Imagine summing up all your life’s work and experience in a single paper. This is what goes into writing a dissertation. These papers represent the culmination of years of study, research and experience, and are required before receiving a terminal degree, such as a doctorate. Dissertation papers usually begin with abstracts, which are summaries that preview the information in the paper. An accurate and interesting summary briefly presents your study's purpose, results, conclusions and recommendations.
Compose most, if not all, of your dissertation before you begin the summary. Review the dissertation with the intention of writing an abstract to help you pick out the most vital and interesting parts that will grab your reader’s interest.
Pre-write the abstract, focusing on listing your thesis topic or purpose, your research methods and the general results and conclusions you drew from the research discussed in your dissertation. At this early stage, you can simply write notes that you take as you read your dissertation or full sentences you can use in your introduction.
Avoid using direct references to your research in the introduction. Use the abstract to clearly and concisely state your ideas and conclusions.
Revise your prewriting. Put all the information into grammatically correct sentences with proper spelling.
Re-read your abstract and make any further adjustments. Check that the organization is logical, starting with your thesis and ending with your conclusions and recommendations.
Ask a friend, professor or someone familiar with your research to read the summary. A new set of eyes may catch structural or organizational errors, or missing content.
Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.