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APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 3, 2022.
An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem , hypotheses , methods , results , and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.
Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.
Table of contents
How to format the abstract, how to write an apa abstract, which keywords to use, frequently asked questions, apa abstract example.
Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style:
- Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number.
- Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm).
- Write “Abstract” (bold and centered) at the top of the page.
- Do not indent the first line.
- Double-space the text.
- Use a legible font like Times New Roman (12 pt.).
- Limit the length to 250 words.
- Indent the first line 0.5 inches.
- Write the label “Keywords:” (italicized).
- Write keywords in lowercase letters.
- Separate keywords with commas.
- Do not use a period after the keywords.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The abstract is a self-contained piece of text that informs the reader what your research is about. It’s best to write the abstract after you’re finished with the rest of your paper.
The questions below may help structure your abstract. Try answering them in one to three sentences each.
- What is the problem? Outline the objective, research questions , and/or hypotheses .
- What has been done? Explain your research methods .
- What did you discover? Summarize the key findings and conclusions .
- What do the findings mean? Summarize the discussion and recommendations .
Check out our guide on how to write an abstract for more guidance and an annotated example.
Guide: writing an abstract
At the end of the abstract, you may include a few keywords that will be used for indexing if your paper is published on a database. Listing your keywords will help other researchers find your work.
Choosing relevant keywords is essential. Try to identify keywords that address your topic, method, or population. APA recommends including three to five keywords.
An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.
An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, January 03). APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords. Scribbr. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-abstract/
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An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.
Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Importance of a Good Abstract
Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.
How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.
How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.
Structure and Writing Style
I. Types of Abstracts
To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.
Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.
Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.
Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.
II. Writing Style
Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.
Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.
Composing Your Abstract
Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].
Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:
- A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
- Lengthy background or contextual information,
- Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
- Acronyms or abbreviations,
- References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
- Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
- Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
- Citations to other works, and
- Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.
Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in hte Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Never Cite Just the Abstract!
Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .
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Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)
Posted in: abstract , dissertations
The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. It should provide a clear and succinct summary of your study, and encourage your readers to read more. An effective abstract, therefore should answer the following questions:
- Why did you do this study or project?
- What did you do and how?
- What did you find?
- What do your findings mean?
So here's our run down of the key elements of a well-written abstract.
- Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words.
- Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).
- Purpose - The abstract should also set out the purpose of your research, in other words, what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine (or what the paper seeks to present).
- Methods - The methods section should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. It should include brief details of the research design, sample size, duration of study, and so on.
- Results - The results section is the most important part of the abstract. This is because readers who skim an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.
- Conclusion - This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcomes of the study. However, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:
- The primary take-home message
- Any additional findings of importance
- Implications for future studies
Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone.
Abstract from: Dalstra, M., Huiskes, R. and Van Erning, L., 1995. Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 117(3), pp.272-278.
And finally... A word on abstract types and styles
Abstract types can differ according to subject discipline. You need to determine therefore which type of abstract you should include with your paper. Here are two of the most common types with examples.
The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.
Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgements about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarised. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.
(Adapted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/ )
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Writing an Abstract
What is an abstract.
An abstract is a 150- to 250-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay or report and its organization. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.
According to Carole Slade, an abstract is “a concise summary of the entire paper.”
The function of an abstract is to describe, not to evaluate or defend, the paper.
The abstract should begin with a brief but precise statement of the problem or issue, followed by a description of the research method and design, the major findings, and the conclusions reached.
The abstract should contain the most important key words referring to method and content: these facilitate access to the abstract by computer search and enable a reader to decide whether to read the entire dissertation.
Note: Your abstract should read like an overview of your paper, not a proposal for what you intended to study or accomplish. Avoid beginning your sentences with phrases like, “This essay will examine...” or “In this research paper I will attempt to prove...”
(The examples above are taken from Form and Style (10th ed.), by Carole Slade; The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers (5th ed.); and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.).)
Note: The following are specifications for an abstract in APA style, used in the social sciences, such as psychology or anthropology. If you are in another discipline, check with your professor about the format for the abstract.
Writing an Abstract for an IMRaD Paper
Many papers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences follow IMRaD structure: their main sections are entitled Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. People use the abstract to decide whether to read the rest of the paper, so the abstract for such a paper is important.
Because the abstract provides the highlights of the paper, you should draft your abstract after you have written a full draft of the paper. Doing so, you can summarize what you’ve already written in the paper as you compose the abstract.
Typically, an abstract for an IMRaD paper or presentation is one or two paragraphs long (120 – 500 words). Abstracts usually spend
25% of their space on the purpose and importance of the research (Introduction)
25% of their space on what you did (Methods)
35% of their space on what you found (Results)
15% of their space on the implications of the research
Try to avoid these common problems in IMRaD abstracts:
1. The abstract provides a statement of what the paper will ask or explore rather than what it found:
X This report examines the causes of oversleeping. (What did it find out about these causes?) √ Individuals oversleep because they go to bed too late, forget to set their alarms, and keep their rooms dark.
2. The abstract provides general categories rather than specific details in the findings:
X The study draws conclusions about which variables are most important in choosing a movie theater. (What, specifically, are these variables?)
√ The study concludes that the most important variables in choosing a movie theater are comfortable seats and high-quality popcorn.
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- How to Write an Abstract
Expedite peer review, increase search-ability, and set the tone for your study
The abstract is your chance to let your readers know what they can expect from your article. Learn how to write a clear, and concise abstract that will keep your audience reading.
How your abstract impacts editorial evaluation and future readership
After the title , the abstract is the second-most-read part of your article. A good abstract can help to expedite peer review and, if your article is accepted for publication, it’s an important tool for readers to find and evaluate your work. Editors use your abstract when they first assess your article. Prospective reviewers see it when they decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once published, the abstract gets indexed in PubMed and Google Scholar , as well as library systems and other popular databases. Like the title, your abstract influences keyword search results. Readers will use it to decide whether to read the rest of your article. Other researchers will use it to evaluate your work for inclusion in systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It should be a concise standalone piece that accurately represents your research.
What to include in an abstract
The main challenge you’ll face when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND fitting in all the information you need. Depending on your subject area the journal may require a structured abstract following specific headings. A structured abstract helps your readers understand your study more easily. If your journal doesn’t require a structured abstract it’s still a good idea to follow a similar format, just present the abstract as one paragraph without headings.
Background or Introduction – What is currently known? Start with a brief, 2 or 3 sentence, introduction to the research area.
Objectives or Aims – What is the study and why did you do it? Clearly state the research question you’re trying to answer.
Methods – What did you do? Explain what you did and how you did it. Include important information about your methods, but avoid the low-level specifics. Some disciplines have specific requirements for abstract methods.
- CONSORT for randomized trials.
- STROBE for observational studies
- PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Results – What did you find? Briefly give the key findings of your study. Include key numeric data (including confidence intervals or p values), where possible.
Conclusions – What did you conclude? Tell the reader why your findings matter, and what this could mean for the ‘bigger picture’ of this area of research.
The main challenge you may find when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND convering all the information you need to.
- Keep it concise and to the point. Most journals have a maximum word count, so check guidelines before you write the abstract to save time editing it later.
- Write for your audience. Are they specialists in your specific field? Are they cross-disciplinary? Are they non-specialists? If you’re writing for a general audience, or your research could be of interest to the public keep your language as straightforward as possible. If you’re writing in English, do remember that not all of your readers will necessarily be native English speakers.
- Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages.
- Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary.
- Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings.
- Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.
- Double and triple check your abstract for spelling and grammar errors. These kind of errors can give potential reviewers the impression that your research isn’t sound, and can make it easier to find reviewers who accept the invitation to review your manuscript. Your abstract should be a taste of what is to come in the rest of your article.
- Sensationalize your research.
- Speculate about where this research might lead in the future.
- Use abbreviations or acronyms (unless absolutely necessary or unless they’re widely known, eg. DNA).
- Repeat yourself unnecessarily, eg. “Methods: We used X technique. Results: Using X technique, we found…”
- Contradict anything in the rest of your manuscript.
- Include content that isn’t also covered in the main manuscript.
- Include citations or references.
Tip: How to edit your work
Editing is challenging, especially if you are acting as both a writer and an editor. Read our guidelines for advice on how to refine your work, including useful tips for setting your intentions, re-review, and consultation with colleagues.
- How to Write a Great Title
- How to Write Your Methods
- How to Report Statistics
- How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
- How to Edit Your Work
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The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …
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Abstract Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide With Tips & Examples
Table of Contents
Abstracts of research papers have always played an essential role in describing your research concisely and clearly to researchers and editors of journals, enticing them to continue reading. However, with the widespread availability of scientific databases, the need to write a convincing abstract is more crucial now than during the time of paper-bound manuscripts.
Abstracts serve to "sell" your research and can be compared with your "executive outline" of a resume or, rather, a formal summary of the critical aspects of your work. Also, it can be the "gist" of your study. Since most educational research is done online, it's a sign that you have a shorter time for impressing your readers, and have more competition from other abstracts that are available to be read.
The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) articulates 12 issues or points considered during the final approval process for conferences & journals and emphasises the importance of writing an abstract that checks all these boxes (12 points). Since it's the only opportunity you have to captivate your readers, you must invest time and effort in creating an abstract that accurately reflects the critical points of your research.
With that in mind, let’s head over to understand and discover the core concept and guidelines to create a substantial abstract. Also, learn how to organise the ideas or plots into an effective abstract that will be awe-inspiring to the readers you want to reach.
What is Abstract? Definition and Overview
The word "Abstract' is derived from Latin abstractus meaning "drawn off." This etymological meaning also applies to art movements as well as music, like abstract expressionism. In this context, it refers to the revealing of the artist's intention.
Based on this, you can determine the meaning of an abstract: A condensed research summary. It must be self-contained and independent of the body of the research. However, it should outline the subject, the strategies used to study the problem, and the methods implemented to attain the outcomes. The specific elements of the study differ based on the area of study; however, together, it must be a succinct summary of the entire research paper.
Abstracts are typically written at the end of the paper, even though it serves as a prologue. In general, the abstract must be in a position to:
- Describe the paper.
- Identify the problem or the issue at hand.
- Explain to the reader the research process, the results you came up with, and what conclusion you've reached using these results.
- Include keywords to guide your strategy and the content.
Furthermore, the abstract you submit should not reflect upon any of the following elements:
- Examine, analyse or defend the paper or your opinion.
- What you want to study, achieve or discover.
- Be redundant or irrelevant.
After reading an abstract, your audience should understand the reason - what the research was about in the first place, what the study has revealed and how it can be utilised or can be used to benefit others. You can understand the importance of abstract by knowing the fact that the abstract is the most frequently read portion of any research paper. In simpler terms, it should contain all the main points of the research paper.
What is the Purpose of an Abstract?
Abstracts are typically an essential requirement for research papers; however, it's not an obligation to preserve traditional reasons without any purpose. Abstracts allow readers to scan the text to determine whether it is relevant to their research or studies. The abstract allows other researchers to decide if your research paper can provide them with some additional information. A good abstract paves the interest of the audience to pore through your entire paper to find the content or context they're searching for.
Abstract writing is essential for indexing, as well. The Digital Repository of academic papers makes use of abstracts to index the entire content of academic research papers. Like meta descriptions in the regular Google outcomes, abstracts must include keywords that help researchers locate what they seek.
Types of Abstract
Informative and Descriptive are two kinds of abstracts often used in scientific writing.
A descriptive abstract gives readers an outline of the author's main points in their study. The reader can determine if they want to stick to the research work, based on their interest in the topic. An abstract that is descriptive is similar to the contents table of books, however, the format of an abstract depicts complete sentences encapsulated in one paragraph. It is unfortunate that the abstract can't be used as a substitute for reading a piece of writing because it's just an overview, which omits readers from getting an entire view. Also, it cannot be a way to fill in the gaps the reader may have after reading this kind of abstract since it does not contain crucial information needed to evaluate the article.
To conclude, a descriptive abstract is:
- A simple summary of the task, just summarises the work, but some researchers think it is much more of an outline
- Typically, the length is approximately 100 words. It is too short when compared to an informative abstract.
- A brief explanation but doesn't provide the reader with the complete information they need;
- An overview that omits conclusions and results
An informative abstract is a comprehensive outline of the research. There are times when people rely on the abstract as an information source. And the reason is why it is crucial to provide entire data of particular research. A well-written, informative abstract could be a good substitute for the remainder of the paper on its own.
A well-written abstract typically follows a particular style. The author begins by providing the identifying information, backed by citations and other identifiers of the papers. Then, the major elements are summarised to make the reader aware of the study. It is followed by the methodology and all-important findings from the study. The conclusion then presents study results and ends the abstract with a comprehensive summary.
In a nutshell, an informative abstract:
- Has a length that can vary, based on the subject, but is not longer than 300 words.
- Contains all the content-like methods and intentions
- Offers evidence and possible recommendations.
Informative Abstracts are more frequent than descriptive abstracts because of their extensive content and linkage to the topic specifically. You should select different types of abstracts to papers based on their length: informative abstracts for extended and more complex abstracts and descriptive ones for simpler and shorter research papers.
What are the Characteristics of a Good Abstract?
- A good abstract clearly defines the goals and purposes of the study.
- It should clearly describe the research methodology with a primary focus on data gathering, processing, and subsequent analysis.
- A good abstract should provide specific research findings.
- It presents the principal conclusions of the systematic study.
- It should be concise, clear, and relevant to the field of study.
- A well-designed abstract should be unifying and coherent.
- It is easy to grasp and free of technical jargon.
- It is written impartially and objectively.
What are the various sections of an ideal Abstract?
By now, you must have gained some concrete idea of the essential elements that your abstract needs to convey . Accordingly, the information is broken down into six key sections of the abstract, which include:
An Introduction or Background
Research methodology, objectives and goals, limitations.
Let's go over them in detail.
The introduction, also known as background, is the most concise part of your abstract. Ideally, it comprises a couple of sentences. Some researchers only write one sentence to introduce their abstract. The idea behind this is to guide readers through the key factors that led to your study.
It's understandable that this information might seem difficult to explain in a couple of sentences. For example, think about the following two questions like the background of your study:
- What is currently available about the subject with respect to the paper being discussed?
- What isn't understood about this issue? (This is the subject of your research)
While writing the abstract’s introduction, make sure that it is not lengthy. Because if it crosses the word limit, it may eat up the words meant to be used for providing other key information.
Research methodology is where you describe the theories and techniques you used in your research. It is recommended that you describe what you have done and the method you used to get your thorough investigation results. Certainly, it is the second-longest paragraph in the abstract.
In the research methodology section, it is essential to mention the kind of research you conducted; for instance, qualitative research or quantitative research (this will guide your research methodology too) . If you've conducted quantitative research, your abstract should contain information like the sample size, data collection method, sampling techniques, and duration of the study. Likewise, your abstract should reflect observational data, opinions, questionnaires (especially the non-numerical data) if you work on qualitative research.
The research objectives and goals speak about what you intend to accomplish with your research. The majority of research projects focus on the long-term effects of a project, and the goals focus on the immediate, short-term outcomes of the research. It is possible to summarise both in just multiple sentences.
In stating your objectives and goals, you give readers a picture of the scope of the study, its depth and the direction your research ultimately follows. Your readers can evaluate the results of your research against the goals and stated objectives to determine if you have achieved the goal of your research.
