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Why NVivo Is the Leading Choice for Qualitative Data Analysis Among Researchers
Qualitative data analysis can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with large sets of data. This is where NVivo comes in handy. NVivo is a software package designed to assist researchers in analyzing qualitative data. In this article, we will discuss why NVivo is the leading choice for qualitative data analysis among researchers.
What is NVivo?
NVivo is a software tool developed by QSR International that helps researchers organize and analyze their qualitative data. The software provides a range of features and tools that assist researchers in managing complex data sets, including text, audio, video, and images.
Features of NVivo
One of the key features of NVivo is its ability to handle different types of data formats. The software can handle text-based documents such as emails, interviews, focus group transcripts, and surveys. It also supports multimedia files such as videos and audio recordings.
Another feature that makes NVivo stand out is its coding capabilities. The software allows users to code their data using different methods such as thematic or content analysis. This feature streamlines the process of identifying patterns or themes within the data set.
NVivo also has advanced search capabilities that allow users to search for specific keywords or phrases within their data set quickly. Additionally, it has visualization tools that enable users to create graphs and charts to present their findings visually.
Benefits of Using NVivo
The benefits of using NVivo are numerous. Firstly, it saves time by automating many aspects of the research process; this includes transcribing audio recordings and coding text-based documents.
Secondly, it increases accuracy by reducing errors associated with manual transcription or coding processes; this means that researchers can trust their results more confidently.
Thirdly, it enables collaboration between team members working on a project from different locations; this feature allows individuals to work on the same project simultaneously, increasing productivity.
Lastly, NVivo provides a range of support resources. This includes online tutorials, webinars, and user forums that connect users with other researchers who use the software.
In conclusion, NVivo is an essential tool for researchers looking to analyze qualitative data. Its features and capabilities make it the leading choice for handling complex data sets across a range of disciplines. The benefits of using NVivo include increased accuracy, time-saving automation, collaboration capabilities, and access to support resources. With NVivo, researchers can analyze their data more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The Dissertation Abstract: 101
How to write a clear & concise abstract (with examples).
By: Madeline Fink (MSc) Reviewed By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | June 2020
So, you’ve (finally) finished your thesis or dissertation or thesis. Now it’s time to write up your abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary). If you’re here, chances are you’re not quite sure what you need to cover in this section, or how to go about writing it. Fear not – we’ll explain it all in plain language , step by step , with clear examples .
Overview: The Dissertation/Thesis Abstract
- What exactly is a dissertation (or thesis) abstract
- What’s the purpose and function of the abstract
- Why is the abstract so important
- How to write a high-quality dissertation abstract
- Example/sample of a quality abstract
- Quick tips to write a high-quality dissertation abstract
What is an abstract?
Simply put, the abstract in a dissertation or thesis is a short (but well structured) summary that outlines the most important points of your research (i.e. the key takeaways). The abstract is usually 1 paragraph or about 300-500 words long (about one page), but but this can vary between universities.
A quick note regarding terminology – strictly speaking, an abstract and an executive summary are two different things when it comes to academic publications. Typically, an abstract only states what the research will be about, but doesn’t explore the findings – whereas an executive summary covers both . However, in the context of a dissertation or thesis, the abstract usually covers both, providing a summary of the full project.
In terms of content, a good dissertation abstract usually covers the following points:
- The purpose of the research (what’s it about and why’s that important)
- The methodology (how you carried out the research)
- The key research findings (what answers you found)
- The implications of these findings (what these answers mean)
We’ll explain each of these in more detail a little later in this post. Buckle up.
What’s the purpose of the abstract?
A dissertation abstract has two main functions:
The first purpose is to inform potential readers of the main idea of your research without them having to read your entire piece of work. Specifically, it needs to communicate what your research is about (what were you trying to find out) and what your findings were . When readers are deciding whether to read your dissertation or thesis, the abstract is the first part they’ll consider.
The second purpose of the abstract is to inform search engines and dissertation databases as they index your dissertation or thesis. The keywords and phrases in your abstract (as well as your keyword list) will often be used by these search engines to categorize your work and make it accessible to users.
Simply put, your abstract is your shopfront display window – it’s what passers-by (both human and digital) will look at before deciding to step inside.
Why’s it so important?
The short answer – because most people don’t have time to read your full dissertation or thesis! Time is money, after all…
If you think back to when you undertook your literature review , you’ll quickly realise just how important abstracts are! Researchers reviewing the literature on any given topic face a mountain of reading, so they need to optimise their approach. A good dissertation abstract gives the reader a “TLDR” version of your work – it helps them decide whether to continue to read it in its entirety. So, your abstract, as your shopfront display window, needs to “sell” your research to time-poor readers.
You might be thinking, “but I don’t plan to publish my dissertation”. Even so, you still need to provide an impactful abstract for your markers. Your ability to concisely summarise your work is one of the things they’re assessing, so it’s vital to invest time and effort into crafting an enticing shop window.
A good abstract also has an added purpose for grad students . As a freshly minted graduate, your dissertation or thesis is often your most significant professional accomplishment and highlights where your unique expertise lies. Potential employers who want to know about this expertise are likely to only read the abstract (as opposed to reading your entire document) – so it needs to be good!
Think about it this way – if your thesis or dissertation were a book, then the abstract would be the blurb on the back cover. For better or worse, readers will absolutely judge your book by its cover .
How to write your abstract
As we touched on earlier, your abstract should cover four important aspects of your research: the purpose , methodology , findings , and implications . Therefore, the structure of your dissertation or thesis abstract needs to reflect these four essentials, in the same order. Let’s take a closer look at each of them, step by step:
Step 1: Describe the purpose and value of your research
Here you need to concisely explain the purpose and value of your research. In other words, you need to explain what your research set out to discover and why that’s important. When stating the purpose of research, you need to clearly discuss the following:
- What were your research aims and research questions ?
- Why were these aims and questions important?
It’s essential to make this section extremely clear, concise and convincing . As the opening section, this is where you’ll “hook” your reader (marker) in and get them interested in your project. If you don’t put in the effort here, you’ll likely lose their interest.
Step 2: Briefly outline your study’s methodology
In this part of your abstract, you need to very briefly explain how you went about answering your research questions . In other words, what research design and methodology you adopted in your research. Some important questions to address here include:
- Did you take a qualitative or quantitative approach ?
- Who/what did your sample consist of?
- How did you collect your data?
- How did you analyse your data?
Simply put, this section needs to address the “ how ” of your research. It doesn’t need to be lengthy (this is just a summary, after all), but it should clearly address the four questions above.
Need a helping hand?
