Creating an Excellent Dissertation Abstract

Your abstract is the first page of your dissertation your readers will see, so it is extremely important that it reads smoothly and meets the academic requirements. Here are a few tips on how to craft a dissertation abstract that will impress the committee.

  • Write your abstract last.

    The purpose of a dissertation abstract is to summarize your entire research, including your results and findings. After you have completed the rest of your paper, it will be easier for you to focus properly.

  • Use an appropriate opening.

    The first sentence of your abstract should inform the reader of why you decided to conduct this research. Good openings that you may use are: “this study tested,” “this paper investigates,” and “this report examines…” Avoid cumbersome constructions like “the purpose of this paper is…”

  • Explain your methods.

    Your second sentence should explain what and how you went about testing your hypothesis. Give specific details instead of generalized comments. “Body fat and weight was measured from 252 gym visitors and a z-score has been used as a test statistic.”

  • State your findings.

    In your third sentence, tell your readers exactly what you have found: “the result was that 65% of respondents…” or “there was a significant correlation discovered between…” Again, be as specific as possible.

  • Draw a conclusion.

    In your final sentence, indicate the possible practical implications of your research findings: “these results can be used to…” State the scientific value of your research: “the hypothesis about … was supported/rejected.” This point is optional, as you may have already reached your word limit for an abstract (200 words). However, if you manage to include a brief discussion of your results while staying within the limit, it will surely impress your readers and prove your skills of dissertation writing.

  • Keep your abstract within 200 words.

    A dissertation abstract should be anywhere between 100 and 200 words. This is a strict rule that has almost no exceptions. However, you should not have problems fitting into this limit if you focus on the main aspects of your work and do not go into too much detail.

  • Use a checklist to determine whether you have included all the necessary information.

    Can your readers understand what your dissertation is about from your abstract only? Does it let them know your purpose? Does it explain what you did and why? Does it communicate your findings?

  • Be ready to revise.

    You may not be able to craft a perfect abstract on the very first attempt. Revise your sentences to make them as clear, specific, and concise as possible. Remove all unnecessary words.