In the end, your readers are more attracted by the results you've obtained through your study. Therefore, you must take the time to explain each relevant result and explain how they impact your research. The results section exists as the longest in your abstract, and nothing should diminish its reach or quality.
One of the most important things you should adhere to is to spell out details and figures on the results of your research.
Instead of making a vague assertion such as, "We noticed that response rates varied greatly between respondents with high incomes and those with low incomes", Try these: "The response rate was higher for high-income respondents than those with lower incomes (59 30 percent vs. 30 percent in both cases; P<0.01)."
You're likely to encounter certain obstacles during your research. It could have been during data collection or even during conducting the sample . Whatever the issue, it's essential to inform your readers about them and their effects on the research.
Research limitations offer an opportunity to suggest further and deep research. If, for instance, you were forced to change for convenient sampling and snowball samples because of difficulties in reaching well-suited research participants, then you should mention this reason when you write your research abstract. In addition, a lack of prior studies on the subject could hinder your research.
Your conclusion should include the same number of sentences to wrap the abstract as the introduction. The majority of researchers offer an idea of the consequences of their research in this case.
Your conclusion should include three essential components:
- A significant take-home message.
- Corresponding important findings.
- The Interpretation.
Even though the conclusion of your abstract needs to be brief, it can have an enormous influence on the way that readers view your research. Therefore, make use of this section to reinforce the central message from your research. Be sure that your statements reflect the actual results and the methods you used to conduct your research.
Good Abstract Examples
Abstract example #1.
Children’s consumption behavior in response to food product placements in movies.
"Almost all research into the effects of brand placements on children has focused on the brand's attitudes or behavior intentions. Based on the significant differences between attitudes and behavioral intentions on one hand and actual behavior on the other hand, this study examines the impact of placements by brands on children's eating habits. Children aged 6-14 years old were shown an excerpt from the popular film Alvin and the Chipmunks and were shown places for the item Cheese Balls. Three different versions were developed with no placements, one with moderately frequent placements and the third with the highest frequency of placement. The results revealed that exposure to high-frequency places had a profound effect on snack consumption, however, there was no impact on consumer attitudes towards brands or products. The effects were not dependent on the age of the children. These findings are of major importance to researchers studying consumer behavior as well as nutrition experts as well as policy regulators."
Abstract Example #2
Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. The abstract:
"The research conducted in this study investigated the effects of Facebook use on women's moods and body image if the effects are different from an internet-based fashion journal and if the appearance comparison tendencies moderate one or more of these effects. Participants who were female ( N = 112) were randomly allocated to spend 10 minutes exploring their Facebook account or a magazine's website or an appearance neutral control website prior to completing state assessments of body dissatisfaction, mood, and differences in appearance (weight-related and facial hair, face, and skin). Participants also completed a test of the tendency to compare appearances. The participants who used Facebook were reported to be more depressed than those who stayed on the control site. In addition, women who have the tendency to compare appearances reported more facial, hair and skin-related issues following Facebook exposure than when they were exposed to the control site. Due to its popularity it is imperative to conduct more research to understand the effect that Facebook affects the way people view themselves."
Abstract Example #3
The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students
"The cellphone is always present on campuses of colleges and is often utilised in situations in which learning takes place. The study examined the connection between the use of cell phones and the actual grades point average (GPA) after adjusting for predictors that are known to be a factor. In the end 536 students in the undergraduate program from 82 self-reported majors of an enormous, public institution were studied. Hierarchical analysis ( R 2 = .449) showed that use of mobile phones is significantly ( p < .001) and negative (b equal to -.164) connected to the actual college GPA, after taking into account factors such as demographics, self-efficacy in self-regulated learning, self-efficacy to improve academic performance, and the actual high school GPA that were all important predictors ( p < .05). Therefore, after adjusting for other known predictors increasing cell phone usage was associated with lower academic performance. While more research is required to determine the mechanisms behind these results, they suggest the need to educate teachers and students to the possible academic risks that are associated with high-frequency mobile phone usage."
Quick tips on writing a good abstract
There exists a common dilemma among early age researchers whether to write the abstract at first or last? However, it's recommended to compose your abstract when you've completed the research since you'll have all the information to give to your readers. You can, however, write a draft at the beginning of your research and add in any gaps later.
If you find abstract writing a herculean task, here are the few tips to help you with it:
1. Always develop a framework to support your abstract
Before writing, ensure you create a clear outline for your abstract. Divide it into sections and draw the primary and supporting elements in each one. You can include keywords and a few sentences that convey the essence of your message.
2. Review Other Abstracts
Abstracts are among the most frequently used research documents, and thousands of them were written in the past. Therefore, prior to writing yours, take a look at some examples from other abstracts. There are plenty of examples of abstracts for dissertations in the dissertation and thesis databases.
3. Avoid Jargon To the Maximum
When you write your abstract, focus on simplicity over formality. You should write in simple language, and avoid excessive filler words or ambiguous sentences. Keep in mind that your abstract must be readable to those who aren't acquainted with your subject.
4. Focus on Your Research
It's a given fact that the abstract you write should be about your research and the findings you've made. It is not the right time to mention secondary and primary data sources unless it's absolutely required.
Conclusion: How to Structure an Interesting Abstract?
Abstracts are a short outline of your essay. However, it's among the most important, if not the most important. The process of writing an abstract is not straightforward. A few early-age researchers tend to begin by writing it, thinking they are doing it to "tease" the next step (the document itself). However, it is better to treat it as a spoiler.
The simple, concise style of the abstract lends itself to a well-written and well-investigated study. If your research paper doesn't provide definitive results, or the goal of your research is questioned, so will the abstract. Thus, only write your abstract after witnessing your findings and put your findings in the context of a larger scenario.
The process of writing an abstract can be daunting, but with these guidelines, you will succeed. The most efficient method of writing an excellent abstract is to centre the primary points of your abstract, including the research question and goals methods, as well as key results.
Interested in learning more about dedicated research solutions? Go to the SciSpace product page to find out how our suite of products can help you simplify your research workflows so you can focus on advancing science.
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How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries? pp 179–184 Cite as
How to Write an Abstract?
- Samiran Nundy 4 ,
- Atul Kakar 5 &
- Zulfiqar A. Bhutta 6
- Open Access
- First Online: 24 October 2021
An abstract is a crisp, short, powerful, and self-contained summary of a research manuscript used to help the reader swiftly determine the paper’s purpose. Although the abstract is the first paragraph of the manuscript it should be written last when all the other sections have been addressed.
Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. — Zora Neale Hurston, American Author, Anthropologist and Filmmaker (1891–1960)
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1 What is an Abstract?
An abstract is usually a standalone document that informs the reader about the details of the manuscript to follow. It is like a trailer to a movie, if the trailer is good, it stimulates the audience to watch the movie. The abstract should be written from scratch and not ‘cut –and-pasted’ [ 1 ].
2 What is the History of the Abstract?
An abstract, in the form of a single paragraph, was first published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1960 with the idea that the readers may not have enough time to go through the whole paper, and the first abstract with a defined structure was published in 1991 [ 2 ]. The idea sold and now most original articles and reviews are required to have a structured abstract. The abstract attracts the reader to read the full manuscript [ 3 ].
3 What are the Qualities of a Good Abstract?
The quality of information in an abstract can be summarized by four ‘C’s. It should be:
4 What are the Types of Abstract?
Before writing the abstract, you need to check with the journal website about which type of abstract it requires, with its length and style in the ‘Instructions to Authors’ section.
The abstract types can be divided into:
Descriptive: Usually written for psychology, social science, and humanities papers. It is about 50–100 words long. No conclusions can be drawn from this abstract as it describes the major points in the paper.
Informative: The majority of abstracts for science-related manuscripts are informative and are surrogates for the research done. They are single paragraphs that provide the reader an overview of the research paper and are about 100–150 words in length. Conclusions can be drawn from the abstracts and in the recommendations written in the last line.
Critical: This type of abstract is lengthy and about 400–500 words. In this, the authors’ own research is discussed for reliability, judgement, and validation. A comparison is also made with similar studies done earlier.
Highlighting: This is rarely used in scientific writing. The style of the abstract is to attract more readers. It is not a balanced or complete overview of the article with which it is published.
Structured: A structured abstract contains information under subheadings like background, aims, material and methods, results, conclusion, and recommendations (Fig. 15.1 ). Most leading journals now carry these.
Example of a structured abstract (with permission editor CMRP)
5 What is the Purpose of an Abstract?
An abstract is written to educate the reader about the study that follows and provide an overview of the science behind it. If written well it also attracts more readers to the article. It also helps the article getting indexed. The fate of a paper both before and after publication often depends upon its abstract. Most readers decide if a paper is worth reading on the basis of the abstract. Additionally, the selection of papers in systematic reviews is often dependent upon the abstract.
6 What are the Steps of Writing an Abstract?
An abstract should be written last after all the other sections of an article have been addressed. A poor abstract may turn off the reader and they may cause indexing errors as well. The abstract should state the purpose of the study, the methodology used, and summarize the results and important conclusions. It is usually written in the IMRAD format and is called a structured abstract [ 4 , 5 ].
I: The introduction in the opening line should state the problem you are addressing.
M: Methodology—what method was chosen to finish the experiment?
R: Results—state the important findings of your study.
D: Discussion—discuss why your study is important.
Mention the following information:
Important results with the statistical information ( p values, confidence intervals, standard/mean deviation).
Arrange all information in a chronological order.
Do not repeat any information.
The last line should state the recommendations from your study.
The abstract should be written in the past tense.
7 What are the Things to Be Avoided While Writing an Abstract?
Cut and paste information from the main text
Hold back important information
Tables or Figures
Arguments about the study
8 What are Key Words?
These are important words that are repeated throughout the manuscript and which help in the indexing of a paper. Depending upon the journal 3–10 key words may be required which are indexed with the help of MESH (Medical Subject Heading).
9 How is an Abstract Written for a Conference Different from a Journal Paper?
The basic concept for writing abstracts is the same. However, in a conference abstract occasionally a table or figure is allowed. A word limit is important in both of them. Many of the abstracts which are presented in conferences are never published in fact one study found that only 27% of the abstracts presented in conferences were published in the next five years [ 6 ].
Table 15.1 gives a template for writing an abstract.
10 What are the Important Recommendations of the International Committees of Medical Journal of Editors?
The recommendations are [ 7 ]:
An abstract is required for original articles, metanalysis, and systematic reviews.
A structured abstract is preferred.
The abstract should mention the purpose of the scientific study, how the procedure was carried out, the analysis used, and principal conclusion.
Clinical trials should be reported according to the CONSORT guidelines.
The trials should also mention the funding and the trial number.
The abstract should be accurate as many readers have access only to the abstract.
An Abstract should be written last after all the other sections of the manuscript have been completed and with due care and attention to the details.
It should be structured and written in the IMRAD format.
For many readers, the abstract attracts them to go through the complete content of the article.
The abstract is usually followed by key words that help to index the paper.
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Preparing a manuscript for submission to a medical journal. Available on http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/manuscript-preparation/preparing-for-submission.html . Accessed 10 May 2020.
Authors and affiliations.
Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India
Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India
Institute for Global Health and Development, The Aga Khan University, South Central Asia, East Africa and United Kingdom, Karachi, Pakistan
Zulfiqar A. Bhutta
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Nundy, S., Kakar, A., Bhutta, Z.A. (2022). How to Write an Abstract?. In: How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries?. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5248-6_15
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How to Write an Abstract (With Examples)
Table of Contents
What is an abstract in a paper, how long should an abstract be, 5 steps for writing an abstract, examples of an abstract, how prowritingaid can help you write an abstract.
If you are writing a scientific research paper or a book proposal, you need to know how to write an abstract, which summarizes the contents of the paper or book.
When researchers are looking for peer-reviewed papers to use in their studies, the first place they will check is the abstract to see if it applies to their work. Therefore, your abstract is one of the most important parts of your entire paper.
In this article, we’ll explain what an abstract is, what it should include, and how to write one.
An abstract is a concise summary of the details within a report. Some abstracts give more details than others, but the main things you’ll be talking about are why you conducted the research, what you did, and what the results show.
When a reader is deciding whether to read your paper completely, they will first look at the abstract. You need to be concise in your abstract and give the reader the most important information so they can determine if they want to read the whole paper.
Remember that an abstract is the last thing you’ll want to write for the research paper because it directly references parts of the report. If you haven’t written the report, you won’t know what to include in your abstract.
If you are writing a paper for a journal or an assignment, the publication or academic institution might have specific formatting rules for how long your abstract should be. However, if they don’t, most abstracts are between 150 and 300 words long.
A short word count means your writing has to be precise and without filler words or phrases. Once you’ve written a first draft, you can always use an editing tool, such as ProWritingAid, to identify areas where you can reduce words and increase readability.
If your abstract is over the word limit, and you’ve edited it but still can’t figure out how to reduce it further, your abstract might include some things that aren’t needed. Here’s a list of three elements you can remove from your abstract:
Discussion : You don’t need to go into detail about the findings of your research because your reader will find your discussion within the paper.
Definition of terms : Your readers are interested the field you are writing about, so they are likely to understand the terms you are using. If not, they can always look them up. Your readers do not expect you to give a definition of terms in your abstract.
References and citations : You can mention there have been studies that support or have inspired your research, but you do not need to give details as the reader will find them in your bibliography.
Good writing = better grades
ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.
If you’ve never written an abstract before, and you’re wondering how to write an abstract, we’ve got some steps for you to follow. It’s best to start with planning your abstract, so we’ve outlined the details you need to include in your plan before you write.
Remember to consider your audience when you’re planning and writing your abstract. They are likely to skim read your abstract, so you want to be sure your abstract delivers all the information they’re expecting to see at key points.
1. What Should an Abstract Include?
Abstracts have a lot of information to cover in a short number of words, so it’s important to know what to include. There are three elements that need to be present in your abstract:
Your context is the background for where your research sits within your field of study. You should briefly mention any previous scientific papers or experiments that have led to your hypothesis and how research develops in those studies.
Your hypothesis is your prediction of what your study will show. As you are writing your abstract after you have conducted your research, you should still include your hypothesis in your abstract because it shows the motivation for your paper.
Throughout your abstract, you also need to include keywords and phrases that will help researchers to find your article in the databases they’re searching. Make sure the keywords are specific to your field of study and the subject you’re reporting on, otherwise your article might not reach the relevant audience.
2. Can You Use First Person in an Abstract?
You might think that first person is too informal for a research paper, but it’s not. Historically, writers of academic reports avoided writing in first person to uphold the formality standards of the time. However, first person is more accepted in research papers in modern times.
If you’re still unsure whether to write in first person for your abstract, refer to any style guide rules imposed by the journal you’re writing for or your teachers if you are writing an assignment.
3. Abstract Structure
Some scientific journals have strict rules on how to structure an abstract, so it’s best to check those first. If you don’t have any style rules to follow, try using the IMRaD structure, which stands for Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion.
Following the IMRaD structure, start with an introduction. The amount of background information you should include depends on your specific research area. Adding a broad overview gives you less room to include other details. Remember to include your hypothesis in this section.
The next part of your abstract should cover your methodology. Try to include the following details if they apply to your study:
What type of research was conducted?
