Abstracts: Often looked on as one of the last things to do when writing a project, however the abstract can greatly benefit a researcher by focussing their minds on a logical argument and help provide a ‘flow’ through the dissertation.
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Remember: in most cases, you'll be applying to a department that has no historian in your field, and therefore you need to find ways to make your abstract appealing to others.
Imagine a committee composed of faculty in this department with whom you have never discussed academic subjects; that's who you should be writing for.
Do not, of course, get yourself in the position of writing an abstract that you cannot back up in an interview.
Center the title of your dissertation at the top of the abstract, and be sure to include your name and institution somewhere.Here is a suggested list for the five main areas that need to be covered in the abstract.These could be ordered slightly differently – for instance you could start with the “Why” the research is required, and then continue with “What” was researched.Many will submit the same abstract with all job applications, but you might want to consider tailoring your abstract to the particular job you are applying for.What you should stress will depend partly on the department to which you are applying.In the case of Masters dissertations, it will help the supervisor (or second supervisor/marker) quickly identify what the research is all about. There may be limits set by your institution that you should follow, and 150-300 words is a typical suggestion.I like to see an abstract set out in five clear paragraphs answering each of the questions identified below.To learn about the department you should use the AHA’s (online if you are a member of the AHA, or available in Dealy 615) to identify the faculty's areas of coverage, research interests, and degree-granting institutions.All departments will want to see evidence that you know how to do research, but beyond that some departments will be particularly interested in theoretical or methodological sophistication, some will want to fill particular thematic niches (e.g.In the bulk of the abstract, however, don't be afraid to write at length about the things you are most enthusiastic about; even if it ends up seeming a little narrow or parochial, your enthusiasm will be infectious.In addition to outlining the content of your thesis and pointing out your conclusions, make sure that the abstract indicates in some way your dissertation’s original contribution to specific debates or issues.