Step 3: Present your key findings
Next, you need to briefly highlight the key findings . Your research likely produced a wealth of data and findings, so there may be a temptation to ramble here. However, this section is just about the key findings – in other words, the answers to the original questions that you set out to address.
Again, brevity and clarity are important here. You need to concisely present the most important findings for your reader.
Step 4: Describe the implications of your research
Have you ever found yourself reading through a large report, struggling to figure out what all the findings mean in terms of the bigger picture? Well, that’s the purpose of the implications section – to highlight the “so what?” of your research.
In this part of your abstract, you should address the following questions:
- What is the impact of your research findings on the industry /field investigated? In other words, what’s the impact on the “real world”.
- What is the impact of your findings on the existing body of knowledge ? For example, do they support the existing research?
- What might your findings mean for future research conducted on your topic?
If you include these four essential ingredients in your dissertation abstract, you’ll be on headed in a good direction.
Example: Dissertation/thesis abstract
Here is an example of an abstract from a master’s thesis, with the purpose , methods , findings , and implications colour coded.
The U.S. citizenship application process is a legal and symbolic journey shaped by many cultural processes. This research project aims to bring to light the experiences of immigrants and citizenship applicants living in Dallas, Texas, to promote a better understanding of Dallas’ increasingly diverse population. Additionally, the purpose of this project is to provide insights to a specific client, the office of Dallas Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs, about Dallas’ lawful permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship and their reasons for pursuing citizenship status . The data for this project was collected through observation at various citizenship workshops and community events, as well as through semi-structured interviews with 14 U.S. citizenship applicants . Reasons for applying for U.S. citizenship discussed in this project include a desire for membership in U.S. society, access to better educational and economic opportunities, improved ease of travel and the desire to vote. Barriers to the citizenship process discussed in this project include the amount of time one must dedicate to the application, lack of clear knowledge about the process and the financial cost of the application. Other themes include the effects of capital on applicant’s experience with the citizenship process, symbolic meanings of citizenship, transnationalism and ideas of deserving and undeserving surrounding the issues of residency and U.S. citizenship. These findings indicate the need for educational resources and mentorship for Dallas-area residents applying for U.S. citizenship, as well as a need for local government programs that foster a sense of community among citizenship applicants and their neighbours.
Practical tips for writing your abstract
When crafting the abstract for your dissertation or thesis, the most powerful technique you can use is to try and put yourself in the shoes of a potential reader. Assume the reader is not an expert in the field, but is interested in the research area. In other words, write for the intelligent layman, not for the seasoned topic expert.
Start by trying to answer the question “why should I read this dissertation?”
Remember the WWHS.
Make sure you include the what , why , how , and so what of your research in your abstract:
- What you studied (who and where are included in this part)
- Why the topic was important
- How you designed your study (i.e. your research methodology)
- So what were the big findings and implications of your research
Keep it simple.
Use terminology appropriate to your field of study, but don’t overload your abstract with big words and jargon that cloud the meaning and make your writing difficult to digest. A good abstract should appeal to all levels of potential readers and should be a (relatively) easy read. Remember, you need to write for the intelligent layman.
When writing your abstract, clearly outline your most important findings and insights and don’t worry about “giving away” too much about your research – there’s no need to withhold information. This is the one way your abstract is not like a blurb on the back of a book – the reader should be able to clearly understand the key takeaways of your thesis or dissertation after reading the abstract. Of course, if they then want more detail, they need to step into the restaurant and try out the menu.
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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GUIDANCE ON SUBMISSION OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH ABSTRACTS
Authors should refer to the general information and guidelines contained in the Society’s “Guidance for Submission of Abstracts”. The general guidance therein applies to qualitative research abstracts. This includes the maximum permitted limit of 250 words, and the instruction that abstracts should be structured. In keeping with all submissions to the Society, subsequent presentation must reflect and elaborate on the abstract. Research studies or findings not referred to in the abstract should not be presented.
This document contains specific guidance on the content of qualitative research abstracts.
How guidance on content is to be applied by authors and Council.
Council recognises that the nature of qualitative research makes its comprehensive communication within short abstracts a challenge. Therefore, whilst the key areas to be included within abstracts are set out below, it is recognised that emphasis on each area will vary in different cases, and that not every listed sub-area will be covered. Certain elements are likely to receive greater attention at the time of presentation than within the abstract. In particular, presentation of the paper should include sufficient empirical data to allow judgement of the conclusions drawn.
Content of abstracts
- Research question/objective and design: clear statement of the research question/objective and its relevance. Methodological or theoretical perspectives should be clearly outlined.
- Population and sampling: who the subjects were and what sampling strategies were used .
- Methods of data collection: clear exposition of data collection: access, selection, method of collection, type of data, relationship of researcher to subjects/setting (what data were collected, from where/whom, by whom)
- Quality of data and analysis: strategies to enhance quality of data analysis e.g. triangulation, respondent validation; and to enhance validity e.g. attention to negative cases, consideration of alternative explanations, team analysis, peer review panels
- Application of critical thinking to analysis: attention to the influence of the researcher on data collected and on analysis. Critical approach to the status of data collected
- Theoretical and empirical context: evidence that design and analysis take into account and add to previous knowledge
- Conclusions: justified in relation to data collected, sufficient original data presented to substantiate interpretations, reasoned consideration of transferability to groups/settings beyond those studied
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How to Write a Dissertation Abstract?
A dissertation or thesis abstract is a short summary outlining the purpose and scope of a dissertation or a thesis. An abstract succinctly explains the outcomes and the goal of a longer work so that the reader would know what to expect out of it.
A dissertation abstract reflects the author’s grasp of the research topic and sets the tone for the dissertation.
It is always a good idea to write your thesis abstract or the abstract for your dissertation at the very end after you’ve completed your research. However, many universities ask for an abstract before you begin work on your dissertation so as to grasp your understanding of the topic. In that case, you are expected to form an abstract based on your preliminary research and based on how you plan to carry out your research.
This Article Covers:
What does a dissertation or thesis abstract include, how long should an abstract be, when to write an abstract, what should a dissertation abstract include, example of a dissertation abstract, how to structure your dissertation or thesis abstract, tips for writing an abstract.
- An outline of the research problem and the proposed objectives
- The research methodology
- Key arguments or results
- The conclusion of the dissertation
The length of an abstract for a dissertation might vary from university to university as well as from program to program. Ideally, the length of an abstract is between 300 words to 500 words. It is always a good idea to check the requirements a university or journal might have about the word count of the dissertation abstract before submitting it.
An abstract is often included on a separate page in a dissertation or thesis. It should come after the title page as well as the acknowledgments but should be placed before the table of contents.