How were the test subjects sampled?
What were the sample sizes?
What was done to each group?
How long was the experiment?
How was data recorded and interpreted?
Following the methodology, include a sentence or two about the results, which is where your reader will determine if your research supports or contradicts their own investigations.
The results are also where most people will want to find out what your outcomes were, even if they are just mildly interested in your research area. You should be specific about all the details but as concise as possible.
The last few sentences are your conclusion. It needs to explain how your findings affect the context and whether your hypothesis was correct. Include the primary take-home message, additional findings of importance, and perspective. Also explain whether there is scope for further research into the subject of your report.
Your conclusion should be honest and give the reader the ultimate message that your research shows. Readers trust the conclusion, so make sure you’re not fabricating the results of your research. Some readers won’t read your entire paper, but this section will tell them if it’s worth them referencing it in their own study.
4. How to Start an Abstract
The first line of your abstract should give your reader the context of your report by providing background information. You can use this sentence to imply the motivation for your research.
You don’t need to use a hook phrase or device in your first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Your reader will look to establish relevance quickly, so readability and clarity are more important than trying to persuade the reader to read on.
5. How to Format an Abstract
Most abstracts use the same formatting rules, which help the reader identify the abstract so they know where to look for it.
Here’s a list of formatting guidelines for writing an abstract:
Stick to one paragraph
Use block formatting with no indentation at the beginning
Put your abstract straight after the title and acknowledgements pages
Use present or past tense, not future tense
There are two primary types of abstract you could write for your paper—descriptive and informative.
An informative abstract is the most common, and they follow the structure mentioned previously. They are longer than descriptive abstracts because they cover more details.
Descriptive abstracts differ from informative abstracts, as they don’t include as much discussion or detail. The word count for a descriptive abstract is between 50 and 150 words.
Here is an example of an informative abstract:
A growing trend exists for authors to employ a more informal writing style that uses “we” in academic writing to acknowledge one’s stance and engagement. However, few studies have compared the ways in which the first-person pronoun “we” is used in the abstracts and conclusions of empirical papers. To address this lacuna in the literature, this study conducted a systematic corpus analysis of the use of “we” in the abstracts and conclusions of 400 articles collected from eight leading electrical and electronic (EE) engineering journals. The abstracts and conclusions were extracted to form two subcorpora, and an integrated framework was applied to analyze and seek to explain how we-clusters and we-collocations were employed. Results revealed whether authors’ use of first-person pronouns partially depends on a journal policy. The trend of using “we” showed that a yearly increase occurred in the frequency of “we” in EE journal papers, as well as the existence of three “we-use” types in the article conclusions and abstracts: exclusive, inclusive, and ambiguous. Other possible “we-use” alternatives such as “I” and other personal pronouns were used very rarely—if at all—in either section. These findings also suggest that the present tense was used more in article abstracts, but the present perfect tense was the most preferred tense in article conclusions. Both research and pedagogical implications are proffered and critically discussed.
Wang, S., Tseng, W.-T., & Johanson, R. (2021). To We or Not to We: Corpus-Based Research on First-Person Pronoun Use in Abstracts and Conclusions. SAGE Open, 11(2).
Here is an example of a descriptive abstract:
From the 1850s to the present, considerable criminological attention has focused on the development of theoretically-significant systems for classifying crime. This article reviews and attempts to evaluate a number of these efforts, and we conclude that further work on this basic task is needed. The latter part of the article explicates a conceptual foundation for a crime pattern classification system, and offers a preliminary taxonomy of crime.
Farr, K. A., & Gibbons, D. C. (1990). Observations on the Development of Crime Categories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 34(3), 223–237.
If you want to ensure your abstract is grammatically correct and easy to read, you can use ProWritingAid to edit it. The software integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and most web browsers, so you can make the most of it wherever you’re writing your paper.
Before you edit with ProWritingAid, make sure the suggestions you are seeing are relevant for your document by changing the document type to “Abstract” within the Academic writing style section.
You can use the Readability report to check your abstract for places to improve the clarity of your writing. Some suggestions might show you where to remove words, which is great if you’re over your word count.
We hope the five steps and examples we’ve provided help you write a great abstract for your research paper.
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper | Examples
What is a research paper abstract?
Research paper abstracts summarize your study quickly and succinctly to journal editors and researchers and prompt them to read further. But with the ubiquity of online publication databases, writing a compelling abstract is even more important today than it was in the days of bound paper manuscripts.
Abstracts exist to “sell” your work, and they could thus be compared to the “executive summary” of a business resume: an official briefing on what is most important about your research. Or the “gist” of your research. With the majority of academic transactions being conducted online, this means that you have even less time to impress readers–and increased competition in terms of other abstracts out there to read.
The APCI (Academic Publishing and Conferences International) notes that there are 12 questions or “points” considered in the selection process for journals and conferences and stresses the importance of having an abstract that ticks all of these boxes. Because it is often the ONLY chance you have to convince readers to keep reading, it is important that you spend time and energy crafting an abstract that faithfully represents the central parts of your study and captivates your audience.
With that in mind, follow these suggestions when structuring and writing your abstract, and learn how exactly to put these ideas into a solid abstract that will captivate your target readers.
Before Writing Your Abstract
How long should an abstract be.
All abstracts are written with the same essential objective: to give a summary of your study. But there are two basic styles of abstract: descriptive and informative . Here is a brief delineation of the two:
Of the two types of abstracts, informative abstracts are much more common, and they are widely used for submission to journals and conferences. Informative abstracts apply to lengthier and more technical research and are common in the sciences, engineering, and psychology, while descriptive abstracts are more likely used in humanities and social science papers. The best method of determining which abstract type you need to use is to follow the instructions for journal submissions and to read as many other published articles in those journals as possible.
Research Abstract Guidelines and Requirements
As any article about research writing will tell you, authors must always closely follow the specific guidelines and requirements indicated in the Guide for Authors section of their target journal’s website. The same kind of adherence to conventions should be applied to journal publications, for consideration at a conference, and even when completing a class assignment.
Each publisher has particular demands when it comes to formatting and structure. Here are some common questions addressed in the journal guidelines:
- Is there a maximum or minimum word/character length?
- What are the style and formatting requirements?
- What is the appropriate abstract type?
- Are there any specific content or organization rules that apply?
There are of course other rules to consider when composing a research paper abstract. But if you follow the stated rules the first time you submit your manuscript, you can avoid your work being thrown in the “circular file” right off the bat.
Identify Your Target Readership
The main purpose of your abstract is to lead researchers to the full text of your research paper. In scientific journals, abstracts let readers decide whether the research discussed is relevant to their own interests or study. Abstracts also help readers understand your main argument quickly. Consider these questions as you write your abstract:
- Are other academics in your field the main target of your study?
- Will your study perhaps be useful to members of the general public?
- Do your study results include the wider implications presented in the abstract?
Outlining and Writing Your Abstract
What to include in an abstract.
Just as your research paper title should cover as much ground as possible in a few short words, your abstract must cover all parts of your study in order to fully explain your paper and research. Because it must accomplish this task in the space of only a few hundred words, it is important not to include ambiguous references or phrases that will confuse the reader or mislead them about the content and objectives of your research. Follow these dos and don’ts when it comes to what kind of writing to include:
- Avoid acronyms or abbreviations since these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader, which takes up valuable abstract space. Instead, explain these terms in the Introduction section of the main text.
- Only use references to people or other works if they are well-known. Otherwise, avoid referencing anything outside of your study in the abstract.
- Never include tables, figures, sources, or long quotations in your abstract; you will have plenty of time to present and refer to these in the body of your paper.
Use keywords in your abstract to focus your topic
A vital search tool is the research paper keywords section, which lists the most relevant terms directly underneath the abstract. Think of these keywords as the “tubes” that readers will seek and enter—via queries on databases and search engines—to ultimately land at their destination, which is your paper. Your abstract keywords should thus be words that are commonly used in searches but should also be highly relevant to your work and found in the text of your abstract. Include 5 to 10 important words or short phrases central to your research in both the abstract and the keywords section.
For example, if you are writing a paper on the prevalence of obesity among lower classes that crosses international boundaries, you should include terms like “obesity,” “prevalence,” “international,” “lower classes,” and “cross-cultural.” These are terms that should net a wide array of people interested in your topic of study. Look at our nine rules for choosing keywords for your research paper if you need more input on this.
Research Paper Abstract Structure
As mentioned above, the abstract (especially the informative abstract) acts as a surrogate or synopsis of your research paper, doing almost as much work as the thousands of words that follow it in the body of the main text. In the hard sciences and most social sciences, the abstract includes the following sections and organizational schema.
Each section is quite compact—only a single sentence or two, although there is room for expansion if one element or statement is particularly interesting or compelling. As the abstract is almost always one long paragraph, the individual sections should naturally merge into one another to create a holistic effect. Use the following as a checklist to ensure that you have included all of the necessary content in your abstract.
1) Identify your purpose and motivation
So your research is about rabies in Brazilian squirrels. Why is this important? You should start your abstract by explaining why people should care about this study—why is it significant to your field and perhaps to the wider world? And what is the exact purpose of your study; what are you trying to achieve? Start by answering the following questions:
- What made you decide to do this study or project?
- Why is this study important to your field or to the lay reader?
- Why should someone read your entire article?
In summary, the first section of your abstract should include the importance of the research and its impact on related research fields or on the wider scientific domain.
2) Explain the research problem you are addressing
Stating the research problem that your study addresses is the corollary to why your specific study is important and necessary. For instance, even if the issue of “rabies in Brazilian squirrels” is important, what is the problem—the “missing piece of the puzzle”—that your study helps resolve?
You can combine the problem with the motivation section, but from a perspective of organization and clarity, it is best to separate the two. Here are some precise questions to address:
- What is your research trying to better understand or what problem is it trying to solve?
- What is the scope of your study—does it try to explain something general or specific?
- What is your central claim or argument?
3) Discuss your research approach
Your specific study approach is detailed in the Methods and Materials section . You have already established the importance of the research, your motivation for studying this issue, and the specific problem your paper addresses. Now you need to discuss how you solved or made progress on this problem—how you conducted your research. If your study includes your own work or that of your team, describe that here. If in your paper you reviewed the work of others, explain this here. Did you use analytic models? A simulation? A double-blind study? A case study? You are basically showing the reader the internal engine of your research machine and how it functioned in the study. Be sure to:
- Detail your research—include methods/type of the study, your variables, and the extent of the work
- Briefly present evidence to support your claim
- Highlight your most important sources
4) Briefly summarize your results
Here you will give an overview of the outcome of your study. Avoid using too many vague qualitative terms (e.g, “very,” “small,” or “tremendous”) and try to use at least some quantitative terms (i.e., percentages, figures, numbers). Save your qualitative language for the conclusion statement. Answer questions like these:
- What did your study yield in concrete terms (e.g., trends, figures, correlation between phenomena)?
- How did your results compare to your hypothesis? Was the study successful?
- Where there any highly unexpected outcomes or were they all largely predicted?
5) State your conclusion
In the last section of your abstract, you will give a statement about the implications and limitations of the study . Be sure to connect this statement closely to your results and not the area of study in general. Are the results of this study going to shake up the scientific world? Will they impact how people see “Brazilian squirrels”? Or are the implications minor? Try not to boast about your study or present its impact as too far-reaching, as researchers and journals will tend to be skeptical of bold claims in scientific papers. Answer one of these questions:
- What are the exact effects of these results on my field? On the wider world?
- What other kind of study would yield further solutions to problems?
- What other information is needed to expand knowledge in this area?
After Completing the First Draft of Your Abstract
Revise your abstract.
The abstract, like any piece of academic writing, should be revised before being considered complete. Check it for grammatical and spelling errors and make sure it is formatted properly.
Get feedback from a peer
Getting a fresh set of eyes to review your abstract is a great way to find out whether you’ve summarized your research well. Find a reader who understands research papers but is not an expert in this field or is not affiliated with your study. Ask your reader to summarize what your study is about (including all key points of each section). This should tell you if you have communicated your key points clearly.
In addition to research peers, consider consulting with a professor or even a specialist or generalist writing center consultant about your abstract. Use any resource that helps you see your work from another perspective.
Consider getting professional editing and proofreading
While peer feedback is quite important to ensure the effectiveness of your abstract content, it may be a good idea to find an academic editor to fix mistakes in grammar, spelling, mechanics, style, or formatting. The presence of basic errors in the abstract may not affect your content, but it might dissuade someone from reading your entire study. Wordvice provides English editing services that both correct objective errors and enhance the readability and impact of your work.
Additional Abstract Rules and Guidelines
Write your abstract after completing your paper.
Although the abstract goes at the beginning of your manuscript, it does not merely introduce your research topic (that is the job of the title), but rather summarizes your entire paper. Writing the abstract last will ensure that it is complete and consistent with the findings and statements in your paper.
Keep your content in the correct order
Both questions and answers should be organized in a standard and familiar way to make the content easier for readers to absorb. Ideally, it should mimic the overall format of your essay and the classic “introduction,” “body,” and “conclusion” form, even if the parts are not neatly divided as such.
Write the abstract from scratch
Because the abstract is a self-contained piece of writing viewed separately from the body of the paper, you should write it separately as well. Never copy and paste direct quotes from the paper and avoid paraphrasing sentences in the paper. Using new vocabulary and phrases will keep your abstract interesting and free of redundancies while conserving space.
Don’t include too many details in the abstract
Again, the density of your abstract makes it incompatible with including specific points other than possibly names or locations. You can make references to terms, but do not explain or define them in the abstract. Try to strike a balance between being specific to your study and presenting a relatively broad overview of your work.
If you think your abstract is fine now but you need input on abstract writing or require English editing services (including paper editing ), then head over to the Wordvice academic resources page, where you will find many more articles, for example on writing the Results , Methods , and Discussion sections of your manuscript, on choosing a title for your paper , or on how to finalize your journal submission with a strong cover letter .
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper: Writing Guide & Examples
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An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper that is usually between 150 and 250 words in length. The purpose of the abstract is to provide a concise overview of the research paper's main questions, scope, methodology, findings, and conclusions. The abstract is usually located at the beginning of the paper, after the title page and before the main body of the text. It serves as a preview, and can be useful for readers who want to quickly determine whether the paper is relevant to their interests.
This guide describes all the key parts of this crucial segment and demonstrates how to write an abstract for a research paper . Research abstract examples and tips are also offered to help you create this section effectively.
What Is an Abstract in a Research Paper?
First, let’s cover what is an abstract in research. A research paper abstract is a synopsis of your full study. Specifically, writing an abstract involves extracting the main aspects of your work in a given order. These components include your study purpose and study questions, design, main findings, interpretation, and conclusion. Based on this summary, readers will decide whether to look at the rest of your project. Hence, you must include sufficient key information as this makes the abstract of a research paper useful to your audience or professor. To determine if you have included adequate data, imagine yourself as a researcher conducting an investigation. Consider an abstract as the only section, and think about how much information you provided. Are you satisfied with it? Does it describe your study adequately? Revise your writing accordingly. But don’t be confused. An abstract is a self-contained text, not a part of a research paper introduction . Remember that scientific paper abstracts must highlight your manuscript’s selling point and lure a reader to go through it. At first, it may sound difficult. But this guide will reveal every essential writing step. Alternatively, you can also contact StudyCrumb and pay to write research paper to avoid any further individual work.
