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Writing an Abstract for PhD Dissertation – A Guide for PhD Students

by John Smith

An abstract is basically a summary of your project/dissertation that includes all the main points of your research. The major elements supporting the research are present in it in a highly compressed form. Abstract acts as a sole of the dissertation so it is really important to write one that covers and summarizes all the important points of your project. A proper abstract includes, the purpose of your research, its main areas, the importance and the conclusion of your work.

Components:

Writing an abstract for a PhD dissertation requires extra care as this can prove to be a complex task for anyone. The following components must be kept in mind while writing an abstract:

Reason for writing:

State the reason and importance of why you are doing your research and why the reader should be interested in it. Proper reasoning will give a good start to your abstract.

Problem:

What issue does this task attempt to solve? What is the extent of this project? What is the main reasoning and justification? Include all these things in your abstract so that the problem may be highlighted in a better way.

Methodology:

An abstract includes the methodologies used in work. A complex thesis will have the same complex methodologies, whereas a simpler one may describe the kind of evidence used in the research.

Results:

An abstract discusses the findings of the research in the same way that research is based. If it is more like scientific research, then it may include specific data that indicates the results; otherwise the abstract may present the findings in a more general and common way.

Types of abstract:

There are two major types of abstracts that are commonly used in PhD dissertation; a descriptive abstract that describes all the work in a nutshell and the second one is an informative abstract that highlights all the major arguments and important findings.

Importance:

The abstract is the major component of a PhD dissertation as it gives an overview of what that research is about. It gives the reader a trailer of the entire dissertation, and they make an opinion of their own about the dissertation just by reading the abstract. If it is well written, the reader may find it interesting to go through the entire thesis. Otherwise, he may lose his interest in it.

Problems while writing an abstract:

Some people usually don’t make an abstract well concise. A reader should be able to judge the entire dissertation just by reading the first two lines of the abstract.

Usage of tense:

An abstract should be in the past tense as it is written at the end of the dissertation. It is the main thing as the researcher has to summarize the entire PhD dissertation in the end with some limited words. Using the present tense may contradict the researcher’s work.

 Unstated conclusion:

An abstract without a conclusion is a failed abstract. Adding a conclusion of the PhD dissertation to your abstract is of paramount importance as it will give the thesis a complete look. If there is no conclusion stated in the abstract, then the reader may find it hectic to go through the entire dissertation to get the conclusion properly.

Not enough keywords:

 If your abstract does not have enough keywords related to the topic, then there is a chance that it may appear less on a search engine. Choose unique and different keywords from the others by sticking to your research so your research paper may get a better chance at showing up globally.

Incorrect formatting:

Some students make the mistake of formatting the abstract in an improper and wrong way which may not be approved by their college or university. To avoid this mistake, make sure that you are aware of the proper formatting and word count. An abstract may comprise of 200-250 words, but it may vary in different institutions.

Unrelated conclusion:

 Another mistake that the students do is that they write an unrelated conclusion to their abstract which does not support their dissertation. This misleading information may jeopardize their entire PhD dissertation.

Solution:

State the issue:

It is really important to present the problem as clearly as possible so that the readers may take an interest in it. If it is well stated, then they will like to find out about your solution to the problem. So, there must be enough data available within the abstract, so the readers can know why your research is necessary.

A main point:

An abstract should have a main point, like a news headline, that gives us an overview of what that news is about. So, instead of writing all the main points of the dissertation, just focus on summarizing the most important ones and shaping the abstract around it.

Target audience:

Your abstract should be shaped in a way that it targets a wider range of audiences than some limited ones. Because you never know how many people come across your research when it is available on online platforms belonging to different age groups and industries. 

Terminate writing errors:

Typing errors are very common mistakes when doing long and complex dissertations. People do this mistake because they have so much to cover in a limited time, so most of the time, they just focus on the quantity rather than quality. This grave error can be eliminated by roof reading. If a person covers all of his research in time then he should at least go through his entire dissertation twice to get rid of this mistake.

In a Summary:

In order to make a complete and effective abstract; state the problem, present only the major key findings, provide your solution to the problem in a proper way, present the importance in a comprehensive way, provide a clear background wherever necessary and make your writing as clear and understandable as possible. If still you are unable to draft a well concise abstract, then hire the Dissertation help UK.

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