An abstract is always included when you are submitting a thesis, research, or a research paper or while sending a research paper to an academic journal.
In most cases, an abstract is something that you write at the very end of your research. It should not seem like an extension of your research or a disjointed portion and should be complete by itself. It should be a stand-alone piece that strokes the reader’s curiosity to read your paper. Sometimes, universities might ask for an abstract before approving your topic for a dissertation or thesis. In that case, an abstract is submitted to show that the student has a clear idea about how to go about the research.
As an abstract reflects the quality of a larger work, it should contain 4 key components.
1. Aim of the research :
If the aim or purpose of the research is not clear from the abstract section of your dissertation, it might leave the impression that your research has nothing new to offer. So, the abstract should be able to tell the reader or the examiner about what practical or theoretical problem the research is responding to (in other words, the research question) and what outcomes you expect to derive or what is the new thing that makes your dissertation stand apart.
You can write the aim of the dissertation or thesis in your abstract after proving the context or background for the research. A detailed background is not necessary and not possible, so only the most relevant information should be included. Once the background of your study is established and the gap in the existing literature is analyzed, you should propose the objective of your study.
It is usually preferred to use the present or simple past tense while stating the objective. This is because an abstract should be as precise and concise as possible and should reflect the same kind of rigorousness and objectivity that your dissertation will have. Find below examples of how to frame an objective for your abstract based on the use of language.
2. Method of research (the research methodology) :
After the objective of the study is stated, we move on to the methods used to conduct the research. This part should be a straightforward description of the kind of research methodology that you have used (quantitative or qualitative) in one or two sentences.
If the full thesis or dissertation is submitted, then the methodology is usually written in the simple past tense as it indicates the past action. There is no need to explain the validity of the methodology or the obstacles faced during the process in this part. Those parts only need to be included in the research methodology section of the dissertation. The goal is just to give the reader a basic insight into how you have conducted the research.
3. Outcomes of the research :
The results or the outcomes section should be included in the concluding paragraph of the abstract. This part summarizes the resolutions offered to the problem statement identified initially in the abstract. The outcome of the study should be indicated in clear terms.
Depending on the length and complexity of your research, you can decide what to include in this part. Ideally, it should not exceed 3-4 sentences. If the outcomes are complex, you could just mention the relevant ones that the reader would be able to understand without wanting further elaboration. Results are often written in the present or simple past tense.
4. The conclusion of the abstract
Particular care should be given to the way you frame the conclusion of your abstract. In this part, the main conclusions of your research should be stated. The conclusion should clearly answer the problem statement that you have proposed initially in your abstract.
The conclusion should tell the reader what your research has accomplished and what new knowledge it is adding to the existing ones. Conclusions are usually written in the simple present tense.
Keywords are added at the end of a dissertation or abstract if it is going to be published. The keyword gives the reader an idea about the essential concepts in the dissertation or thesis. They also provide visibility to your paper when others search the related words on a search engine. So, you should make sure that you add only the most important and relevant words related to your dissertation in the keywords’ section.
Abstract for the dissertation can be structured in the following way:
- As the abstract would be around 300-500 words, it is better to divide it into 2-3 paragraphs.
- More than three paragraphs might not be recommended as the abstract is of very short length.
- The aim of the research should be mentioned in the first paragraph or the introductory paragraph of the abstract.
- You should not start writing the abstract by directly stating the aim. Instead, provide background information about your area of research in 2-3 lines.
- You could even start your abstract by stating the problem statement.
- The background information on the existing literature would give the reader information about where your dissertation or thesis is situated.
- The background information or short literature review would be followed by the problem statement or vice versa according to your arguments.
- The problem statement identifies the gap in the existing literature.
- Following the problem statement, you should propose what research question you aim to answer.
- The last paragraph mentions the results or the outcomes/conclusion of the study. You could even make suggestions for future studies in this part.
Writing an abstract can be challenging as you need to filter down the most relevant aspects of your dissertation into 300-500 words. This means that you will have to omit a lot of information while providing enough to interest the reader or evaluator. Here are some tips to get started on your abstract:
Tips to help you write an abstract :
- Chapter by chapter method :
List the keywords and draft a few sentences outlining the relevance of each chapter of your dissertation or thesis. The short summary of each chapter should be related to your central argument. Combine them together and fill in the gaps. Add in more information and remove the unnecessary ones as you revise the draft.
- Read other abstracts:
This is the best way to learn the conventions of abstract writing in your area of research. Notice how other well-accepted research abstracts present their ideas. Make a list of what you find interesting in those.
- Write many versions of the rough drafts:
Ultimately, it is important not to wait for the perfect version. The perfect version won’t happen unless you keep writing. Write mediocre abstracts and notice what is wrong with those versions. Write multiple versions of the abstract in different ways and work on that which you think reads the best.
- Make it compact:
Revision is an important aspect of perfecting any academic writing. Revise, change the words, and write in different ways but keep it compact. An abstract is a condensed piece of your dissertation so it should reflect that compactness.
- Keep editing:
This is one of the most important steps in writing an abstract for any academic piece. Even if you think the abstract looks perfect, come back to it after a while, and let someone else, a professional editor or a senior, have a look over it.
So, there you go! We have outlined all the steps and tips we consider necessary before you write your dissertation . We have covered what a dissertation abstract should include, the dissertation abstract structure that you need to keep in mind, and have included tips and an example of a dissertation to help you get to it!
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How to structure your dissertation abstract
Abstracts written for undergraduate and master's level dissertations have a number of structural components [ NOTE ]. Even though every dissertation is different, these structural components are likely to be relevant for most dissertations. When writing the dissertation abstract, the most important thing to remember is why your research was significant. This should have been clearly explained in the introductory chapter of your dissertation ( Chapter One: Introduction ). Understanding the significance of your research is important because how much you write for each component of the abstract (in terms of word count or number of sentences) will depend on the relative importance of each of these components to your research.
There are four major structural components, which aim to let the reader know about the background to and significance of your study, the research strategy being followed, the findings of the research, and the conclusions that were made. You should write one or a number of sentences for each of these components, with each making up a part of the 150 to 350 words that are typically written in dissertation abstracts. This section sets out and explains these structural components. These four major components are:
- COMPONENT #1: Study background and significance
- COMPONENT #2: Components of your research strategy
- COMPONENT #3: Findings
- COMPONENT #4: Conclusions
COMPONENT #1 Study background and significance
The first few sentences of the dissertation abstract highlight the background to your research, as well as the significance of the study. Hopefully, by the time you come to write the abstract, you will already know why your study is significant.
