How to Write an Abstract for Dissertation

Writing Abstract for Dissertation

An abstract is a summary of your research project, paper or a research dissertation, and gives information to your reader about your work in a concise and brief way.

Purpose of an Abstract

An abstract comes at the start of your dissertation and covers all the main segments of your work. Abstract helps the reader to identify the basic content of your research, and helps him to decide whether it is interesting enough to read or not. It allows you to briefly summarize your research findings and keywords used in it can help the researchers to find your work, if it is going to be published.

When Do You Write the Abstract?

You need to write articles when:

In any case, an abstract is the last thing you write for your research work. The abstract should contain and cover all the important facts of your written text in a concise manner. If someone has not read your paper, the abstract written is enough for him to provide a complete outlook to him to understand your study.

The good approach to write an abstract is to structure it as the short version of your thesis, and include only 2-3 lines from every chapter of your thesis.

Qualities of an Abstract

An abstract is called the first impression of your thesis, giving insight about your work. An abstract should stand alone rather than being a part of your dissertation. It should be written in an independent manner. It must be exact on the point, understandable and clear for the reader. It must contain all the essential information with quantitative or qualitative data in a short way. There is no need to add any new information in it, focus on the one which you already have and write it in the correct order.

Structure & Elements of an Abstract

While writing an abstract, you should focus on a few elements.

  • Purpose and Aim
  • Methodology
  • Result
  • Conclusion

Purpose and Aim

Explain the purpose of your research clearly. Precisely, state the objectives and aims of your study. Tell the reader which research problems you focused on which or questions you intended to answer in your thesis. Give the background relevance to your study and explain to the reader if your topic was ignored or newly discovered in the respective field?

Write all this in the simple present or simple past tense as research is already done.



In terms of methodology, starte the research methods and approach you used to answer your research questions. Precisely state which quantitative or qualitative technique you have used to reach the desired outcome of your research. Research practices may vary from field to field, such as many social sciences research includes non-experimental work unlike the science field. Avoid explaining the validity or strengths of your research in abstract. Like purpose, write the methodology in past tense.



Give a summary of your main research results. Discuss the findings, the data collected in an effective way. Results are based on the methodology used or the field of your research. They can be experimental or theoretical, mention it in the abstract. Due to the complexity of your research, you might not be able to include all the results in abstract. In such cases, include the most crucial new finding of your research which contradicts prior research findings. Write the result in past tense as it’s already been done.



After giving a concise review of your research to your reader, conclude it all by stating what your research has achieved, the importance of your results in respective fields and its contributions. If you proposed to solve a problem with your research, write down its implementation. You can also add recommendations for further research with limitations or failed hypotheses to give credibility to your research.

Tips for Writing an Abstract

Write the abstract in a very concise manner. Do not indulge in intricate details regarding your research as you have already written it all in your dissertation. Keep the following points in your mind while writing an abstract.

  • Identify the key points of your dissertation, by reading it over.
  • Re-read all the chapters of the thesis and shorten it in 2-3 lines.
  • Proof-read, revise and edit as much as you want
  • Write it within 300-500 words.
  • Covers all the main elements from chapters.
  • Should be well-coherent and stand alone.
  • Be specific
  • Present only important results
  • Abstain from repeating information
  • Understandable for a wider audience
  • Use the language which you use din dissertation
  • Write in active voice


  • Do not rephrase or repeat words or titles.
  • Do not add references
  • Avoid sentences which start like, “it is suggested” “it is analyzed”. Same way do not end sentences like, “….is analyzed” “….is reported”.
  • Do not include equations or signs.
  • Do not use acronyms, abbreviations, you will have to explain it further causing you your limited word count.
  • Do not write any information which is not given or included in the dissertation.

How to Write an Abstract?

An abstract is the first thing people will read, so give it your best. Follow the following techniques to write the best abstract for your dissertation.

  • Outline Main Text

List out the main keywords and 1-2 sentences from each chapter which summarize it precisely. This will outline your abstract while you are working on the dissertation. Revise the sentence to develop your argument.

  • Read Other Abstracts

One of the best approaches to writing an abstract is to read the work of other researchers. Take help from the online journal articles which you studied for your literature review.

  • Concise and Clear

Make every word count in your abstract. Clearly communicate the main point. Filter out unnecessary jargon, make it easy for readers who are not familiar with your topic.

Formatting Requirements

Follow the following requirements provided by APA to write an abstract.

Abstract Sample

The cell phone is available at hand in college campuses and is frequently used in settings where learning occurs. This study assessed the relationship between cell phone use and actual college grade point average (GPA) after controlling for known predictors. 536 undergraduate students from 82 self-reported majors at a large, public university were sampled. A hierarchical regression demonstrated that cell phone use was significantly and negatively related to actual college GPA after controlling for demographic variables, self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, self-efficacy for academic achievement, and actual high school GPA, which were all significant predictors. Thus, after controlling for other established predictors, increased cell phone use was associated with decreased academic performance. Although more research is needed to detect the basic mechanisms, findings suggest a need to sensitize students and educators about the potential academic risks associated with high-frequency cell phone use.