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Thesis Abstract


A thesis abstract is a very short summary of the entire thesis, usually lasting no more than a few hundred words. Research databases that index theses often publish the abstract along with the identifying information of the thesis; therefore, because it will receive more attention than some other types of academic writing, the writer should put forth his or her best effort to produce an abstract that is faithful to the material that the thesis contains.

Students should write thesis abstracts after having completed all the necessary revising and editing of their theses, because a thesis abstract should state clearly the contents of the thesis and should not mention anything that does not appear in the thesis's final form. Thesis abstracts are, in essence, thesis statements stretched out to include slightly more information. The student may accomplish this augmentation by using a highlighter to note the primary ideas that arise throughout the thesis, including the main ideas of the introduction and conclusion. Then, the student may write these sentences in order on a sheet of paper. Finally, the student may edit them to form a paragraph whose wording flows well, keeping in mind that conjunctions that show relationship, such as "because," "although," and "when," often help connect these types of sentences in a meaningful way. The thesis abstract paragraph should appear smooth and easy to read and should be able to make sense in isolation from the thesis.

The student who struggles with writing a thesis abstract may find it easier to aim for a long first draft, which he or she will then edit down to size. For example, the student may choose to highlight the main idea of each section of each chapter and to try to fit these many sentences together into a paragraph. This method will produce a first draft that is quite long. The student may then view all the sentences together and determine which ones carry less importance, eliminating those. One often has more success with the difficult task of summarizing one's own work when shortening the summary by degrees.


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