What Is the Purpose of an Abstract?
The aforementioned definition demonstrates why abstract writing is important. Nevertheless, it is also necessary to understand the purpose of an abstract in a research paper. Well-written abstracts serve multiple objectives. For example, they communicate your key findings and allow readers to make an informed decision about how relevant your article is based on their interests and whether they should consider it. Reading an abstract of a scientific paper also prepares reviewers to grasp the key points and follow your detailed points and analyses. Another purpose of an abstract is for classification. Online libraries or journal databases, and search engines use abstracts for indexing published works. This allows users to retrieve what they are looking for quickly rather than reading full texts. Thus, a good abstract must include several key terms that potential readers would use for searching, as this makes discovering your work easy.
How Long Is an Abstract?
An abstract is perhaps the only section of your manuscript that is limited regarding how many words you can use. In general, it is usually limited to 150 and 300 words. However, for research paper abstract, most guidelines stick to the range of 200 and 250 words both for simple or small manuscripts and specific types of papers such as theses or dissertations. This restriction should not be exceeded no matter what. However, how long your abstract can be is influenced by the assignment instructions. Thus, it is essential to comply with any guidelines about the abstract length.
What Makes a Good Abstract for a Research Paper?
While the length aspect is vital, it is also essential to write a good abstract. This entails providing an honest and complete synopsis of your work through a coherent flow of ideas. An abstract in a paper should also be self-contained without the need for readers to peruse other parts for further information. Therefore, knowing how to write an effective abstract for a research paper can make a difference. Here are elements that make a good abstract for a research paper:
- Use one finely written, concise, and coherent paragraph that stands individually as an information unit.
- Add all the basic academic features of your manuscript, including background, objective, focus, method, findings/results, and conclusion.
- Do not write about information not covered in your document.
- Ensure the section is understandable to a wide audience and your subject-specific readers.
- Focus on issues instead of people.
- Develop it with the language of your main paper in a simple format for general readers.
- Put it just after your title page.
When to Write an Abstract?
Lengthy texts such as scholarly manuscripts usually require students to write an abstract section. You might also need to write an abstract for a scientific paper when:
- Submitting reports to journals for publication or peer review.
- Working on a book chapter proposal.
- Applying for research grants.
- Completing conference paper proposals.
- Composing book proposals.
- Writing theses or dissertations.
For undergraduates, you may be required to include an abstract in a research paper for others who have not read your main manuscript. Regardless of the type of work you are dealing with, it is necessary to draft your abstract after completing writing, as this enhances accuracy and conformity with other segments of a report.
What to Include in an Abstract of a Research Paper?
Another crucial aspect that you must consider is the structure of an abstract. Good abstracts are well-organized, which makes them more informative. Scientific guidelines emphasize the IMRad format as a standard way of unifying this section. The parts of an abstract in a research paper based on this system consist of:
Do not forget to balance all your sections properly regarding methods included under each heading. Using this setup allows you to write a helpful, concise, and easy-to-understand abstract of a paper. Nonetheless, some instructions may necessitate additional subheadings, particularly works such as clinical trials, observational studies, case studies, and meta-analyses. Hence, you should be attentive to your task requirements.
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As the first section, an introduction reveals to readers what your work is about. Consequently, you should know how to start an abstract by writing a good beginning segment. Here, describe the scope, question/hypothesis, main objectives, and rationale for your study. In most cases, you can frame this part in 2-3 sentences. Each of them should describe a specific point to maximize word use. The introduction to an abstract part of a paper offers a background to your investigation, which should smoothly lead to an explanation of the methods that were used. Be careful here because writing an abstract for a research paper containing a lengthy introduction takes up space for other important sections. This affects the quality of an abstract in a scientific paper. Therefore, ensure that you provide brief, specific, and relevant information that keeps readers interested. Look at this example of an abstract introduction:
The present study explored the effect of technology in enhancing employment opportunities today. The benefits of technology have been examined in exploratory and descriptive studies. Nevertheless, no study has considered how technology increases employment opportunities.
Here are some more examples of how to begin your abstract.
Methodology in research is usually the second longest part of your abstract paragraph. The focus here is on providing adequate information about what you did and how. Specifically, give essential facts about your study design, setting, sample, data collection and analysis instruments, measures, and parameters. The methodology part is vital as you write the abstract section of a research paper because it helps in verifying your manuscript’s credibility. An editor will ignore an abstract missing a methods section or that does not have a clear explanation. Therefore, practice caution and professionalism when writing this unit by including enough details and conveying the maximum quantity of information with few words. If you are unsure of how to organize this segment, consider this example of a good abstract methodology:
This study used a qualitative exploratory design in which data was collected from existing studies and documents. A sample of 120 peer-reviewed works and documents were analyzed using an interpretive paradigm.
This section is about what you found after conducting your research. It is an indispensable and longest part of a research abstract because anyone reading intends to gain insights into your study findings or which data your investigation uncovered. Therefore, avoid compromising its quality by ensuring that you include as much factual information about your results as the word count allows. Drafting the results of an abstract for research papers is not easy. However, the details you should express here include the number of participants, outcomes of your analysis, and actual data such as numbers or mean, etc. Remember to be descriptive and prioritize fresh and substantiated findings contradicting previous studies. Also, indicate any limitations regarding your results’ reliability and accuracy. Look at this sample abstract results:
Nine studies did not meet the research criteria and were excluded. An analysis of the remaining 91 studies revealed five major themes, including ease of skills acquisition, work-at-home opportunities, globalization, digital marketing, and increased networking.
This is a part of the abstract structure where you divulge what readers can take home from your work or what your results mean based on how you interpreted the issue. Use a few but precise sentences to highlight the findings relating to what your study was about. You should also mention any unexpected or important outcomes. Additionally, you can offer a personal judgment regarding the practical or theoretical implications of your results or how significant they are for the study field as a whole. While conclusions are very short parts of an abstract, they are the most impactful on average audiences since readers usually believe authors and consider their views reliable. For this reason, ensure that you are honest when writing an abstract in research by limiting your claims to what your data exposes. Here is an example of a scientific abstract conclusion:
Technology has a positive effect on employment as it creates more job opportunities through remote work. It also enables people from any part of the world to learn essential skills, which enhances their job prospects.
Check our guide on creating a concluding section if you want to know more information on how to write a conclusion for a research paper .
An abstract for research paper must also contain a range of keywords. These are important words or phrases that act as search terms for finding your work quickly. Therefore, in addition to knowing how to write an abstract for a research paper and what to write in an abstract, you should understand how to include useful keywords that capture essential aspects of your manuscript. Think about how you can find your work online. Which words or a combination of them will be typed in a search box? You should use those terms. Acronyms such as OCD, meaning obsessive-compulsive disorder, may also be included. While you are not limited regarding the number of keywords to be used, it is recommended to include 3-5 keywords. Keep in mind that the research abstract format for keywords is a separate line beginning with an indention, like a paragraph below your abstract. Indicate it by italicizing the word Keywords followed by a colon and space look like this:
Keywords: international marketing, globalization, medium-size businesses, B2B, adaptation.
Do not italicize your terms.
How to Write a Research Paper Abstract Step-By-Step
Shrinking a manuscript that you have prepared for several days, weeks, or months into a 300-word paragraph can be challenging when preparing the abstract. However, you can follow specific tricks on how to write an abstract for a paper to address the difficulty. Before you begin, you must consider the instructions provided carefully concerning aspects such as spacing, fonts, word limit, and subheadings. In this section, you will learn how to write a good abstract for a research paper step by step.
1. Explain Your Research Purpose
Students usually start an abstract for a research paper by identifying the study's purpose. Here is where you consider the reasons for conducting your research. For example, if your study problem is about technology and employment, so what? Why should readers care about your topic? In this part of the abstract, you can describe what was solved or why you feel your topic is relevant. Use this section to inform readers about your key argument, as it helps in generating a good abstract for a research paper. Remember to be descriptive by explaining the difficulties of your topic or gaps in knowledge you will address and how your investigation will affect the issue. Consider triggers such as why you conducted your research, how you performed it, what you found, the significance of your study and its results, and why others should read your paper.
2. Define a Research Problem
The next step towards writing a good abstract involves explaining the central issue or problem statement behind your investigation or that your paper addresses. Remember, you first identified your purpose, so build on that by focusing on one key problem. Abstracts for scientific papers usually include this section to demonstrate the scope of a manuscript. Avoid using too much jargon here by making it easy for your readers to see your main message. If your abstract does not include the primary question, then you do not understand why you are conducting your study. Remember that when writing a research abstract, your purpose and problem form the backbone of the work. Thus, do not leave this step until you have one concise study problem.
3. Introduce Your Research Approach
After identifying your research problem, you now need to explain how you addressed it in this part of an academic abstract. In other words, how did you conduct your study following your key problem? When writing an abstract for a paper, let your audience know what you did exactly to get to the findings. Abstract in research paper may include approaches such as experimentation, case study, document analysis, or simulation. You must also highlight the extent of a manuscript, such as how many documents were analyzed and which variables were used. While this section of an abstract for a paper may require a long sentence, ensure that anyone can read it without needing to pause in the middle.
4. Discuss Results
After clarifying your approach, your study abstract must disclose what was found. What is the solution to your research problem? Did you confirm your hypothesis? Remember to be direct, detailed, and clear. Specifically, writing a scientific abstract requires that you describe your results in exact numbers or percentages. This allows you to create an abstract of research paper that cannot be misinterpreted easily. Also, avoid vague words such as “significant”, “large”, “very”, or “small.” In this section, an abstract in a research paper should not include exaggerations or create expectations that your manuscript cannot fulfill. Rather, the focus should be on your most important findings to engage readers. However, do not attempt to fit all your results in this part.
5. Wrap Up Your Scientific Paper Abstract
You should also conclude an abstract after completing the aforementioned steps. This enables you to finish up a research paper abstract and end it. Here, describe what your results mean and why your overall work is important. Mention what the answer to your research problem implies and identify if it is specific or general. For example, are your results generalizable to a wider population or selected groups? When creating an abstract, describe why your readers should care about your results rather than re-stating the findings. What can people do with your study? As stated previously, an abstract is a brief summary in the beginning of a research paper or any other scientific work. Read our guide on how to write an abstract for a research paper and how to structure it for more explanation.
Research Paper Abstract Examples
As you can see, constructing an abstract is not difficult if you follow the above-mentioned steps. You can now compose your own one easily. Nonetheless, if you are still confused or unsure whether you are on the right path, feel free to look at different examples of an abstract for a research paper. You can also consider these three examples of abstracts in research papers and use one of them as a draft for your work. Need a research proposal example ? You will find it in one more blog on our platform. Research paper abstract example 1
Abstract page example 2
Example of an abstract for a research paper 3
Research Paper Abstract Format
Another important consideration is complying with the specified abstract writing format to avoid any confusion on how this section should be completed. Your layout depends on the citation style being used. Specifically, the main styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago, have individual rules regarding how to format an abstract in a research paper. However, to make it simple, an abstract template is usually provided to help you with the organization. In general, observe and stick to your paper’s requirements.
Extra Tips for Writing an Abstract
Writing an abstract for a research paper should not be a complex process. You already have a good idea about how to make an abstract after reading the previous sections. Remember that writing this segment is an essential part of your work because it prefaces the entire manuscript. Still, it is usually the last segment of your project to be written, which means that you should summarize your research easily. However, this can be a daunting undertaking for some students. Below are additional abstract writing tips and guidelines to help you.
Draw Inspiration From Research Paper Abstracts Examples
Even if you follow this article’s guidelines, without writing practice, it can be difficult to create good abstracts. Therefore, if you are still struggling to write, you can draw inspiration from sample abstracts. These can be found in peer-reviewed articles or course books in your school library or from online databases. Focus on samples from your study field e.g., science abstracts examples if you are into the sciences or those for social sciences if it is your field. Seek assistance from your professor to ensure that you consider a good abstract paper example. Another option is reading how to write an abstract example segment, as this offers you a quick refresher on composing abstracts.
Prepare an Abstract Outline
It is also essential to write a research abstract outline if you have not done so already. Creating an outline will help you write your actual abstract paper efficiently. Make sure to place your key argument at the top before reading each subheading of your manuscript as a starting point. Write one-sentence summaries of your main sections as you read in the order that they appear in your work. Also, do not forget to summarize your conclusion. What goes in an abstract, however, is limited. For example, the literature review cannot be included. Rather, you can state in a sentence how your work fits into the wider academic discourse.
Write Abstract From the Ground Up
While your abstract is a synopsis, you should write it from scratch and as a completely different part of your manuscript. Copying and pasting quotes or paraphrasing sentences should be avoided. Use new phrases and vocabulary instead when writing this section to keep it engaging and free of redundant words or sentences. Read how to write abstract for research paper for more clarification about what you should include.
Make Your Research Abstract Concise
Ensure that your research paper abstract is clear, concise, and coherent. It should be no more than 200-250 words. If it is longer, cut it down where necessary. Since readers just want to get the overall view of your claim, you can exclude unimportant information and construct brief sentences. This is how to write a paper abstract:
- Include essential information found in the paper only
- No exaggerations or inclusion of new ideas
- No use of abbreviations that are found only in the body because the abstract should be self-contained
- No dwelling on previous studies since this is a synopsis of your report.
Mistakes to Avoid When You Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
Even if you know how to write research abstract, check it several times to ensure that what you included agrees with your manuscript content completely. Avoid these common mistakes:
- Research paper abstracts should not include catchy phrases or quotes focused on grabbing your readers’ attention.
- Do not use direct acronyms because they require further explanation to help readers understand.
- Citing other studies is not needed.
- Do not use confusing/unnecessary terms or obscure jargon, as the general audience may not understand them.
- A scientific paper abstract should not be too specific. Rather, consider a wider overview of your paper.
- Do not include long quotations, figures, or tables. They take up precious space, and your audience does not need them.
Bottom Line on How to Write a Research Abstract
This guide discussed extensively how to write the abstract of a research paper. Reaching this section means that you now understand what is an abstract in writing. The article also provided several abstract writing examples to help you grasp the described ideas. It is your turn now to develop a nice abstract by applying what you have learned. Do not fret if you are still confused or cannot recall some points. You can just re-read a section to fully understand all concepts.
Our professional writers can compose a top-notch abstract or any other section of a research paper. You can also easily ask for comprehensive assistance with any task and get excellent work strictly according to your deadlines.
FAQ About How to Write an Abstract
1. what is an abstract.
An abstract is a takeaway from your research. Specifically, abstracts are standalone sections that describe an issue, techniques utilized in exploring the issue, and the outcome of these procedures. While each study field specifies what to include in this section, it should be a concise synopsis of your work.
2. Where does an abstract go in a research paper?
Place your research paper abstract at the beginning of your work immediately after a title page and before your table of contents. However, some manuscripts have an acknowledgments section. Here, your abstract appears after that part. It should also be on its page and in a single paragraph.
3. Do you write an abstract first or last?
Even though it appears at the top of your work, ensure that you write an abstract last after completing your research paper since it involves abstracting contents from your manuscript. This allows you to align this section with other parts, such as the title, introduction, and background.
