Are you done with writing your dissertation? Most probably you have. Well, in case you have just started your dissertation journey, writing an effective dissertation proposal will be your first step. After completing the core components of a dissertation, students mostly look for a suitable answer on how to write a dissertation abstract.

Well, if you are also one of those students, we have developed this guide solely for you. Be with us to learn how to write an accurate abstract for your dissertation which will grab the attention of all your readers.

But first, let’s understand what basically an Abstract is.

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✍ What Is An Abstract?

An abstract can be known as a quick reflection of your dissertation. It is basically a short summary that highlights the key takeaways from the various chapters of your dissertation. While writing a dissertation abstract, you may put highlight on:

  • The main objectives of your research along with a reflection on your research questions.
  • Your research design or the methods you have used to carry out your research.
  • What were the findings of your research in relevance to your problem statement?
  • The implications of your conducted research and what it could bring to the field of study.
  • Recommendation and Suggestions, mentioning the future aspects that your research has opened up for other researchers and scholars.

This is just a brief summary of what things you may need to include in an abstract. There are so many technicalities and critical aspects which you need to cope with while preparing abstracts. This detailed guide is focused on providing you with sound tips along with examples (where applicable) so that you can produce a good abstract with convenience. Before we move towards the detailed guide, first we must understand the purpose and significance of writing an abstract.

Note: Abstract and executive summaries are often termed as the same. They are similar in terms of dissertations. However, in some academic publications, an abstract counts as a summary of the paper without highlighting the findings. Whereas, an executive summary covers the whole paper.

💡 The Purpose Of Writing An Abstract

There are several reasons why universities ask students to include abstracts in their academic publications. 

  • First and the foremost reason is obviously to provide readers with a summary of the paper. It includes the purpose of your research, methodology, results, implications and suggestions.
  • It helps academia to understand what your dissertation is about and lets them decide whether to read it further or not depending upon their area of interest or research.
  • One of the most important reasons abstracts are included in dissertations is their inclusion in academic databases and search engines. It further serves as the indexing purpose which later helps students and researchers find relevant work in their respective field of study.
  • If you have plans to submit your papers to an online publication, conference or journal, you are required to submit the abstract along with the manuscript first.

The abstracts serve as a quick reference for your dissertation. It is like a cover page to your academic paper communicating the objectives, findings, limitations, and future aspects of your research to the readers.

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✍ Writing An Abstract In 4 Easy Steps

Are you all set to write your abstract? It is not as challenging as you may have thought. Just follow these simple steps and you will end up writing a brilliant abstract for your dissertation.

📝 Step 1: Define Your Aims & Objectives

The first sentence is the most critical element of an abstract. It will decide whether your reader finds your abstract an interesting piece or not. Although you should focus on each particular sentence of your abstract, experts from Dissertation Writing Services UK, suggest to emphasis a lot more on the first sentence.

Along with introducing the background, your first sentence should reflect upon the aims of your research. The purpose of the first few sentences of your abstract is to define the aims and objectives of your research. See the example below.

This dissertation critically examines the complex relationship between social media engagement and the mental well-being of adolescents, employing a comprehensive analytical approach to unravel the underlying dynamics. Through an extensive analysis of survey data and the application of sentiment analysis on online interactions, this research evaluates the nuanced interplay between digital communication patterns and psychological outcomes among adolescents.

Pro Tip: It is highly recommended to use words such as, examine, evaluate, investigate, analyse, etc to start your abstract.

📝 Step 2: Indicate Your Methodology

Next, you need to mention the ‘How’ of your research. Tell your readers how you have carried out your research. What methods did you use to find the answers to your research question? Simply, it is about highlighting your research design. This section must include the following elements.

  • A clear indication of your approach, be it qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods.
  • The collection process of the data.
  • A brief overview of the statistical population and your samples.
  • Methods you used to analyse your data.

See an example below which clearly highlights each of the above-mentioned elements.

The methodology used in the study is qualitative in nature. It consists of an interpretivism philosophy, qualitative approach, exploratory design, and case study strategy. Besides, the research employs a primary source of data collection by using interviews or organised surveys. The sample size of the research is 10 individuals selected through target sampling while the interviews are distributed online. To analyse the collected data, the content analysis method has been used.