In explaining the significance of your study, you will also need to provide some context for your research. This includes the problem that you are addressing and your motivation for conducting the study. In building the background to the study, this part of the abstract should address questions such as:
What is the purpose of the research?
Why did you carry out the research?
How is the study significant? Why should anyone care or why do they care (is the study interesting)?
Remember, all of this needs to be encompassed within just a few sentences. Therefore, only outline those aspects of your study that you feel are the most important; those aspects that you think will catch the reader's attention.
COMPONENT #2 Components of your research strategy
The relative importance of the methodological components discussed in the dissertation abstract will depend on whether any of these components made the study significant in some way. Ask yourself the question: Did any of the following components of research strategy help make my study significant?
The broad research design (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, mixed, etc.)
The type of research design (e.g., experimental research, case study approach, grounded theory, ethnography, etc.)
The research methods (e.g., survey, interviews, focus groups, observation, etc.)
The analytical techniques used (e.g., content analysis, statistical analyses, etc.)
If the answer is YES , greater focus (and word count) should probably be dedicated to explaining these components of research strategy in the dissertation abstract. If not, try and summarise the components used more succinctly (i.e., in fewer words). Since the way that you would write the research strategy part of your dissertation abstract will vary depending on the relative significance of these components to your study, we have produced examples to help.
In explaining the approach to research strategy that you adopted in this part of your dissertation abstract, addressing some of the following questions may help:
What research design guided your study?
What was the scope of your study?
What research methods did you use?
What were the main ideas, constructs and/or variables that you examined, measured, controlled and/or ignored?
What was your unit of analysis?
What was your sample (and population)?
What analysis techniques did you use to arrive at your findings?
Often, you will be able to combine the answer to a number of these questions in a single sentence, which will help make the abstract more concise and succinct.
COMPONENT #3 Major findings
Following a discussion of the components of your research strategy, the dissertation abstract should move on to present the main findings from your research. We use the word findings and not results to emphasise the fact that the abstract is not the section where you should include lots of data; and it should definitely not include any analysis. Leave this to the Results/Findings chapter of your dissertation (often Chapter Four: Results/Findings ). Remember that the findings part of the dissertation abstract should focus on answering your research questions and/or hypotheses.
It may help to answer some of the following questions in order to write this part of the dissertation abstract:
Did the findings answer your research questions and/or hypotheses?
What did the findings show in terms of these research questions and/or hypotheses?
What are the most important findings?
What is the significance of your findings?
To what extent are your findings trustworthy (i.e., reliable, generalisable, consistent, dependable, etc.)?
You should avoid making comments that are vague or over-exaggerate your findings. You should also ensure that you explain the findings in a way that non-experts could understand without having to read additional parts of your dissertation.
COMPONENT #4 Conclusions
The final part of your dissertation abstract should focus on the conclusions from your research and the resultant implications. Bearing in mind the findings that have just been discussed, you need to address questions such as:
What has been learned?
What are the implications of the findings?
Is there potential for generalisation of your findings?
What are the limitations of your research?
When writing the conclusion part of your abstract, remember that these conclusions should be precise and concise. There is no need to re-summarise what you have already discussed or the contents of your dissertation. This is an informative abstract, not a descriptive one. If you are unsure of the difference, you may find the section, Choosing between dissertation abstract styles: Descriptive and informative , helpful. Furthermore, be careful not to make claims that cannot be supported by your findings. There is always a danger to over-exaggerate and/or over-generalise in this part of the abstract, which should be avoided. It is unlikely that you will have changed the world through your study, but you may still have added something significant to the literature, so try and strike the right balance.
NOTE: This article is based on the use of the informative abstract style, not the descriptive style; the former being the typical style adopted in undergraduate and master's dissertations and theses. For a comparison of the two styles - descriptive and informative - see the article, Choosing between dissertation abstract styles: Descriptive or informative .
In the next section, Useful phrases when writing a dissertation abstract , we set out some phrases that you may find useful when writing up your dissertation abstract.
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- How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 18, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.
An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis , dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.
Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.
One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:
Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.
In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
Table of contents
Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about abstracts.
Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.
This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).
Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.
Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.
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You will almost always have to include an abstract when:
- Completing a thesis or dissertation
- Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
- Writing a book or research proposal
- Applying for research grants
It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:
- Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
- Be fully understandable on its own
- Reflect the structure of your larger work
Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?
You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.
After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.
This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.
- This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
- This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.
- Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
- Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.
Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.
Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.
- Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.
Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.
- We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
- We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.
If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.
If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.
If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.
Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.
It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.
Read other abstracts
The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.
You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .
Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.
For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.
Write clearly and concisely
A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.
To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:
- Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
- Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
- Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
- Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
- Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.
If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services or use the paraphrasing tool .
Check your formatting
If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .
The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.
The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .
I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.
I have briefly described my methodology .
I have summarized the most important results .
I have stated my main conclusions .
I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.
The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.
You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.
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An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.
An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.
The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
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- How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples
How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis: Guide & Examples
Table of contents
A dissertation abstract is a brief summary of a dissertation, typically between 150-300 words. It is a standalone piece of writing that gives the reader an overview of the main ideas and findings of the dissertation.
Generally, this section should include:
- Research problem and questions
- Research methodology
- Key findings and results
- Original contribution
- Practical or theoretical implications.
You need to write an excellent abstract for a dissertation or thesis, since it's the first thing a comitteee will review. Continue reading through to learn how to write a dissertation abstract. In this article, we will discuss its purpose, length, structure and writing steps. Moreover, for reference purposes, this article will include abstract examples for a dissertation and thesis and offer extra guidance on top of that.
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What Is a Dissertation Abstract?
Dissertation abstracts, by definition, are summaries of a thesis's content, usually between 200 and 300 words, used to inform readers about the contents of the study in a quick way. A thesis or dissertation abstract briefly overviews the entire thesis. Dissertation abstracts are found at the beginning of every study, providing the research recap, results, and conclusions. It usually goes right after your title page and before your dissertation table of contents . An abstract for a dissertation (alternatively called “précis” further in the article) should clearly state the main topic of your paper, its overall purpose, and any important research questions or findings. It should also contain any necessary keywords that direct readers to relevant information. In addition, it addresses any implications for further research that may stem from its field. Writing strong précis requires you to think carefully, as they are the critical components that attract readers to peruse your paper.
Purpose of a Dissertation or Thesis Abstract
The primary purpose of an abstract in a dissertation or thesis is to give readers a basic understanding of the completed work. Also, it should create an interest in the topic to motivate readers to read further. Writing an abstract for a dissertation is essential for many reasons:
- Offers a summary and gives readers an overview of what they should expect from your study.