4. Do I need to cite references in a research paper abstract?
It is usually inappropriate to include any reference within abstracts because this section should demonstrate original research. The abstract of a research paper must include a description of what you did in your paper, what you argued, and what you found. You will cite specific sources in your manuscript’s body.
5. What should not be included in an abstract?
These are what you shouldn’t include in the abstract of a research paper:
- Long sentences
- Excessive details or lengthy contextual information
- Filler words, redundant phrases, and repetitive information
- Incomplete sentences
- New information not found within your main text.
6. What tense should I use when writing an abstract?
Write an abstract using active voice. However, a substantial part of this segment may need passive sentences. Nonetheless, use concise and complete sentences when writing your abstract. Specifically, get to your point quickly and focus mostly on the past tense since you are reporting completed research.
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- How to Write An Abstract For Research Papers: Tips & Examples
In many ways, an abstract is like a trailer of a movie or the synopsis of your favorite book. Its job is to whet the reader’s appetite by sharing important information about your work. After reading a well-written abstract, one should have enough interest to explore the full research thesis.
So how do you write an interesting abstract that captures the core of your study? First, you need to understand your research objectives and match them with the key results of your study. In this article, we will share some tips for writing an effective abstract, plus samples you can learn from.
What is an Abstract in Research Writing?
In simple terms, an abstract is a concise write-up that gives an overview of your systematic investigation. According to Grammarly, it is a self-contained summary of a larger work, and it serves as a preview of the bigger document.
It usually appears at the beginning of your thesis or research paper and helps the reader to have an overview of your work without going into great detail. This means that when someone reads your abstract, it should give them a clear idea of the purpose of your systematic investigation, your problem statement, key results, and any gaps requiring further investigation.
So how long should your abstract be to capture all of these details? The reality is you don’t need a lot of words to capture key pieces of information in your abstract. Typically, 6–7 sentences made up of 150–250 words should be just right.
Read: Writing Research Proposals: Tips, Examples & Mistakes
What are the Characteristics of a Good Abstract?
- A good abstract clearly states the aims and objectives of the research.
- It outlines the research methodology for data gathering , processing and analysis.
- A good abstract summarizes specific research results.
- It states the key conclusions of the systematic investigation.
- It is brief yet straight to the point.
- A good abstract is unified and coherent.
- It is easy to understand and devoid of technical jargon.
- It is written in an unbiased and objective manner.
What is the Purpose of an Abstract?
Every abstract has two major purposes. First, it communicates the relevance of your systematic investigation to readers. After reading your abstract, people can determine how relevant your study is to their primary or secondary research purpose.
The second purpose of an abstract is to communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper. Research papers typically run into tens of pages so it takes time to read and digest them. To help readers grasp the core ideas in a systematic investigation, it pays to have a well-written abstract that outlines important information concerning your study.
In all, your abstract should accurately outline the most important information in your research. Many times, it determines whether people would go ahead to read your dissertation. Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your thesis easily findable.
Learn About: How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research
What are the Sections of an Abstract?
You already know the key pieces of information that your abstract should communicate. These details are broken into six important sections of the abstract which are:
- The Introduction or Background
- Research Methodology
- Aims and Objectives
Let’s discuss them in detail.
- The Introduction or Background
The introduction or background is the shortest part of your abstract and usually consists of 2–3 sentences. In fact, some researchers write a single sentence as the introduction of their abstract. The whole idea here is to take the reader through the important events leading to your research.
Understandably, this information may appear difficult to convey in a few sentences. To help out, consider answering these two questions in the background to your study :
- What is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question?
- What is not known about the subject (this is the focus of your study)?
As much as possible, ensure that your abstract’s introduction doesn’t eat into the word count for the other key information.
- Research Methodology
This is the section where you spell out any theories and methods adopted for your study. Ideally, you should cover what has been done and how you went about it to achieve the results of your systematic investigation. It is usually the second-longest section in the abstract.
In the research methodology section, you should also state the type of research you embarked on; that is, qualitative research or quantitative research —this will inform your research methods too. If you’ve conducted quantitative research, your abstract should contain information like the sample size, data collection methods , sampling technique, and duration of your experiment.
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In the end, readers are most interested in the results you’ve achieved with your study. This means you should take time to outline every relevant outcome and show how they affect your research population . Typically, the results section should be the longest one in your abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality.
An important thing you should do here is spelled out facts and figures about research outcomes. Instead of a vague statement like, “we noticed that response rates differed greatly between high-income and low-income respondents”, try this: “The response rate was higher in high-income respondents than in their low-income counterparts (59% vs 30%, respectively; P
Like the introduction, your conclusion should contain a few sentences that wrap up your abstract. Most researchers express a theoretical opinion about the implications of their study, here.
Your conclusion should contain three important elements:
- The primary take-home message
- The additional findings of importance
- The perspective
Although the conclusion of your abstract should be short, it has a great impact on how readers perceive your study. So, take advantage of this section to reiterate the core message in your systematic investigation. Also, make sure any statements here reflect the true outcomes and methods of your research.
Chances are you must have faced certain challenges in the course of your research—it could be at the data collection phase or during sampling . Whatever these challenges are, it pays to let your readers know about them, and the impact they had on your study.
For example, if you had to switch to convenience sampling or snowball sampling due to difficulties in contacting well-suited research participants, you should include this in your abstract. Also, a lack of previous studies in the research area could pose a limitation on your study. Research limitations provide an opportunity to make suggestions for further research.
Research aims and objectives speak to what you want to achieve with your study. Typically, research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes while the objectives focus on the immediate, short-term outcome of the investigation. You may summarize both using a single paragraph comprising a few sentences.
Stating your aims and objectives will give readers a clear idea of the scope, depth, and direction that your research will ultimately take. Readers would measure your research outcomes against stated aims and objectives to know if you achieved the purpose of your study.
Use For Free: Research Form Templates
Abstract Writing Styles and General Guidelines
Now that you know the different sections plus information that your abstract should contain, let’s look at how to write an abstract for your research paper.
A common question that comes up is, should I write my abstract first or last? It’s best to write your abstract after you’ve finished working on the research because you have full information to present to your readers. However, you can always create a draft at the beginning of your systematic investigation and fill in the gaps later.
Does writing an abstract seem like a herculean task? Here are a few tips to help out.
1. Always create a framework for your abstract
Before you start writing, take time to develop a detailed outline for your abstract. Break it into sections and sketch the main and supporting points for each section. You can list keywords plus 1–2 sentences that capture your core messaging.
2. Read Other Abstracts
Abstracts are one of the most common research documents, and thousands of them have been written in time past. So, before writing yours, try to study a couple of samples from others. You can find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases.
3. Steer Clear of Jargon As Much As Possible
While writing your abstract, emphasize clarity over style. This means you should communicate in simple terms and avoid unnecessary filler words and ambiguous sentences. Remember, your abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
4. Focus on Your Research
It goes without saying that your abstract should be solely focused on your research and what you’ve discovered. It’s not the time to cite primary and secondary data sources unless this is absolutely necessary.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the scholarly background of your work. You might include a sentence or two summarizing the scholarly background to show the relevance of your work to a broader debate, but there’s no need to mention specific publications.
Going further, here are some abstract writing guidelines from the University of Bergen:
- An abstract briefly explains the salient aspects of the content.
- Abstracts should be accurate and succinct, self-contained, and readable.
- The abstract should paraphrase and summarise rather than quote from the paper.
- Abstracts should relate only to the paper to be presented/assessed.
Types of Abstracts with Examples
According to the University of Adelaide, there are two major types of abstracts written for research purposes. First, we have informative abstracts and descriptive abstracts.
1. Informative Abstract
An informative abstract is the more common type of abstract written for academic research. It highlights the most important aspects of your systematic investigation without going into unnecessary or irrelevant details that the reader might not find useful.
The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of longer work, it may be much less.
In any informative abstract, you’d touch on information like the purpose, method, scope, results, and conclusion of your study. By now, you’re thinking, “this is the type of abstract we’ve been discussing all along”, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth.
Advantages of Informative Abstracts
- These abstracts save time for both the researcher and the readers.
- It’s easy to refer to these abstracts as secondary research sources.
Disadvantages of Informative Abstracts
- These types of abstracts lack personality.
Example of an Informative Abstract
- Sample Informative Abstract Based on Experimental Work From Colorado State University
- Sample Informative Abstract Based on Non-experimental Work From Colorado State University
2. Descriptive Abstract
A descriptive abstract reads like a synopsis and focuses on enticing the reader with interesting information. They don’t care as much for data and details, and instead read more like overviews that don’t give too much away.
You’d find descriptive abstracts in artistic criticism pieces and entertainment research as opposed to scientific investigations. This type of abstract makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. They are usually written in 100 words or less.
Advantages of Descriptive Abstracts
- It gives a very brief overview of the research paper.
- It is easier to write descriptive abstracts compared to informational abstracts.
Disadvantages of Descriptive Abstracts
- They are suitable for scientific research.
- Descriptive abstracts might omit relevant information that deepens your knowledge of the systematic investigation.
Example of Descriptive Abstracts
- Sample Descriptive Abstract From Colorado State University
FAQs About Writing Abstracts in Research Papers
1. How Long Should an Abstract Be?
A typical abstract should be about six sentences long or less than 150 words. Most universities have specific word count requirements that fall within 150–300 words.
2. How Do You Start an Abstract Sentence?
There are several ways to start your abstract. Consider the following methods:
- State a problem or uncertainty
- Make a general statement with the present research action.
- State the purpose or objective of your research
- State a real-world phenomena or a standard practice.
3. Should you cite in an abstract?
While you can refer to information from specific research papers, there’s no need to cite sources in your abstract. Your abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
4. What should not be included in an abstract?
An abstract shouldn’t have numeric references, bibliographies, sections, or even footnotes.
5. Which tense is used in writing an abstract?
An abstract should be written in the third-person present tense. Use the simple past tense when describing your methodology and specific findings from your study.
Writing an abstract might appear challenging but with these steps, you should get it right. The easiest approach to writing a good abstract is centering it on key information including your research problem and objectives, methodology, and key results.
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
09 Oct 2021
❓What is an Abstract?
📑The Abstract Section of a Research Paper
✍️How to Write an Abstract for Research Paper
✅Research Paper Abstract Example
An abstract for any kind of academic paper is needed to explain the main points of your research. There are many frameworks on the Internet on how to write it and helpful advice. It can also be clarified by your professors or tutors, who will review the work afterward.
After reading this article, you will be able to prepare an abstract section for a research paper and find out how to include only necessary information about your research, as well as the objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. So, how to write an abstract for a research paper? Let’s find it out.
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What is an Abstract?
The abstract section of a research paper is the concentrated digest of the entire work. The abstract section should be written according to the formal rules described below.
In fact, one of the main tasks of the abstract is to get people interested in the paper. In the abstract, it is necessary to select strong theses that hide something to force the reader to read the whole article. As a rule, they hide the results and focus on the methodology and conclusions. When a scientist finds an abstract that explains all the main steps of a study, especially the results, he feels happy that he can make a quick decision about the article without reading it completely. But when the abstract doesn't reveal the results, the scientist is obliged to read the whole paper.
By understanding the purpose and structure of the research paper and taking the time to develop clear and concise thoughts, you can create a compelling abstract that will help you with any assignment . It's important to remember that an abstract should be a succinct summary of the research paper and should provide essential information to the reader that can assist them in understanding the core of the paper.
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The Abstract Section of a Research Paper
There are standard requirements for written works, one of which is the presence of an abstract. This is a kind of essay that briefly and comprehensively characterizes the main ideas of the paper. The subtleties of composition depend on the type of research and the requirements of a specific educational institution (they may differ), but the essence is the same. Let’s try to understand how to write an effective abstract for a research paper.
The abstract must include three blocks of information:
- introductory – information about the title and topic of the work;
- informative – structure, scope, description of novelty, goals, subject, object, the relevance of research;
- summarizing - conclusions and recommendations of the study, a description of the areas of practical application, and reasons why it is valuable and vital.
When forming the material and looking for information to compile the document, the author should not forget about its small volume, in which the uniqueness of the project must be proven. One should raise interest in the work and confirm the relevance of the considered tasks and goals. Clarity of the structure and brevity of data presentation is required. Let's dive into the details of every part of the abstract section.
Title and Author Information
The official beginning of your abstract should include title . To conduct a study, you should write an essay and a conspectus for your inquest. The author's information should be up to date and contain the author's achievements. You should pay attention to the technical requirements, such as capitalized letters and font. The title should attract the attention of the reader. Therefore, it has to be engaging.
Start the introduction with the facts of the analysis. You should explain the importance of the problem and your authentic way of finding the solution. The first introduction sentence must attract the reader's attention.
A brief representation of the results is the obligatory part of the abstract. Mention the most critical results you obtained during the research. However, try to put ideas, not the whole research process.
Besides, you should formulate the conclusions of your text in the synopsis in a few sentences. This could be just a thesis without an explanation.
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You can also use the popular framework known as IMRAD structure to write an abstract for a research paper. This is almost the same as we described, just easier to remember and follow. Each letter stands for a specific paragraph of the abstract. Four main sections are provided - introduction, methods, results, analysis, and discussion. Let's dwell on each of these elements in more detail.
- Introduction Just like we stated before: describe the topic, the main trends, and problems of the area, the information that needs to be disclosed to cover the problem fully is indicated, and the result is predicted.
- Methods This section presents a methodology in a clear and detailed manner. It is necessary to describe only the methods without moving to the discussion.
- Results The results block involves the author demonstrating the results achieved as a result of the research. Specific analysis is not affected. Thematic conclusions are formed, and the data from the obtained results are demonstrated. Visualization elements such as graphic materials and illustrations are used for clarity.
- Analysis This block analyzes the research in detail, evaluates the results in terms of importance and reliability, and characterizes the nuances and details that can be useful to scientists in their work. An important nuance is an inadmissibility to formulate conclusions that are not foreseen and not determined by the results of the scientific article.
- Discussion The block with discussions on the degree of informativeness and significance is of key importance. Important nuances of a scientific article are argued here, with the help of which the result becomes available to scientists. The author informs what new knowledge the industry has acquired, the perspectives of their use, and what aspects should be paid special attention to.
- Start writing the abstract when the diploma is ready. So there is no chance of missing the main thing.
- Don't try to copy and paste the introduction and conclusion. This is not the correct format. You need an explanation of the essence in your own words. The task is to tell the reader what, how, and why to be interested.
- Follow scientific style. The journalistic style, or even elements of artistic style, are unacceptable.
- Present thoughts logically and consistently. Paragraphs should be consistent in terms of content, flow from each other and form a general concept. Just a competent set of arguments is not suitable.
- Check your spelling and grammar. It is important. The abstract is the first thing the board reads.
- Do not forget about uniqueness. This is the first requirement for scientific and student works, including such small fragments.
- Highlight keywords. The abstract language should contain keywords and phrases. After you have written your work, it is important to highlight the most relevant words by which your work can be found online and add them to the abstract. This will help during indexing to find and cite the work more easily in the future.
Everyone who has ever faced the question: How do you write an abstract for a research paper should familiarize themselves with the following abstract types:
- In the short version. The size of this document may well not exceed half of a standard sheet. It is often enough to describe the research methodology and indicate the goals that were set.
