Time to Write a Dissertation Abstract?

Crafting an abstract is usually the last step in the dissertation paper writing process.

Above the undergraduate level, writing a dissertation abstract is considered an essential skill.

Whether it is a business dissertationmedical dissertation, or an economics dissertation, the abstract must be fit for purpose.

Nonetheless, writing a good abstract could be a challenging task.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you have questions about what to include in a dissertation abstract.

We will cover all this in details.

What is a Dissertation Abstract?

To begin with, you have to understand what dissertation abstract entails.

As demonstrated in research paper abstract examples, all abstracts can be defined in simple and clear terms.

That is:

“A summary of what is covered in a research paper.”

Accordingly, a dissertation abstract highlights what the entailed research is about.

Different from an executive summary, it normally does not cover or examine the research findings.

Purpose of a Dissertation Abstract

Understanding the intended purpose is normally the first step when it comes to how to write a dissertation abstract.

The dissertation abstract plays key purposes, where some go beyond those of an ordinary research abstract.

These purposes include:

1. Giving the reader an idea of the research. In this, the abstract helps the reader know what the dissertation paper sought to investigate and the findings made without having to read the entire dissertation.

The abstract will inform the reader’s decision whether to read through the entire dissertation or not.

2. Enhancing visibility in databases and search engines. Abstract plays a key role in ensuring that your dissertation is effectively indexed.

Search engines usually use key words in the abstract to categorize your dissertation.

A good abstract will therefore help ensure that the dissertation is more accessible to potential readers.

3. Acting as a good resume when seeking opportunities. A good abstract is critical in introducing your dissertation work to potential employers.

Often graduate students use their dissertations as a marketing tool since it is one of their main academic or professional achievements.

A good abstract as such comes in handy in spiking the interest of potential employers in your dissertation.

Size and Structure

Figuring out the appropriate size and structure is very important when it comes to how to write a dissertation abstract.

Usually, the length of dissertation abstracts could vary based on college requirements and academic level.

Masters level dissertation abstracts are about 150 words.

On the other hand, abstracts for doctorate dissertations may go up to 350 words.

It is recommended that for longer (doctorate) abstracts, you keep it at about 280 words/ one page.

For the structure, the abstract should reflect the entire dissertation.

It should therefore include the following:

1. Purpose of the research. This would explore what the dissertation is about and why it is significant.

2. Methodology. The abstract should also include the process on how the research was conducted.

3. Key research findings. This would include the answers found from the research.

4. Implications. These entails the inferences derived from the research study.

How to Write a Dissertation Abstract

Writing a dissertation abstract involves crafting the various parts that constitute the abstract.

As earlier observed, the parts include purpose, methodology, findings, and implications.

Therefore, steps on how to write a dissertation abstract are as described below.

1. Describing the purpose of the research

This step requires you to clearly state the purpose of the research and its value as well.

The step should answer the questions “what” and “why”.

In this, you have to explain “what” the research sought to explore and “why” it was important to do that.

Key questions ask in this step are:

i. What are the research aims and research questions guiding the research?

ii. Why are these aims and questions important?

This part has to be clear and concise.

It also has to be interesting enough to arouse and capture the attention of the reader.

2. Outlining the methodology

This is a key step on how to write a dissertation abstract and it entails briefly explaining the process you followed when answering the research questions.

In this step, you should explore the research design and methods adopted in the research process.

Key questions to ask in this step include:

i. Did you utilize the quantitative or qualitative approach?

ii. What was the research population and sample?

iii. How was data collected?

iv. How was data analyzed?

Although the section should address all the above questions, it should brief.

3. Presenting the findings

In this step, you need to briefly stipulate the research’s key findings.

Because dissertation research produces huge amount of findings, it is essential to ensure that you cover only the key ones.

The section therefore should include only answers to the original questions the research sought to answer.

It is important to be clear and concise.

4. Describing the implications

This is one of the key step on to how to a write a dissertation abstract.

It requires you to clearly stipulate what the research findings mean within the bigger picture of issues.

It should answer the question “so what?”

Writing this section should consider the following questions:

i. What impact do the research findings have on the field or industry being investigated? What impact do they have in real life?

ii. What impact do the research findings have on the existing body of knowledge? What is their contribution to existing research or literature?

iii. What meaning do the research findings have on future research? Do the findings pose further questions that might require investigation?

Tips on how to Write a Dissertation Abstract

You could employ a few tips to ensure that you dissertation abstract is top notch.

These tips include:

1. Assuming the position of the reader

This is one of the most important tips on how to write a dissertation abstract.

It requires you to imagine that you are the reader and figure out what you would find intriguing in an abstract.

In this, you have to assume that the target reader is not expert on the topic.

You therefore have to write in a language and manner understandable to a layman.

2. Specifying the research questions

You are required to clearly identify the research questions in the abstract.

This is important in ensuring that coherency and logical structure are observed.

The research questions are the backbone of the abstract and should therefore appear close to the beginning of the abstract.

Importantly, the research questions presented in the abstract should not be more than 3.

3. Being specific

This tip requires you to provide information on the most significant findings and insights from the research.

You should go direct to the point and avoid giving much but vague or not so relevant information.

In short, it should be possible for the reader to easily point out the main insights from the dissertation research.

4. Keeping it simple

It is important to remember that the abstract is meant for experts and laymen as well.

Therefore, using the right terminology is important.

Jargon and big words that blur the meaning and over-complicates the abstract should be avoided at all costs.

Instead, use language that ensures that readers at all levels of expertise are be able to understand the abstract.

5. Employing the WWHS

The WWHS stands for whatwhyhow, and so what and should be covered in the abstract.

Employing the WWHS should observe the following questions:

i. What you studied (include who and where)

ii. Why the topic studied was important

iii. How the study was designed (research methodology)

iv. So what were the key findings and their implications

Example Dissertation Abstract

Below is a basic dissertation abstract.


The ability by companies to exploit benefits arising from tailored logistics is critical in enhancing their competitive advantage. This research project seeks to bring to light the experiences of companies in the US that have attempted to employ logistics as an important value creation avenue to help understand why companies are moving away from other competitive strategies such as advertisements, product diversification, and prices offers. Also, the project aims to give insights to big companies with logistics as a major component of their business operations and who are over-reliant on economies of scale as their key source of competitive advantage on the effective response approaches to customer needs and proper inventory management demands. Data collection for this project was done using semi-structured questionnaires in interviews conducted on 15 senior management staff from 5 key big companies that were involved in companies’ strategic management. Study results discussed in this project indicate that big companies poor logistics management characterized by challenges such as warehousing inefficiency, inaccurate data, stock loss, inefficient order management, inventory loss, and overstocking caused customer dissatisfaction, loss of customers, and reduced profitability. Common tailored logistics alternatives that could be employed by different companies include specialized logistical channels, splitting pipelines, and different product and logistics costs. Other themes emerging from the study included effects of economies of scales as the main competitive logistical approach on the decline in companies’ preparedness to dynamic supply chain complexities, new technologies, and changing consumer needs. These findings show a need for big companies to device strategies that enable them to carry effective analysis of their existing capacities and the dynamic market needs to help not only determine their current tailored logistical needs but also the future ones.

Leave a comment