Last edited 14 Mar 2016

Dissertation abstract - example

This is part of a series of Construction Dissertation Guides for students.

Below is an example of an abstract for a dissertation examining mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution.


With low margins, high risk factors and intense market competition, disputes have long been engrained in the culture of the construction industry. With litigation often spiralling into unmanageable realms of cost and time delay, a number of Alternative Dispute Resolutions have grown in popularity over the years as a means of mitigating such problems.

With core principles emphasising the presence of a third-party-neutral, as well as its adaptability, informality and non-adversarial ethos, mediation has risen in prominence in recent years to its current position at the forefront of ADRs in the UK construction industry. After the statutory entrenchment of Adjudication in 1996, mediation has continued to offer a negotiation arena removed from the formal and expensive procedures entailed with arbitration, litigation, and (increasingly, since 1996) adjudication itself.

As mediation has grown in popularity, a number of developments have begun to unfold which could potentially threaten the status of mediation as an effective form of ADR. This report examines the growing numbers of legal professionals who have embraced mediation and the impacts this may have on the non-litigious principles of mediation. Legalisation is evident, not only in the expanding case law that has amounted, but in the lawyers who aim to represent clients in the negotiations (to which this report will promote the Theory of Attachment), and those who have retrained as mediators themselves.

As well as this, the report investigates the developments towards formality and the standardisation of the process; evident from the cost sanctions imposed by the courts in recent years and in the various calls for the introduction of guidelines and regulations or perhaps even to make the process mandatory.

By analysing the opinions sought from numerous distinguished industry professionals, this report aims to illuminate the inherent problem facing mediation with regard to these unfolding developments. The conclusions that were reached by the report, demonstrate the fundamental dilemma in that whilst reaching the full potential of mediation might be the construction industry’s aim – thereby bringing the process further into the mainstream – there is cause to believe that the original principles and integrity of mediation may be irreparably compromised by so doing.