- In the extended version. In this case, the document size should be from 1-2 to 3-4 sheets. Here you should indicate the main information and your own feedback about all the essential and significant points in the conducted research. It is also necessary to indicate the key stages of the research and give well-founded conclusions.
How to Write an Abstract Page for a Research Paper?
Try to represent the information about your research briefly and accurately. To create an excellent impression of your paper, it is important to compose an abstract properly. To develop an effective abstract, follow these three steps:
1. Write a solid research paper
This is evident but a very paramount requirement. If your work is weak, there is nothing to add to the abstract.
2. Identify the main points
If you have written your assignment, you should look through it and find all the key points. This is a very useful trick. Simply write down all the facts, so it will be easier to make a summary of your essay.
3. Write a draft
It would help if you started writing a draft as soon as possible. You will want to be able to change some sentences in your synopsis after some time has passed. You should explain the main concept about the importance of your work, its objective, materials and methods used, and results and conclusions in a few hundred words. In any case, you can order a term paper for sale at a custom writing service.
The relevance of the research paper should be revealed in the abstract; it is the main task of this section. The document should be distinguished by brevity and clarity of presentation of opinion. But there may be difficulties here. Therefore, it is worth distracting yourself after writing the first version and rereading the text after.
What to pay attention to when reading?
- Complex sentences, where they are unnecessary. They can usually be shortened or broken into several sentences,
- Repetition of thoughts,
- Connectivity of blocks,
- The logic of the presentation,
- Importance of the highlighted facts. Often, the author tries to fit goals and related tasks into one accompanying note. Only the basic theses are essential for the abstract. And the introduction will tell about the others.
It may seem that the document turned out to be dry, strictly scientific, and blocky. This is considered normal when writing an abstract for a thesis.
Research Paper Abstract Example
If you get the main idea about writing the abstract, you will be able to answer the question: How do I write an abstract for a research paper?
The abstract of a research paper is a brief, yet comprehensive summary of the paper. It should capture the essence of the study and the main outcomes. Writing an effective abstract for a research paper can be a daunting task, but thankfully Papers Owl is here to help. With our team of experienced experts, you can rest assured you’ll have an abstract that meets all your research paper needs.
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
Published 16 October, 2023
The abstract is the most important part of any research paper. It’s a summary that gives an overview of what your research is about and why it matters and how it contributes to knowledge, but it also needs to grab readers’ attention and make them want to read the whole thing. An abstract is an autonomous, brief, and intense declaration that describes the work with enormous scope. Its components differ by the discipline of the project. You have to give a concise view of your massive project in the abstract. In this blog post, we’ll discuss its meaning, types, and how to write an abstract for a research paper.
What is an abstract?
An abstract is a succinct summary of a research paper that gives its main ideas and often includes details on how the study was conducted. If you’re conducting research, the abstract will summarize your study and will provide key information such as the problem being addressed, what methodology to be used in your study, how many subjects are enrolled, and what you expect to find in terms of results.
An abstract is the most essential element of every research work either it is a thesis, dissertation, or any other. The abstract gives a concise view or a brief description of a larger project. It is a powerful, short, and independent declaration that describes the enormous scope of your paper.
What to Include in an abstract for a research paper?
Students have to take care of some basic mistakes, which students mostly do while writing an abstract on paper. You should not draw any sketch, diagram, flow charts, and pie charts in your abstract. As of now, at this point, it must be very clear in your mind that abstract is the descriptive information of your project, which you write in a summarized form.
- Your abstract should include all the contents of the project, along with its scope.
- It should also describe your finding, methodologies, objectives, and conclusion.
- Commonly searched keywords are also be added in your abstract, but they must be very relevant to your topic. Sometimes students just add keywords that do not have any link with their topic. This irritates the reader and left a bad impression on the mind of the reader.
The motive for writing an abstract is just for the readers so that they can know the objective of your topic. It should be very clear in the mind of the students that you have only to write a summary of the project. An abstract is just a description of your project. It should contain information about what you actually covered in your project and not elaborating your topic and project’s content.
For your clear understanding, let me take an example if you are writing an abstract on dowry. In this, you will write about your survey research , investigation, and conclusion. You are not going to write why people give dowry, what dowry is, and other things related to it.
Read Also: Problem Statement In Research Paper
Types of Abstracts
As there are many types of abstract, so it becomes challenging for the students to choose the appropriate one for their project. The type of abstract that you are going to write will directly depend on the type of research work you are undertaking. So a complete knowledge of the types of abstract is beneficial for college students. And this would also help them to choose the correct one for their work.
So, here is an explained description of the types of the abstract. This would help you to choose the correct abstract for your project.
There are four types of abstract, as follows:
Informative abstract, critical abstract, highlight abstract.
Now, in the further part of this section, we are going to give you complete information regarding each of the abstracts. This would help you to differentiate between the different types of abstract. And also help college students to choose the correct abstract for their project wisely. It would resolve the confusion of students about types of abstracts.
A descriptive abstract is an outline of work. It may include the purpose, methods, and scope of research being summarized but does not make judgments about it or provide results/conclusions from the study.
In this type of intellectual, you are going to describe your summarized data. In this, you are not comparing it with other pages of your work. As the name itself suggests that you only have to describe the summary. Comparing this with other papers of your research is not part of a descriptive abstract.
After choosing the type of abstract, you must be very clear in your mind about what to write in it. If you do not take care of the rules and main points of each abstract, then it would completely change the type of abstract.
The informative abstract is a summary of the paper that includes background information, research methods, and scope. The author should also include their conclusions in an informative abstract as well as important recommendations for future research so readers are better informed about the topic.
An informative abstract is the most common type of abstract being used by researchers. In this, students are going to describe the main arguments and the essential points of your project. The students explain the focused aspects of work and highlight them.
While focusing the mind of readers towards the main points, there are also some other points, which you can add on. You can write the conclusion of your project and the recommendation given by the authors.
A critical abstract is a summary of the main findings and information in an article. It also provides a judgment or comment on whether this research can be considered valid, reliable, complete, etc., as well as comparing it to other works that have been done on the same subject.
In this abstract students are going to describe the main points, information, and findings. Along with this, they also add the comment and their judgment regarding the study’s completeness and validity of the research .
In summary, critical abstract includes focusing on the main point along with comments and judgments of your study’s reliability. With all this, you compare it to other papers of your works. Evaluation of your research is also done in this type of abstract.
It is rarely used in academic works. An abstract is written to attract the readers’ minds towards your work. It must be very precise and attractive so that it can easily catch the reader’s attention. As the name suggests, it must include the highly important points which you must want to highlight in your work.
There is not so much explanation regarding the highlight abstract; it just covers your highlighted aspects. The main aim of the student, who is writing this type of abstract, is that they just want the reader’s attention towards their research work. The college student must keep it in their mind, that it is rarely used in their academic work.
Elements of An Abstract For Research Paper –
Although there are many types of abstract, there is one thing that is common for all kinds of abstract. So there will not be any big issue if one could not remember the differentiating point between all types of abstracts. Apart from differentiating features, if students only remember these elements, then this would solve their problem to a maximum level.
After knowing the elements of the abstract, college students can write an effective abstract, even if they do not remember the different types of abstracts. There are some differentiating features among each type of abstract, but on the other hand, there is also one common point among them. So it is crucial for students to remember these points at least.
All abstract must be present with 4 types of elements to the reader:
These are the common elements that are present among all of them. Before going to tell you about the writing skills for an abstract, you must know entirely about the aspects of the abstract.
This section accounts for the first few sentences of the abstract. It aware the readers about the research you carried out in your work. An objective gives an account to the reader about the problem and issues you have been explored in the research work. It also includes the solution you studied for the issue. Along with all this, the writer also explains his inspiration for the project. But it must be kept in mind that it should not be too long and takes only a few sentences of the abstract.
After you complete your objective, it’s time to move on to the next part of the abstract, i.e. methods. That means in this section of the abstract; you are going to write about the research methodology you used in your research works. You will write the steps of the methods, that are being used by you in finding the solution to the issue. And the steps of the process vary with your research topic.
- For the humanity project, you write the methods for the framework of your research.
- In relation to the service project, the student will write the outline of services performed and processes followed by you.
So we can say that, regardless of the subject and field, in this part of the abstract you will write the methods you used to reach the final solution, result, and conclusion.
In this, you will write the final outcome of your research work. It is self-explanatory to write the definitive answer to your work in this part. If the result is not completed yet, then you can add the theories regarding the probable outcome. The length of the result must be much specified; you must not write additional points in this part. Students must write the main points so that the outcome is clear to the reader and the length is not too long.
It is the last among the four elements of the abstract. Like in other paperwork, the conclusion is written in just a or two-sentence length where you would be summarized what you have written above in your project. In the abstract, the student will summarize the result in conclusion. While writing the conclusion, one question must be in your mind i.e. “what is the value of these results?”. This question will help you to write the conclusion of the abstract correctly.
Note:- A brief introduction of not more than 2-3 sentences , is added before the objective. But this is only in the case of most extensive research works. In the majority of research work, we skip the introduction and directly start our abstract with the objective. Writing an introduction section before the objective, just acts as a brief description for the reader about what is being written in the objective.
So by knowing the elements of the abstract, students are clear about the format and sequence being used for writing it. It would help them to write an effective abstract and in a sequential manner. Elements must be present in every abstract.
Common Mistakes during Abstract writing
The most common mistake students do while writing the abstract is that they write it in the same way as they write their whole project. The style of writing the abstract is different from the rest of the paperwork. There are many points you should keep in mind while writing an abstract.
There are some points, i.e. elements, that must be included in your abstract, but on the other hand, some points must be avoided. The points, which are mentioned below must be avoided while writing an abstract:-
- Informal language and the idioms
- Symbols or abbreviations
- Figures, illustrations, images, graphs, or tables
- Unfinished phrases
- It should be comparatively brief; the word amount should not be pumped up
- Extended background information for which research paper is concerned, it should be brief
- New data which is not included in the study article
- Phrases such as “present research show” or “confirm studies.”
- Terms that may be confusing to readers
- Unnecessary details which do not add to the abstract’s general purpose
Steps that make your abstract writing perfect
At this stage, you are clear with the definition of abstract, along with its type and elements of abstract. Now it’s time to know how to write an effective abstract. One should be very clear in his mind that their abstract will be understandable, convenient to read, and attractive to the reader. For an effective abstract, length is a very important factor. Your abstract should not be too long, and on the other side, it must contain all the essential points of your project.
Ideally, in the abstract, you attract the reader’s mind towards the main objective of your project. And your topic would be evident in their minds through your abstract. So, one must focus on writing a useful abstract for a research paper. Your abstract will define the interest of the readers towards your research work.
Following steps that students must keep in their minds for writing an abstract:-
Step 1. Complete your research work
Firstly, complete your whole research work. Once you are done with your research work, then you are very much clear about what to write in your abstract. Above mentioned points, along with these steps, must be kept in your mind for writing an abstract.
After finishing your entire research work, it would automatically be apparent in your mind what would be going to write in your abstract. And you will describe your project in your abstract, in a very précised and concise manner. One should follow each step for good results.
Step 2. Make a list of essential points
Do not waste much time thinking about what to write and which point to write and how to conclude everything in just 2 or 3 sentences. Just read out your introduction and conclusion thoroughly. Then figure the essential points that you think you should add to your abstract. And write them out in your abstract. You have just to summarize your objective and conclusion in the abstract. It is for the objective and outcome part of the abstract.
Step 3. Include methods and materials
College students must make rough notes of what they have done while completing their research work. The Research methodology or technique they used for the solution must be written on these rough notes. These notes further help them to write their method part of the abstract without any unnecessary headache and tension.
Once you write all the methods and techniques you have used for your work, it would be immensely more comfortable for you to write them in the abstract. As the method section, only include the process and methods. If you are writing illogical and unrelated points in this section would not attract the reader’s mind at all. Do not write unnecessary information; just write down the methods used by use to reach the outcome.
Step 4. Answer the questions related to research
The following questions answers must be present in your abstract. These are must-answer questions that the reader would be going to seek in your abstract. They are:-
The primary purpose of your research work? Why is it necessary to carry out the research on your topic? The process you follow to reach the final outcome? What did these results mean to you? And what answers do readers get from your project? How did you reach the final conclusion? How will readers get the answer to their questions?
Answers to all these questions must be written in your abstract. After knowing the answers to all these questions in your abstract, the reader will feel satisfied, and he will further want to read your whole project with great interest.
Step 5. Exclude irrelevant information
As at this level of this handout, it is very much apparent in your mind that the length of the abstract would not be too long. So for a precise length of your abstract, read it from top to bottom with concentration. Then eliminate the points you think are not as relevant and is only increasing the length of your abstract. Do this 2 or 3 times to remove the extra points you have written in your abstract. It will make you’re abstract shorter in length and more descriptive. As more precise and descriptive, your abstract will be, would be going to attract the readers and increase the interest of the readers in your research work.
Step 6. Review the abstract
It is a significant step, as students are very less aware of it and sometimes just skip this step. In this step, you are again going to read your abstract thoroughly. This time you are not going to exclude any extra points and check the consistency of information. In this step, you are going to review your grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, sentence structure, and symbols and abbreviations (if used).
Students must keep in their mind that, never submit their work of any type without performing this step. Because nowadays, students are too much active on social media, so it becomes prevalent for them to use short forms and symbols. Using short forms or symbols and grammar and spelling mistakes in your paperwork leaves a wrong impression on the reader’s mind. So always perform this step for both your research work and abstract.
Now, after all your hard work and efforts, your paper works along with the abstract is ready. The abstract is error-free, informative, descriptive, concise, precise, and complete. Now your summary is prepared along with your research work to submit to your professor.
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Even though it seems natural to write an abstract, in actual it isn’t. To get an informative abstract for a research paper, college students can also take the help of experts. Professional academic writers of My Research Topics are available round the clock (24*7) to serve their clients. Our pocket-friendly services for the students help them invariant subjects.
Students can freely ask the experts for help if they are not satisfied with their service. Our all experts are highly qualified and efficient enough in their work to deliver their service even before the more stringent deadline. If for any reason, the student is not able to complete his work and is left with much less time, then also you can hire the experts and submit quality work to your professors.
We never compromise with the quality of our service and treat every client with unique and best possible content by doing proper research to collect the data. You can quickly free yourself from the stress of incomplete work. And amaze your supervisors with the best idea and content for any of your academic paper writing.
From the abstract only, your readers should be able to understand the basic concepts of every aspect of your research work. It is so that they can decide whether the paper will serve its purpose or not. Hence you should try to keep your abstract as attractive and readable as you can.
Try to cover every possible aspect, along with the thesis statement in your abstract in a concise manner by keeping in mind the type of your readers. You can also check some sample abstracts for paper presentations if you are facing any kind of trouble.
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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
By Divya Bhansali
Columbia University; Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate
8 minute read
Imagine standing on the threshold of a vast library filled with books, each representing a unique realm of knowledge. Now, picture the abstract as a signpost at the entrance of each bookshelf, offering you a sneak peek into the exciting stories and ideas within those books. It's like having a magical map that guides you to the most intriguing parts of the library without reading every book from cover to cover.
