As the name suggests, an abstract is a summation of your dissertation and gives the reader a bird's-eye view of your work. Therefore, care must be taken to include all vital points of your research in the dissertation abstract. As it is the face of your thesis, present a readable abstract to kindle the interests of your readers and give them an exhaustive overview of what to expect in the chapters to come.
While there may not be a universal template for abstract, as it is dependent on many factors includingyour discipline and university,a few basic guidelines are expected to be adhered to while writing it.Here are a few rules researchers should follow:
The guidelines and format for writing dissertation abstract vary from one university to another, so it makes sense to grasp the norms laid down by the authorities and adhere to them while finalizing your abstract. The word count of your abstract should be limited to the length specified by the authorities.Any other guideline prescribed by the university - be it regarding deadline, structure, format, or stylesheet - should be followed to a tee.
An abstract typically is a short synopsis of your project, so it shouldn't be too long or wordy. A short abstract, preferably one or two pages, is more likely to get favorable attention from your examiners. It would be a great idea to make a rough draft of the abstract, go over it at least a couple of times before finalizing it. Be consistent with the tense and cut the flab out but ensure not to make it a bare-bone structure.
An abstract is a matter-of-fact summary of your research work, so steer clear of grand claims, pretentious sentences and overstatements. Do not brag about your work, but stick to the vital elements and give readers a realistic snapshot of your work. While it is absolutely fine to mention the importance of your findings and their implications, care should be taken to put them in the context of your field of study.
Let the authorities clearly understand the methodology you adopted in your research. Enunciate in detail your theoretical framework, methodological approach, and research design; if you have used a combination of methodologies, state so.
To ensure that your abstract is logical and structured, specify your major research questions, preferably right at the beginning of the abstract. Limit the questions to a maximum of three to restrict the abstract to a reasonable length. Try to club a few questions into one to be within the limit of three questions.
It is imperative that your results are given the due importance. Your abstract should aim more about your findings than the route and procedure you took to arrive at those decisions. Do not get caught up in explaining your approach or each finding and its importance; instead, lead the readers to your results and their implications.
Often, abstracts are uploaded in databases where dissertations are collected and stored for the benefit of researchers. Mentioning all important key terms in the abstract is important to readers a comprehensive overview of the scope of your project.
As your abstract is meant for a wider audience, ensure not to use any short forms, acronyms or abbreviations.Likewise, include only those points that are absolutely relevant to your research, and make the write-up internally consistent.
Follow these rules to write an abstract that does total justice not only to your thesis, but to your readers as well.
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