Law Dissertation: Creating a Summary

Dissertations are huge projects that can seem, and kind of are, extremely overwhelming. Though there is going to be stress involved, simply because they are so heavily weighted in your academic career, you can reduce the amount of strain and stress you experience by completing the process in a step-by-step fashion. And by planning ahead. The best planners make the best dissertations – and with less effort than those who don’t and still don’t obtain as high of a grade and placement.

Law dissertations are no different – though they can carry a heavier burden because they can follow you throughout your career. This is a good thing, if done correctly.

Law Dissertations: The Summary Process

There are many pieces to a dissertation – each serving the purpose of highlighting your knowledge and research process so that it can be recognized and shared.

One of the most important sections of the dissertation paper is the summary, or abstract. The summary process involves making it easy for students and professionals to review your work without completely reading it from start to finish. Though you may want your reader to walk with you through the entire process, it will be most effectively applied to a variety of uses if it is easy to review without reading in its entirety.

Your Abstract or Summary Should Include:

  • An overall picture of your project without being too lengthy: Keep your description to under 400 words, unless otherwise specified by your department.
  • Key words: Important key words and verbiage used in the field is important to include. But don’t define the terms in the abstract – assume the reader knows already.
  • Direction: The abstract should direct your reader to what they can find within your total project – and help them locate it without searching the whole thing.
  • Answers: Your abstract should also highlight the answer that you came up with in response to your research question or issue established.

An effective abstract increases your chance of being published professionally and used again and again. This pays off in a number of ways – both for you professionally through recognition that can be highlighted in a resume and also for research students in the future looking to find information and answers of their own.

Consider meeting with a counselor within your department to review your abstract summary prior to final submission. As the most visible, and most reviewed piece of your overall dissertation, it is important that it is done well and reviewed for mistakes.