, have a look at the keywords used in previous studies (i.e., the journal articles you read as part of your literature review) to identify relevant keywords.

Keywords are what make your research discoverable in search engines and academic databases – they’re like academic hashtags.

Recap: Abstract Mistakes

In this post, we’ve discussed 5 common mistakes to avoid when writing the abstract for your thesis or dissertation. To recap, these include:

If you have any questions about these mistakes, drop a comment below. Alternatively, if you’re interested in getting 1-on-1 help with your thesis or dissertation , be sure to check out our dissertation coaching service or book a free initial consultation with one of our friendly Grad Coaches.

dissertation abstract writing

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

You Might Also Like:

Qualitative interview 101

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

dissertation abstract writing

  • Print Friendly

Enjoy a completely custom, expertly-written dissertation. Choose from hundreds of writers, all of whom are career specialists in your subject.

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.

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. The 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 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What is abstract in a dissertation.

A dissertation abstract is an article that presents the research paper. It summarizes the whole paper, which gives an overview of the research topic, methodology, findings, and conclusions.

How to write a good abstract for a dissertation?

A good dissertation abstract should be precise yet powerful. It should include the scope, purpose, results, and background of your research project. Please do not make it to be a conclusion or review of the larger work.

How long is the dissertation abstract supposed to be?

The dissertation abstract length should not be longer than 5% of the dissertation text. It should have a word count of about 200 words at most. A good dissertation abstract comprises 1-2 pages .

What to include in the dissertation abstract?

When writing a dissertation abstract, including the aims, methods, results, and conclusion is essential. Mentioning some of the limitations adds to the credibility and authenticity of your research paper. You can also add recommendations, suggestions, or implementations.

Richard Ginger is a dissertation writer and freelance columnist with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the writing industry. He handles every project he works on with precision while keeping attention to details and ensuring that every work he does is unique.

dissertation abstract writing

Succeed With A Perfect Dissertation

check Tentative Thesis Guide

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

As Putin continues killing civilians, bombing kindergartens, and threatening WWIII, Ukraine fights for the world's peaceful future.

Ukraine Live Updates

Dissertation vs. Thesis—What’s the Difference?

Matt Ellis

If you’re confused about the meaning of dissertation versus thesis , you’re not alone. These two types of academic writing have a lot in common, but their meanings are reversed in American and British English. Depending on where you are in the world, the differences between a dissertation and a thesis might change!

Cite your sources with confidence Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism Write with Grammarly

What is a dissertation vs. a thesis?

In American English, a dissertation is a research paper that’s required to earn a doctorate degree, while a thesis is a research paper required to earn a master’s degree. Dissertations and theses (the plural of thesis ) are often mixed up because they’re both lengthy research papers written for higher education, especially as part of a master’s or doctorate program. A thesis or dissertation is often a requirement for obtaining an academic degree, and both are usually seen as a gatekeeper for becoming eligible to graduate.

Informally the words dissertation and thesis are often used interchangeably, which only adds to the confusion. However, in the formal academic world, their meanings are different, although some universities occasionally have their own unique definitions. Let’s take a look at what dissertation and thesis actually mean.

What is a dissertation?

In American English, a dissertation is a highly involved research paper written as a requirement to earn a doctorate degree. When we say “highly involved,” we mean it; dissertations run 300 pages or more, essentially becoming a book-length research paper.

The central attribute of a dissertation is original research: To earn a doctorate, a person must submit new discoveries and data to their chosen field. This is symbolic of becoming part of a body of academic knowledge, and a systemic way to encourage the advancement of science.

In scientific fields of study, dissertations are empirical , drawing on data collected by the writer. In less-scientific fields, like literature or philosophy, dissertations are nonempirical : Instead of new data, “original research” is replaced by innovative new ideas, interpretations, analyses, or perspectives.

Dissertation may also involve what’s known as a dissertation defense , an oral presentation in front of a panel of experts, in addition to the paper. In a dissertation defense, the experts ask questions about the findings to test their validity, and the student must “defend” their research by explaining their methods and reasoning. The panel then decides whether or not the student graduates and earns their degree.

What is a thesis?

In American English, a thesis paper is a lengthy research paper written as a requirement to earn a master’s degree (or sometimes a bachelor’s degree, depending on the university). Also referred to as a “senior thesis” for undergraduate courses, these papers are written at the end of a program as a culmination of their studies, similar to dissertations.

