How To Write A Doctoral Dissertation Abstract: Step-By-Step Instructions

Up until they begin looking at the many requirements that come with completing a doctoral dissertation, most students don’t get much experience writing abstracts for their works. An abstract is simply a short, self-contained and direct statement that describes the major components of a larger work. It’s particularly helpful to researchers who need to review a short written piece that gives them an idea of the larger work will be helpful in their own studies. Here are step-by-step instructions for crafting a great doctoral dissertation abstract:

Step 1) Determine which type of abstract you need

There are two types of abstracts you can use in your dissertation: descriptive and informative. Each one has different aims, so they have slightly different components. Determining which one to use will largely depend on your discipline, your advisor’s recommendations, and the nature of your study.

Step 2) State your reason for conducting research

Ask yourself what makes your research so important. Consider that someone else will have to read your work, but can you say to make that person interested in reading your work in the first place. Use no more than two or three sentences to state this reason.

Step 3) State the problem you are attempting to solve

The next step is to indicate the problem or question you are attempting to solve or answer. What’s the scope of your doctoral dissertation project? This section of your abstract should contain your thesis, claim, or main argument. Remember that it will be restated more accurately within your main work, so this could be clear and concise paraphrasing.

Step 4) Include the methodology of your research

When working on a doctoral dissertation within a science discipline your work may include specific approaches or models that are used in your larger study. Other disciplines may only require that you provide a description of the different types of evidence you have used in your research.

Step 5) Provide a brief summary of your results

Similar to step 4, if your doctoral dissertation is written for a science discipline you will have to include data that is specific to the project and explain how it led to your results. If you are working in a non-science discipline then you can discuss your results in a more general way.

Step 6) State the implications of those results

The last step to writing a great abstract is stating the implications of your discoveries. Consider the changes in the field that should be implemented because of the results you have arrived at. How does this help further research within your discipline?


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