Pro Tip: Never discuss the limitations, obstacles and details of your methodology section. Be specific and write clearly about the 4 points mentioned.

📝 Step 3: Present Your Findings

Now, you are about to present the backbone of your abstract; your findings. This is most probably, what readers mostly look for when reading your abstracts. The word limit of your abstract may not allow you to put all the results and findings of your research. Therefore, you will need to put up a summary of your results section here. Let us have a look at the example.

The findings show that eCommerce businesses utilise SEO for improved visibility and marketing purposes. Primary and Secondary evidence further confirms the significance of SEO, Knowledge Graph and My Business as inescapable. These tools are used by the eCommerce industry for high ranking, effective promotion and data and content analysis.

Pro Tip: Clearly mention your results in a precise manner and do not try to make it catchy by hiding some of your results. Be generous and present your results as it is.

📝 Step 4: Implications & Future Recommendations

The final step towards completion of your abstract is to mention how your research findings can make a significant impact on your research questions, aims and objectives. Moreover, you also need to mention your suggestions and recommendations for future researchers and scholars in a similar discipline. In simple words, you need to keep two points in mind while conducting your abstract.

  • Mention how your study has created an impact towards the field of study.
  • Suggest the further researchers who want to conduct research in continuation.

Let’s have a quick look at an example of the concluding part of the abstract.

The study concludes that the challenges of utilising these tools are also unavoidable. For instance, the biggest challenge is to make rational decisions while selecting these tools for eCommerce business. The current research still has the limitations of avoiding a quantitative or mixed-method approach for better results. The study suggests that future researchers should use quantitative or mixed-method approaches to achieve authentic and reliable outcomes. 

Pro Tip: We recommend using clear words like limitations, and future suggestions before mentioning them so that your readers can have a straight idea of what you are trying to convey.

These are the four critical steps in writing a first-class abstract. It will not only create a positive impact on your readers but will convince them to go through your complete research.

You may still have some questions and queries. Well, the post is not over yet for dissertation abstract writing. Have a look at the below sections to clear your confusion and do not miss out on our 12 essential tips to come up with an impressive abstract.

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❓ When Is The Right Time To Write An Abstract

Abstracts have their own page in the dissertation and are very often placed after the title and acknowledgement page and appear before the table of contents. This is the reason many students and beginners consider that abstracts are written in the starting.

However, this is not the case. You can not simply write an abstract at the start of your research since you do not have an idea initially of the workable research design, implications, and future suggestions.

The right time to write an abstract is once you have completed your research and have written all the chapters of your dissertation. You can even write it when you have finished working on your dissertation and have even listed down the sources in the references section.

You can also write an abstract using the chapter-to-chapter method. In this method, you are required to put the summary of each chapter in the abstract once you have completed writing it. Our experts personally recommend students write it once they have completed the dissertation.

❓ What Is The Length Of An Abstract

For a dissertation, the length of the abstract typically lies between 150 to 500 words. However, it depends upon so many factors. It can differ from paper to paper. It can also vary due to the difference in academic level. Further, the length may differ due to specific discipline.

Also, it depends upon the paper style you have been given or your selected, for instance, Harvard, MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. In short, it is good to check with your university guidelines about the length of an abstract while writing it.

✅ Remember The 4 Ws

In order to come up with an impactful abstract every time you write it, make sure to remember the four Ws. These four Ws are four questions that you need to include in your abstract.

  • What was your study about?
  • What is the importance of your research in terms of your field?
  • What was your research design? How did you conduct your methodology to come across an answer to your research questions?
  • What were the findings, implications and recommendations of your study?

If you are able to answer these questions in your abstract, be sure that it will serve the purpose you are writing the abstract for and your readers will have a clear idea of what your research is about.

✅ 12 Essential Tips For Writing A Perfect Abstract

Let’s have a look at some tips that will help in writing a more engaging abstract for your dissertation.

  1. Read Other Abstracts

The key to writing and structuring abstracts to perfection is by reading more abstracts. Recall or have a look back again at the abstracts of the papers that you have gone through while writing the literature review of your dissertation.

