Your abstract is simply an overview of your research and what your dissertation discusses. You can think of your abstract as a movie trailer, it allows people to know an overview of your dissertation without them having to read the whole paper. The abstract of your dissertation should be written last, once you have completed the main body of your dissertation research.
However, it can be tricky to fit your whole research summary into one or two paragraphs. This article gives some tips on how to write your dissertation abstract and what you need to include.
1. Pick a word count
Having a rough guide of how long your abstract should be will help you to keep it focused. You can ask your tutor on their opinion. Typically the abstract should be between 100-500 words depending on the length of your paper. With a word count in mind you can divide out each part that you need to include and it will help you to stay concise.
2. Explain the research question.
The abstract is used for the reader to see if they would like to read your whole dissertation. You need to be clear and concise. Make sure you explain your research aim in the first couple of sentences, that way you will have people engaged immediately.
3. Explain your methodology and results.
This is the main part of your dissertation, so it should take up the majority of your abstract too. Briefly explain what you found in your dissertation and the methods you used in order to research your topic.
4. Identify problems in your research and further recommendations.
It is important that you show the reader the issues you faced in your research and if there are any recommendations of how to improve these. Keep in mind these sections should be no longer than 2 sentences long.
5. Do not include the following in your abstract:
- new information
- detailed explanations of your methodology as this will be explained later
- any abbreviated phrases
Hopefully this guide will help you in writing your dissertation abstract. You can always send your abstract over to a friend, family member or tutor for them to read through and see if they gain a clear understanding of your dissertation.