How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

The abstract is a brief explanation about the work you did for your dissertation, research paper or thesis. Mainly the abstract has section like objective and result to let the readers know what they are going to learn from this paper.

Based on your discipline the structure of your abstract may change but the content is same for all. It should discuss about your work purpose, your methodology and your findings. The abstract should have words within 100 to 300.

The common structure used for creating abstract is IMRad structure, which is the abbreviation of:

>> Introduction

>> Methods

>> Results

>> Discussion

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

You have to place your abstract separately between the title page or acknowledgements and table of content page. The abstract usually contains information about scope and purpose of a thesis. It explains about the investigation result so that the readers can understand what they can expect from your paper.

Step 1: Introduction

Your introduction should explain about your research purpose and the research question for which you are going to answer with your research. You can also use some extra information related to your topic but you should not provide more background details. Try not to use more technical or jargon words, make it simple by giving appropriate definition for it.

Once you have identified your research question, you have to define your aim. Use words such as “investigate,” “evaluate”, “analyze,” or “test,” to show what actually you are going to do.

You have to write your whole thesis paper in either present tense or past simple tense, you should not use future tense because the research was already completed. For instance: you should use sentence like “This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity” but not like “This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity”.

Step 2: Methods

Discuss about the research method you opted for your research to solve the research problem. This should not be more than two sentences and should be in past simple tense to address it was already completed. For instance:

Use – “Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants”

Don’t use – “Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants”

Write here only about the methodology you opted to let readers know about the procedure and approach you followed, don’t evaluate it based on the validity and its significance or weakness.

Step 3: Results

In this you have to summarize your research findings, either use past simple tense or present tense.

Use – “Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity”

“Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity”

Don’t use – “Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and                                               productivity”

If your research is longer in that case you could not offer a complete description about it so, highlight only the important key points in it to give readers a proper explanation.

Step 4: Discussion

This is the place where you should give a detailed explanation about your research result. After finish reading this section the readers should completely understand about your whole research. Usually this part is written in present simple tense.

Use – “We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity”

Don’t use – “We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity”

You have to mention about your research limitations may be from your methods or size of sample in the abstract section itself to let your readers asses about your generalized research. If you are trying to solve a practical issue through your research you can include some suggestions to implement your result practically. Also give some suggestions for future scope of the research in that particular field.

How to Structure Your Dissertation or Thesis Abstract?

The usual structure for abstract to be followed in your thesis or dissertation is listed below:

>> The word limit for your abstract is within 300 to 500 words, so try to arrange them between two or three paragraphs.

>> Don’t go for four or above paragraphs, it will cause shortage of words.

>> The goal of your research has to be mentioned in your paper at starting itself either in the introductory or first paragraph.

>> Don’t start with discussing about your aim at first, instead start with giving some background information regarding the topic not more than two or three lines.

>> You can also make use of the problem statement to start your abstract

>> By letting the readers know about the background information of existing literature they can understand about the stage of your thesis.

>> You can start your abstract with literature review or some background information and then continue with the problem statement, or else do it in the reverse way.

>> The gaps in already existing literature can be found through problem statement of your thesis.

>> The next thing you have to write after your problem statement is the research question which you addressed.

>> The last chapter of your thesis may be either result or conclusion or outcome of your research. In these sections you can discuss about your research result and even can give some suggestions regarding future investigation related to the topic.

Hints for Writing an Abstract

The abstract should be completed with making use of certain amount of limited words that is 300 to 500 words. It is a bit difficult to narrow down your whole research work to this short summary, for that you have to leave much small information behind in order to not make your evaluators or readers bored. Some tips and hints for you to write a thesis abstract are mentioned below:

Chapter by chapter method: Make outline of your thesis for every chapter in it. List some of the important keywords and then frame sentence for it based on the content of every chapter on your thesis. The summary of every chapter should be written by keeping in mind about the main key concept of thesis. Now bring them all together to form a complete thesis which can fill the existing gap on the literature. Make sure to re check your thesis to add or remove of extra information.

Read other abstracts: To get some examples on how to write a proper abstract for thesis, you can read some other thesis from your discipline. Make a list of articles which is much better and learn from that how to present your ideas interestingly.

Reverse outline: for longer research work you cannot follow the usual step to write your thesis. In such case for every chapter frame a statement of two to three main from the listed keywords, so that you will be having a framework of every chapter before filling the content in it.

Write many versions of the rough drafts: Think of many different ways in which you can write an abstract then choose one from them for final draft.

Make it compact: Your abstract should be compact as possible. Do revision check, which is very important for academic writing, it can change and rephrase your writing.

Keep editing: Editing is also an important procedure to be followed in academic writing. Edit yourself or take help from your peers, instructors or professional editing service providers.