The abstract isn't just a fancy summary; it's your golden ticket to presenting your research to the world. In this guide tailored specifically for high schoolers like you, we will dive into the art of crafting an abstract that not only explains your research but also captures readers' attention. From understanding its purpose to mastering the skill of clear and concise writing, we'll take you step by step through the process of creating an abstract that shines.
What Is An Abstract?
At its core, an abstract is a standalone piece of writing that encapsulates the essence of your research paper. It provides a window into your study, offering a snapshot of the problem, methodology, findings, and conclusions. Consider it a distilled version of your paper, designed to communicate the critical aspects of your research without requiring readers to navigate through the entire document.
Does My Research Paper Need an Abstract?
When people talk about abstracts you’ll notice they use words like research, analysis, and findings . This all sounds very scientific, so you might assume that only STEM papers have abstracts. Do you really need an abstract if your paper isn’t scientific? The answer is yes. In academic contexts, learning to write a strong abstract is a good skill to develop because most college research papers will require one regardless of the discipline. Acquiring this knowledge in high school can help set you up for your future academic endeavors.
The abstract composition can vary across academic disciplines due to differing conventions and expectations. Here are some disciplinary considerations:
Scientific Disciplines: In scientific research, abstracts often entail a concise description of the research question, experimental design, methodology, results, and implications. This allows fellow researchers to swiftly assess the study's relevance and significance.
Humanities and Social Disciplines: Abstracts in these disciplines typically integrate the research question, theoretical framework, methodology, key findings, and broader implications for the field or society. The abstract may also reflect the author's theoretical stance or perspective.
Engineering and Technology: Engineering abstracts focus on problem statements, design objectives, methodologies, technological innovations, and their practical applications. They often highlight the efficiency or novelty of the proposed solutions.
Medical and Health Sciences: Abstracts in medical research elucidate the study's research question, methodology, patient population (if applicable), results, and clinical or public health implications.
The abstract can operate like a pitch. In a world full of headlines, videos, and links, people want to know if what they’re reading will be worth their time—and that’s where your abstract comes in handy.
The Fundamentals of an Abstract
An abstract serves as a concise gateway to your research, offering readers a glimpse into the heart of your study before delving into the full paper. While its structure may appear formulaic, each component plays a crucial role in effectively conveying your research's essence. In this section, we'll explore the key elements that constitute a well-crafted abstract, from its structure and length to the importance of clarity, active voice, keywords, and timing.
Let’s use Jasmita’s project abstract as an example as we’re going through the following elements:
Previous studies have shown us the effects that background music has while learning new material. Background music can help one while studying as it can improve mood and overall performance when doing work, but it can also be distracting. Although studies have looked at the effects of music genre on studying, no studies have examined how participants’ familiarity with background music affects their performance. In this study, we looked into the effects of listening to familiar and unfamiliar music on performance on a grammar task and on participants’ self-reported distractedness. We also examined how this effect is moderated by one’s overall test anxiety. Participants completed ACT reading comprehension questions while listening to playlists of familiar and unfamiliar music. These findings suggest that the familiarity of music and level of test anxiety do not have a significant effect on the overall performance while performing grammatical tasks.
While an abstract's structure may seem formulaic, each component plays a crucial role in conveying your research's essence:
Background and Purpose: Begin by establishing the context of your research. Introduce the problem or research question you sought to address. Explain its significance in your field and why it warrants investigation. Concisely state the purpose of your study.
Previous studies have shown us the effects that background music has while learning new material. Background music can help one while studying as it can improve mood and overall performance when doing work, but it can also be distracting. Although studies have looked at the effects of music genre on studying, no studies have examined how participants’ familiarity with background music affects their performance.
Methods: Describe the research methodology and approach you employed. Highlight any innovative techniques or methods you adopted. This section provides insight into the strategies you used to gather and analyze data.
In this study, we looked into the effects of listening to familiar and unfamiliar music on performance on a grammar task and on participants’ self-reported distractedness. We also examined how this effect is moderated by one’s overall test anxiety. Participants completed ACT reading comprehension questions while listening to playlists of familiar and unfamiliar music.
Results: Present the primary findings of your research. What were the fundamental discoveries, outcomes, or trends that emerged from your study? This section offers a glimpse into the heart of your research findings.
Conclusion: Summarize the conclusions and implications drawn from your findings. Reflect on how your research contributes to your field’s broader body of knowledge. Discuss the potential applications or significance of your results.
The length of an abstract can vary, but it typically ranges from 150 to 300 words. However, adhering to the specific word count guidelines provided by the target journal, conference, or publication platform is essential. Some institutions may require more extended abstracts, especially for more complex studies.
3. Audience-friendly language
Clarity and conciseness are paramount when crafting an abstract. Use straightforward language to convey your ideas. Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms that might confuse readers from different backgrounds including citations and abbreviations. The goal is to present your research in a way that is accessible and comprehensible to a broad audience.
4. Key elements
While your research paper may delve into various details and nuances, your abstract should focus on the most crucial elements. Identify the core components of your study—the problem, methodology, findings, and conclusions—and ensure that these elements are prominently featured in your abstract.
5. Active voice narration
Employing the active voice adds vibrancy and directness to your abstract. Instead of writing in passive voice (e.g., "It was found that..."), opt for active voice (e.g., "We found that..."). Active voice not only enhances readability but also imparts a sense of authority to your writing. This simple switch enhances engagement and readability.
6. Keyword usage
Keywords are pivotal to increasing the discoverability of your research. Incorporate relevant keywords that encapsulate the central themes of your study. These keywords play a crucial role in helping your paper surface in academic databases and search engine results.
It's generally advisable to write the abstract after you've completed the rest of your research paper. By doing so, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of your study's intricacies, enabling you to succinctly summarize its core aspects. This approach ensures that your abstract accurately reflects the contents of your paper.
8. Edits and revisions
The creation of a polished abstract necessitates meticulous editing and revision. Every sentence should contribute to the overall clarity and coherence of the abstract. Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Your abstract should be error-free and exhibit a seamless flow.
5 Common Research Paper Abstract Pitfalls To Avoid
Crafting a compelling abstract is an art that requires finesse and precision. However, certain pitfalls can undermine the effectiveness of your research paper abstract. In this section, we'll explore five common abstract pitfalls that you should be vigilant about avoiding.
1. Excessive detail
The abstract's brevity precludes the inclusion of excessive detail. Avoid delving into intricate methodologies, extensive data, or nuanced analyses. Instead, focus on presenting a high-level overview.
Abstracts must be devoid of ambiguity. Ambiguous statements can lead to misinterpretation or confusion among readers. Ensure that every sentence conveys a clear and precise message.
3. Omission of key elements
Neglecting any of the fundamental elements— contextualization, research gap, methodology, key findings, and significance— can hinder the abstract's comprehensiveness and efficacy.
4. Unsatiated claims
Avoid making unsubstantiated claims or sweeping generalizations in the abstract. Statements should be grounded in the research's empirical evidence and data.
5. Unwarranted background
While context is crucial, avoid overwhelming the abstract with an extensive historical or theoretical background. Stick to the essential context required for understanding the research.
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How to Write Abstracts for Other Types of Work
A review paper requires a slightly different approach. In a review paper, you are presenting primarily known information. There are two main types of review papers: meta-analyses and literature reviews.
A meta-analysis compiles findings or, ideally, raw data, from multiple studies to provide new, consolidated results, and will therefore follow much of the pattern listed above. The most important thing in a meta-analysis is to discuss your strategy or tactic. You must describe where your information comes from, how you included or excluded studies, and what you did to the data, and this is so important that it also should be included in your abstract. Meta-analyses are considered the most robust form of information in medicine, and their vigorous nature depends on the analysis strategies.
A literature review covers a wide swath of literature and is a resource for someone who is new to the field, or someone who is looking for information about a topic that has been explained and contextualized. Therefore the abstract should focus on what information can be found, limitations in the work or field, and implications for the field as a whole. In a research paper, it is important to discuss which holes you are filling, while in a review, it can be equally important to state which holes exist to be filled. Another viewpoint is to consider what the information in your review could tell scientists, clinicians, politicians, or company policy-makers to guide them in their decision-making. Questions to consider:
What remains to be understood?
What should be put into practice based on this evidence?
What is most exciting in this field?
Visual or Graphical Abstracts
A new trend in research is the graphical abstract or visual abstract. Partly as recognition of the famed statistic that 65% of people are visual learners, and partly as scientific data becomes more niche and harder to explain within the word limit, making a graphical abstract can help your reader and you communicate. Graphical abstracts are ideal to convey a central hypothesis and then plot your findings against it. Typically, real data is not included, only smoothed generalized images. Another use for a graphical abstract is to add to a complex process, in which case an author may have a cartoon version of the process with the new information from their work highlighted.
The Importance of Constructing a Strong Abstract
An abstract is much more than a mere formality; it's a potent tool that encapsulates the essence of your research. By following a structured approach and placing emphasis on key components, you can construct an abstract that captivates readers and entices them to delve into your full paper. Remember, your abstract is often the initial introduction your research receives, making its creation a pivotal step in conveying the significance and impact of your study. Dedicate time and effort to crafting a compelling abstract, and watch as it beckons readers into the intricate world of your research.
Consider working with a Polygence research mentor for help developing your paper. A mentor can be a valuable resource throughout your research and writing process.
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Purpose of writing abstract for a research paper, steps of writing abstract for a research paper, what to include in abstract writing, take help when needed, how to write an abstract for a research paper: a comprehensive guide.
- Read in 07 mins
Writing an abstract for a research paper is an essential skill every student or researcher must master. An abstract is a summary of a research paper, usually not more than 250 words. It is the first section of a research paper that readers come across; thus, it plays an essential role in building the first impression.
Writing an abstract can be a very challenging task, especially for beginners. However, with the right guidance, anyone can write an excellent abstract that captures the essence of their research paper. This comprehensive guide will give you everything you need to know to write an impressive abstract for your research paper.
A research paper is often a long document with loads of technical explanations. So, something must summarize the context of the full paper so the readers do not have to read the entire content at once. An abstract serves this purpose. And to help researchers and companies write quality abstracts, many abstract writing services are now coming up.
The main purpose of an abstract is to highlight the most important points mentioned in the research paper so that the readers can get the gist just by reading the abstract. This blog will discuss how you can write a quality abstract. But before we jump into the process, it's important to understand some key points about the abstract itself!
An abstract serves the key purpose of:
- Helping the reader get a preliminary glimpse of the research paper. Hence, they can decide whether they should continue to read the full paper or not.
- Giving interested readers an insight into the analysis, experiments, and arguments used in the paper.
- Enabling the readers to remember or memorize the key points of the research.
- Facilitating the SEO of the research paper published online. The title and the abstract are often used to index the page, and hence, can help the readers to locate the paper easily over the internet.
From the above discussion, it is clear that an abstract plays a crucial role in enabling the readers to read the paper, highlighting the key points mentioned in it, and making it searchable over the internet. You can understand this with a sample example of an abstract for a research paper given below:
Research Paper Sample
A research paper sample with the topic, "The effects of climate change on the growth of agricultural production in South America," can be looking at the region's current trends in climate change and its potential impacts on the agricultural sector.
It might also examine the potential for relief plans to reduce the impacts of climate change on agricultural production. The paper will conclude with policy recommendations for adapting to the effects of climate change in the region.
To maximize the various related benefits, one must follow all the rules of writing an abstract. We will now discuss the step-by-step process of writing a good abstract.
The abstract writing process comprises three steps or three parts in general. First of all, we should decide what we need to include in our abstract. Secondly, we must decide on the verb tense in our abstract. And finally, we need to write a meaningful abstract highlighting the context, objective, method, result, and conclusion drawn from the research. We will now discuss each of these steps one by one.
Step 01: Content of an Abstract
An abstract should summarize the entire content of the research paper. So, deciding what should be added to it and what should be left out is important. To simplify the task, we have listed some do's and don'ts of this step.
Aspects of a typical abstract:
- It always contains the context of the research. The context is the background or the topic of study based on which we are conducting the research.
- The statement of problems highlights the issues which play an instrumental role in this research.
- If necessary, one can also mention some previous research done in the domain.
- We should clearly describe the research's main purpose, objectives, or goals.
- We should mention the research methodology briefly. It typically consists of the theorems and analytics used to derive the results.
- We should mention the result of the research.
- In the end, we should mention the conclusion drawn from the research.
Remember that we only get one line in the abstract to accommodate these points. Hence, it's important to write the abstract very thoughtfully with grammatical accuracy. If needed, one should take the help of professional abstract writing services providers.
Need for Grammatical Accuracy in Writing Abstract for Research Paper
Grammatical accuracy is essential for writing an abstract for any research paper. It refers to proper grammar, punctuation, and syntax in writing. A well-written abstract with grammatical accuracy can enhance credibility and readability among the audience.
It also helps to convey the intended message clearly and concisely to the readers. Moreover, online tools like grammarly can help identify and correct errors.
Step 02: Forms of Verbs and Tenses
We should be very careful while choosing the verb forms and tenses of the abstract. We often use different verb forms and tenses for different research paper sections. However, we must pack all this content in an abstract in a paragraph or two.
So, what's the way out? Usually, we decide the tense of the abstract depending on the research topic. For example, a social science or humanities abstract usually has all the past or present tense content.
But, a science abstract may contain two different tenses. Usually, we use past tense to write about a previous research and present tense to describe the current research.
Again, deciding the appropriate tense involves careful consideration of the content, context, and objective of the research. So, one should take expert advice from abstract writing services providers when necessary.
Read Also: What are Professional Proofreading Services ?
Step 03: Writing the Abstract
Before we start writing, we should decide when to write the abstract. Going serially, the abstract forms the beginning of the research paper. So, many writers write it in the very beginning. But is it an effective process to follow? The answer is a big NO!
Writing the abstract before the ultimate paper can lead to a lack of concentration and direction. The abstract should be written after the paper is completed when the writer adequately understands the central points and arguments. It allows the abstract to summarize the main points of the paper accurately.
For instance, if the abstract is written before the paper is finished, it may not accurately reflect the content of the paper, which can lead to confusion and miscommunication among readers.
Robust technical writing services can assist you better in writing intriguing abstract for research papers. The most appropriate time to write the abstract is at the research paper's end. In this way, one can efficiently summarize the entire paper without hassle.
Read Also: What are Professional Proofreading Services?
The format of your abstract will vary depending on the field of study in which you are working. However, the majority of all abstracts cover the following categories:
- Motive for writing: How significant is the study? What makes the larger work appealing to a reader?
- Issue: What issue is this work trying to solve? What is the project's scope? What is the main thesis, claim, or argument?
- Methodology: A scientific work's abstract might mention specific approaches or techniques that were applied to the main investigation. Other abstracts could explain the different types of data used in the study.
- Results: Specific information indicating the results of a project may be included in an abstract of a piece of research. The findings may be covered in more detail in other abstracts.
- Effects: How does this research promote our understanding of the subject? Are there any theoretical or practical implications from your research or any repercussions for upcoming studies?
Writing a quality abstract demands professional expertise. The researchers and companies must consult an expert in Abstract Writing for a research paper whenever they need help. If you are also looking for a quality abstract writing services provider, Acadecraft will definitely be the right choice!
