The Secret of Writing Great Dissertation Abstracts

The dissertation abstract is the first thing a reader reads in your dissertation. Usually, a dissertation abstract comes with the title and after the acknowledge passage. It plays the role of the brief of your work, and gives an overview of the complete writing process, including the conclusion. Dissertation abstracts should be short and meaningful.

Generally, there are two types of dissertation abstracts:

  • Descriptive Abstracts. A descriptive abstract tells the reader about the information contained in the dissertation, which includes the purpose, scope and methods of the article, paper, or report. A descriptive abstract provides the results, recommendations, and conclusions. It is often under 100 words, and shorter compared to an informative abstract. The purpose of a descriptive abstract is to introduce the subject to the reader. The reader then needs to read the dissertation in order to find out the results, recommendation and conclusion.
  • Informative Abstracts. An informative abstract communicates specific information from your dissertation. They are also usually short – about one or two paragraphs – although not as short as descriptive abstracts. In any case, an informative abstract makes up 10 percent or less the length of your original piece. An informative abstract allows the reader to determine if he or she wants to read your dissertation.

No matter which type of the abstract you are writing, the secret of writing a good dissertation abstract is similar. Below are the steps for dissertation abstract writing:

  • Read your dissertation while keeping in mind of the goal of abstracting.
  • Look for these parts of your dissertation: the purpose, the method, the scope, the results, the conclusion, and the recommendation.
  • Use headings, table of contents, outline heads as the guides of writing an abstract.
  • If you are writing an abstract on someone else’s dissertation, you should begin from the introduction and the conclusion parts. These parts usually cover the emphasis of the dissertation.
  • After done rereading your dissertation, compose a rough draft of the abstract without looking back.
  • Do not just copy the key sentences from your dissertation, because you will be putting too much or too little information into the abstract.
  • You shouldn’t rely on how the material has been phrased in your dissertation. Instead, you need to summarize the information in a brand new way.
  • Revise your first draft, correct any weakness in structure, and improve the transitions between points. Drop any information that is unnecessary.
  • Edit your abstract and fix any errors with spelling, punctuation and grammar. In order to catch the glitches, you can print out the final work to read it thoroughly.

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