Study guidelines on how to write a thesis abstract

When you write a dissertation one of the key components is: The Abstract

An abstract is a very important piece of writing. It is important because it offers a first impression for readers which lets them decide if they should continue reading your work. It also lets them know what they can expect to find in the rest of your work. Some abstracts might only list the contents contained within the document while others tell much more to the reader. Your abstract should present the qualitative and quantitative information contained in your document while also reflecting upon the reasoning for it. Generally speaking, an abstract will answer the following questions in between one hundred and three hundred words (based on the overall length of the project):

  • What was the reason for doing this project?
  • What did you do for this project and how?
  • What did you find while doing this project?
  • What do your results mean?

If your paper is about a new method, then you will want to alter the final two questions above to the following:

  • What advantages are there to this new method or new apparatus?
  • How well does the new method work?

While you are writing your abstract, bear in mind the following major points:

  1. Your abstract will be read almost always in conjunction with your title, so avoid repeating the title in your abstract or rephrasing it. Your abstract will more than likely be read without the remainder of your work, so it should be complete enough that it can stand alone.
  2. Your reader wants to know your purpose, your methods, your findings, and your conclusion in the abstract. Emphasize these different areas in proportion to the amount of emphasize they receive inside of the whole document.
  3. Avoid referring to information not contained in your document.
  4. Choose active verbs whenever possible in lieu of passive verbs.
  5. In the abstract, it is best to avoid abbreviations, acronyms, trade names, or symbols because if you use them, you have to explain them, and you do not have the extra room to do this.
  6. Take key words from your document and integrate them into the abstract. Remember that if your document is published, the abstract will be mined for key words used to index it. So using these words in the abstract will make it more likely that another writer and researcher will cite your piece in the future.

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