This is a brief summary of what you will write in your dissertation. It will give a general overview of your dissertation. The main reason why we have a dissertation abstract is to give the reader an insight of what is discussed in the dissertation. Writing a good abstract will motivate the reader to go through the entire dissertation.
An abstract is written on the first page immediately after the cover page. In some instances, abstracts may be found separately from the dissertation where they are held in a database of dissertation abstracts. You should ensure that you set the expectations high so that the examiner will develop an interest to read through your entire thesis.
An abstract serves as a preamble, a preface and advance organizer that will prepare the examiner for your thesis. In the event that the reader does not have plenty of time to go through the entire dissertation, the abstract should serve as a good substitution of the entire thesis.
What should be the length of a dissertation abstract?
Although there is no standardized length of an abstract, it has been agreed among many institutions that the abstract should be about 150 words for those writing a master’s thesis and 350 words to those writing a doctoral dissertation.
Those writing doctoral dissertations should try to fit their abstracts in one page i.e. double spaced, 12 font size. That is approximately 280 words.
The structure of the abstract should mirror the structure of your dissertation and therefore it should reflect the major elements of your paper.
If your dissertation has five chapters, then you should dedicate a few sentences to summarize each of these chapters.
Specify your research questions
Research questions are also very important and therefore you should ensure that they are coherent and must also be logically structured. Research questions are the skeletons to which other elements of your dissertation will adhere to.
Mostly, you should use one to three questions for your thesis.
Do not forget the results
You should always present the results
The main reason why you will write a dissertation is not to tell the reader what you read but rather what you discovered.
You should use approximately the last half of your dissertation to summarize as well as interpret your results.