How to Write an Abstract – Professional Tips & Examples
Writing an abstract for your research paper can be a challenge. In addition, an academic abstract is different from other types of writing, so it's important to learn the specifics of what makes this piece unique and compelling.
To summarize or give an overview of your work, there are a few things you must do. First, you need to have the main idea in your thesis statement, which is the main point of your work.
Then you need background information on the topic and any theories that support it. Finally, at the end of this summary/overview, you should include how it links back to the introduction.
In this blog, you will get to know how to write an abstract that will attract your research paper’s maximal attention.
What is an Abstract?
An abstract is a brief summary that provides the readers with an overview of the research paper. It should describe the central idea and the key points of the research work. Moreover, an abstract is a 150-200 word paragraph that tells the reader what the paper is about.
The main purpose of writing an abstract is to;
- Give the reader a quick overview of the research paper.
- Allow the reader to follow detailed information and arguments.
- Help the reader to remember the key points of the research paper.
- Describe the important information using the fewest mandatory words.
Furthermore, the abstract is an important section of a research paper. It is the first part that the readers read and get an idea of the entire paper.
A well-written abstract should include;
- A comprehensive purpose of the study.
- The research methodology.
- The research problem that motivates the project.
- Results of the analysis or major findings.
- A brief conclusion with an important take-home message of the study.
In the abstract, the researcher suggests the implications and suggestions of the research described in the paper. Therefore, it is a concise summary that persuades the reader to read the full paper.
When to Write an Abstract?
An abstract is the main part of writing a thesis, dissertation, and research paper. It should include only the key points.
You should create an abstract that provides context for your paper and enables readers to understand the main ideas.
The easiest way to write a good abstract is by following the structure. Usually, an abstract contains four key elements, such as;
- Problem statement
Keep these parts of the abstract in your mind and create a well-written abstract in no time.
Types of an Abstract
Here are the main types of abstracts, and each has a different purpose and requirements.
Critical Abstract: A critical abstract allows the writer to describe the main points, information, and findings. It requires you to compare your research with other writers’ work.
A critical abstract is normally 400-500 words in length due to supplementary analytical interpretation.
Informative Abstract: It is the common type of abstract that researchers use. In this type, the researcher describes the research's main arguments and important points.
An informative abstract is not more than 300 words in length, but it varies according to the discipline.
Descriptive Abstract: In this type, only describe the summarized data of your research work. After choosing this type, you will have a clear idea in your mind of what to write in it. Descriptive abstracts are usually 100 words or less in length.
- Highlight Abstract: The highlight abstract is not a true abstract. It provides a detailed overview of the research so that you can easily catch the reader’s attention.
How to Write an Abstract?
An abstract allows the reader to make decisions about your work. A well-written abstract describes the significance of the research project. It contains all kinds of information, from the introduction to the conclusion, in brief form.
From the abstract, the reader decides whether the rest of the research paper is interesting to them, and whether they will read the entire paper or not. If the researcher reads your paper, the more chances they will cite your work in their research paper.
Writing a compelling abstract is not difficult if you follow the below-given steps.
- 1. Review and Understand the Requirements
Before you start writing the research paper, read the specific guidelines and requirements. These guidelines will help in your entire writing phase. Therefore, if you don't understand it, consult your professor.
Besides, some important issues that you should keep in mind are;
- The type of abstract you need to write.
- The style requirements and structure.
- The word count.
- Write for a specific organization or instructor.
- 2. Consider your Target Audience
The abstract helps the reader decide whether they want to read the research paper or is relevant to their interest. Therefore, it is important to keep the reader’s needs and interests in mind when writing the abstract.
- 3. Determine the Type of the Abstract
In this step, you will have to decide which type of abstract is right for your work. According to the type, you will decide the purpose, methods, results, and discussion of your research. Therefore, you must choose the right one.
- 4. Identify the Purpose
Identifying your purpose is necessary for the reader to know about the research reason and purpose. Therefore, when you start writing the abstract, you should consider the following questions:
- Why do you conduct your research in this specific field?
- How is your research different from others?
- Why does someone read your paper?
- What are your findings?
Therefore, these research questions will guide you, and you can easily identify your research purpose.
- 5. Explain the Problem
State the problem statement means that you will outline or address the gap in the previous research. A problem statement is usually one or two sentences but should not include possible causes or solutions.
When you write the problem statement, you need to consider a few elements.
- What is the scope of your study?
- What is your main argument or claim that you are trying to prove?
