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How to Write a Dissertation Summary

by Teresa J. Siskin, Demand Media Google

    Your dissertation summary or abstract is an essential introduction that appears at the beginning of your work, providing your reader with a concise synopsis of your research while also offer a compelling reason for them to keep reading. Knowing the components of a well-written dissertation summary can help you achieve these characteristics in your own abstract.

    Hook Your Reader

    Your opening summary sentence should provide a captivating reason why the reader should want to continue. You can accomplish this by stating a research problem or gap in current research that you aim to correct in your dissertation study. Avoid flowery or gimmicky phrasing in this introductory sentence; you can still hook your reader using a straightforward statement.

    Restate Your Thesis Statement

    The second sentence of your summary should recap your dissertation's thesis statement. Use precise language when reiterating your thesis, as it is safe to assume your dissertation reader is familiar with your field and will follow your premise.

    Summarize Research Methods and Conclusions

    The remaining two or three sentences of your abstract should summarize the research methodologies or objectives you used in your research as well as the significant outcomes or contributions your dissertation offers to your field. Limit technical jargon as your recount your methods and conclusions, and while you can cite sources that were influential, avoid quoting these sources in the abstract section.

    Other Considerations

    Your dissertation summary is intended to be succinct, somewhere from 100 to 300 words long. Make sure it contains the most relevant information about your research and what sets it apart from previous work. Because dissertations can change focus over the course of your research, you might find it easier to write your abstract once you have completed your writing. Having solidified your research accomplishments in your dissertation conclusion can make it easier to summarize your results in abstract form. You can include keywords as part of your abstract, which will increase accessibility to scholars searching online.

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    About the Author

    Teresa J. Siskin is a researcher, writer and editor. She holds a master's degree in art history and is completing a doctorate in art history.

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