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TAMK Student's Handbook

Report Guide: F) Abstract


Abstract is a simply and fluently written summary of the thesis. Its length is one page at maximum. The reader of the abstract gains a general view on the thesis and after reading it they can decide if they  want to read it further. No text references are used. If the thesis is written in English, only English abstract is written (no Finnish summary).

The abstract should be written in a declaratory style, passive voice, unless the topic of the thesis demands otherwise. Past tense is used when describing the contents of the thesis. The present tense is, however, used with universally valid results or conclusions. The abstract is a consistently structured and concise description of the thesis. The abstract consists of 3-4 paragraphs.

The abstract for a research-based thesis could be as follows:
-    background of the thesis
-    aim, goal and tasks, client or collaboration partner
-    the method used and the progress of research
-    results
-    conclusions, suggestions for development

The abstract for a practice-based thesis could be as follows:
-    aim, goal and research problems or tasks, client or collaboration partner
-    answers to research problems or tasks
-    description of the end result, meeting the client’s needs
-    future when the client will start using the end result, suggestions for development

The abstract is followed by 2-5 keywords, in order to facilitate the data retrieval. The key words are written in the order of importance.

Main words of the thesis title are written with initial letters capitalised. The initial letters of prepositions, articles etc. are not capitalised. Colloquial headings are to be replaced with formal style if the author is not sure of their style.
Waste Management Plan for Hospitality Trade Fair in 2009
Promoting Young People's Emotional Wellbeing in Secondary Education

More information about writing the abstract
The abstract is written in a formal style. The language of the abstract has to be neutral, concise and unambiguous. Too long sentences are not reader friendly and may require several readings.

Abstract tenses
The abstract should mainly be written in the past tense. The present tense is however used when it is a question of universally valid results or conclusions.

Objective/purpose (past tense)
The objective of this study was to gather information about…
The purpose of this thesis was to collect information on…

Approach, methodology (past or present tense)
This study was carried out as a project.
The data were collected from 17 paediatric patients and 29 parents.
The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The theoretical section explores…
The empirical part consists of…

Key results/findings (past or present tense)
The respondents stated that…
The majority of participants believed that…
These results suggest that …

Conclusions/discussion (present tense)
The findings indicate that…
Further research is required to…
Furthermore, preventive measures should be adopted to reduce all types of abuse…
To help prevent obesity, strategies are needed to decrease adolescents’ sedentary leisure time…

The abstract is written in the passive voice: expressions such as I or my are not used, unless absolutely required by the topic:

More attention has been paid to…
The data were gathered by conducting a survey among customers…
The data were analysed by applying…
Different methods were compared…

Contracted word forms are not used: doesn’t -> does not; didn’t -> did not.

No comma in front of that-word!

The results show that the respondents were satisfied with…

The s-genitive is used in connection with people and of-genitive in connection with things.

The customers’ opinions gave interesting information for the new menu of the restaurant.

Published: 27.4.2021
Updated: 21.4.2022