Unlike a dissertation, a thesis doesn’t necessarily involve original research or ideas, although many master’s theses do. Generally, a thesis is less about adding to a body of knowledge, and more about testing a student’s skills in research, comprehension, or analysis. Regardless, a thesis paper is still a considerable amount of work and requires more effort than a standard academic paper.

Dissertation vs. thesis in American and British English

We’ve talked before about how British English and American English are different , and the definitions of dissertation versus thesis are just another example.

In short, the meanings are reversed: In British English, the term dissertation is used for bachelor’s and master’s programs, whereas thesis is used for doctorates. Keep in mind that academic institutions are very different in the US and the UK, not to mention in each individual English-speaking country, so what’s involved in a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate program is also different.

Do you need to write a thesis or dissertation?

It’s important to remember that the words dissertation and thesis are frequently used interchangeably, so the technical definitions are just for formal situations—like when submitting one or the other. If you’re confused, you can also ask your adviser. Each school or institution may have their own definitions of the terms.

Dissertation vs. thesis FAQ

What is a dissertation versus a thesis .

Dissertations and theses (the plural of thesis ) are often confused because they’re both lengthy research papers written for higher education. In American English, a dissertation is written to earn a doctorate whereas a thesis is written to earn a master’s (or sometimes a bachelor’s). In many informal situations, however, the terms dissertation and thesis are used interchangeably.

How do American and British English define dissertation versus thesis ?

In British English, the meanings of dissertation and thesis are reversed: A thesis is written to earn a doctorate, and a dissertation is written to earn a master’s or bachelor’s. Keep in mind that academic institutions are very different in the US and the UK, not to mention in each individual English-speaking country, so what’s involved in a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate program is also different.

When to use thesis or dissertation ?

It’s important to remember that the words dissertation and thesis are frequently used interchangeably, so the technical definitions are just for formal situations—like when submitting one or the other. If you’re confused, you can also ask your adviser; each school or institution may have their own definitions of the terms.

dissertation abstract writing

IMAGES

  1. thesis abstract

    dissertation abstract writing

  2. example of dissertation abstract

    dissertation abstract writing

  3. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract- Step by Step Guidance

    dissertation abstract writing

  4. How to Write an Abstract by Philip Koopman, Carnegie Mellon University

    dissertation abstract writing

  5. Doctoral dissertation help abstract. File Your Thesis or Dissertation

    dissertation abstract writing

  6. How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: A Beginner's Step By

    dissertation abstract writing

VIDEO

  1. Abstract Writing Part 05

  2. Abstract Writing Part 01

  3. Abstract Writing Part 04

  4. Abstract

  5. Differences Between Thesis Abstract and Research Article Abstract

  6. ChatGPT Writes An Abstract For A Paper Or Thesis In One Minute!

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Abstract

    Step 1: Introduction Step 2: Methods Step 3: Results Step 4: Discussion Keywords Tips for writing an abstract Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions about abstracts Abstract example Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed. Example: Humanities thesis abstract

  2. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

    Definition and Purpose of Abstracts An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes: an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to….

  3. The University Writing Center

    Ex. This study investigated the effectiveness of Calibrated Peer Review (CPR ) ™ in a senior-level biochemistry class for improving students' ability to write scientific abstracts. Some students revised scientific abstracts after getting feedback on drafts from CPR; others revised after feedback from a Teaching Assistant.

  4. How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis

    If you're a PhD student, having written your 100,000-word thesis, the abstract will be the 300 word summary included at the start of the thesis that succinctly explains the motivation for your study (i.e. why this research was needed), the main work you did (i.e. the focus of each chapter), what you found (the results) and concluding with how yo...

  5. Abstracts

    A summary of findings or conclusions of the study A description of the implications of the findings Regardless of field, abstract authors should explain the purpose of the work, methods used, the results and the conclusions that can be drawn. However, each field purports slightly different ways to structure the abstract.

  6. Abstracts

    An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work.

  7. How To Write A Dissertation Abstract (With Examples)

    Buckle up. What's the purpose of the abstract? A dissertation abstract has two main functions: The first purpose is to inform potential readers of the main idea of your research without them having to read your entire piece of work.

  8. How to Write an Abstract

    Step 1: Introduction Step 2: Methods Step 3: Results Step 4: Discussion Keywords Tips for writing an abstract Frequently asked questions about abstracts Abstract example Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed. Example: Humanities thesis abstract

  9. The Writing Center

    An abstract is a 150- to 250-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay or report and its organization. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.