- Provides an opportunity to showcase the research done, highlighting its importance and impact.
- Identifies any unexplored research gaps to inform future studies and direct the current state of knowledge on the topic.
In general, an abstract of a thesis or a dissertation is a bridge between the research and potential readers.
What Makes a Good Abstract for a Dissertation?
Making a good dissertation abstract requires excellent organization and clarity of thought. Proper specimens must provide convincing arguments supporting your thesis. Writing an effective dissertation abstract requires students to be concise and write engagingly. Below is a list of things that makes it outstanding:
- Maintains clear and concise summary style
- Includes essential keywords for search engine optimization
- Accurately conveys the scope of the thesis
- Strictly adheres to the word count limit specified in your instructions
- Written from a third-person point of view
- Includes objectives, approach, and findings
- Uses simple language without jargon
- Avoids overgeneralized statements or vague claims.
How Long Should a Dissertation Abstract Be?
Abstracts should be long enough to convey the key points of every thesis, yet brief enough to capture readers' attention. A dissertation abstract length should typically be between 200-300 words, i.e., 1 page. But usually, length is indicated in the requirements. Remember that your primary goal here is to provide an engaging and informative thesis summary. Note that following the instructions and templates set forth by your university will ensure your thesis or dissertation abstract meets the writing criteria and adheres to all relevant standards.
Dissertation Abstract Structure
Dissertation abstracts can be organized in different ways and vary slightly depending on your work requirements. However, each abstract of a dissertation should incorporate elements like keywords, methods, results, and conclusions. The structure of a thesis or a dissertation abstract should account for the components included below:
- Title Accurately reflects the topic of your thesis.
- Introduction Provides an overview of your research, its purpose, and any relevant background information.
- Methods/ Approach Gives an outline of the methods used to conduct your research.
- Results Summarizes your findings.
- Conclusions Provides an overview of your research's accomplishments and implications.
- Keywords Includes keywords that accurately describe your thesis.
Below is an example that shows how a dissertation abstract looks, how to structure it and where each part is located. Use this template to organize your own summary.
Things to Consider Before Writing a Dissertation Abstract
There are several things you should do beforehand in order to write a good abstract for a dissertation or thesis. They include:
- Reviewing set requirements and making sure you clearly understand the expectations
- Reading other research works to get an idea of what to include in yours
- Writing a few drafts before submitting your final version, which will ensure that it's in the best state possible.
Write an Abstract for a Dissertation Last
Remember, it's advisable to write an abstract for a thesis paper or dissertation last. Even though it’s always located in the beginning of the work, nevertheless, it should be written last. This way, your summary will be more accurate because the main argument and conclusions are already known when the work is mostly finished - it is incomparably easier to write a dissertation abstract after completing your thesis. Additionally, you should write it last because the contents and scope of the thesis may have changed during the writing process. So, create your dissertation abstract as a last step to help ensure that it precisely reflects the content of your project.
Carefully Read Requirements
Writing dissertation abstracts requires careful attention to details and adherence to writing requirements. Refer to the rubric or guidelines that you were presented with to identify aspects to keep in mind and important elements, such as correct length and writing style, and then make sure to comprehensively include them. Careful consideration of these requirements ensures that your writing meets every criterion and standard provided by your supervisor to increase the chances that your master's thesis is accepted and approved.
Choose the Right Type of Dissertation Abstracts
Before starting to write a dissertation or thesis abstract you should choose the appropriate type. Several options are available, and it is essential to pick one that best suits your dissertation's subject. Depending on their purpose, there exist 3 types of dissertation abstracts:
Informative one offers readers a concise overview of your research, its purpose, and any relevant background information. Additionally, this type includes brief summaries of all results and dissertation conclusions . A descriptive abstract in a dissertation or thesis provides a quick overview of the research, but it doesn't incorporate any evaluation or analysis because it only offers a snapshot of the study and makes no claims.
Critical abstract gives readers an in-depth overview of the research and include an evaluative component. This means that this type also summarizes and analyzes research data, discusses implications, and makes claims about the achievements of your study. In addition, it examines the research data and recounts its implications.
Choose the correct type of dissertation abstract to ensure that it meets your paper’s demands.
How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation or Thesis?
Writing a good abstract for a dissertation or thesis is essential as it provides a brief overview of the completed research. So, how to write a dissertation abstract? First of all, the right approach is dictated by an institution's specific requirements. However, a basic structure should include the title, an introduction to your topic, research methodology, findings, and conclusions. Composing noteworthy precis allows you to flaunt your capabilities and grants readers a concise glimpse of the research. Doing this can make an immense impact on those reviewing your paper.
1. Identify the Purpose of Your Study
An abstract for thesis paper or dissertation is mainly dependent on the purpose of your study. Students need to identify all goals and objectives of their research before writing their précis - the reason being to ensure that the investigation’s progress and all its consequent findings are described simply and intelligibly. Additionally, one should provide some background information about their study. A short general description helps your reader acknowledge and connect with the research question. But don’t dive too deep into details, since more details are provided when writing a dissertation introduction . Scholars should write every dissertation abstract accurately and in a coherent way to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the area. This is the first section that potential readers will see, and it should serve as a precise overview of an entire document. Therefore, researchers writing abstracts of a thesis or dissertation should do it with great care and attention to details.
2. Discuss Methodology
A writer needs to elaborate on their methodological approach in an abstract of PhD dissertation since it acts as a brief summary of a whole research and should include an explanation of all methods used there. Dissertation and thesis abstracts discuss the research methodology by providing information sufficient enough to understand the underlying research question, data collection methods, and approach employed. Additionally, they should explain the analysis or interpretation of the data. This will help readers to gain a much better understanding of the research process and allow them to evaluate the data quality. Mention whether your methodology is quantitative or qualitative since this information is essential for readers to grasp your study's context and scope. Additionally, comment on the sources used and any other evidence collected. Furthermore, explain why you chose the method in the first place. All in all, addressing methodology is a crucial part of writing abstracts of a thesis or dissertation, as it will allow people to understand exactly how you arrived at your conclusions.
3. Describe the Key Results
Write your abstract for dissertation in a way that includes an overview of the research problem, your proposed solution, and any limitations or constraints you faced. Students need to briefly and clearly describe all key findings from the research. You must ensure that the results mentioned in an abstract of a thesis or dissertation are supported with evidence from body chapters. Write about any crucial trends or patterns that emerged from the study. They should be discussed in detail, as this information can often provide valuable insight into your topic. Be sure to include any correlations or relationships found as a result of the study. Correlation, in this context, refers to any association between two or more variables. Finally, write about any implications or conclusions drawn from your results: this is an essential element when writing an abstract for dissertation since it allows readers to firmly comprehend the study’s significance.
