Writing Thesis Abstract – 6 Golden Rules to Follow

Abstract is an important aspect in thesis. It clearly identifies the  main elements or findings of the thesis. It should be noted that there are different types of abstract appropriate for different types of studies.

  • a) Descriptive abstract – This type of abstract describes the research without passing a judgement about the outcomes.
  • b) Informative abstract– This type of abstract provides an explanation about the thesis, results and the evidence that supports the findings.

A good abstract addresses:

  • Central issue or question (s) driving your research
  • Possible solution for those questions or problems
  • What are the methods followed to obtain the solution
  • Contribution of your research to different members of society

However, writing a great abstract is an arduous task, as every word in the abstract counts. To write an abstract that stands out from the crowd:

  • Follows the guidelines

Different journals and Universities follow different guidelines. Make sure your abstract includes whatever is asked for by the Universities/ journals. Check if the journal/ University is demanding a structured abstract or just a paragraph. A structured abstract contains subheadings and separate paragraphs for each elements, such as background, method, results, and conclusions.

  • Maintain the word limit

It must always be possible to quickly review the abstract. Hence in general, an abstract should be between 200 and 250 words on total ( 5% of the entire thesis).

  • Use keywords

Provide 5–7 keywords that can be used to describe the content included in the thesis. Keywords should be added in a separate line after your abstract. While including the keywords:

  • Keep each keyword short
  • Use lowercase unless the keyword is a proper noun
  • Use roman type only, no italic
  • Be as specific as possible
  • Use variants as separate keywords whenever necessary


  • State a strong title

A title must be catchy and should be able to grasp readers attention. A title should convey something about your subject and reason behind your research as concisely and clearly as possible. Focus on what will be investigated and how it will it be done.

Tip: Do not repeat the title in the abstract as there is word limit and you will need space to enter details of your research in abstract.

  • Include methods, results and conclusions

Briefly mention the methods you followed to obtain the solution for the research problem. Also include the results and a brief summary of your conclusions.

  • Review and update the abstract

Upon completion of the entire thesis, review and update the abstract. As you write your thesis, your views may change and it may be necessary to change the abstract to reflect your viewpoint.

Most of the time, a reader judges your thesis based on your abstract. You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Hence, no matter what type of abstract you are writing: Descriptive or informative, make sure you have incorporated meaningful and powerful words, the research idea are clear and is completed in the shortest possible amount of space.

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