As part of your dissertation in year 5, you are expected to write an abstract in English. This is a short text (approximately 150 - 350 words long) that summarizes your thesis. It usually includes the following information:
The purpose of an abstract is to give other students and researchers a clear, concise idea of the subject area and content of your dissertation. It helps them decide quickly on the relevance of your work to their own investigations.
- A statement of your subject.
- A description of how you have approached and treated it.
- Basic conclusions (if any) and perhaps...
- other questions that have been raised but not answered yet.
- Optionally, some abstracts end with a list of key words. This step is almost obsolete today because Google and other data-mining software do a good job indexing significant terms and are constantly getting better with new semantic AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms.
Abstract-o-matic Writing Method
- Remember, there are no rules, just conventions.
- Try and write directly in English.
- Start by making a list of the main ideas in your dissertation. Reduce them to perhaps 5 to 10 key words. This will help you in the next step.
- Answer these questions;
- (a) What’s the big idea / question / subject ?
(General subject matter - specific question or issue)
- (b) How have you organized your analysis?
(Key areas studied - use your chapter or section titles)
- (c) What conclusions - if any - have you found?
(Do they confirm, express doubt or contradict established ideas? Do they suggest new areas of research? New hypotheses?)
- Link answers (a), (b) and (c) in the same order so that they form a logical sequence.
- Ask friends to read the abstract and tell you what they think your dissertation is about. Modify your abstract if necessary and test again.
Index of PhD dissertations published in the USA and Canada (subject and title).
If you are stuck, write your abstract in French then use Google to translate. Send me a copy of both versions plus a light version (export pdf for web) of your dissertation.
Workshop sessions are held every Friday afternoon. Please reserve one by sending me an email or message or request another day and time.
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