4. Summarize an Abstract for a Dissertation
Knowing how to write an abstract for dissertation is critical in conveying your work to a broad audience. Summarizing can be challenging (since precis is a summary in itself), but it is an essential part of any successful work. So, as a final step, conclude this section with a brief overview of the topic, outline the course of your research and its main results, and answer the paper’s central question. Summarizing an abstract of your dissertation is done to give readers a succinct impression of the entire paper, making an accurate and concise overview of all its key points and consequent conclusions. In every PhD dissertation abstract , wrap up its summary by addressing any unanswered questions and discussing any potential implications of the research.
How to Format an Abstract in Dissertation
Format depends on the style (APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago), which varies according to your subject's discipline. Style to use is usually mentioned in the instructions, and students should follow them closely to ensure formatting accuracy. These styles have guidelines that inform you about the formatting of titles, headings and subheadings, margins, page numbers, abstracts, and tell what font size and family or line spacing are required. Using a consistent formatting style ensures proper readability and might even influence paper’s overall structure. Another formatting concern to consider when writing dissertation and thesis abstracts is their layout. Most commonly, your paper should have a one-inch margin on all sides with double spacing. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the right guidelines to get the correct information on how to write dissertation abstract in APA format and ensure that it meets formatting standards.
Keywords in a Dissertation Abstract
When writing thesis abstracts, it is essential to include keywords. Keywords are phrases or words that help readers identify main topics of your paper and make it easier for them to find any information they need. Keywords should usually be placed at the end of a dissertation abstract and written in italics. In addition, include keywords that represent your paper's primary research interests and topics. Lastly, use keywords throughout your thesis to ensure that your précis accurately reflect an entire paper's content.
Thesis and Dissertation Abstract Examples
When writing, checking out thesis and dissertation abstracts examples from experts can provide a valuable reference point for structuring and formatting your own précis. When searching for an excellent sample template, engaging the assistance of a professional writer can be highly beneficial. Their expertise and knowledge offer helpful insight into creating an exemplary document that exceeds all expectations. Examples of dissertation abstracts from different topics are commonly available in scholarly journals and websites. We also encourage you to go and search your university or other local library catalogue - multiple useful samples can surely be found there. From our part, we will attach 2 free examples for inspiration.
Dissertation abstract example
Thesis abstract example
Need a custom summary or a whole work? Contact StudyCrumb and get proficient assistance with PhD writing or dissertation proposal help .
Extra Tips on Writing a Dissertation Abstract
Writing a dissertation or PhD thesis abstract is not an easy task. You must ensure that it accurately reflects your paper's content. In this context, we will provide top-class tips on how to write an abstract in a dissertation or thesis for you to succeed. Combined with an example of a dissertation abstract above, you can rest assured that you'll do everything correctly. Below are extra tips on how to write a thesis abstract:
- Keep it concise, not lengthy - around 300 words.
- Focus on the “what”, “why”, “how”, and “so what” of your research.
- Be specific and concrete: avoid generalization.
- Use simple language: précis should be easy to understand for readers unfamiliar with your topic.
- Provide enough relevant information so your readers can grasp a main idea without necessarily reading your paper in its entirety.
- Write and edit your abstract several times until every sentence is clear and concise.
- Verify accuracy: make sure that précis reflect your content precisely.
Bottom Line on How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Abstract
The bottom line when it comes to how to write a dissertation abstract is that you basically need to mirror your study's essence on a much lower scale. Specifically, students should keep their précis concise, use simple language, include relevant information, and write several drafts. Don't forget to review your précis and make sure they are precise enough. In addition, make sure to include all keywords so readers can find your paper quickly. You are encouraged to examine several sample dissertation abstracts to understand how to write your own.
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FAQ About Dissertation Abstract Writing
1. why is a dissertation abstract important.
Dissertation abstracts are important because they give readers a brief overview of your research. They succinctly introduce critical information and study’s key points to help readers decide if reading your thesis is worth their time. During indexing, an abstract allows categorizing and filtering papers through keyword searches. Consequently, this helps readers to easily find your paper when searching for information on a specific topic.
2. When should I write an abstract for a dissertation or thesis?
You are supposed to write a dissertation or thesis abstract after completing research and finishing work on your paper. This way, you can write précis that accurately reflects all necessary information without missing any important details. Writing your thesis précis last also lets you provide the right keywords to help readers find your dissertation.
3. What should a dissertation abstract include?
A dissertation abstract should include a research problem, goals and objectives, methods, results, and study implications. Ensure that you incorporate enough information so readers can get an idea of your thesis's content without reading it through. Use relevant keywords to ensure readers can easily find your paper when searching for information on a specific topic.
4. How to write a strong dissertation abstract?
To write a strong abstract for a dissertation, you should state your research problem, write in an active voice, use simple language, and provide relevant information. Additionally, write and edit your précis several times until it is clear and concise, and verify that it accurately mirrors your paper’s content. Reviewing several samples is also helpful for understanding how to write your own.
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- Sample Dissertation Abstracts
Amy K. Anderson , 2014
“Image/Text and Text/Image: Reimagining Multimodal Relationships through Dissociation”
“W.J.T. Mitchell has famously noted that we are in the midst of a “pictorial turn,” and images are playing an increasingly important role in digital and multimodal communication. My dissertation addresses the question of how meaning is made when texts and images are united in multimodal arguments. Visual rhetoricians have often attempted to understand text-image arguments by privileging one medium over the other, either using text-based rhetorical principles or developing new image-based theories. I argue that the relationship between the two media is more dynamic, and can be better understood by applying The New Rhetoric ’s concept of dissociation, which Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca developed to demonstrate how the interaction of differently valued concepts can construct new meaning. My dissertation expands the range of dissociation by applying it specifically to visual contexts and using it to critique visual arguments in a series of historical moments when political, religious, and economic factors cause one form of media to be valued over the other: Byzantine Iconoclasm, the late medieval period, the 1950’s advertising boom, and the modern digital age. In each of these periods, I argue that dissociation reveals how the privileged medium can shape an entire multimodal argument. I conclude with a discussion of dissociative multimodal pedagogy, applying dissociation to the multimodal composition classroom.”
