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Dissertations: Abstracts & Summaries


An abstract is a concise summary of a research dissertation. It provides an overview of the main points, methodology, results, and conclusions of the study. Abstracts are typically written with the aim of providing readers with a quick understanding of the dissertation.

A dissertation summary provides a brief overview of the research study and its main findings. It may also include key information such as the purpose of the study, the research question and methodology.

Steps to writing abstracts & summaries

  1. Analyse dissertation abstracts to understand the structure, content, and style. Pay attention to how other researchers summarize their research, highlight key findings, and convey the significance of their work in a concise manner.
  2. Identify key components that a strong abstract should include, such as the research problem or question, objectives, methodology, main findings, and implications. Note the word limit for the abstract
  3. Review the dissertation and identify the key points to be conveyed in the abstract. Focus on summarising the research problem, objectives, methodology, key findings, and the significance of your work. Be selective and concise in the summary, highlighting the most important aspects.
  4. The structure of an abstract should include an introduction (research problem and objectives), methods (brief description of the research design and methods used), results (main findings or outcomes), and conclusion (implications and significance of the research). However, the specific structure may vary depending on the requirements of the university.
  5. Emphasize the significance of the research and its potential implications. Explain how the findings contribute to the existing body of knowledge and address the research gap in the field. Clearly communicate the practical, theoretical, or policy implications of the work.


Here are some additional tips for writing a strong abstract:

  • Be clear and concise. An abstract should be easy to read and understand.
  • Be specific. Don't just say that you have found something; explain what you have found.
  • Be informative. An abstract should give the reader a good understanding of the research.
  • Be persuasive. An abstract should convince the reader to read the dissertation.


By following these steps, we can write an abstract that is clear, concise, objective, informative, and persuasive. This will help us to make a good first impression on our readers and encourage them to read our dissertation.

  • Brainstorm a list of key points from your dissertation. These key points should be the most important findings or conclusions from your research.
  • Write a one-sentence summary of each chapter of the dissertation. This will help you to identify the key points of your research.
  • Write a one-paragraph summary of your entire dissertation. This will help you to see the big picture of your research.
  • Give a presentation on your dissertation to a group of friends or colleagues. This will help you to practice explaining your research in a clear and concise way.
  • Get feedback on your summaries from your supervisor or a friend. This will help you to identify any areas where your summaries could be improved.
  • Read other dissertation summaries. This can help you to see how other students have structured their summaries and what they have included.


By following these steps, we can improve our skills at writing summaries for our dissertation. This will help us to communicate our research effectively to our readers.

When writing abstracts and summaries, it is crucial to use concise and clear language to provide an overview of the main points and findings of the work.

Here are some words and phrases that can be helpful in writing abstracts and summaries:


  • This study examines/analyses/investigates...
  • The purpose of this research is to...
  • The objective of this study is to...
  • This paper aims to explore/evaluate/assess...
  • The findings of this study suggest...
  • This research contributes to the understanding of...
  • The results indicate that...
  • The main focus of this research is on...
  • This study provides insights into...


  • In summary/In brief/To summarise...
  • This work provides a comprehensive overview of...
  • The main points discussed in this article are...
  • This study highlights the importance/significance of...
  • The key findings of this research are...
  • The main arguments presented in this paper are...
  • This summary outlines the major aspects of...
  • The main implications of this study are...
  • This research offers a synthesis of...

Activity with examples

Read the following abstracts and say whether these have the following key elements:

  • The research question or problem being addressed
  • The methods used to conduct the research
  • The main findings of the research
  • The conclusions drawn from the research

This inquiry explores the underrepresentation of Black students in the Gifted and Advanced Placement (AP) Program from the perspective of the student. This study focused primarily on the barriers students perceived that hindered their participation. In addition, I explored the role teachers and guidance counselors play in Black students’ decisions to enroll or drop out of AP classes, and how the history and institution of gifted educations has aid and excluded Black students. Five Black high school students, four male, and one female, were interviewed.

