How to write a dissertation abstract: 5 things to avoid

The dissertation abstract is a difficult piece to write. You have to include a single sentence to cover each section of your final piece, and create a standalone piece of text that is representative of your entire work. It can be difficult. But in this case, it is important to choose your words wisely. Follow these tips and avoid these mistakes:

  1. Avoid having too many words, especially in the abstract. Having more words than necessary makes your paper longer, and makes for a bad dissertation. So get rid of verbal garbage, and clean up the text so that it is concise.
  2. Avoid those trivial errors that everyone is talking about. If you are listing things, use “first”. Do not use “First off” or “First of all” unless you plan on continuing the rest of the list with “second of all” and “third off”? Use the right their/there/they’re. Do not use things such as “must of”. Just because you speak poorly does not mean you have to write poorly. Use the actual phrase “must have”. Avoid the critical mistake of “I’ve have” when “I’ve” is the conjunction of “I + have”. Be prepared to edit between “its” and “it’s”.
  3. Revise your dissertation religiously. Trust that you wrote down the correct citations, but make sure to verify. Even if you know the dissertation is a gem, look over it once more before you turn it in. The same way you don’t expect a first date to end in marriage, don’t expect your first dissertation to end in a perfect A. Revisions are an obligation even if they are not your first priority or an elegant process. It is better for everyone if you take the time to revise.
  4. Remember that a dissertation is an opportunity. There is no need to add any unnecessary stress to your plate. Remember that it is not a form of punishment and therefore, you should not approach it with dread or resentment. Try and consider it an opportunity to better learn how to tell stories. Think of it as a chance to develop your writing voice and your unique perspective on things. This will serve as a valuable asset late in life. Remember, a dissertation is your chance to stand on a soapbox and speak your ideas knowing that there will be someone on the other end carefully considering the ideas. This is a rare opportunity that you should use to your advantage.
  5. Remember, writing a dissertation enables you to sort things out and clearly present ideas. So make sure you revise and clarify your thoughts as best as possible.

Finally, make sure to have fun with it. Open your mind and start putting your thoughts into words.


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