Purpose of an abstract in a dissertation

Check with your university or other educational institution to see if there are any specific formatting requirements you must adhere to. All level one and two headings should be included in the table of contents. Level three headings are optional and should be omitted if you run over two pages. Subsections of each of these would be level two headings, and further subsections would be level three.

Be sure to use clear headings throughout the document so that the table of contents is easy to navigate. Remember, the reader will see the table of contents before reading and understanding the rest of your dissertation.

Example of a table of contents

You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your dissertation. If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents. Learn more about lists of figures and tables.

You do not include the acknowledgements , abstract or table of contents itself on the contents page. The first two are located before the table of contents, so the reader has already seen these pages when they reach this section. Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing. See editing example.

Step by Step Guide to Writing a Law Dissertation Abstract

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, you must apply heading styles throughout the document. Literature component Previous research extent research, previous studies, or prior studies Literature on [insert area of the literature] has focused almost exclusively on This model addresses X e. Drawing on [insert name] research, we argue that In bridging the two literature gaps, a model of [insert text] is proposed. Significance of the study We develop theory to explain how Our most important contribution is This study advances our understanding of To date, no systematic investigation has considered We examine how organisations use [insert text] to overcome Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing.

See editing example. Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. Depending on the type of research, this might be formulated in one or more of the following ways:. Once you have established the central aims of your paper or dissertation, indicate the methods that you used to achieve them. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences.

It is usually written in the past simple tense as it refers to completed actions. This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense. Depending on how long and complex your research is, you might not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions. Finally, state the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question?


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The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

Superb and Original Essays

If there are important limitations to your research for example, related to your sample size or methods , you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research. If your aim was to solve a practical problem, the conclusions might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches. Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

These strategies can help you get started. Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. If your research has a different structure for example, a humanities dissertation that builds an argument through thematic chapters , you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining. For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft sentences that summarize the central point or argument. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

The abstract should tell a condensed version of the whole story, and it should only include information that can be found in the main text.

How to Write an Abstract for Your Thesis or Dissertation

Reread your abstract to make sure it gives a clear summary of your overall argument. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style. You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases.


  • How to Write an Abstract for Your Thesis or Dissertation.
  • Dissertation Abstracts?
  • dissertation viva voce.
  • Academic guides.
  • Phrases to Use in Your Dissertation Abstract.
  • A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

    How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

    Avoid unnecessary filler words, and avoid obscure jargon that requires explanation — the abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic. Always stick to the word limit. You've written a great abstract!

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