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Are There Any Special Rules For Writing A Dissertation Abstract?

One of the most critical components of a PhD dissertation is the abstract. The abstract should summarize all of the key aspects of your work. Keep in mind that your abstract is not merely an introduction to your dissertation. Ideally, it should serve as a super compact version of your work as a whole. The reader should be able to understand your thesis, ideas, research, methods, and conclusions.

There are some rules that you should follow if you want to compose a clear, concise and engaging dissertation abstract. We have put together some special pointers for you to keep in mind as you write your abstract.

Avoid Going Over Two Pages In Length

Your abstract should be printed on plain, white paper, with single spacing. Ideally the abstract should be divided into four or five paragraphs. A typical word count would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 350 to 400 words. Don't cut corners, less than two pages will not make a good impression either.

Your First Paragraph Should Get To The Point

Your opening paragraph should clearly state the topic of the dissertation. What is the problem or issue that is being addressed? Keep it simple, and easy for your reader to follow. You should be careful to avoid run on sentences or wordy descriptions.

This is also your opportunity to get your reader's attention. Why should they be interested in your ideas, results and conclusions? What do you have to offer your academic peers that they have not seen before? An audience that you can have hooked in the opening lines of your abstract, is an audience who is likely to stick with you to the end. They will be really listening to what it is you have to say.

The Body Paragraphs

Included in the body paragraphs of your abstract you will provide a detailed chapter outline. This is where you give the reader the main arguments and investigations that are included in each chapter of the completed dissertation.

The most critical findings of your research, and the methodology used in your inquiries or experiments should be noted.

The Concluding Paragraph

This is where you reveal the results and consequences of your research and writing. What have you discovered that can be considered a new and important contribution to your field of study? Where could further research in the field go from here?


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