Theoretically, my study was grounded in two distinct inquiries; Critical Theory (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2008) and Critical Race Theory (Bell, 1980, 2004; Delgado, 1990, 2000; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 1999, 2005; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995). Critical Race Narrative was the primary means I used to contextualize and analyze the participants’ narratives.

Methodologically, the study draws on the work of Narrative Inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) and Personal ~ Passionate ~ Participatory Inquiry (He & Phillion, 2008) both of which allows the researcher and participants to create new insights which can bring about social change. Four findings have emerged from the research. Students hold a variety of misconceptions about Advanced Placement classes. The fear of failing and the fear of stress played a significant factor in the decision to enroll in AP classes. Students expressed they received little to no encouragement from teachers and guidance counselors concerning AP classes. The issue of being a minority within a minority in AP classes was also a major deterrent in the decision of these participants in choosing to enroll in AP courses.

Creativity is valued in music education policy, yet common instrumental music education instructional practice often prioritizes a performance model concerned primarily with accurate performance of existing repertoire from notation (Battisti, 2002; Reimer, 2009; Stringham, 2010). While some in the profession claim that the act of performing existing music is creative, in and of itself (Battisti, 2002; Reimer, 2009), a growing body of literature affirms the crucial role of generative creativity in helping children learn music (Lehmann, Sloboda, & Woody, 2007; Reynolds, Long, & Valerio, 2007). A lack of consensus between policy and practice suggests a need to (a) define creativity more clearly, and (b) examine how creativity is currently implemented in instrumental music instruction.

Contemporary racism is characterized by colorblind ideology that allows white people to rationalize and ignore the consequences of racism through everyday thought and discourse (Bonilla-Silva 2014). Despite pervasive ideologies, some whites are able to move past colorblind frames and assume an anti-racist identity. Little is known about the mechanisms that lead people to recognize their privilege and commit to combatting racism. Past research has identified the need for whites to develop both a structural and personalized understanding of racism to achieve an anti-racist stance. This study examines the role of social ties in fostering this critical understanding among white anti-racist activists. Using purposive and snowball sampling, this study draws upon life course history interviews with 12 white anti-racist organizers engaged in racial justice efforts within the Northwestern United States. Through qualitative thematic analysis relationships with People of Color, other anti-racist whites, and non-allied whites were highlighted as aiding whites’ progression towards an anti-racist identity. Through these relationships, participants were able to redefine their racial identities to be absent of toxic whiteness.

The thesis seeks to develop understandings of dynamics in federal political systems in crisis, the nature of the relationship between crisis and process, and the range of tools available for conflict reduction that extend beyond those available in the constitutional frameworks of each system. The dissertation explores these through a comparative study of a small n of cases that meet the criterion of a period of crisis as the independent variable: the Staten Island secession crisis in New York City, the existential crisis of Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada, and the crisis of the UK and European integration at the time of Maastricht. The data collection process for each is framed temporally, within the duration of crisis as defined, and spatially, within the territorial extent of the system. The thesis uses data gathered from primary and secondary written sources based on the relevance to the research questions and conceptual framework. The analysis, located in the comparative section, identifies a number of important findings that contribute to theoretical understandings of federalism. The evidence gives support to, and extends the understanding of, federalism by demonstrating that the crisis potential in each case becomes evident because of challenges to some communities’ values that arise from the process-based nature of federalism, through identifiable demands and counter-demands made by actors. Moreover, it highlights how the constraining nature of constitutional frameworks makes the use of extra-constitutional arrangements essential, in particular with the use of instrumentalities. The thesis also develops an understanding of how federal power sharing evolves post-crisis with flexible understandings of the division of competences, and the potential for a return to crisis in systems in the absence of a deeper understanding and application of federal principles by political elites.

Journal of Suffolk Student Research

The Journal of Suffolk Student Research is an online academic journal, dedicated to the publication of high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate student research undertaken by University of Suffolk students. The journal will showcase the most outstanding student research undertaken at the University of Suffolk. It aims to promote and recognise this outstanding student research by offering valuable early experience of academic publishing and the peer review process. 

Find out more here