An abstract is an essential part of your thesis or dissertation. It is a summary of the entire paper and gives an overview of the research study. It briefly details the main components of your research work in order to give an idea to the readers. An abstract comes right after the title of the dissertation which signifies its role in the paper.
It is relatively a smaller as compared to the other chapters/sections of the dissertation but that does not make it any less important. In fact, it is more difficult to write an abstract than other chapters due to its limited word count.
Below are a few tips on what an abstract is and how you can write it successfully:
About The Abstract
Your abstract should set expectations for the rest of your work. This is the first thing an examiner would read, and so it’s a chance to make a good impression. Basically, it’s the summary of your thesis or dissertation.
The abstract serves many functions. One is perhaps to make sure that the researcher and writer actually know what they’re talking about. Another is to draw in and convince readers that the whole work is worth a shot. Whatever the case, one should spend quite a bit of time on their abstract, as this could make or break their work.
The maximum number of words for an abstract is as per guidelines provided by professors. The shorter the thesis is the shorter will be the abstract. For example, a Master’s thesis abstract could have maximum 250-350 words. A doctoral dissertation abstract could have up to 350 -550 words.
You may want to limit the abstract to one page. It is preferable if this is double-spaced, meaning an average of almost 300-400 words.
The structure of the abstract depends on the structure of the work itself. If your dissertation deals with ten chapters, the abstract should try to mention each of them in order.
One needs to be aware of the absolute major elements in their work in order to structure an abstract properly. One chapter may only get one line, so you really need a grasp on what you’re writing.
Ignoring the results can be a fatal error when writing an abstract. Your thesis is not to simply tell people what you have done in your research. Nor is the function of an abstract to simply outline your writings. Your findings, results, and conclusions are the main crux of why you are putting in so much hard work.
Hence, don’t just leave a line or two for your results at the end of your abstract. In fact, almost the whole second half of this section should be a summary of your results. You should also put in an idea of your subsequent interpretations.
Things To Remember…
As mentioned above, an abstract gives a summary of your overall thesis. It incorporates the most important information about your thesis that includes hypothesis, methodology, highlights of the research, etc. In other words, it is a brief overview of your research work and methodology along with the other crucial details. The literature review and abstract would also need approval before the thesis writing starts.
There are different degree subjects and each has its own requirements when it comes to final year project. So what you include in your abstract depends greatly on your particular project. Depending on your specific project, your abstract can include or exclude certain details. Therefore, the instructions of your professor should be the guiding factor before you start writing an abstract.