A thesis abstract is a broad outline of the whole essay or dissertation consisting of important information and crucial points at the beginning of the dissertation within a few hundred words.
PhD thesis is one among the many important criteria to award the degree and so it needs precise, concise, professional and academic writing. You can’t get a PhD until you publish your thesis. And… trust me the process is lengthy, frustrating and time-consuming.
The ideal thesis has an introduction, Review of Literature, Materials & Methods, Results and Discussion, Conclusion and References. These chapters must be there in every dissertation.
Besides, other elements of the thesis are the Table of Contents, Acknowledgment page, Abstract of the thesis and other important pages. A thesis must have every part and that must be written correctly.
In the present blog article, I will explain to you the importance of one of the thesis elements that is “abstract” or dissertation/thesis abstract. I will also let you know how to write it and how to make it more effective.
What is a thesis abstract?
Every thesis should have an abstract page, even research papers too, consist it at the beginning of the article. So probably it is important, isn’t it!
First, understand, suppose you are organizing a party and ordering food. What if the chef offers testing each food item before ordering? That makes sense, right!
A dissertation abstract is a summarized piece of content that serves important points and information of your thesis at the beginning. Meaning, readers or evaluators may understand what information they will get from this assay.
Remember! A bad ‘abstract’ can spoil your reputation from starting while a strong thesis abstract convinces readers to go through the assay and therefore precise writing is a must.
An abstract has summarised information of what, how and why should the research be conducted. Every thesis, dissertation, project report or research paper ideally has an abstract.
The abstract explains
- The clear motto of findings
- The main aim of the thesis
- Gap or problem in existing research
- Your findings and outcomes with respect to it
- The method or a technique used
- Your major results
- final interpretation
And most importantly, all must be within a few hundred words!
By definition, an abstract is a summary of the thesis including key research findings and important information in approx. 300 words.
“A few sentences that give the main ideas in an article or a scientific paper”Definition of Abstract by Cambridge English Dictionary,
An abstract of an article, document, or speech is a short piece of writing that gives the main points of it”.Definition of Abstract by Collins English Dictionary
You have to rewrite your entire 60,000 words thesis in just a few hundred words, that’s a pretty tough task, right! Don’t worry at the end of this article, it’ll become easier for you.
One or two pages long abstract isn’t acceptable. You need to write an abstract in a well-defined format. An ideal abstract has 150 to 200 words for a master’s project or dissertation while 250 to 350 words for a PhD thesis.
It should not exceed more than 500 words, note it down, though it shouldn’t have an impact on thesis acceptance or rejection. The examiner would estimate the number of words by its length.
The ideal summary/ abstract has information like,
- Introduction or background of the topic
- Aim and problem of the research
- Materials and methods
- Results and interpretation.
Write everything in short sentences, you have several sentences to justify your work. Avoid citation & references, long paragraphs and sentences in this section.
Now after observing the format, you may wonder that citation and references are the key elements of the thesis, why avoid this here?
See, an abstract is just an outlook of your work, that creates curiosity in readers and hence keep it short and concise. In order to avoid the complexing and length, unnecessary thighs are excluded.
The abstract Page
The location of the abstract page is also as important as other things. A separate ‘abstract page’ is included before the Table of Contents and after the Title and acknowledgments page. The chronological order is like this,
- Thesis Abstract
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- Table of Contents
- Review of Literature
- Materials and Methods
- Results and Discussion
Note that you should write the abstract after the end of all writing but do not copy some random paragraphs or sentences from all the chapters. It’s an independent, short, succinct and accurate segment.
Thesis abstract tense:
Use two types of tenses to write the abstract; Simple Present Tense and Simple Past Tense.
Understand that this section has two types of information: first- background, introduction, statistics, objectives and findings (results and interpretation) and second- methodology and findings.
So to write background, introduction, statistics, explanation or objective and interpretation use the Simple Present Tense. While explaining your methodology and technique use Simple Past Tense.
Let us see some examples,
❌ The present study will find if the DNA is a nucleic acid or not (False).
✔️ The present study finds if the DNA is a nucleic acid or not (True).
❌ DNA was a type of nucleic acid present in a cell (False).
✔️ DNA is a type of nucleic acid present in a cell (True).
❌ 100 patients will be selected for the present study (False).
✔️ 100 patients were selected for the present study (True).
❌ Our results have concluded that the DNA is helical in structure (False).
✔️ Our results conclude that the DNA is helical in structure (True).
