This may be one of the shortest sections of your thesis or dissertation, but it is worthwhile taking great care to write it well.
Essentially, the Abstract is a succinct summary of the research.
It can be best to write the Abstract last, once you are sure what exactly you are summarising.
Alternatively it can be useful to write the abstract earlier on, as an aid to identifying the crucial main thread of your research, its purpose, and its findings, which could then guide the structure of the dissertation.
The process of having to describe your study in detail, in a logical sequence of written words, will inevitably highlight where more thought is needed, and it may lead to new insight into connections, implications, rationale, relevance, and may lead to new ideas for further research.
Barras (196) suggests that you ‘think of your report as part of your investigation, not as a duty to be undertaken when your work is otherwise complete’, and this Study Guide suggests that: writing is an integral part of the research process.
It will also provide you with a framework to refer back to in your discussion chapter, when you reflect on the extent to which your research has achieved what it set out to do.
In these chapters a straightforward description is required of how you conducted the research.
“I know I’m good at writing so I can leave it to later”.
“I want to get everything sorted out in my mind before I start writing or I’ll just end up wasting my time re-writing”.