Although it is not part of the main chapters, an abstract is a crucial section of a thesis. It is a brief but impactful part of the research thesis that reveals what the author has done, how it has been done, the findings, research implications and recommendations. An abstract is a brief summary of a longer piece of writing (such as a dissertation or research paper). The abstract clearly and succinctly indicates the goals and findings of the study so that readers explain exactly what the study is about.
When the whole thesis has been done (chapter 1-5), the abstract must be written at the end, although it is one of the first things that would be seen on the preliminary pages. The abstract must include the following four items:
- The research question and objectives
- The methodology
- The main findings or arguments
- The final thought and recommendation
An abstract is typically 150–300 words long, but there is often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the university or journal’s requirements.
What is an abstract in a research paper?
An abstract is a summary of a study (published or unpublished), typically two to three paragraphs long. A well-written abstract performs several functions: it provides readers with the main idea or essence of the manuscript or article swiftly, allowing them to determine whether to read the full study; it prepares readers to follow the comprehensive information, statistical analysis, and assertions in the full study; and, later, it helps users recollect important elements from the study.
It is also important to remember that search results and digital libraries use abstracts, in addition to the title, to define essential phrases for indexing the study.
When should an abstract be written?
The abstract should always be the last thing after the research has been done. It should be a totally different, self-contained writing, not a paraphrase of your paper or dissertation. An abstract should be completely understandable by anybody who has not really read the final document or online books.
The most straightforward method for writing an abstract is to mimic the arrangement of the more extensive work; consider it a small version of the dissertation or research paper. In most cases, the abstract must include four key elements: aim, methodology results, and conclusions, as earlier stated.
Step 1: Aim
Begin by explaining the objectives of the research. What practical problem-solving issue is the research addressing, or what problem statement are you attempting to answer?
This may include some quick background on the socioeconomic or scholastic significance of the topic but do not go into detail.
Declare the goal of the study after identifying the problem. To explain precisely what you intend to do, use verbs such as examine, evaluate, investigate, or assess. This abstract section can be written in either the present or simple past tense but should never refer to the future because the research has already been completed.
Step 2: Methodology
Then, describe the research methods you used to answer your question. This section should consist of a one- or two-sentence summary of what you did. Because it pertains to completed actions, it is commonly described in the simple past tense.
Step 3: Results
Following that, understand the major research findings. This section of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense. Regardless of how long and complicated the research is, the researcher may not be able to include all the results here. Discuss the important only the most significant aspects that will assist in understanding the conclusions.
Step 4: Conclusion
Lastly, state your research’s main findings: what is the solution to the issue or question? The reader should have a clear understanding of the fundamental point that the study has proven or argued by the end. In most cases, conclusion and recommendation are written in the present simple tense.
This enables the reader to reliably predict the research’s validity and generalisation. If your goal was to solve a practical issue, the conclusions could include integration recommendations. If applicable, you may make brief suggestions for additional research.