Shortening an Abstract – Keep the Word Count Down

04.02.23 Dissertation writing process Time to read: 4min

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Students aiming for a doctorate or master’s degree in academia sometimes exceed the word limit while writing abstracts because they use too many complex phrases. Attempting to limit the abstract to a manageable length presents various challenges.1 The primary aim of this piece is to provide students with pointers on how to minimize their abstracts.

Shortening an Abstract – In a Nutshell

  • You should avoid using passive voice while composing sentences.
  • Use of the noun style is not permitted.
  • Keep your statements short and to the point, and do not use the exact words or sentences more than once
  • Leave out the background info.
  • Features a summary of essentials

Definition: Shortening an abstract

  • Shortening an abstract is a brief synopsis of your research paper, whether it has been published or not, often ranging in length from one paragraph (150-250 words).
  • You may have uncovered exciting facts in your study, but if your audience has to wade through the whole report to get them, they may never get to them.
  • Shortening an abstract serves the purpose of giving readers an overview of your study’s issues and functions as an introduction to your work.

Shortening an abstract: Active sentences

Active voice is encouraged when shortening an abstract in your dissertation. Long sentences are the hallmark of the passive voice. If you have already prepared shortening an abstract, you may be able to save some words by switching from passive to active voice. Some say it’s the finest method for condensing and shortening an abstract. Change the order of the subject and verb such that the issue does the action. Ensure an active verb that does not need an auxiliary verb is utilized.

Passive Voice The car is washed by James. The theory is supported by the outcomes. The data system has been tested by Jane.
Active Voice James washes the car. Outcomes support the theory. Jane has tested the data system.

Shortening an abstract: Verb style

Using a noun, which causes sentences to expand, is a common cause why shortening an abstract becomes necessary. Sentences may become complicated when nouns are used excessively. Always substitute nouns with verbs in the phrases as shown below:

Noun Style Visitors should minimize the utilization of plastic bags. An article gives the meaning to a dissertation. The theory has support from the outcomes.
Verb Style Visitors should use fewer plastic bags. An article defines the dissertation. Outcomes support the theory.
How to avoid point deductions

Point deductions can also be caused when citing passages that are not written in your own words. Don’t take a risk and run your paper through our online plagiarism checker. You will receive the results in only 10 minutes and can submit your paper with confidence.

To the plagiarism checker

Shortening an abstract: Avoid hard to read sentences

Many students like to use flowery language and complicated structures while writing an abstract. Therefore, cutting out unnecessary words that lengthen sentences may be helpful to shortening an abstract of a dissertation.2

  • Avoid writing the same words or phrases multiple times
  • Reread the abstract aloud once it has been completed
  • It will assist you in dealing with repeated phrases and vocabulary
  • Ask friends or family members in spotting the recurrence of sentences, words, or phrases
  • Also use computer tools verb or sentence repetition may be detected


With Repetition Without Repetition
After researching the present circumstances, a plan for obtaining the desired position was developed. The study produced a plan for achieving the desired condition.
The issue is that enterprises in the Netherlands are unaware of the need for sweet fillings in the Netherlands. The issue is that Dutch enterprises have little understanding of the need for sweet fillings in the Netherlands.
A survey is used to collect research findings. The outcomes of these tests are then examined using SPSS. SPSS is used to analyze the survey study findings.
The findings reveal that the HRM approach has a detrimental impact on employee satisfaction. Employees
reported that…
The findings reveal that the HRM approach has a detrimental impact on employee satisfaction. They suggested...

Shortening an abstract: Detailed descriptions are unnecessary

Too much context regarding how the subject or problem came to be should be avoided. There’s no need to use more than a few phrases to summarize the dissertation’s primary issues and themes.3 This may be an effective method for shortening an abstract.


Detailed Description Summary
When it comes to promoting the company, the approach they have used so far has not worked. It's a plan drawn out by the company's management. The company has an inefficient marketing approach.
The company's pricing approach takes into account the state of the national economy when determining the cost of the business's wares and services. The company's pricing plan considers the state of the national economy.
Established in 1988, Woolworth is a retail giant. A retail operation is being run by the corporation. Its main goal is to earn a tidy profit. The primary goal of Woolworth, a retail business, is to generate substantial profits.


Typically, shortening an abstract in a thesis or dissertation entails condensing them between 150 and 300. In many cases, a hard work limit must be adhered to, so be sure to verify with your institution’s guidelines.

When shortening an abstract make sure it keeps the following included:

  • Brief summary of its objectives and findings to help readers quickly grasp the significance of your work.
  • While the exact format may vary from field to field, all abstracts should include a statement of the problem
  • Summary of the research conducted
  • Short discussion of the results.

Please pay close attention when shortening an abstract, to how well the it captures the essence of your study and its significance to the field as a whole. This is what shortening an abstract brings about, and whether or not you utilize a question is an issue of personal preference and feedback from your trusted advisors.

In the case of shortening an abstract, no matter how well-written, it will be rejected if it is boring, irrelevant, plagiarized, or just plain crazy. Similarly, you have an uphill battle if your thoughts are sharp, innovative, and sensible. Perhaps not even the worst shorten abstract would be enough to guarantee rejection.


1 Fischer, Edward H., and Amerigo Farina. “Attitudes toward seeking professional psychologial help: A shortened form and considerations for research.” Journal of college student development (1995).

2 Schilhan, Lisa, Christian Kaier, and Karin Lackner. “Increasing visibility and discoverability of scholarly publications with academic search engine optimization.” Insights 34, no. 1 (2021).

3 Numan Khazaal, Edhah. “Improving postgraduates’ academic writing skills with summarizing strategy.” Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10 (2019).