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How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

Abstract for a Dissertation

What is a dissertation abstract?

An abstract as we know it is a small and precise summary of long research work. The abstracts are usually done for longer academic papers like dissertations. A dissertation abstract aims to concisely deliver the outcome and the whole gist of the dissertation. This helps the reader in figuring out what the paper is about.

An abstract is a short piece of writing (around 200-300 words). And is written on a separate page after the title and the page of acknowledgments. But, it comes before the index or table of content. Even if we add the abstract at the beginning of the paper, we usually write it after the rest of the paper. This is because you can’t write an abstract before knowing what shape your writing will take or before concluding it.

There are a few things that the researcher must include in their dissertation abstract, which are:

  • The research question and paper’s objectives.
  • The methods used for finding solutions.
  • Key arguments and results.
  • Conclusion.

Now, since you know what a dissertation abstract is, you must have questions regarding how to write an abstract for a dissertation. You need to understand how to correctly write an abstract for your paper, especially if you live in the UK. Because not having definite knowledge about how to write an abstract for a dissertation might lead to having stress and anxiety.

More than 45% of students feel lost and stressed in UK universities if they don’t understand something about their course or how to write academic papers.

How to write abstract for a dissertation with a few simple tips

A dissertation has a very vast word limit (10,000 to 15,000 words). But, its abstract only has a small word limit (200-300 words). It is challenging to fit the conclusion of the whole paper into just 300 words. But, your job as a writer is to fit the entire paper into that abstract precisely.

To write a dissertation abstract successfully (especially if you are a student in one of the UK universities), follow these simple tips.

Keep it precise

Since the word limit is strictly limited, you should make sure that you don’t write anything extra on your abstract. Pick out the key elements from your research that will highlight the main point of it. Then, mention and discuss only those points in your abstract and that too in short sentences.

Make each sentence better than the previous one.

If you study in one of the UK universities, you must be aware that they emphasize how you write the sentences. And as the dissertation abstract is the first impression of your paper, it needs perfect sentence formation. Every sentence you write should be precisely on point and should not contain anything unnecessary. You should also never repeat information in your abstract, like writing your paper’s title again and again.

Start by introducing your topic in 2-3 lines and then explain the knowledge gap in your work. Furthermore, there is also no need to mention any references or citations in your dissertation’s abstract.

Explain what your research is about

There are two ways of explaining what you are researching. Some people write about their overarching aims. While some people lay down the research questions as they relate to the structure of their work. The approach you use depends on how you perceive your paper.

If you think that by adding a particular point of question to your abstract, your reader will more conveniently understand what the dissertation is about. Then, by all means, add it to the abstract.

Keep it accurate

By keeping it accurate, we should not mention anything you haven’t discussed in the dissertation. Accuracy also means that you should not be very subjective when you write your dissertation abstract. Needless subjectivity in any academic paper can deem it vague in the reader’s eyes due to lack of structure.

Write it and then rewrite it.

The first attempt at writing an abstract will most certainly result in you writing more than your allotted word limit. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t fix it.

The easiest way to do this is to spend a reasonable amount of time editing your paper (and even rewrite it if necessary).

Show the dissertation’s abstract to your friends, fellow students, and family and ask them what they understand about your dissertation from this abstract. If they know what you are trying to deliver, then this means your abstract is good to go. If not, then you can edit or rewrite it. Continue this practice until you get the abstract that you want for your dissertation.


Hopefully, after this brief guide, you now know how to write an abstract for a dissertation flawlessly. Just remember that an abstract will explain what your paper is about to a reader who has little to no knowledge of your topic. This is why you should write your abstract in the best way you could because it will be your dissertation’s spokesperson.

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