Holly F. Osborn , 2014
“Apparitional Economies: Spectral Imagery in the Antebellum Imagination”
“ Apparitional Economies is invested in both a historical consideration of economic conditions through the antebellum era and an examination of how spectral representations depict the effects of such conditions on local publics and individual persons. From this perspective, the project demonstrates how extensively the period’s literature is entangled in the economic: in financial devastation, in the boundaries of seemingly limitless progress, and in the standards of value that order the worth of commodities and the persons who can trade for them. I argue that the space of the specter is a force of representation, an invisible site in which the uncertainties of antebellum economic and social change become visible. I read this spectral space in canonical works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman and in emerging texts by Robert Montgomery Bird, Theophilus Fisk, Fitz James O’Brien, and Edward Williams Clay. Methodologically, Apparitional Economies moves through historical events and textual representation in two ways: chronologically with an attention to archival materials through the antebellum era (beginning with the specters that emerge with the Panic of 1837) and interpretively across the readings of a literary specter (as a space of lack and potential, as exchange, as transformation, and as the presence of absence). As a failed body and, therefore, a flawed embodiment of economic existence, the literary specter proves a powerful representation of antebellum social and financial uncertainties.”
Michael Todd Hendricks , 2014
“Knowing and Being Known: Sexual Delinquency, Stardom, and Adolescent Girlhood in Midcentury American Film”
“Sexual delinquency marked midcentury cinematic representations of adolescent girls in 1940s, 50, and early 60s. Drawing from the history of adolescence and the context of midcentury female juvenile delinquency, I argue that studios and teen girl stars struggled for decades with publicity, censorship, and social expectations regarding the sexual license of teenage girls. Until the late 1950s, exploitation films and B movies exploited teen sex and pregnancy while mainstream Hollywood ignored those issues, struggling to promote teen girl stars by tightly controlling their private lives but depriving fan magazines of the gossip and scandals that normally fueled the machinery of stardom. The emergence and image of the postwar, sexually autonomous teen girl finally began to see expression in mainstream melodramas of the late 50s, and teen girl stars such as Sandra Dee and Natalie Wood created new, “post-delinquent” star images wherein “good girls” could still be sexually experienced. This new image was a significant departure from the widespread belief that the sexually active teen girl was a fundamentally delinquent threat to the nuclear family, and offered a liberal counterpoint to more conservative teen girl prototypes like Hayley Mills, which continued to have cultural currency.”
Emily A. Dotson , 2014
“Strong Angels of Comfort: Middle Class Managing Daughters in Victorian Literature”
“This dissertation joins a vibrant conversation in the social sciences about the challenging nature of care labor as well as feminist discussions about the role of the daughter in Victorian culture. It explores the literary presence of the middle class managing daughter in the Victorian home. Collectively, the novels in this study articulate social anxieties about the unclear and unstable role of daughters in the family, the physically and emotionally challenging work they, and all women, do, and the struggle for daughters to find a place in a family hierarchy, which is often structured not by effort or affection, but by proscribed traditional roles, which do not easily adapt to managing daughters, even if they are the ones holding the family together. The managing daughter is a problem not accounted for in any conventional domestic structure or ideology so there is no role, no clear set of responsibilities and no boundaries that could, and arguably should, define her obligations, offer her opportunities for empowerment, or set necessary limits on the broad cultural mandate she has to comfort and care others. The extremes she is often pushed to reveals the stresses and hidden conflicts for authority and autonomy inherent in domestic labor without the iconic angel in the house rhetoric that so often masks the difficulties of domestic life for women. She gains no authority or stability no matter how loving or even how necessary she is to a family because there simply is no position in the parental family structure for her. The managing daughter thus reveals a deep crack in the structure of the traditional Victorian family by showing that it often cannot accommodate, protect, or validate a loving non-traditional family member because it values traditional hierarchies over emotion or effort. Yet, in doing so, it also suggests that if it is position not passion that matters, then as long as a woman assumes the right position in the family then deep emotional connections to others are not necessary for her to care competently for others.”
Virginia B. Engholm , 2014
“The Power of Multiplying: Reproductive Control in American Culture, 1850-1930”
“Prior to the advent of modern birth control beginning in the nineteenth century, the biological reproductive cycle of pregnancy, post-partum recovery, and nursing dominated women’s adult years. The average birth rate per woman in 1800 was just over seven, but by 1900, that rate had fallen to just under than three and a half. The question that this dissertation explores is what cultural narratives about reproduction and reproductive control emerge in the wake of this demographic shift. What’s at stake in a woman’s decision to reproduce, for herself, her family, her nation? How do women, and society, control birth? In order to explore these questions, this dissertation broadens the very term “birth control” from the technological and medical mechanisms by which women limit or prevent conception and birth to a conception of “controlling birth,” the societal and cultural processes that affect reproductive practices. This dissertation, then, constructs a cultural narrative of the process of controlling birth. Moving away from a focus on “negative birth control”—contraception, abortion, sterilization—the term “controlling birth” also applies to engineering or encouraging wanted or desired reproduction. While the chapters of this work often focus on traditional sites of birth control—contraceptives, abortion, and eugenics—they are not limited to those forms, uncovering previously hidden narratives of reproduction control. This new lens also reveals men’s investment in these reproductive practices. By focusing on a variety of cultural texts—advertisements, fictional novels, historical writings, medical texts, popular print, and film—this project aims to create a sense of how these cultural productions work together to construct narratives about sexuality, reproduction, and reproductive control. Relying heavily on a historicizing of these issues, my project shows how these texts—both fictional and nonfictional—create a rich and valid site from which to explore the development of narratives of sexuality and reproductive practices, as well as how these narratives connect to larger cultural narratives of race, class, and nation. The interdisciplinary nature of this inquiry highlights the interrelationship between the literary productions of the nineteenth and twentieth century and American cultural history.
Amber M. Stamper , 2013
“Witnessing the Web: The Rhetoric of American E-Vangelism and Persuasion Online”
“From the distribution of religious tracts at Ellis Island and Billy Sunday’s radio messages to televised recordings of the Billy Graham Crusade and Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, American evangelicals have long made a practice of utilizing mass media to spread the Gospel. Most recently, these Christian evangelists have gone online. As a contribution to scholarship in religious rhetoric and media studies, this dissertation offers evangelistic websites as a case study into the ways persuasion is carried out on the Internet. Through an analysis of digital texts—including several evangelical home pages, a chat room, discussion forums, and a virtual church—I investigate how conversion is encouraged via web design and virtual community as well as how the Internet medium impacts the theology and rhetorical strategies of web evangelists. I argue for “persuasive architecture” and “persuasive communities”—web design on the fundamental level of interface layout and tightly-controlled restrictions on discourse and community membership—as key components of this strategy. In addition, I argue that evangelical ideology has been influenced by the web medium and that a “digital reformation” is taking place in the church, one centered on a move away from the Prosperity Gospel of televangelism to a Gospel focused on God as divine problem-solver and salvation as an uncomplicated, individualized, and instantaneously-rewarding experience, mimicking Web 2.0 users’ desire for quick, timely, and effective answers to all queries. This study simultaneously illuminates the structural and fundamental levels of design through which the web persuades as well as how—as rhetoricians from Plato’s King Thamus to Marshall McLuhan have recognized—media inevitably shapes the message and culture of its users.”
