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Writing Hints - How To Write A Dissertation Abstract


It's important that you understand the role of the dissertation abstract. You're not writing a dissertation; you are writing a mini version thereof. You are writing a short paper which outlines your plans, your methods and your proposed outcomes. You are submitting your dissertation abstract to a panel of academics who will decide whether or not you are to proceed. That alone makes the dissertation abstract arguably the most important mini essay you will ever write.

What are some writing hints on writing this abstract?


  • Clarity of writing is essential.
  • Covering all the relevant topics is essential.
  • Being able to discuss your abstract is vital.
  • Brevity is far preferable to verbosity.

Remember that your dissertation abstract is an application for the writing of the actual dissertation. If you are not clear in your writing the obvious question follows -- how can you be clear in the writing of the full dissertation? Clarity of thought will be represented by clarity of writing. Keep your sentences to the point. Have a plan before you write your abstract so you know exactly the points you wish to make. Polish your finished product. Show it to colleagues or family members and ask for feedback. Just because the abstract is a shortened essay doesn’t mean that it should be taken for granted. By taking the abstract seriously, you prepare yourself for the writing of the actual essay. In fact the abstract can become part of your outline for the full blown version. It can be a springboard for ideas.

You need to know each of the essential characteristics of your dissertation. What are you going to investigate? How will you investigate it? What will be the outcomes? These three essential questions are ones to which you will need to provide answers in your dissertation abstract.

While this article is about the writing of your dissertation abstract, you need to bear in mind that there is a possibility you will be asked to talk about it or answer questions in person. That being the case, rehearse your answers.

In all forms of writing it can be argued that less is more and certainly in the creation of a dissertation abstract. Don't confuse writing the abstract with the actual dissertation. Keep it short. Keep to the point. And make sure that your abstract is the perfect entrée to the writing of the full dissertation.

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