Professional Tips to Writing a Dissertation Abstract

An abstract is a vital section of a dissertation as it helps rank your dissertation on online databases and gives your readers a gist of the arguments made in your paper. Unlike other sections of your paper, the abstract is limited to a few words, which makes it hard for some students to capture all the essential aspects of their paper.

This article will highlight the steps for writing a dissertation abstract and provide a dissertation writing sample to guide your writing efforts. 

What is a dissertation abstract?

A dissertation is a concise summary of the key points of your paper and is meant to inform your reader about what the paper will entail. The abstract comprises the findings of your research, research methodology, and highlights the key findings of your analysis.

As such, the abstract is purposed to inform your readers of the key items in your paper, justify the need for your research, and show how your findings relate to your hypothesis. 

Why is it important to write a good abstract for a dissertation?

The dissertation is a vital section of your paper as it helps the reader to gauge the relevance of your work to their research, without going over each word in your essay. The abstract also helps the faculty to gauge your ability to summarize your paper and describe its purpose.

For this, a good summary should contain:

  • A statement of your research question and the research objectives
  • Your research methods
  • A summary of your results and key arguments
  • A summary of your paper’s conclusion

Although the abstract comes early on your paper, we recommend that you handle it last. This approach will help you to capture the essence of the paper and present a quality summary of your key arguments. 

How long should a dissertation abstract be?

Dissertation abstracts range from 150 to 300 words. To cover all essential elements of an abstract, you should trim all the frivolous content from your essay and present the purpose, methodology, findings, and implications in a precise manner.

How to write a dissertation abstract

  1. Write your paper. As stated earlier, you should handle your abstract after you are properly acquainted with your research method and key argument. Handling the abstract last also reduces the risk of omitting key points from your abstract, or covering information that may not be included in your paper.
  2. Explain the research problem. After writing your paper, jot down the purpose and the problem that your paper aims to address. Finally, list down the key questions your research intends to answer and the criteria for analyzing the solutions.
  3. List your methods. Here, name the research methods clearly without delving into details on how your research will be conducted.
  4. Describe your results. After stating your research methods, offer a summary of what your findings indicate and how they reflect on your hypothesis.
  5. Discuss your conclusion. Show the results that were reached after research.

Tips for writing an abstract

  1. Cover the what, why, how and so what of your research:
  • What entails the purpose of your paper.
  • Why a justification for the relevance of your research.
  • The how highlights your methodology.
  • So what shows the implications of your study in your field.
  1. Use simple language so that scholars from other fields can understand your abstract.
  2. Limit the results to the key findings that relate to your hypothesis
  3. List the keywords for each chapter of your dissertation for guidance on the key items to tackle in your abstract. 

Dissertation abstract sample

My dissertation argues that social media is a source of addiction that has rocked many teenagers. We will conduct a study on the relationship between social media and addiction to determine the detrimental impacts of social media on the lives of young adults. Our study sampled 30 frequent social media users and withdrew social media access for half of the study group for a month. This study established a heavy reliance on social media in the daily lives of young adults and yielded results that showed impaired productivity with the most time on social media spent on entertainment. This hinted at the reasons why social media is addictive and helped us analyze various solutions to curb this addiction. 

Dissertation abstract checklist

  1. Does your abstract lie within the prescribed word count?
  2. Is the abstract placed after the acknowledgments and before your table of contents?
  3. Does your abstract clearly state your research problem?
  4. Does the abstract include the summary of your results?
  5. Is your abstract free of jargon?
  6. Is the conclusion properly stated?

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