  10. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

    Normally dissertation abstracts are a page or less. You'll want to include the problem you were looking at, the questions you wanted to answer, and the methodology you used. Also include what you found and what it means (the implications). For a more in-depth explanation of what to include, see the sample outline below.

  11. Writing an abstract

    The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. ... If you're in your dissertation writing stage or your course includes writing a lot of scientific reports, but you don't quite know where and how to start, the Skills Centre can help you get started. I recently ...

  12. How to Write an Abstract for Your Thesis or Dissertation

    To preserve visual coherence, you may wish to limit the abstract for your doctoral dissertation to one double-spaced page, about 280 words. The structure of the abstract should mirror the structure of the whole thesis, and should represent all its major elements. For example, if your thesis has five chapters (introduction, literature review ...

  13. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Abstract & Examples

    A dissertation abstract is a brief summary of a dissertation, typically between 150-300 words. It is a standalone piece of writing that gives the reader an overview of the main ideas and findings of the dissertation.

  14. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract: Effective Guide

    One of the reasons for the abstract is that it can highlight your findings from the research topic. You need to back up the claims that you made in the paper as well. Usually, you should leave the last section of the abstract to summarize and interpret your findings. Besides, we encourage you to write it at the end of your work because you have ...

  15. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

    Tips for Writing an Effective Dissertation Abstract. Crafting a compelling dissertation abstract is essential to grab the attention of your target audience and provide a clear overview of your research. Here are some valuable tips to ensure your abstract is effective: Clarity and Brevity: Keep your dissertation or thesis abstract clear and ...

  16. How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation: Craft the ...

    Step 3: Results. In the results section of your dissertation abstract, you showcase the heart of your research - the findings and outcomes. This is where you provide a glimpse of the impact of your work. Instead of vague terms like 'significant' or 'notable,' be precise and quantitative. For example, if your research has identified a ...

  17. Dissertation Abstract: Best Writing Tips And Examples

    In writing a dissertation abstract, take note of the following types: Descriptive Abstract It gives the kind of information found in your paper. A descriptive outline is usually concise and can be about 100 words or less. Critical Abstract

  18. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract?

    A dissertation abstract reflects the author's grasp of the research topic and sets the tone for the dissertation. It is always a good idea to write your thesis abstract or the abstract for your dissertation at the very end after you've completed your research.

  19. Annotated Samples

    Abstract. An abstract is required. The abstract is a concise summary of the dissertation or thesis's purpose, highlights the main points, states the method used, provides findings, and states conclusions. Oftentimes, readers only read the abstract to determine if they should read the document.

  20. Dissertation Abstract: Example And Writing Tips

    1. What is a dissertation abstract? 2. Dissertation abstract sample 3. How to write a dissertation abstract 3.1. Objective and research problem of the dissertation 3.2. Research methods 3.3. Results of the study 3.4. Conclusion to the study 4. Tips for writing a dissertation abstract 5. Dissertation abstract checklist

  21. Writing A Dissertation Abstract: 5 Costly Mistakes

    Writing a quality abstract is important as the abstract tells the reader what to expect in your thesis or dissertation, and it helps them to decide whether they should read the rest of your document. Over the years, we've reviewed thousands of abstracts.

  22. 5 Tips To Help You Write Your Dissertation

    Writing your dissertation or thesis is both an intellectual challenge and rite of passage in academia. Navigating this successfully requires you to immerse yourself in the literature and be disciplined and proficient at managing time and stress. In this article, we offer 5 tips to help write a successful dissertation as well as manage and make ...

  23. How to Write a Thesis Abstract?

    The thesis abstract is often written at the end of your research study in pursuit of a bachelor's degree as a sort of summary of the entire work. It is used by others as a way to understand what your work is about and what the results present. The difference between abstract and thesis is that it is used by readers to quickly scan and ...

  24. How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

    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 ...

  25. Dissertation vs. Thesis—What's the Difference?

    What is a dissertation vs. a thesis? In American English, a dissertation is a research paper that's required to earn a doctorate degree, while a thesis is a research paper required to earn a master's degree. Dissertations and theses (the plural of thesis) are often mixed up because they're both lengthy research papers written for higher education, especially as part of a master's or ...