One of the most important parts of a dissertation (also called a thesis) is its abstract. Why? The abstract in dissertation is that part of a thesis that can be used to qualify or disqualify the entire thesis in one look.
Considering how important it is, we will examine the definition of a dissertation abstract and how to write a dissertation abstract.
What is a dissertation abstract?
A dissertation abstract is a concise summary of the entire dissertation. The dissertation abstract should communicate your entire research work in a well-understood and brief manner while capturing the reader’s attention. The dissertation abstract is usually in an order that covers:
- the introduction; which is the aim of the dissertation;
- methodology; the method used to gather data during research;
- result(s) derived;
- and a conclusion based on the results derived.
You should stick to a word bracket limit of 200-300 words when writing a dissertation abstract.
Writing dissertation abstracts should be simple and easy if you carry out the research by yourself. However, communicating the complexities and importance of your work to someone else can be difficult. It can be difficult if the topic is challenging to comprehend, especially if they have no background in the said field. This is why writing dissertation abstracts with a simple approach are important. It must be tailored to give absolute understanding to any reader that comes across it.
A simple guide to writing a dissertation abstract can go a long way in making the abstract as simple and concise as possible. The abstract body is structured by four elements stated above and is explained in detail below.
Steps on how to write an abstract for dissertation
Step 1: Introduction
Begin by defining the aim of your research. What theoretical or practical problem is the dissertation addressing, or what research question is it attempting to answer?
You may include some brief context of your topic’s social or academic relevance, but do not detail excessively. Provide a concise definition if your abstract contains specialized terms that are unfamiliar to the average academic reader or have multiple meanings.
After defining the problem, state the purpose of your research. To describe what you intend to do, use verbs such as “investigate,” “test,” “evaluate,” or “analyze.”
This abstract section can be written in the present or simple past tense but never in the future tense.
Step 2: Methodology
Following that, describe the research methods you used to collect research data. This section should be a simple 1-2 sentence description of what you did. Because it refers to completed actions, it is usually written in the simple past tense.
Do not evaluate challenges here—the goal is to give the reader a quick overview of your overall approach and procedures. You don’t need to account for the methodology’s flaws and strengths.
Step 3: Results
Afterward, summarize the primary data derived from the research. It would be best if you wrote this segment of the abstract in either the present tense or simple past tense.
You may not be able to present all results here, depending on how long and complex your research is. Only highlight the most important findings to help the reader understand your conclusions.
Step 4: Conclusion
Finally, you should discuss the concluding remarks of your research or be clearer, your answer to the research question. In most contexts, conclusions are written in the present simple tense. The reader should finish with a full comprehension of the core subject that your research has confirmed or argued.
If your research has significant limitations (for example, methods or sample size), you should acknowledge them briefly in the abstract. This enables the reader to measure your research’s credibility and universal applicability properly.
Your discussion could include implementation suggestions if you want to solve a real-world problem. If necessary, you can briefly make suggestions for further study.
The bottom line
When writing a dissertation abstract, you should aim to be simple for the reader by assuming the reader is an intelligent layman – not an expert in the field but interested in the research area. Also, it would be best if you aimed to be specific by choosing short but accurate sentence forms over long forms. You can go through a proper dissertation abstract example to understand how to put your words together.