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How to write a thesis abstract

Updated on April 27, 2012

Abstract Writing Intro

The abstract is an essential part of a thesis, providing a brief summary of the thesis. Students often do not recognise the importance of the abstract and thus do not spend the required time in order to produce a well defined abstract. Here are guidelines on how to create a good abstract

Abstract Writing Guidelines

Abstract Writing

What is an abstract?

The abstract is a mini-version of the thesis. It should give a brief summary of the main sections of the paper. In other words, it is a summary of the "information" the thesis contains.

Its purpose:

To give readers a quick identification of the basic content of the thesis. It should "stand on its own" and be a self-contained document. There should be no need to look elsewhere in the thesis for an understanding of what is said in the abstract.

Length:

The abstract should be very concise - the maximum length being 50% of one page (outside of the header formatting and keywords line). This means you will need to economise your use of words and tie ideas together. Use the most precise and relevant words to best express the content of the abstract. Abstracts that are too long will have to be re-written.

Content:

The abstract can be written as one large paragraph, or for easy reading you can use paragraphs for each section of the content. Paragraph 1 should contain your objectives and scope, Paragraph 2 a description of the methods used, Paragraph 3 a summary of the results, and Paragraph 4 a statement of the main conclusions.

Other considerations:

The abstract is usually written in the past tense because the research is already

done. In other words, write the thesis first!

While first person ("I", "we") may be used in the body of your thesis, you must use third person (passive) in the abstract.

DO NOT include abbreviations or acronyms in your abstract if you can help it, but if you must, don't use them without explaining them first. For example, the first time you use the abbreviation you must write out the full form and put the abbreviation in brackets. e.g. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)" From then on you may use "MRI" for the duration of the abstract.

DO NOT use headings for your abstract paragraphs. (e.g. Objectives, Methods, Results and Conclusions)

Keep your abstract clear and simple - you are trying to show the key points of your thesis to attract interest.

Always check your grammar, spelling, and formatting. Please use either British

English spelling conventions or American English spelling conventions throughout

your abstract, but not both.

Remember:

The abstract is the first thing a reader reads. It is an indication of the quality of your thesis and what is to come for the reader. Impressions drawn from the reading of the abstract greatly impact the reading of your thesis.

Using some of language samples below that; for example, introduce the different sections of the abstract, will help make the abstract easier to read and more clear to the reader. These are examples only - use must use the language correctly in the proper context and for the correct purpose.

Other words

objective

aim

intention

purpose

goal

target

OBJECTIVE(S)

The purpose of this study was to investigate... Another aim was to find out... Finally, ... was examined in the study.

METHOD(S)

(X) method was applied. (Eg. quantitative/qualitative - both/other?)

The study/survey/thesis/questionnaire/opinion poll...examined, inspected, focused on, was conducted, carried out, sent out, administered (see list of more descriptive verbs) Questionnaires were sent out/administered... ( X number) responses were received

RESULT(S)/CONCLUSION(S)

The results of the study were that... It was found/discovered that... The results revealed/indicated...

The principal conclusion was that... One conclusion was that...

MISC.

Please note the correct singular and plural versions of the following:

Singular Plural

thesis theses

criterion criteria

phenomenon phenomena

appendix appendices (British English) appendices (American English)

Example abstract linked in Links List

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Abstract Writing

The Elements of an Effective Dissertation and Thesis: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right the First Time
The Elements of an Effective Dissertation and Thesis: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right the First Time

With over 100 examples of completed dissertations from well-known universities and colleges, this book allows the student to concentrate on what makes sense and what is important to completing his or her research to writing an effective doctoral dissertation or a master's thesis.

 
How to Write a Better Thesis
How to Write a Better Thesis

This concise guide emphasizes clear and logical structure as the key to a well-written thesis. Offering concrete examples of common structural problems, and numerous devices, tricks, and tests by which to avoid them, in a direct and conversational tone, it proves that the astute researcher must no longer regard writing as the last chore but rather as a crucial part of the research process. This updated edition reflects the changes in research style brought about by the Internet.