Our experienced abstract writing experts write precise, accurate, and effective abstracts that make the research papers all the more attractive! We cover subjects across all domains and provide abstract writing in multiple languages.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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How to Write a Term Paper in 5 Steps
Term papers are a key way to test a student’s knowledge and research skills, but they can be difficult to write. In this guide, we explain the best methods to write a term paper, including the proper term paper format and even how to choose a term paper topic.
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What is a term paper?
A term paper is a piece of academic writing in which a student demonstrates their knowledge of a topic of study. Term papers constitute a large portion of the final grade, making them a serious assignment. There is typically no more than one term paper assigned each term, although how long a term lasts depends on the school system.
Keep in mind that a term paper is one specific type of academic paper. It is more intensive than a standard writing assignment but is not as in-depth as a thesis paper or dissertation.
How long is a term paper?
There is no standard length for a term paper; each subject, course, and professor has their own preferences. Term papers can be as short as five pages or as long as twenty pages, but they usually fall somewhere in the middle.
What’s the difference between a term paper and a research paper?
Technically speaking, a research paper is a paper that argues its main point with original data and evidence. However, the term research paper is used informally to refer to any paper that requires research, even when collecting data and evidence from other preexisting sources. So in that sense, a term paper can be a research paper if the student must research other sources to complete it.
The terms term paper and research paper are often used interchangeably. However, term papers are generally assigned once per term, whereas a teacher or professor can assign as many research papers as they wish.
What’s the difference between a term paper and an essay?
An essay is any writing that asserts the author’s opinion or perspective, whether for school, publication, or just the author’s personal enjoyment. Unlike research-oriented term papers that draw from data and evidence, essay writing is based only on the author’s experience or viewpoint.
Essays are usually shorter than term papers and more casual in tone. Keep in mind that term papers are strictly academic, whereas essays can be written for various audiences.
How do I write a term paper?
Writing a term paper still follows the standard writing process but with some extra focus in certain areas.
1 Developing ideas
The first step of writing a term paper is brainstorming to come up with potential topics and then selecting the best one. Sometimes your topics are assigned, but often you’ll have to choose one yourself.
In addition to picking a topic that you’re personally interested in, try to settle on one that has sufficient depth. Avoid topics that are too broad because you won’t be able to cover everything, and stay away from topics that are too specific because you may not find enough information to fill the required paper length.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our list of term and research paper topics .
2 Preparation (research)
The preparation stage is when you determine your main point and the parts of your topic you’re going to discuss. For most term papers, that requires research. If you’re not conducting your own research, then you’re finding and reviewing sources to use instead.
A good place to start is by writing your thesis statement , a single sentence that sums up the main point(s) your paper tries to make. Your thesis statement determines what evidence and counterarguments you’ll need to discuss. Deciding on these early can help streamline your research.
Once you establish what you want to include in your term paper, you can start putting it in order by writing an outline . Think of the outline as the blueprint of your term paper, mapping out each part of your topic, paragraph by paragraph.
Be sure to follow the term paper format for the assignment. This means adhering to the guidelines and planning enough content to meet the length requirement.
4 First draft
Writing the first draft is easier if you follow your outline. Although this stage can be the most labor-intensive, remember that everything doesn’t need to be perfect. You can still go back later to revise and optimize your wording, but for the first draft, just focus on getting all your ideas down on paper.
This isn’t always easy. If you’re having trouble or get stuck at certain points, go back to the fundamentals and revisit your first-year writing skills. If you have writer’s block, don’t be afraid to take a break and try again later—your brain could just be too tired to come up with ideas.
5 Editing and proofreading
After you have completed a first draft, it’s time to begin the editing process. This is when you correct the mistakes in the first draft and detect other issues that need revising. If a section seems weak or inadequate, you can revise the wording or even rewrite it entirely. You may find that something is missing from your first draft, so now is the time to add it.
We recommend rereading your term paper twice—once to correct the wording and structural mistakes and another time to proofread . Revising it twice allows you to better focus on particular issues instead of trying to address everything at once. If you’re trying to determine the right word choice , spending time on spelling and grammar might be a distraction. It’s better to separate the tasks and do them one at a time.
Term paper FAQs
How do i write my term paper.
Writing a term paper still follows the standard writing process, but goes deeper into certain areas. Start by brainstorming topics that you find interesting before selecting one that has ample source material. Then begin your research. When you’re ready to start writing, create an outline, then a first draft, and finally revisions.
There is no standard length for a term paper; every teacher or professor has their own requirements. Term papers can be as short as five pages or as long as twenty pages, but they usually fall somewhere in the middle.
Technically speaking, a research paper supports its thesis with original data and evidence. However, the term research paper is used informally to refer to any paper that requires research, even when collecting data and evidence from other preexisting sources. So in that sense, a term paper can also be a research paper if the student relies on other sources to complete it.
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Conference Dates: (In person) December 10 - December 16
Call For Papers
Abstract submission deadline: May 11, 2023
Full paper submission (all authors must have an OpenReview profile when submitting) deadline: May 17, 2023
Supplemental material submission deadline: May 24, 2023
Author notification: Sep 21, 2023
Camera-ready, poster, and video submission: to be announced
Submit at: https://openreview.net/group?id=NeurIPS.cc/2023/Conference
The site will start accepting submissions on April 19, 2023 .
Subscribe to these and other dates on the 2023 dates page .
The Thirty-Seventh Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2023) is an interdisciplinary conference that brings together researchers in machine learning, neuroscience, statistics, optimization, computer vision, natural language processing, life sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and other adjacent fields. We invite submissions presenting new and original research on topics including but not limited to the following:
- Applications (e.g., vision, language, speech and audio)
- Deep learning (e.g., architectures, generative models, optimization for deep networks)
- Evaluation (e.g., methodology, meta studies, replicability and validity)
- General machine learning (supervised, unsupervised, online, active, etc.)
- Infrastructure (e.g., libraries, improved implementation and scalability, distributed solutions)
- Machine learning for sciences (e.g. climate, health, life sciences, physics, social sciences)
- Neuroscience and cognitive science (e.g., neural coding, brain-computer interfaces)
- Optimization (e.g., convex and non-convex, stochastic, robust)
- Probabilistic methods (e.g., variational inference, causal inference, Gaussian processes)
- Reinforcement learning (e.g., decision and control, planning, hierarchical RL, robotics)
- Social and economic aspects of machine learning (e.g., fairness, interpretability, human-AI interaction, privacy, safety, strategic behavior)
- Theory (e.g., control theory, learning theory, algorithmic game theory)
Machine learning is a rapidly evolving field, and so we welcome interdisciplinary submissions that do not fit neatly into existing categories.
Authors are asked to confirm that their submissions accord with the NeurIPS code of conduct .
Formatting instructions: All submissions must be in PDF format. Submissions are limited to nine content pages, including all figures and tables; additional pages containing references are allowed. You must format your submission using the NeurIPS 2023 LaTeX style file which includes a “preprint” option for non-anonymous preprints posted online. The maximum file size for submissions is 50MB. Submissions that violate the NeurIPS style (e.g., by decreasing margins or font sizes) or page limits may be rejected without further review. If your submission is accepted, you will be allowed an additional content page for the camera-ready version. Papers may be rejected without consideration of their merits if they fail to meet the submission requirements, as described in this document.
Use of Large Language Models (LLMs): We welcome authors to use any tool that is suitable for preparing high-quality papers and research. However, we ask authors to keep in mind two important criteria. First, we expect papers to fully describe their methodology, and any tool that is important to that methodology, including the use of LLMs, should be described also. For example, authors should mention tools (including LLMs) that were used for data processing or filtering, visualization, facilitating or running experiments, and proving theorems. It may also be advisable to describe the use of LLMs in implementing the method (if this corresponds to an important, original, or non-standard component of the approach). Second, authors are responsible for the entire content of the paper, including all text and figures, so while authors are welcome to use any tool they wish for writing the paper, they must ensure that all text is correct and original.
Double-blind reviewing: All submissions must be anonymized and may not contain any identifying information that may violate the double-blind reviewing policy. This policy applies to any supplementary or linked material as well, including code. If you are including links to any external material, it is your responsibility to guarantee anonymous browsing. Please do not include acknowledgements at submission time. If you need to cite one of your own papers, you should do so with adequate anonymization to preserve double-blind reviewing. For instance, write “In the previous work of Smith et al. …” rather than “In our previous work ...”). If you need to cite one of your own papers that is in submission to NeurIPS and not available as a non-anonymous preprint, then include a copy of the cited anonymized submission in the supplementary material and write “Anonymous et al.  concurrently show...”).
OpenReview: We are using OpenReview to manage submissions. The reviews and author responses will not be public initially (but may be made public later, see below). As in previous years, submissions under review will be visible only to their assigned program committee. We will not be soliciting comments from the general public during the reviewing process. Anyone who plans to submit a paper as an author or a co-author will need to create (or update) their OpenReview profile by the full paper submission deadline. Your OpenReview profile can be edited by logging in and clicking on your name in https://openreview.net/ . This takes you to a URL "https://openreview.net/profile?id=~[Firstname]_[Lastname][n]" where the last part is your profile name, e.g., ~Wei_Zhang1. The OpenReview profiles must be up to date, with all publications by the authors, and their current affiliations. The easiest way to import publications is through DBLP but it is not required, see FAQ . Submissions without updated OpenReview profiles will be desk rejected. The information entered in the profile is critical for ensuring that conflicts of interest and reviewer matching are handled properly. Because of the rapid growth of NeurIPS, we request that all authors help with reviewing papers, if asked to do so. We need everyone’s help in maintaining the high scientific quality of NeurIPS.
Abstract Submission: There is a mandatory abstract submission deadline on May 11, 2023 01:00 PM PDT, six days before full paper submissions are due. While it will be possible to edit the title and abstract until the full paper submission deadline, submissions with “placeholder” abstracts that are rewritten for the full submission risk being removed without consideration. This includes titles and abstracts that either provide little or no semantic information (e.g., "We provide a new semi-supervised learning method.") or describe a substantively different claimed contribution. The author list cannot be changed after the abstract deadline. After that, authors may be reordered, but any additions or removals must be justified in writing and approved on a case-by-case basis by the program chairs only in exceptional circumstances.
Supplementary material: Authors may submit up to 100MB of supplementary material, such as appendices, proofs, derivations, data, or source code; all supplementary materials must be in PDF or ZIP format. Supplementary material should be material created by the authors that directly supports the submission content. Like submissions, supplementary material must be anonymized. Looking at supplementary material is at the discretion of the reviewers. The deadline for supplementary material is one week after the main paper.
We encourage authors to upload their code and data as part of their supplementary material in order to help reviewers assess the quality of the work. Check the policy as well as code submission guidelines and templates for further details.
Ethics review: Reviewers and ACs may flag submissions for ethics review . Flagged submissions will be sent to an ethics review committee for comments. Comments from ethics reviewers will be considered by the primary reviewers and AC as part of their deliberation. They will also be visible to authors, who will have an opportunity to respond. Ethics reviewers do not have the authority to reject papers, but in extreme cases papers may be rejected by the program chairs on ethical grounds, regardless of scientific quality or contribution.
Paper checklist: In order to improve the rigor and transparency of research submitted to and published at NeurIPS, authors are required to complete a paper checklist . The paper checklist is intended to help authors reflect on a wide variety of issues relating to responsible machine learning research, including reproducibility, transparency, research ethics, and societal impact. The checklist does not count towards the page limit and will be entered in OpenReview.
Preprints: The existence of non-anonymous preprints (on arXiv or other online repositories, personal websites, social media) will not result in rejection. If you choose to use the NeurIPS style for the preprint version, you must use the “preprint” option rather than the “final” option. Reviewers will be instructed not to actively look for such preprints, but encountering them will not constitute a conflict of interest. Authors may submit anonymized work to NeurIPS that is already available as a preprint (e.g., on arXiv) without citing it. Note that public versions of the submission should not say "Under review at NeurIPS" or similar.
Dual submissions: Submissions that are substantially similar to papers that the authors have previously published or submitted in parallel to other peer-reviewed venues with proceedings or journals may not be submitted to NeurIPS. Papers previously presented at workshops are permitted, so long as they did not appear in a conference proceedings (e.g., CVPRW proceedings), a journal or a book. NeurIPS coordinates with other conferences to identify dual submissions. The NeurIPS policy on dual submissions applies for the entire duration of the reviewing process. Slicing contributions too thinly is discouraged. The reviewing process will treat any other submission by an overlapping set of authors as prior work. If publishing one would render the other too incremental, both may be rejected.
Author responses: Authors will have one week to view and respond to initial reviews. Author responses may not contain any identifying information that may violate the double-blind reviewing policy. Authors may not submit revisions of their paper or supplemental material, but may post their responses as a discussion in OpenReview. This is to reduce the burden on authors to have to revise their paper in a rush during the short rebuttal period.
After the initial response period, authors will be able to respond to any further reviewer/AC questions and comments by posting on the submission’s forum page. The program chairs reserve the right to solicit additional reviews after the initial author response period. These reviews will become visible to the authors as they are added to OpenReview, and authors will have a chance to respond to them.
After the notification deadline, accepted and opted-in rejected papers will be made public and open for non-anonymous public commenting. Their anonymous reviews, meta-reviews, author responses and reviewer responses will also be made public. Authors of rejected papers will have two weeks after the notification deadline to opt in to make their deanonymized rejected papers public in OpenReview. These papers are not counted as NeurIPS publications and will be shown as rejected in OpenReview.
Publication of accepted submissions: Reviews, meta-reviews, and any discussion with the authors will be made public for accepted papers (but reviewer, area chair, and senior area chair identities will remain anonymous). Camera-ready papers will be due in advance of the conference. All camera-ready papers must include a funding disclosure . We strongly encourage accompanying code and data to be submitted with accepted papers when appropriate, as per the code submission policy . Authors will be allowed to make minor changes for a short period of time after the conference.
Contemporaneous Work: For the purpose of the reviewing process, papers that appeared online within two months of a submission will generally be considered "contemporaneous" in the sense that the submission will not be rejected on the basis of the comparison to contemporaneous work. Authors are still expected to cite and discuss contemporaneous work and perform empirical comparisons to the degree feasible. Any paper that influenced the submission is considered prior work and must be cited and discussed as such. Submissions that are very similar to contemporaneous work will undergo additional scrutiny to prevent cases of plagiarism and missing credit to prior work.
Plagiarism is prohibited by the NeurIPS Code of Conduct .
Other Tracks: Similarly to earlier years, we will host multiple tracks, such as Datasets and Benchmarks , Competitions , tutorials as well as workshops, in addition to the main track for which this call for papers is intended. See the conference homepage for updates and calls for participation in these tracks.
Experiments: As in past years, the program chairs will be measuring the quality and effectiveness of the review process via randomized controlled experiments. All experiments are independently reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Financial Aid : Each paper may designate up to one (1) NeurIPS.cc account email address of a corresponding student author who confirms that they would need the support to attend the conference, and agrees to volunteer if they get selected. To be considered for Financial the student will also need to fill out the Financial Aid application when it becomes available.
Amir Globerson, Moritz Hardt, Sergey Levine, Kate Saenko NeurIPS 2023 Program Chairs
Tristan Naumann and Alice Oh NeurIPS 2023 General Chairs