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How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation?

December 20, 2020
Julia Stewart

A dissertation can become your personal hell department if you struggle with academic writing. So, here is your task that starts with a dissertation abstract. How to write it then? If you have no idea what the dissertation abstract is and how to write it, read further to find this out. Today, you will learn how to write an abstract for a dissertation with minimum effort.

Dissertation Abstract

What is a Dissertation Abstract?

In short, a dissertation abstract is a succinct summary of your work. Keep in mind that your examiners will have no idea what your research is all about. You will provide them with presentation materials, including your dissertation abstract. This approach represents your entire research and also aims to impress your examiners. At first sight, it seems to be pretty straightforward. However, summarizing a 200-page dissertation is a challenging task.

Note that the abstract reflects your findings and tells your examiners the following things:

  • What your research topic is
  • What your research goal is
  • What things you did to accomplish your goals
  • What results you have

‘When should I write a dissertation abstract?’, you may ask. Aside from including an abstract to your dissertation, you may write it while applying for a job in the academic environment. For instance, you may require it while applying for a physics teacher position at your local university. Your dissertation will reinforce your CV with additional value and make it stand out.

Also, academia distinguishes a couple of abstract types. Here they are:

Indicative Abstracts

The indicative abstract describes the scope of research and names the main findings. It’s instead an outline than an actual summary. It has no intention to go deep into the research or provide conclusions to it.

Informative Abstracts

If you burn the candle at both ends to finish a big project like a dissertation, you will probably need to craft an informative abstract. It contains a research purpose, methodology, results, findings, and conclusions. It gives a more extensive description of your research, explains its meaning, significance, etc. What about length? How long should these abstracts be? Check this information below.

How Long Should a Dissertation Abstract Be?

A good rule of thumb is to keep the abstract within 1% and no more than 5% of your dissertation volume. Thus, with lengthy dissertations that cover 200 pages, you should write 200-word abstracts. It’s an optimal length that allows your examiners to get familiar with your findings in the shortest possible time.

Okay, you already know what dissertation abstract length brings the most benefit. What structure should it have then? Find this out below.

Dissertation Abstract Structure

In general, a dissertation abstract contains several sections. Note that you should not name them or separate them. Instead, write the whole abstract as an inseparable text body. So here are these sections:

An Introductory Part

In the introduction, you need to describe your topic within one or two sentences and emphasize its significance. After that, you need to answer why you want to research this topic and define the dissertation goals. You may follow several objectives, so you have to define them within the scope of your research. You might also include a hypothesis and whether your study aims to confirm or debunk it.

A Methodology Part

In the methodology section, you have to describe the research methods used in your research. So what are they? The methodology is the step-by-step process of achieving your research goal. For instance, your dissertation purpose includes studying and developing educational games.

So, what did you do to study education games? Perhaps, you researched the existing literature on implementing learning games in the first place. Then, you investigated educational game developing approaches. Based on your findings, you created a learning game. After that, you tested its efficiency, i.e., practiced with students from different schools.

Thus, reviewing existing educational game studies is a meta-analysis. Given that, you need to state it in your dissertation abstract.

Did you separate students into groups, applied your educational game, and compared students’ academic results? If yes, you applied comparative analysis. The list of methods goes on. Your task is to describe them in your abstract briefly. Sure, if you used 20 research methods, you can name only the categories.

Note that the methodology part should be no longer than a couple of sentences to render as much information as needed to understand your research.

A Results Part

The results section provides the main findings of your research. This part should be a bit longer than the previous ones. Still, write only the final results without giving attention to intermediate discoveries.

A Concluding Part

Finally, there is a conclusion. In this section, you will get whether your hypothesis was proven or debunked. You have to characterize and evaluate your results, provide implications, and present the scientific value of your research.

Tips for Writing an Abstract

Get familiar with the advice below that will help you create a clear and engaging dissertation abstract without too much effort:

1. Make an Outline

Your final dissertation abstract version should come in one piece, without titles, subtitles, headlines, etc. However, outlining your abstract draft is a good idea that will help you make the final version structured and easy-to-scan. So, write brief outlines and delete them once you finish your draft. It will also help you make proper transitions between the abstract parts.

2. Draft Your Findings

Your dissertation results will probably contain tons of number values, and it’s quite challenging to gather them all even while writing a conclusion for your dissertation.

Thus, it will be much better to scan your dissertation and find the essential numeric values and conclusions. After that, you can note them either in your notebook or a separate MS word document.

Keep in mind that your abstract should be standalone and explain your findings without context. Thus, rereading your dissertation conclusions, separated from the rest of the work, will help you look at them without context. Consequently, you will find better words for a standalone and concise explanation.

3. Be Accurate

Many students write dissertation abstracts with factual mistakes and discrepancies. Let’s take a dissertation about educational games as an example. If your dissertation attempts to develop an educational game in your abstract, it should do it in reality.

Thus, you should approach writing a dissertation abstract with the utmost precision. If something is missing in the dissertation text, don’t put it in your abstract. Otherwise, your examiners will point out these things, asking questions you are unable to answer. It is a guaranteed way to fail your defense.

