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An abstract is a paragraph with a synopsis of a document (typically paper). As a stylistic element, an abstract contains the following parts:

  1. 1.

    background and motivation,

  2. 2.

    problem statement (or research question of the presented paper),

  3. 3.


  4. 4.


  5. 5.



  • Glossary
  • Stylistic Elements
  • Energy Levels
  • Research Skills
  • Time Slot

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  1. 1.

    Depending on your institution. Some universities require you to add a summary in different languages. In Delft, a Dutch and English summary is required. For my M.Sc. thesis at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, I had to add a summary in Dutch, French, and English. German was optional.

  2. 2.

    Note: some scholars prefer not to use these sites as they are for-profit. You could also host preprints of your work on your website and/or blog to provide this information.

  3. 3.

    If you speak Dutch, look up “vrekkentips”.

  4. 4.

    With or without the comma between “Author” and “Date”.

  5. 5.

    Provided that outlines work for you.

  6. 6.

    Whatever that means – there are many self-proclaimed gurus out there, each with often absurd claims (Carbs kill you! Tomatoes cause cancer! Buy my supplements and you will be fit/healthy/smart/beautiful!), so don’t fall for the pseudoscience trap.

  7. 7.

    Remember Goodhart’s law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

  8. 8.

    Rule of thumb: with a hand calculation approximation you should be able to be within 20 – 30% of the more advanced methods. Note that the range of 20 – 30% is valid for structural engineering – talk to your colleagues to find the accepted bounds for your field.

  9. 9.

    I didn’t quite enjoy reading this book, but I liked the idea of mastermind groups.

  10. 10.

    Don’t listen to anybody who treats you like that – you, and only you, know when you don’t feel like yourself.

  11. 11.

    Remember that outlines don’t work for every writer.

  12. 12.

    Outlines don’t work for everybody. You can let your dissertation grow in a more organic way and/or use mindmaps to structure your writing.

  13. 13.

    For example: include a headshot or not?

  14. 14.

    Or any other stretch of time until the habit feels natural.

  15. 15.

    Storify is going out of business mid-2018.


  1. Todd, B. J. (2016). 80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good. Oxford: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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  2. Hill, N. (1928). The law of success. BN Publishing.

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  3. Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A., Van der Heyden, J., & Gisle, L. (2017). Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy, 46(4), 868–879.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Gosling, P., & Noordam, L. D. (2010). Mastering your PhD: Survival and success in the doctoral years and beyond. Heidelberg: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  5. The learning strategies center. (2001). The Cornell note-taking system.

  6. Wikipedia. (2017). Plagiarism.

  7. Jaschik, S. (2012). The Gender Gap on Service.

  8. Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. London: Allen Lane.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Vanderkam, L. (2010). 168 hours: You have more time than you think. New York: Portofolio.

    Google Scholar 

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Lantsoght, E.O.L. (2018). Glossary. In: The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory. Springer Texts in Education. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-77424-4

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