A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Dissertation Abstracts

You might very well know that the dissertation abstract is an important component that serves as the first substantive summary or description of your work that is read by another academic researcher. It should present all the major sections in a condensed form, usually no more than about 150 words for a master’s dissertation and about 350 words for a doctoral dissertation. Here is a comprehensive guide to writing a great abstract for a dissertation:

Knowing the Basic Ingredients

The abstract should be placed immediately after the title page, but you should check with any special requirements that may be made by your department. The abstract should include details about the purpose of the study, the questions under consideration, methodologies, discussion, results and the conclusion. When summarizing each of these parts you should write no more than one or two sentences. Remember that the entire abstract should be about a third of a page long.

Stating the Problem and Purpose

The problem and purpose section of the abstract should clearly state what questions you are attempting to answer and the reason behind your study. It’s a way to justify why you believe a particular topic area needs to be addressed through academic study. It also lets the reader know whether your work accomplishes what it sets out to do in approach, methodologies and more. This portion can be rewritten from the proposal which usually is longer version of the information that is being conveyed here to summarize the document.

Identifying the Study Participants

The identities of participants in most academic studies should always be kept confidential, however, if your particular study allows some basic information explaining demographics or some other valuable information to the reader then you should present it as best possible. Consider using phrases that maintain confidentiality, such as “7 male and 10 female health practitioners from the Greater Los Angeles area…” or something like “9 European History students were the participants in this study…”

Findings and Recommendations

The findings and recommendations is the essentially the most important component for attracting and compelling a reader to look at your work. With the findings and recommendations an academic will quickly know if something is relevant and useful to his or her study. You may find that there is too much content and that it needs to be condensed. Aim to deliver your findings and recommendations in no more than three sentences.

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