A Proven Formula of Excellent Dissertation Abstracts

Raise your hand if you think that dissertation abstract is a mere formality. You’re not alone. A lot of undergraduate students all over the world underestimate this part of their final projects. Meanwhile, thesis abstract is the first battle in your thesis defense. Ignore it – and you may lose it all.

What Dissertation Abstract Is and What It’s Not

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An abstract is a concise but information rich summary of your entire project. It tells the readers what your thesis is all about, without giving too much detail. In this way, readers decide whether your work can be of some value to them or not.
Make it 200 – 250 words in length (400 words is a maximum).

5 questions to answer:

  1. Why you chose this question.
  2. Why readers should care about it.
  3. What you did to study it.
  4. What you found out.
  5. What you recommend to do next.

What Dissertation Abstract Is

A succinct summary:

  1. Significance
  2. Methods
  3. Results
  4. Conclusions
    + keywords

What Dissertation Abstract Is not

Introduction (also it’s placed before the rest of the project, it’s written last)

Plan for your project

Extracts from your main report

Dissertation Abstracts Structure

Don’t forget that abstract is the first content page your readers will see. So, it makes the first impression. And you should perfectly format it to make sure that impression is positive. The structure of abstract should mirror the structure of the main report: introduction, literature review, methodology, results and conclusion.

  1. Introduction – why did you study it?.
    Sample phrases to use: ‘The study investigated the incidence…’, ‘The report examines…’, ‘The research looks at…’
  2. Literature review – who studied it before?
    Sample phrases to use: ‘By contrast to traditional views on this question…’, ‘Most previous studies agree that…’, ‘The issue of… is under-researched’, ‘There’s a gap in literature concerning…’
  3. Methodology how did you study it?
    Sample phrases to use: ‘Through an in-depth analysis of…’, ‘The data was collected from…’ ‘The participants of the study were…?
  4. Results what did you find out?
    Sample phrases to use: ‘The analysis has shown that…’, ‘The findings of this study clearly identified…’
  5. Conclusion what do you recommend?
    Sample phrases to use: ‘These findings may be widely used in practice…’ ‘Further research is necessary…’

Use present simple for describing the commonly known facts and past simple doe discussing what you did and what you found out. Prefer active voice to passive voice whenever it’s possible.

Dissertation Abstracts: Final Checklist

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And only a few final strokes before you complete your abstract:

  • Delete all unnecessary words and all insignificant details.
  • Read your abstract like if you didn’t know what’s in your main report.
  • Avoid repetitions of the same words and phrases.

So, good luck with your thesis abstract and defense. We’re certain you can do it.

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