The abstract is a short summary of what the thesis or dissertation is about. It is essential that the abstract accurately reflects the content of the thesis or dissertation because it will often be read as a stand-alone document (in databases of PhD theses, for example).

It is useful to think of the abstract as an advertisement for your thesis or dissertation: a poor abstract may confuse readers and even discourage them from reading your work in full.

Make sure you write the abstract after completing your thesis or dissertation.

A good abstract gives information about the problem under investigation, research aims, methods and procedures, results and implications. A quick test involves checking whether your abstract answers the questions ‘Why?’, ‘How?’, ‘What?’ and ‘So what’?

Abstracts should be written in clear, concise, scholarly English, and the information given should be precise and specific.