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The dissertation abstract usually forms the first essay in the introduction of your dissertation. The dissertation abstract determines that whether the reader would be interested in the rest of the document. This is because the abstract is the first proper written piece a person comes across in your dissertation.
The abstract is meant to give an idea to the reader what he/she is going to find inside the rest of the dissertation. It also contains the thesis statement, which contains the central idea of the entire paper. However, it does not act as paraphrase to the dissertation. Its function is be a preface or preamble to the dissertation along with summarising its key elements.
Having an abstract of your work helps carrying a shorter version of the dissertation in your head. This helps to focus your thoughts on the aspect you are working on, identify the relevance of your current work within the context of the dissertation, and to keep the links which will aid in cumulate the dissertation.
As a preface the abstract throws light on the significance of topic under study. It shows the importance of the subject matter and links it to the thesis statement. It also does mention the reason for conducting research on the aspects covered.
The dissertation briefly summarises the paper and its inclusions. It has atleast one or more lines on the four key components of a dissertation i:e Literature review, Methodology, Findings and Conclusion/Discussion. The abstract should only include hints to these sections and not reveal any key content from them.
Some ways to sharpen your Abstracts:
Leave an element of suspense- While mentioning the line from a particular section, leaving an element of suspense will make the reader read that section of the dissertation to satisfy his curiosity. This can be accomplished by altering sentence structure or leaving a fact incomplete in the abstract.
The abstract is a short composition, so to make an impact to the reader it must be made sure that it is rich in content. However, it shouldn’t be stuffed with content such that it creates difficulty for the reader to understand. No particular section should have more content than the others. It should be overallbalanced. Avoid explanatory sentence in the abstract.
While reading the abstract the reader should not feel going through an assembly of sentence from different sub-topics. A proper flow needs to be ensured in the abstract.The points should be linked to each other in such a way to show inter-connectivity. Every aspect discussed should be bridged through the main concept.
Since the dissertation is used as a stand-alone text when there is insufficient time or space for the full text. It should provide a self-sufficient answer to the research question. It should be in coherence with the dissertation topic and the thesis statement.
It must be made sure that the dissertation does not contain any generalised or overly used statement. It should also be free of any abbreviations, acronyms and symbols.