How to write an abstract for a dissertation
An abstract appears in the introduction part of a dissertation before the table of contents and after the title page and acknowledgments. It summarizes the entire dissertation. Although abstracts are found at the beginning they are written last. Most examiners and readers read the abstract before deciding whether to go through the entire document. It is, therefore, crucial to be focused, brief and clear in your abstract.
An abstract should have between 250-350 words or one page. It should summarize all the information contained in the various chapters. From the introduction, literature review, methodology, conclusions, and recommendation. Include research questions at the beginning of your work, either in the second or third sentence. They help the reader understand the aim of your work. Briefly discuss the literature review in one or two sentences, avoid quoting work from other people. An abstract should exclusively focus on your research.
Include the methods you used in collecting data. For example, 25 second-year students were interviewed from every school. Discuss the conclusions and recommendations. The conclusion is crucial as it shows whether you have accomplished what you aimed to do. Also, include the limitations of your research. For instance, in case of any generalizations, mention them for the reader to know.
When writing a dissertation, make sure you know the purpose of your work, be simple, clear and balance the content of the various chapters. Do not include one chapter and skip the next. Do not also include filler words, each sentence should have a main point. Indicate the relevance of your research, research problem, thesis statement, and objectives. Tenses vary depending on the chapter, in the methodology and analysis part use past simple tense. In the concluding part, use the present simple tense.
Remember to follow instructions from your instructor. Most instructors specify the number of words and the format, whether it is APA or MLA. Follow the instructions to the letter. Also, read abstracts written by other people and use them as a frame of reference, to improve your work. Do not plagiarize other people’s work or copy paste a sentence direct from your dissertation. Be original, unique, use correct language and avoid jargon. Punctuate your work correctly and ensure it is free from grammatical errors.
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