  1. Keep It Simple

Make sure that you writing for all levels of readers. Anyone with an undergraduate, masters, or PhD degree, could be your potential reader. So avoid jargon and make it an easy read. Do not use a lot of technical terminologies that make your abstract less engaging to your readers.

  • Bad Example: This pioneering investigation scrutinises the intricate dynamics at play in the reciprocal interaction between adolescent mental well-being and social media engagement.
  • Good Example: This groundbreaking study examines the intricate interplay between social media engagement and mental well-being among adolescents.
  1. Be Concise & Specific

Don’t think of your abstract as a YouTube video thumbnail. You are not here to entice your readers by hiding the real information behind your abstract. Be specific and clearly state what an abstract requires. Do not worry that readers may not go on to read further if you have provided everything in the abstract. Research works differently, if a reader wants to read more, they will definitely do that.

  1. Reverse Engineering

Well, the term may sound a bit suspicious to you here. However, in terms of abstract, reverse engineering our reverse outlining refers to taking out 2-3 sentences from the conclusions of each chapter and jotting them down together to have a framework for your abstract.

  1. Say No To Exclusive Information

Make sure you are not referring to any new information in the abstract. Remember, an abstract is only about mentioning the already written information from your dissertation chapters or summarising the paper itself.

  1. Avoid Citations

Your abstract must not include any sort of citations or sources. Since you are not including any new ideas or information in the abstract, there is no need to include any references. It is just a summary of your research and should look like the one.

  1. Usage of Voice

Your abstract must be written in an active voice. Avoid using passive voice while writing the abstracts.

  • Bad Example: The intricate interplay between social media engagement and mental well-being among adolescents was examined in this research.
  • Good Example: This dissertation critically examines the complex relationship between social media engagement and the mental well-being of adolescents.
  1. First Person or Third Person

It is recommended that the abstract must be written in a third-person tone. However, this is your research and you can use a first-person tone to define your thoughts and findings.

  • More Recommended: The study identifies key factors influencing the adoption of sustainable practices in small businesses, uncovering both internal and external drivers.
  • Less Recommended but Accepted: My study identifies key factors influencing the adoption of sustainable practices in small businesses, uncovering both internal and external drivers.
  1. Do Not Repeat

Since you have limited words for your abstract and you have to cover a lot of things in it, never repeat any provided information in the abstract. It will also create a shady impact on your readers and they might find your abstract less engaging.

  1. Avoid Long Sentences

Use short sentences in your abstract so that it may not hurt the readability of your sentences. Shorter sentences tend to attract more and are easily understood. Also, avoid using longer phrases which can easily be replaced by shorter versions. For instance, use ‘to’ instead of ‘in order to’.

  1. Write In The Present Or Past Simple Tense

It is usually observed that students make mistakes by introducing future tense in the abstract. It happens when students write abstracts before the completion of the dissertation. Make sure that you can only use present or past simple tense while writing abstracts.

  • Bad Example: This study will examine the intricate interplay between social media engagement and mental well-being among adolescents. (Future tense)
  • Good Example: This study examines the intricate interplay between social media engagement and mental well-being among adolescents. (Present tense)
  • Good Example: This study examined the intricate interplay between social media engagement and mental well-being among adolescents. (Past tense)
  1. Do Not Define Terms

If you use some of your technical terminologies in the abstract, there is no need to define them. Students often define the terms considering that the abstract is the first part of the dissertation. But there is no need for that.

📃 Conclusion

While summing up the post, there are a few things which we want you to remember when writing your dissertation abstract. First, and foremost is to consider this abstract as the summary of your dissertation. Do not take it as an opportunity to hook your readers by mentioning uncompleted and catchy sentences.

Clearly define the purpose, thesis statement, methods, findings, limitations and recommendations of your research. Always write it once you have completed your dissertation and make it around 300 words for a dissertation of 10000 words.

We wish you all the luck in your dissertation endeavours. Our doors are always open for our beloved students. Seek assistance from us and if you feel like having any query related to your academics or this post, use the comments section.