Jul 12th 2017

Useful Phrases when Writing a Dissertation Abstract


A dissertation abstract is an important component of this complex type of academic paper. Taking the spot in the beginning of the research, the abstract is basically the first description of your work read by the target audience. In other words, a dissertation abstract is your opportunity to set the right word flow and accurate expectations.

Your task in the abstract is to summarize the whole thesis in few sentences, as well as present the major elements of the work being discussed after it. Together with the title of the dissertation, the abstract stands in the form of an announcement of a particular research or examination, aiming to give the reader an idea as to what they should expect from the remaining of your paper.

But, do not see the abstract as an introduction – there is an actual introduction that follows after it. Your abstract is a preamble or preface that prepares the reader for the entire paper, not just its body paragraphs or research.

Writing a Dissertation Abstract Chapter

Generally speaking, the dissertation abstract consists of one or more sentences that summarize the paper's chapters. For example, if you have five or seven chapters, you should create few sentences assigned to each of them.

What should a dissertation abstract look like?

In order to create a good abstract, you should implement the following tips:

  • Specify your research questions clearly
  • Locate the research questions in the beginning of the abstract
  • Present one to three questions only
  • Use the last parts of the abstract to summarize and interpret the results of the research
  • Use proper phrases to make the content concise and academic-like
    • Phrases to Use in Your Dissertation Abstract

      To help you out, we have created a list of some sample phrases you can use in your dissertation abstract. All phrases are separated into the four key components of every abstract: study background, research strategy components, findings and conclusions.

      Study background

      Here are some ideas for setting the background to your dissertation's study:

      This dissertation/ This research…

      • examines the purpose/ the role of
      • strives to illuminate/ aims to distinguish between
      • tests the idea of/ developed an idea about
      • investigates the purpose/ effects of

      I / I have…

      • outlined the how's and when's of
      • investigated the role of/ purpose of
      • introduced the concept/ idea of
      • examined the relationship between X and Y
      • identified the following
      • extended prior work on
      • evaluated these X by doing Y

      In addition to these samples for starting a sentence, you could also use the following ideas to start your abstract:

      • Lead with your research question/s

      Use sentences such as: 'This dissertation is motivated by the following research questions', or '[Research question] is the core of the X.

      • Lead with the hypotheses

      If you do not want to start with the research question right away, you can start with sentences such as 'This dissertation offers the following hypotheses', or 'I hypothesize that'.

      • Start off with a literature component

      To spice things up and show your interest in the topic, you can always lead with some literature components. For example, you can use sentences such as 'Previous research indicates/ has shown that', or 'Literature on the specific area has focused on'.

      • Lead with the goals and aims of the dissertation

      Set the goals of your research right away to start your abstract in an interesting way. You can use sentences such as 'This dissertation has x goals' or 'The purpose and main aims of the dissertation include'.

      • Present the significance of the study

      Finally, you can start of by showing the reader why the study is worth reading in the first place. You can achieve this by using sentences such as 'The most important contribution of the study is', 'The study presents our understanding of', or 'I developed theory to explain'.

      Research Strategy Components

      Introduce the components of your research strategy in the following way:

      I conducted…

      • A field study/ a research /an experiment to test out my hypotheses
      • A case study/ an inductive study of X

      I/ We employed…

      • Various/ multiple methods to test
      • Several methods to evaluate/ differentiate


      • X case analysis
      • Samples and data of x sources
      • Data analysis from
      • [company name or type]'s ideas and previous case studies


      How do you present your findings? Take a look at the following phrases and pick the one you find most suitable for your dissertation:

      The research findings…

      • Address the belief that
      • Confirm/ reject a controversial belief
      • Illustrate how and why
      • Show the impact of X on Y
      • Illustrate the consequences and reasons why
      • Suggests the possible effects/ results of

      As we predicted…

      Contrary to our expectations…


      The conclusion of every paper and its chapters should summarize the results and give guidance for future research. In order to craft the ending of your abstract properly, you should never forget to include:
      • Theoretical contributions
      • Managerial implications of all findings
      • Results
      • Discussion of future research
      • The findings

      In such case, you can always start with phrases and sentences such as:

      The findings…

      • Provide support for the prediction / the key arguments
      • Supports the set model
      • Offers a solution
      • Offers an insight into
      • Prompts re-thinking of

      We conclude that…/ In conclusion/ Finally…

      These phrases should make the writing process much easier for you. Just go through the list and pick the one you find most suitable for your particular research. If you do this right, you are about to write the best dissertation there is!

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