A Brief Guide For Writing A Dissertation Proposal Abstract

Writing a dissertation, as any college student involved in such a project will tell you, is darn hard work. Many would argue that the key is the choice of topic. Choosing a topic which excites the student, which has a wealth of relevant research material, and which has the total backing of the student’s tutor or advisor, sounds ideal. But once the topic has been chosen, the first hurdle to be overcome is to win approval or permission to proceed with the dissertation. This takes the form of a proposal abstract.

What is it?

It's a shortened version of what is going to appear in the complete dissertation should the student get the go-ahead. By shortened I mean only a few hundred words and ideally able to appear on a single page. It is most important that you understand and abstract is not a major work of nonfiction. Keep it short.

The abstract will include a synopsis of the purpose of the dissertation. It will contain enough information for the person or persons examining the proposal to have a clear, albeit general idea of what is to be investigated. Some people believe that the best time to write the abstract proposal is at the end. Wait until you've done all the research on selecting the topic, obviously, and your goals of the topic before you create the abstract.

What it isn’t

One common mistake many students make is to think that the thesis abstract is the same as the introduction to your work. It is not. To start with, the abstract will usually be considerably shorter. The introduction is a major component of the thesis. The abstract is a thumbnail sketch of what you propose to write.

Get it right

The abstract proposal is a sort of promise of what you intend to create. A person reading your abstract needs to understand what will appear in the thesis itself and should they read the completed work, feel that what was promised in the abstract has been delivered in the full essay. Therefore one cannot stress enough the truthfulness of the material described in your abstract.

Now that is not to say you can add or subtract information in the actual thesis and that is why writing your abstract is probably best left to last. It’s your entrée card which must reflect what is provided later.

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