The Other, Abstracts and the Writing Of Abstracts (Swales and Peak, 2009) contains several research-based exercises on writing abstracts for urinal articles in the Arts and Social Sciences. Both books extol the virtues of structured abstracts (i. E. , those with standard sub-headings found in several journals published by the BSP) but both contain few examples. Thesis abstracts Swales and Peak also have a short chapter on writing the abstract for the PhD – a rather different kind of abstract. Here two such abstracts are presented for analysis.
However, because the book is written mainly for a North American audience, British students might like to check their institution’s regulations in this respect. It is likely, of course, that these will not be very helpful. Here, for example, are the regulations from my own University: Abstract The page should be headed Abstract, followed by no more than 300 words describing the key features of the thesis. Many information retrieval systems will search abstracts rather than complete works, and you should indicate key words. Unfortunately, the advice on writing abstracts given in books on ‘How to write a thesis’ is much the same.
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Here, typically, you will find a paragraph or two of generalities with, if you are lucky, an example (e. G. See Rudest & Newton, 2007). One notable exception is Dauntless (2003) Authoring a PhD. Duodenal provides almost three pages of text on writing the abstract, and provides quite specific advice about the content and structure – again advice that might not be appropriate for every situation. So, under these circumstances, it might be wise for students to examine the abstracts written for previous theses in their departments, and to consult with their supervisor(s) about what is ARQ aired.
Another possible source in this respect is the Index to Theses http:// www. M. Theses. Mom/ This website provides a listing of all of the 533,704 theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1718! Fortunately there is a useful index and readers can look up theses and their abstracts by topic and by author. Structured thesis abstracts have only seen one structured abstract for a postgraduate thesis (Darker, 2006) but there maybe more by now, and the notion underlying them is straightforward.
Structured abstracts follow a particular format and systematically include all of the required information (Hartley, 2008). Thesis Ritter can this under the following headings (and then delete these headings if they offend the purists): Background. Here you can Outline the issues Of concern that led you to work on the topic. Aims. Here you can outline what you planned to achieve. Method(s) / Procedures. Here you can describe how you set about achieving your aims (e. G. , ‘Three studies were carried out in which…. ‘).
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