How To Write A Good Dissertation Abstract: Simple Instructions For Students


We don’t always want complicated manuals or guidebooks when we need to do something for the very first time. Sometimes all students need are some simple instructions to help them along their way. This has never been truer than with a dissertation abstract. Reams and reams of instructions are only going to get ignored. Thankfully for you I have been writing dissertation summaries forever, or at least it feels that way and so I have put together some simple instructions to help you on your way:


What is an abstract?


The most important thing to bear in mind that an abstract is simply an overview; a summary of the whole dissertation. Summaries are important for several reasons:


  • They enable you to digest the content at a glance

  • They focus on the key points

Pull out the relevant points


Before you do anything else I would recommend that you go through the dissertation with a notepad and pen and take down the key points. You will have to be brutal here and resist the temptation to crib absolutely everything. Key points only, remember?


Weave them into sentences


Do you see where I am going with this? It is not exactly difficult is it? Once you have your bullet points you simply need to turn them into clearly defined sentences that are easy to understand. I like to think of writing an abstract as learning to do joined up writing all over again. It really is in the same vein.


Make sure that it flows


It needs to flow in the same way as an essay, dissertation or novel. It cannot stop and start and it cannot jump around all over the place. There needs to be order and structure to it in order for it to be of any benefit to you.


Keep it relevant


Some topics can be so similar that they almost appear to be interwoven. You need to be very careful that you don’t fall into this trap here. It is imperative that your abstract stays totally on message and that it is a clear depiction of your subject matter.


Can anyone pick it up?


The key to determining how well-written an abstract is whether anyone could just pick it up, read it and fully understand it. If you cannot one-hundred percent say that they would be able to do so then you haven’t done your job.

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