Devjani Roy , 2013
“Randomness, Uncertainty, and Economic Behavior: The Life of Money in Eighteenth-Century Fiction”
“My dissertation argues that fiction produced in England during the frequent financial crises and political volatility experienced between 1770 and 1820 both reflected and shaped the cultural anxiety occasioned by a seemingly random and increasingly uncertain world. The project begins within the historical framework of the multiple financial crises that occurred in the late eighteenth century: seven crises took place between 1760 and 1797 alone, appearing seemingly out of nowhere and creating a climate of financial meltdown. But how did the awareness of economic turbulence filter into the creative consciousness? Through an interdisciplinary focus on cultural studies and behavioral economics, the dissertation posits that in spite of their conventional, status quo affirming endings (opportunists are punished, lovers are married), novels and plays written between 1770 and 1820 contemplated models of behavior that were newly opportunistic, echoing the reluctant realization that irrationality had become the norm rather than a rare aberration. By analyzing concrete narrative strategies used by writers such as Frances Burney, Georgiana Cavendish, Hannah Cowley, and Thomas Holcroft, I demonstrate that late eighteenth-century fiction both articulates and elides the awareness of randomness and uncertainty in its depiction of plot, character, and narrative.”
George Micajah Phillips , 2011
“Seeing Subjects: Recognition, Identity, and Visual Cultures in Literary Modernism”
“ Seeing Subjects plots a literary history of modern Britain that begins with Dorian Gray obsessively inspecting his portrait’s changes and ends in Virginia Woolf’s visit to the cinema where she found audiences to be “savages watching the pictures.” Focusing on how literature in the late-19 th and 20 th centuries regarded images as possessing a shaping force over how identities are understood and performed, I argue that modernists in Britain felt mediated images were altering, rather than merely representing, British identity. As Britain’s economy expanded to unprecedented imperial reach and global influence, new visual technologies also made it possible to render images culled from across the British world—from its furthest colonies to darkest London—to the small island nation, deeply and irrevocably complicating British identity. In response, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, and others sought to better understand how identity was recognized, particularly visually. By exploring how painting, photography, colonial exhibitions, and cinema sought to manage visual representations of identity, these modernists found that recognition began by acknowledging the familiar but also went further to acknowledge what was strange and new as well. Reading recognition and misrecognition as crucial features of modernist texts, Seeing Subjects argues for a new understanding of how modernism’s formal experimentation came to be and for how it calls for responses from readers today.”
Aparajita Sengupta , 2011
“Nation, Fantasy, and Mimicry: Elements of Political Resistance in Postcolonial Indian Cinema”
“In spite of the substantial amount of critical work that has been produced on Indian cinema in the last decade, misconceptions about Indian cinema still abound. Indian cinema is a subject about which conceptions are still muddy, even within prominent academic circles. The majority of the recent critical work on the subject endeavors to correct misconceptions, analyze cinematic norms and lay down the theoretical foundations for Indian cinema. This dissertation conducts a study of the cinema from India with a view to examine the extent to which such cinema represents an anti-colonial vision. The political resistance of Indian films to colonial and neo-colonial norms, and their capacity to formulate a national identity is the primary focus of the current study.”
Kenneth Carr Hawley , 2007
“The Boethian Vision of Eternity in Old, Middle, and Early Modern English Translations of De Consolatione Philosophi”
“While this analysis of the Old, Middle, and Early Modern English translations of De Consolatione Philosophiandamp;aelig; provides a brief reception history and an overview of the critical tradition surrounding each version, its focus is upon how these renderings present particular moments that offer the consolation of eternity, especially since such passages typify the work as a whole. For Boethius, confused and conflicting views on fame, fortune, happiness, good and evil, fate, free will, necessity, foreknowledge, and providence are only capable of clarity and resolution to the degree that one attains to knowledge of the divine mind and especially to knowledge like that of the divine mind, which alone possesses a perfectly eternal perspective. Thus, as it draws upon such fundamentally Boethian passages on the eternal Prime Mover, this study demonstrates how the translators have negotiated linguistic, literary, cultural, religious, and political expectations and forces as they have presented their own particular versions of the Boethian vision of eternity. Even though the text has been understood, accepted, and appropriated in such divergent ways over the centuries, the Boethian vision of eternity has held his Consolations arguments together and undergirded all of its most pivotal positions, without disturbing or compromising the philosophical, secular, academic, or religious approaches to the work, as readers from across the ideological, theological, doctrinal, and political spectra have appreciated and endorsed the nature and the implications of divine eternity. It is the consolation of eternity that has been cast so consistently and so faithfully into Old, Middle, and Early Modern English, regardless of form and irrespective of situation or background. For whether in prose and verse, all-prose, or all-verse, and whether by a Catholic, a Protestant, a king, a queen, an author, or a scholar, each translation has presented the texts central narrative: as Boethius the character is educated by the figure of Lady Philosophy, his eyes are turned away from the earth and into the heavens, moving him and his mind from confusion to clarity, from forgetfulness to remembrance, from reason to intelligence, and thus from time to eternity.”
Douglas Larue Reside , 2006
“The Electronic Edition and Textual Criticism of American Musical Theatre”
“For many, contemporary theatre is represented by the musical. The form remains, however, virtually unstudied by literary scholars. In part, this may be a result of the difficulty of accessing the texts. Reading a musical from a traditional codex is no easy matter. The integration of text and music in a musical make it inappropriate to separate the two. One can try to follow along with a cast recording. In most cases, though, this is awkward. Many cast albums record a significantly modified version of the score and lyrics and few include the entire work. Further, musical theatre texts often exist in many different versions. This work begins with a summary of the problems one encounters when editing a multi-authored text (musicals often have a lyricist, librettist, and composer) which may be revised for practical (rather than aesthetic) reasons. The merits of restoring the material changed during the production process are debated. In this discussion some attempt is made to identify who should be considered the dominating collaborator (or auteur) of a musical. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that the notion of trying to restore an "authorial Ur-Text" makes little sense given the multitude of collaborators involved in the process of making musicals. Instead, an electronic variorum edition is presented as an alternative means of studying and teaching musical theatre texts. The study concludes with a narrative of the authors own work on an electronic edition of the 1998 Broadway musical Parade and ends with a critical introduction to this text.”
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