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PhD Writing: Tips And Prompts

How to Write a good Dissertation Abstract

Writing a good dissertation abstract, is an important part of the dissertation itself. Abstract; A summary of the main points of an argument or theory: which lets the reader know what the dissertation will be covering, and points to be made. So the abstract will need to be responsive to this description. How to write a good dissertation abstract, will be the topic of this tutorial.

  1. Types
  2. What to Include
  3. Structure
  4. Define Purpose, and Problem


There are three types of abstracts that can be used, but only two of them are the most common, and requested. These are the Descriptive, and the Informative, abstracts. A descriptive abstract, is as it says, describes the work, or outline’s it. Unlike the outline in the introduction, this goes deeper into the description, and just short of results and judgments. The informative abstract, gives more information, and less of an outline, In it the reader can learn more about what they will find inside; and again just short of results and judgments.

What to Include

The abstract should include why you decided to study this topic, and what you plan to show. Also, it should tell some of how it was researched, more if the instructor request the abstract to include the methodology. It should give some history, more if the instructor request it to include the history. It should express what you thought to find out, leave what you actually found out for the dissertation. Remember this is a stand-alone piece of your dissertation, so it needs to be coherent and well planned out.


A doctoral Dissertation’s abstract should be less than 350 words. As the Canadian National Achieve states is the max they will accept. Being that they will only accept that size, is a good indication that most others will limit their’s about the same. And the goal is to get your dissertation accepted and referenced after you write it. It needs to have a clear, logical, and coherent structure. Do not make any claims your dissertation cannot fulfil. Pre-read it, and form it by what is inside the dissertation. Even though you may need to write an abstract to get the work accepted, that is not the abstract for the actual dissertation. The one for the dissertation is written after the dissertation is completed.

Define Purpose, and Problem

Make sure the abstract defines your purpose, and the problem you are attacking. It should be clear to the reader what and why you are doing this. If they have to guess, then the dissertation is not going to be accepted.

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