- Which gap will you try to fill with your research?
Besides, keep these elements in mind and prepare a great statement. It’s important not to create an expectation that your paper won’t fulfill.
- 6. Describe the Research Methodology
After stating the problem; you have to mention the research methods used for the research. Next, provide an overview of how you accomplished your research. If you have used any other work as a specific model for analysis, you need to mention it here.
The methods section gives you the chance to summarize the basic design of your study. Also, give an overview of your most important sources.
- 7. Describe the Results
The results subsection is the most important part of an abstract. In this step, summarize the results of your research study. Provide an overview of the outcome of your study. Also, try to use strong words in this section and highlight the most important findings that allow the reader to understand your conclusion.
- 8. State the Conclusion
The conclusion section has the most significant impact on the readers. In this section, you will summarize your findings and the overall importance of your paper. The last 1-2 sentences of the abstract give closure to your research paper. Also, don’t include any unnecessary details in this section.
- 9. Proofreading
Proofreading is an essential step in every writing process. When you finish writing your abstract, start proofreading it. Make sure that your abstract is free from spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary mistakes.
Here is an abstract sample; take an idea from it to write a perfect one.
Abstract Page Examples
Below is an example that will help you in writing the abstract like expert writers.
Topic: Benefits of Peppermint
Abstract: Peppermint is a plant with many uses. Apart from being used as a dietary supplement and for health purposes, peppermints can also protect you against insects.
In this study, 25 grams of fresh peppermint were collected and placed in a glass jar. The oil-soaked cloth fibers were allowed to steep for two days before being strained using cheesecloth as needed (70%). Afterward, three separate containers holding diluted extractions from the first step were transferred into spray bottles ready for use.
The study found that all-natural essential oils are just as effective at repelling mosquitoes without the risk of having hazardous side effects.
The following are the abstract examples that will help you get a comprehensive understanding.
Scientific Research Paper Abstract
Sample Research Paper Abstract APA
How to Write an Abstract APA
How to Write an Abstract For an Article
Tips to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
Now, you have an idea of how to write the abstract. However, the following expert tips will always be helpful in every stage of writing.
- Read other writers’ work on different subjects like social sciences, arts, humanities, etc., and get an idea from them.
- Make sure that your abstract is within the word limit.
- Clarify the main purpose of the paper.
- Write proper results and conclusion of the research paper.
- Never add unnecessary details about the introduction and literature review.
- Focus on your research without discussing other writers’ work.
- Each section is discussed either in a single sentence or in detail.
- An abstract should not contain contextual information.
- Revise it again and again and make sure it contains zero plagiarism.
What to Avoid When Writing an Abstract
Here are some things you should avoid in writing an abstract.
- Avoid writing incomplete sentences and strict words as it will make your abstract confusing and meaningless.
- Never add unnecessary details about the introduction and literature review.
- Avoid defining any terms.
An abstract is a condensed version that covers the full text of the research paper. Writing an abstract is necessary for a research paper, and without it, the paper is incomplete. A good abstract requires great writing and research skills.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good abstract?
A good abstract has to be short to create a big impact. Make sure every word counts. Each sentence should have one main point.
Avoid unnecessary words and strange words. The abstract should be understandable to people who don't know about the topic.
When to write an abstract?
The abstract is the last thing you will write. It needs to be a completely independent and self-contained text, not copied from your paper or dissertation. The easiest way to write an abstract is to imitate the structure of your full paper or related sources.
What are the four key elements of an abstract?
Following are the four key elements of an abstract:
What is the purpose of an abstract?
An abstract is a summary of an academic paper. It lets people know if the paper is interesting to them. The abstract can be found in databases, so it makes your work easier to find. However, the first thing a reader sees is the abstract of your paper, which has to be clear and accurate.
How long is a dissertation abstract?
An abstract is a short summary of a dissertation, essay, or thesis. It's usually around 200-300 words long, and there is also a word limit. Make sure to check your university's requirements before writing an abstract.
Can I cite sources in an abstract?
Do not include citations in your abstract. They should focus on your original research, not the work of others. If you need to mention some other sources, do it when you write about how they relate to your research and why that is important.
Where does the abstract go in a thesis?
The abstract is written at the end but placed on the first pages of a thesis or dissertation. It is usually placed after the title and acknowledgment page, before the table of contents.
What is the most important part of an abstract?
Results are the most important part of an abstract. Most readers are interested in reading this part and knowing about the study's findings.