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Formatting Your Dissertation (or Thesis): Abstract


The abstract is a concise summary of your research, highlighting the main objectives, methods, findings, and conclusions. It provides readers with an overview of your work and should be written in a clear and engaging manner. Check your university's guidelines for the recommended length and format of the abstract.

Format Abstract in MS Word

  1. Open your Microsoft Word document.
  2. Click on the "Home" tab.
  3. In the "Paragraph" group, click on the "Center" button.
  4. Type the word "Abstract" in the center of the page.
  5. Press Enter.
  6. Type your abstract in the following format:
  • The abstract should be no more than 250 words long.
  • The abstract should be double-spaced.
  • The abstract should be in Times New Roman font, 12 point size.
  • The abstract should be in italics.
  • The abstract should be indented 1/2 inch from the left margin.
  • The abstract should not include any citations or references.
  1. When you are finished typing your abstract, press Enter twice.
  2. Click on the "Home" tab again.
  3. In the "Paragraph" group, click on the "Left" button.

Your abstract is now formatted correctly.

Additional Information

The following tips can help you create an effective abstract:

  1.  Understand the Purpose: A thesis abstract is a brief summary of your research, highlighting its objectives, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. It should provide readers with a precise understanding of your study in a limited word count.
  2.  Keep it Concise: Aim for clarity and brevity when writing your abstract. Most abstracts are between 150 and 300 words, so avoid including unnecessary details or technical jargon that may be difficult for non-experts to comprehend.
  3. Structure it Clearly: Organize your abstract logically to reflect the flow of your thesis. Typically, an abstract includes background information on the problem you aimed to address; the methods you used; key results; and main conclusions or implications derived from your research.
  4. Emphasize Significance: Highlight how your research adds to existing knowledge in your field, addresses gaps in previous studies, or has practical implications.
  5. Use Clear Language: Write concisely and directly to communicate effectively with readers. Avoid repetition and ensure each sentence contributes meaningfully to the overall message.
  6. Don't Include Excessive Detail: While providing a comprehensive summary is important, avoid excessive detail as the abstract is not a substitute for the entire thesis.
  7. Revise & Edit Carefully: Review your abstract carefully for accuracy, coherence, grammar, spelling errors etc., seek feedback from peers or advisors to ensure it represents your work accurately.
  8. Write Last: Writing the abstract after completing all other sections of the thesis can help you summarize all essential elements more accurately.

Language Tips

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms.
  • Use active voice instead of passive voice.
  • Use strong verbs instead of weak verbs.
  • Use specific examples instead of general statements.
  • Proofread your abstract carefully before submitting it.