 

An abstract, Simple Explanation

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      very insightful

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This guided me a lot, thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thank u

    • profile image

      ariakery 4 years ago

      @anonymous: this is very help full for me, thanks

      research writing help

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      great.. thanks a lot !!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      it really helps for my thesis, thanks a lot!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      precised way of explaining the abstract way of writing.... thumps up

    • profile image

      paperwritingexperts 5 years ago

      Thanks for the informative article. I would have liked it more if you had elaborated the methodology part. I always have problems with this section.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is the best post on abstract writing so far, really comprehensive and addresses all the answers a phD student can ask. Thanks a lot for sharing. Even though abstract is written at the end, it comes first on the paper and can play a great role in creating a reader's interest in the thesis.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is the best post on abstract writing so far, really comprehensive and addresses all the answers a phD student can ask. Thanks a lot for sharing. Even though abstract is written at the end, it comes first on the paper and can play a great role in creating a reader's interest in the thesis.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      well helpful and simplified to follow

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks a lot

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      salamat...(^^,)

      it really helps a lot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very helpful...... thanx

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very helpful...... thanx

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very Helpful

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very Helpful

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Happy to see things like this one. Thank you all involved in presentation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very informative page with detailed information and examples. Thank you very much.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a page I would advise to my candidates who are writing their Master dissertation: eveything is very concise. Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      tq.. tq... tq... tq... it is very helpfulllllllll.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very helpful thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Ilaboya O.J

      Thanks so precise and helpful

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome!!! Thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot, it is very helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot, it is very helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks. Helped a lot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks , it do really help us :)

    • davidstardling profile image

      davidstardling 5 years ago

      Seriously this lens had helped me i would recommend you to check my lens back :)

      Essay Writing

    • davidstardling profile image

      davidstardling 5 years ago

      Great Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great help! Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you

    • HeatherTodd1 profile image

      HeatherTodd1 6 years ago

      Great post.Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      very easy and helpful.. thank you

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      Great Lens big Thumbs Up...Thanks, RWJR

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The tips given is easy to understand. Thank You!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The tips given is easy to understand. Thank You!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks, it really helps!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you -

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      its quite enriching for me and i hope to visite again so as to copy the page

      thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      thank u very much for giving us valuable information

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      this has been a great help .thank you. more power!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks a billion for the existence of this website. Got great help. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks a billion for the existence of this website. Got great help. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      It's really helpful. Thanks for your sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'm really grateful the sharing of knowledge....now I have he foundation how to write thesis. thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am so impressed by your generousity to publish this information which is so useful to us who are struggling to come up with good research projects. I have been helped by this publication.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for your sharing... i got help from it...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for your sharing... i got help from it...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thank you - this was useful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      it makes me happy for I know now how to write an abstract of the thesis

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This was soo helpful!!! Thanks so much!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Now I can write my abstract quite well

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Concise and simple instructions...Big help... I wrote mine in 10 mins after I read the instructions...Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      thank you so much... this is a big help for my paper!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks, it really helps me in writing a good quality abstract.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      thanks a lot...i can make an abstract now...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for really informative and contibutive suggestions. This has helped drive away my headache.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great stuff... helped a lot

    • profile image

      jamiebry 8 years ago

      Thanks. I used your guidelines and my supervisor was really impressed with my abstract.

    • profile image

      jamiebry 8 years ago

      Thanks. I used your guidelines and my supervisor was really impressed with my abstract.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      thanks for suggestions....it will be very helpful for my study....

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      thanks for suggestions....it will be very helpful for my study....

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for info. Handy for my college abstract

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This site is very helpfuL.... Tnx

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      very helpful page,,, simple but very handy

      thanks.. you really help me in creating my thesis abstract

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      very helpful page,,, simple but very handy

      thanks.. you really help me in creating my thesis abstract

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very helpful!

      Thanks so much...

    • profile image

      jimbobjones 8 years ago

      Thanks. Handy for my abstract for college

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Good, simple and clear. Helpful

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      A very useful lens that I will pass on to my daughter in college. I love the Do Not Enter sign in the middle that leads into the don't of Abstract Writing conventions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice page - Simple and Straight Forward

      Thanks I will follow your guidelies.