Abstract is a crucial section of your thesis as it is the section which gives an impression of the quality of research undertaken by you. If the abstract is resourceful then the researcher would make efforts to go through your research and cite it in their research as well.
The readers first read the abstract before scanning the whole research document; hence abstract should be effective enough to act as a substituting for your whole dissertation. Due to time constraints the reader will only glance through this paragraph and decide if the research is meaningful or not.
Here’s what you should know about writing an effective abstract:
Step 1: Highlight the Research Problems and Research objectives
When you write an abstract keep in mind that the first two-three lines should mention that what is the rationale for taking up this research. In other words, which existing problem motivated you to take up this research work? The reader would instantly connect with the research undertaken by you, if the problem of your research would be similar to theirs. Henceforth, you should link the problem with certain actionable steps which you will embark on to solve the problem. These actionable steps should be presented in the form of aims and objectives of the research.
Step 2: Mention the methodology used in the research
After you have described the problem of the research, then mention that what will you do to investigate the problem. How would you probe deeper into the roots of the problem to offer some concrete solution?
It is advisable that you mention that you will gather primary data. The primary data source used by you should also be mentioned (i.e. interviews; questionnaires; focus group discussion etc.). Furthermore, to elaborate on the quality and reliability of the research work, you can also mention which tools have been used to analyze the data that you gathered from primary sources. Which tests have been implemented on the data for conducting the analysis? When you mention these aspects in abstract, readers would be influenced by the gravity of the research and would be eager to read the whole work.
Step 3: Discuss the findings of the Research
If you are doing an empirical research, then do not forget to mention the findings of your research. Findings of the research given an impression of the usefulness of the research for the reader. They would be more interested to know the results because they are also researching on the similar problem. The findings and results would provide them a cushion for identify the gap in literature. On similar topic their findings might differ from your findings. Commenting on the findings would also reduce the efforts of the readers to invest time in searching the results from your dissertation or research paper.
Step 4: Acknowledge the practical implications of the research
You have already mentioned a lot about the ground work undertaken by you in making the research successful. Finally, to close the abstract, you should specify the implications of your research. In other words, highlight the contribution of your research in solving the initial problem. The abstract should conclude by offering a solution to the problem and can also determine the target parties who are going to be benefited out of it.
Step 5: Mention the keywords at the end of an abstract
When you undertake review of literature before deciding a topic of your research, then you are bound to use online database to search for relevant dissertations and research papers. It should be noted that the online database carrying academic documents use these abstract to index the large works. If your abstract would have keywords or “relevant keywords” then it would be easy for a potential researcher to retrieve your work easily. The keywords of your dissertation should emphasize on the core areas of the research focused by you in the study. When another researcher would search for information, keywords would provide them exact or very near results which would be applicable in their research as well. The relevant topic shall be covered in 4-5 keywords.
You can refer to this template for writing an effective abstract for your dissertation. Do not ignore the word-count when you write an abstract.