How to write a compelling dissertation abstract


An abstract gives a summary of a whole thesis. It presents the main elements in a condensed form and hints at what the study is all about. An excellent and captivating abstract should be engaging – it should motivate and interest your reader in further reading your work. 

How should an Abstract look like?

A dissertation abstract is classified into two: the descriptive and informative. The descriptive abstract is short, specific and includes only the essential details about the research. It indicates the information types found in work. Hence, it contains keywords and phrases found in the study and includes the research purpose, the research method, and the research scope. A descriptive abstract doesn't make any judgments about your work or provide the research findings and conclusion. It usually contains about 100 words or less. 

In contrast, informative abstract is not short but more detailed compared to the descriptive abstract. An informative abstract contains all the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract. i.e., purpose, methods, and purpose. However, it also includes the results and conclusions of the study and the researcher's recommendations. Its word count is more than 100 words but less than or equal to 350 words.

Either you are writing a descriptive abstract or an informative abstract, your main point should be well organized and well structured. Hence, it should be discussed briefly in one paragraph, in two to three sentences. However, there should be a connection between the sentences to make the paragraph whole – ensure the two sentences are not entirely different from each other, hence, show a linkage between the two sentences, the second sentence buttressing the first sentence. 

Read through what you have written and do well to ask yourself this question - "does this paragraph cover the thesis of my research?" Once that is sorted, ensure you meet the word count requirement. If the word count you have is more than the word count requirement, rephrase some longer sentences to get shorter ones to reduce your word count till you meet the requirement. If your answer is no, read what you have written and review the paper sections again. Take note! Your abstract should not have references or citations because it is wrong to do this – abstract can stand alone without references and citations.


Writing a dissertation abstract can be a bit challenging. You have to practice over and over again to get a perfect one written. Use precise language to ensure that your readers understand easily. Also, whatever that is not included in your work should not be summarized in your abstract. Finally, the first impression lasts longer – a captivating dissertation abstract wins your audience over to you as it motivates them to read your full work.