Education

How to Write an Abstract for Your Research Paper

What is an Abstract

Abstracts are brief descriptions of the contents of your (published as well as not published) research paper. It’s typically around one paragraph (from 6 to 7 sentences, between 150 and 250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

  • Abstracts let readers understand the main idea or the essence of your paper quickly so that they can decide if they want to go through the entire piece;
  • Abstracts help readers be able to follow the specific analysis, information, and arguments that you present in your paper’s full text;
  • And in the future, an abstract will help readers recall key elements in your article.

If you’re creating an abstract for a paper in a class, your professor might provide you with specific guidelines regarding the type of information to include and how to structure your abstract. In addition, journals that are academic have specific guidelines for abstracts. In addition to the instructions provided on this webpage, ensure that you read and adhere to any guidelines provided by the course and format of the journal you’re writing your essay for.
Although academic writing may be confusing, and you might be wondering where I can order an essay or a research paper, look through free writing examples, or simply find a trustworthy educational website, this article might be your first step to writing a perfect abstract for your research paper.

The Abstract’s Contents

Abstracts provide multiple types of information in a concise format. Your article’s body will naturally elaborate and present ideas discussed in an abstract more in-depth. The percentage of your abstract you allocate to each kind of information, as well as the order in which you present the information, will vary based on the type and style of the article you’re writing for. There are instances where certain information may be implied rather than be explicit. The publication manual that is published by the American Psychological Association, which is extensively used in the field of social science, provides specific guidelines on what should be included in the abstract for different types of papers, including empirical research, literature reviews, or meta-analyses, theoretical papers methodological papers, as well as case studies.

Here are the most common kinds of information that are found in the majority of abstracts:

  1. The contextual background or context to your research is the background information or context for your general research subject that you are studying as well as the specific subject of your study.
  2. The most important research questions or the statement of the issue the research you conduct will address.
  3. What’s available about this issue? What prior research has revealed or has done.
  4. The main reason(s), the necessity, and the purpose of your research. Why is it necessary to answer these issues? Are you, for instance, investigating a topic that is new to you? What is the reason why this topic is worthy of study? Are you filling in a gap in research? Utilizing innovative methods to look afresh at the existing data or ideas? Do you need to resolve a conflict with the existing literature in your area?
  5. Your research or analytical methods.
  6. Your primary conclusions, results, or your main arguments.
  7. The importance or the implications of your arguments or findings.

The abstract should be comprehensive and clear by itself, without the reader needing to go through the entire paper to grap its core ideas. In the abstract, it is common not to refer to sources. For the most part, your abstract should describe the topics you have studied in your research and then describe what your findings have discovered and how you are arguing in your paper. In the body of your article, you’ll cite the specific research that prompted your research.

When Should Your Abstract Be Written

While you may be willing to begin writing your abstract first since it’ll be the first section of your essay, It’s recommended to put off writing your abstract the time you’ve written your entire paper to ensure that you are aware of what you’re describing.

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