How to keep the dissertation abstract accurate? Note the information you want to include in the abstract. After finishing your draft, compare it with the rest of your dissertation. It will also help you recall everything you wrote and thus prepare for the defense better.

4. Be Clear

Students make one widespread mistake. They try to fit the entire dissertation into the abstract, which is impossible for obvious reasons. Assuming that your dissertation abstract is up to 300 words, it should be brief.

In other words, it should summarize your research, not retell it. Given that, avoid explaining every step of your analysis. Also, avoid writing a lengthy introduction, describing the origins of your research problem and what researchers investigated it before. Are there any other details to prevent? Here is the checklist of information inappropriate for a dissertation abstract:

  • Any information that your dissertation doesn’t mention.
  • Ambiguous definitions and abbreviations.
  • Citations or footnotes.

5. Proofread Your Dissertation Abstract

Your dissertation should reflect flawless grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation. Thus, proofread the final draft of your dissertation abstract a couple of times before including it in your paper.

A single typo can spoil the examiners’ impression, forcing them to believe you’re inattentive and irresponsible. Sounds like a homily for a 10-year-old school student? The truth is that you might be this little child for the sophisticated academics reading your presentation materials at the dissertation defense. Worse yet, they might start teaching you how to write without errors (if you fail to proofread them).

How to craft an error-free abstract then? After finishing your piece, proofread it the next day. A fresh sight will always spot more mistakes than a tired one. Also, you can use writing tools.

6. Let Professionals Write a Dissertation Abstract for You

If you still struggle to understand the dissertation abstract structure, purpose, and writing specifics, you can no longer torture yourself. In this case, ordering dissertation abstracts online is a good idea. Our professional doctorate-level writers will craft a winning dissertation abstract for your research in the shortest possible time.

Check Some Dissertation Abstract Examples

It’s better to take a look at the dissertation abstract example and use it as a base for your own writing. So check these samples below:

Example #1

The study aims to identify the origin of the composite bow within Elam and Mesopotamia. It also attempts to define and evaluate the composite bow design modifications that lead to increased performance. We do so due to the issues of the existing iconographic method of bow identification. This work summarizes the current problems of archery study to accomplish these goals. Within these issues identified, we present the explanation of bow mechanics, conduct physical bow artifacts testing, and develop a new, more accurate iconographic identification method.

It establishes the link between physical bow testing and the existing iconographic evidence. This study applies the new method to reevaluate the current iconographic evidence. We start from the 2nd century BC and move to early periods to determine when the composite bow construction first appears in the Near East. As our study concludes, the composite bow construction was first used in the 4th century BC. Given that, the new iconographic identification method appears to be efficient and is expected to be utilized in military history for further research.

Example #2

According to W.J.T. Mitchell, visual assets play an increasing role in digital and multimodal communication. This study identifies how meanings are created with visuals, imagery, and text in multimodal arguments. Visual rhetoric experts often prioritize one medium over the other while deciphering the text-image ideas. They built their research over text-based principles or the whole new image-based theories, paying little attention to the text.

This study proclaims that the image-text relationship is far more vigorous and can be analyzed and understood better by applying a new rhetoric’s dissociation concept. It demonstrates the creation of new meanings through the interaction of different image-text ideas.

Methodologically, this work elaborates on the dissociation method by utilizing it to analyze visual concepts in multiple historical periods when one medium form is perceived and assessed through another. The following periods are discussed: the late medieval period, the industrial revolution, the advertising boom of the 1950s, and the 21st-century digitalization. This study finds that dissociation can reveal the degree of the privileged medium impact on the multimodal argument of the investigated historical period. The significance of this work originates from a better understanding of multimodality and its social implications.

Example #3

The study attempts to develop new creative learning approaches to increase primary school students’ performance through overcoming boredom. Alongside other learning obstacles, boredom contributes to the primary school setting’s monotonousness, decreasing students’ attention span and learning performance. Given that, we find it is crucial to minimize boredom by incorporating creative approaches in studying.

To investigate how creativity impacts the learning process, the study reviews and evaluates the literature on the efficiency of creative learning approaches.

While applying a qualitative approach, this study determines the primary school teachers’ understanding of creativity and learning boredom origins. We demonstrate that respondents acknowledge the significance of creativity in the learning process. However, several obstacles are discovered to prevent the respondents from applying the existing creative approaches. These include intensive curriculum, educational bias, lack of learning facilities, etc. This study suggests using novel creativity techniques for overcoming boredom in primary school students, considering the existing learning obstacles. The findings are observed to contribute to the current learning paradigm, allowing primary school students to process the curriculum more efficiently.

The Bottom Line

Writing a dissertation abstract is easier than you think. Before coming up with one, answer three critical questions: what your research goal is, how to accomplish this goal, and what’s the value of it. To write a winning dissertation abstract, you also need to make it clear, concise, and informative. Or, you can always ask professionals to craft a flawless piece for your research and get an excellent mark with ease.


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