How To Write An Abstract For A Dissertation

What Is a Dissertation?

Also called a thesis, a dissertation refers to the final project a student compiles to specialize in a particular research area. A dissertation gives you the freedom to select a topic and conduct an in-depth literature review to come up with a question to be explored. Central to the writing of a dissertation is your ability to test independent research skills that shape the intellectual direction and scholarly experience. As an extension of the modules taught in a cause, you undertake a dissertation with the aim of analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing and interpreting the phenomenon under study. Dissertation writing develops a logical and scholarly approach to research.

What Is an Abstract?

An abstract is a summary of what is contained in a dissertation. It gives a general overview of the main points of a large volume of research. The abstract is often compiled after the dissertation has been completed. In just one paragraph, the abstract of a dissertation provides succinct details of the objectives, main points, the methodology used in the study, conclusions, and recommendations. The abstract comes just before the introduction.

How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

Here are six tips on how one can write a good abstract for a dissertation.

  • Identify the purpose of the research

Provide a clear picture of what the dissertation seeks to accomplish. For example, your research may attempt to assess, classify or determine by statistical means the relationship among certain variables under investigation.

  • Indicate a brief background to the question

Briefly take the reader through what is already known in the topic so that they can easily appreciate the problem being investigated.

  • State the problem

Having provided a background, state the research problem that is worthy of scholarly investigation.

  • Explain the methodology used in the study

Indicate the research design, data collection procedures, and tools used in the analysis and interpretation of the findings.

  • Highlight a few findings

Pick out a few findings as revealed in the analysis of the data.

  • Draw conclusion and make recommendations

Highlight the primary message of the dissertation, additional findings and areas of further research that scholars should explore.

How Long Should It Be?

Depending on the area of research, an abstract may range between 200 to 300 words. This is dictated by the instructions of the supervisor. This word count is short enough to allow readers to read through the research and evaluate it.

What to Include

Below are 4 main sections to include in an abstract.

  • Background

This is a brief description of the relationship between the topic and the research question.

  • Methods

These include the research design, study locale, instruments, sample size and duration of study among others.

  • Results

These are the findings of the dissertation. As word count permits, this section should be as detailed as possible. The findings indicate responses, trends, relationships, characteristics, categories and any other finding in line with the objective of the dissertation.

  • Conclusions

Briefly describe the general trend revealed by the data in the dissertation. Be honest and claim only what is indicated by the data.

Example of an Abstract for a Dissertation

Educationists and curriculum developers have often stressed the claim that learning should be made enjoyable by utilizing all the senses of a learner. Although this idea has attracted much scholarly ink from researchers, limited attention has hitherto been paid to the role of instructional media in the classroom. Against this backdrop, researchers set out to investigate the applicability of videos in teaching English as a second language among third-grade students. Using a quantitative method, the research randomly sampled 50 students and taught half of them using videos while the other half was taught using traditional language teaching methods for one term. The research yielded certain results: (i) in the classroom with audio-visual media, the students score higher marks in phoneme identification exercise; (ii) the interest and intrinsic motivation to learn are higher in the audio-visual classes than in the traditional one: and (iii) the students in the audio-visual classroom write better essays because their sound discrimination skill is higher. The research, therefore, concludes that the audio-visual approach to phonemic awareness is an effective instructional method to be embraced by teachers. Further, intrinsic drive to learn and communicate effectively in English requires engagement of all senses of the learner. The research, therefore, recommends that curriculum developers and the ministry of education should integrate audio-visual instruction in every language lesson so that learners can reap the maximum benefits of this approach. This is a sure way to transform language education.