How to Write a Dissertation Abstract
Abstracts are necessary for the academic world because they reduce the information contained in the academic papers circulating amongst the academic community. It is not possible today for an expert in a given field to read all published articles, monographs, dissertations, and others. Hence, it is taken for granted that every researcher should prepare an abstract of his/her research in order to present the information contained in the given paper. A PhD thesis or a dissertation always contains lots of information and for that reason it is obligatory to attach an abstract to it. However, writing a dissertation abstract is not amongst the easiest things. If your dissertation contains two hundred pages or even more, how can you derive the most important information and present it to the audience? Below you will find 7 key tips on how to write a dissertation abstract:
1. Make an outline of your dissertation
Include all chapters and sub-chapters of your work there. In the dissertation outline, add some content explaining the most important ideas presented in the particular chapter. In this way you will be able to take a look at your dissertation as a whole.
2. Highlight the most important sentences in the dissertation abstract
These are sentences which:
- introduce the topic of the dissertation;
- contain formulations of a theory or conception you base your research on (theoretical framework);
- contain your (hypo)thesis;
- contain formulations of your arguments in support of the thesis;
- contain generalizations of experiments or observations made by you (in natural sciences);
- contain conclusion.
3. Bring all these sentences together and read the text at least two times
It is better to read it in the course of two or more days. Now think whether the text corresponds to the main idea of your dissertation. Do you think that you can construct your dissertation abstract relying on this text?
Advice: you can always add new pieces of text here. As it was already stated, it is not possible to render all the information in a proper way when the information is to be significantly reduced. Hence, you can read the dissertation again and find new sentences or paragraphs which may seem important.
4. Now you need to rewrite the aforementioned text
To rewrite means to use other words and phrases which render the same meaning and can easily reveal your point of view. In all cases, you should not change all the words, especially the terms which are typical of your field of research. You are also allowed to insert the original formulations of your thesis, arguments, or other important phrases in the dissertation abstract.
5. Ensure that the draft of your abstract corresponds fully to your dissertation
It means that the abstract should not introduce new ideas, arguments, theses, data, etc., which are not mentioned in the dissertation. It should not put additional emphasis on ideas or assertions which are not emphasized in the dissertation as well. In case that you do not follow this principle, it is possible that your dissertation abstract will be rejected and you will need to write another one.
6. Revise your dissertation abstract
Having written your draft, you can revise it and check whether you have not omitted anything important. Try to polish the style of the dissertation abstract and check whether its sections are interconnected in a logical way.
7. Length of the dissertation abstract
The length of the abstract is also a matter which needs close attention. At any rate, a 200-page dissertation should not have an abstract longer than 10-12 pages. Even 12 pages seem too much for such a dissertation, but let’s stress it again - this depends on your personal style of presenting information.
In conclusion, do not underestimate your task - start writing the draft as soon as possible and do not waste your time!
Get your original paper!