WRJC 2011
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How to make a great abstract for your thesis

Of course, a (management) summary should not be missing from a thesis. A summary is a fixed and important part of a business report. However, there are many who have a lot of trouble writing this part. In this blog you will be given advice that will help you to write a good summary.

A summary gives the reader an impression of what a business report or thesis is about. This section is located at the beginning of a thesis, directly after the cover page or after the foreword and prior to the table of contents. You only write the summary when your thesis is (almost) finished.

A thesis is rarely read from A to Z, especially in the business world. The client – often the management of a company (hence the management summary) – first and sometimes only wants to know the essentials of the thesis because of the company’s busy schedule. If there is more time and further curiosity has been aroused, he navigates on to other chapters.

A summary must therefore be written carefully, because it is almost always read first. But what does a well-written summary have to do with?

You write a short and concise summary. This means that your summary should not be longer than one A4 page. The training institute often sets requirements for this (e.g. a minimum and maximum number of words).

You should also write a summary as completely as possible. This means that you give the reader the most important information, answering the following questions in a concise manner in your summary:

  • What is your research about and why did you carry out this research? (Briefly state the assignment, the purpose and the problem);
  • How did you carry out the research?
  • What are your main findings?
  • And by extension: What are the main conclusions, recommendations and/or suggestions?
  • In short: What is why and how was research carried out and what is the result?

The answers you give to these questions must be derived from the content of your thesis. So there should be no new information here. Work out each answer in a separate paragraph, so that you have an easy to read text.

Do not copy the answers from your thesis one by one, but rewrite them correctly. In a summary you mention the most essential, in which you don’t go into too much detail. If the reader wants to know more about what you say in your summary, he can find his way there via the table of contents of your thesis.

Don’t be overly influenced by the quantity requirement that is placed on your summary. Make sure you have worked out the most important points first and then see if you should limit the number of words or not. It would be wise to let others read your summary as well. The idea behind this is that a summary should also be understandable for the reader who has not (yet) read the report.

Also be aware that it is also a great option to make a video abstract of your thesis! Visit Abstract Tube to check out other video abstracts of researches or to upload your own!