A Step-By-Step Manual For Writing A History Dissertation Abstract

An abstract comes at the beginning of your thesis. It is a short summary of all the completed work you have done. If you have not written one before, this is a good place to start. Most students doing dissertations are doing their first doctoral degree. If you have already written a dissertation for a different field, you will be ahead in knowing what to do. Do not worry if you are frustrated with this, because the steps below will greatly help in assisting you.

Basic parts of an abstract for history students

There are four things that every abstract needs. While your abstract is mostly just a summary of what you already wrote in the main body of your work, it also needs a certain structure and focus. Those four things are listed below. It’s a good idea to take the amount of words you are limited to (usually less for a master’s than a doctor’s) and divide by four. Then you can put that number of words into each category.

  1. Problem or motivation: why should we care? What gap in science or theory or art is your work filling?

  2. Approach or procedure: talk about how you got your results (for example, analyzed literature, interviewed professionals, etc.)

  3. Findings or results: what did you invent, learn or create from completing the procedure you just talked about?

  4. Implication or conclusion: what is the bigger meaning of your findings? Do the results actually fill the gap you identified at the beginning?

Writing might seem like the hard part, but sometimes editing can take more time than the writing did. After you have your abstract done, make sure you have a friend or your advisor read over it. Not only for typos, but you want to make sure it is clear and easy to understand.

Finishing this kind of assignment is a big deal, and it should be your best work. That being said, don’t let perfectionism trip you up. If you are overly worried about getting it right, then you may be afraid of failing. Doing your best involves stopping at a certain point and letting it go. No, it won’t be perfect, but you can work on it until you can do no more and then have outside help with the rest. Your professors are there to help, and they have been through this with students many times.


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