❌ The present study concluded that the DNA has four bases joined by hydrogen bonds (False).
✔️ The present study concludes that the DNA has four bases joined by hydrogen bonds (True).
Thesis abstract sample:
The Beta- Globin gene has many mutations including SNPs, deletions, duplications or translocations, however, not all are associated with Beta-Thalassemia. Beta-Thalassemia is a condition of blood anemia, symptoms are seen in Beta-Thalassemia major but not in the Beta-Thalassemia carrier. Per 1,00,000 live births, 111.91 are Beta-Thalassemia major/minor. The present study shows the relationship of IVS (1-5) mutation with Beta-Thalassemia.
100 patients were selected for the present study. The PCR RFLP technique was used to investigate the mutation along with the agarose gel electrophoresis. The final results and statistical analysis were performed using the computational tools. Our findings show that out of 100 patients, the IVS(1-5) mutation is detected in 18 patients of which 3 are Beta-Thalassemia major and the rest are Beta-Thalassemia minor. It also indicates that other mutations may be involved but ain’t included in the present study.
From our study, we conclude that the IVS(1-5) mutation has an 18% prevalence in Beta-Thalassemia. Further studies are required to find more mutations associated.
Keywords- Beta-Thalassemia, IVS(1-5) mutation and PCR-RFLP.
At the end of the abstract do not forget to add keywords so that other researchers can find your article. Note that some publications have their own style to write the abstract. In that case, we have to follow a specific format given by the journal or publishing house.
Here we have given several examples of abstracts:
Examples of abstract:
How to Write Thesis Abstract?
While executing such a long project (the thesis) students usually ignore common English errors and forget to correct them. So the first thing you have to do is correct all your grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure errors.
I know it’s a bit of a difficult task, but don’t worry.
You can use Grammarly premium to autocorrect all the things! You can also use the free version but Premium will help you even more, so I personally recommend it.
It underlines and autocorrects all the grammatical and spelling mistakes. Download Grammarly from here:
Or you can read our previous article to explore more features. Read it here: Grammarly: Your PhD writing assistant.
We can earn some commission if you signup for free or Buy a Premium version of Grammarly by our affiliate link. That helps us a bit to write quality content.
Do not copy:
As I said earlier, do not copy your own sentences from your thesis. It doesn’t make sense! You should have to write the abstract at the end of your writing. If you have performed things well, you can easily write 300 words from your entire work.
That’s indeed easy. However, go through the checklist (somewhere given in the article) of what to include and what not to include.
Use concise sentences and appropriate words:
As it’s 300 words powerpack, every word you use is certainly important. Avoid repetitive words, write to the point and use the correct ‘Tense’ (go to the above section of this article and read which Tense to use when). Write short sentences.
Keep in mind that whatever you write here must be there in your thesis. Even though you have some other findings, if you haven’t included it in your thesis, do not write it in the abstract to attract readers.
Formal writing style:
Use a proper, scientific or academic writing style. Do not write like you are writing a blog post. Use passive voice correctly, if required. Avoid unnecessary lines and words.
Use a clean style and avoid using numbers, bullet underlines or bold text even if you think it is required. Use the font style you used for the rest of the assay. Use the same text type, font size and color.
Use some information not all:
I know the results and outcomes are way more than what you want to include in the abstract. But do not use all information, write only some important findings in a few lines. Use only a few statists and avoid tables or whole lists.
For example, our findings suggest that IVS(1-5) mutation is present in 18% of the Beta-thalassemia patients, that’s it.
Do not give special attention to the abstract, though write effectively. In summary, avoid a citation, referencing, author names, bullets, numbering, underlines etc. Use a bit of every chapter.
Remember, your first impression is your last impression. I hope this article will help you in creating an excellent abstract page for your thesis.
Where is the abstract located?
The abstract is present after the Table of Contents and before the acknowledgment and title page.
How long is the thesis or paper abstract?
The abstract of the thesis is usually 250 to 300 words long, however, some also prefer 500 words.
Are references and citations included in the abstract?
No. The abstract is the only piece of information in our thesis or paper that lacks citation and references.
Why is the abstract required?
The abstract is the short summary, placed at the beginning of the thesis that provides brief information on the dissertation.
What is included in the abstract?
- Motivation, Problem of the research, approach, outcomes and interpretation which is background information, objective, technique or methods, results and conclusion, respectively.
What is not included in the abstract?
- In line citation
- Name of other authors
- Numering, bullets and underlines
Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.