Tips for Abstract and Keywords


When filling out the ETD form, you must include an abstract of your thesis or dissertation. This is a required field. The abstract will be included in the cataloging record of your thesis or dissertation. The words in the abstract are searchable by researchers who are interested in your topic and who search by keywords. This searchability will allow these researchers to more efficiently locate your publication in our online catalog as well as OCLC’s WorldCat database, an international database.

Using the abstract that was included in the print version of your thesis or dissertation is fine. If there is no abstract in the print version, you will need to create one for the electronic version of your thesis or dissertation.

If your thesis or dissertation is a compilation of articles that were submitted or will be submitted to journals, you will need to create and submit an abstract that encompasses your research as a whole.


Keywords are also required in the ETD form. When selecting keywords, you should choose keywords that best describe the content of your thesis or dissertation. Keywords can be taken from the abstract and/or title. Individual words and/or phrases may be used. Use keywords that will be easily recognized by others in your discipline.


  • personality
  • atomic emission spectroscopy
  • Navajo
  • Renaissance music
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Jane Austen
  • global feminism

Try not to use adjectives by themselves as keywords. For example, the word long-term doesn’t convey meaning by itself. However, if used in conjunction with a noun (e.g. Long-term care), the meaning has greater significance. If possible include at least one keyword that does not appear in the abstract or title.