How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

Written by

Chris Henery

6 mins read
how to write an abstract

Write an abstract for your research paper; it is important to understand the different challenges you will face and approach the best. The first challenge in writing a good academic abstract would be learning what makes this piece unique from other types of content or pieces written by others.

It is important to spend time and energy on writing a convincing abstract because potential readers will know if they want to continue reading your work.

Remember that you should summarize the key information in an abstract. It will allow readers to get an overview of what you did and why it is worth their time to read more.

So, do you want to know more about abstract? Then, continue reading this blog and learn how to write an abstract.

What is an Abstract?

A good abstract provides the reader with a quick overview of your paper. It should express what you're trying to say in 150 to 250 words and suggest any implications/applications of the research.

The main purpose of writing an abstract is to:

  • Give the reader a quick overview of the paper.
  • Highlight the main points of the paper.
  • Concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research.

Moreover, a good abstract should contain:

  • Research problem and objectives
  • Research methodology
  • Key results and arguments
  • Brief conclusion

A dissertation or thesis needs to include an abstract on the separate page after title, acknowledgments, and before the table of contents.

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Types of an Abstract

The following are some common types of abstracts and their purposes.

  • Critical Abstract
  • A critical abstract is a concise and informative way to summarize the content, information. It requires you to compare your research with other writers' work.

  • Descriptive Abstract
  • In this abstract type, only describe the summarized data from your research in this abstract type work. These are usually 100 words or less in length and give a clear idea about what needs to be written within them.

  • Informative Abstract
  • An informative abstract is another type of abstract, and it describes the main arguments and points of the research. Informative abstracts are not more than 300 words in length, but they vary according to the discipline.

  • Highlight Abstract
  • The highlight abstract is not a true abstract. It provides the most important information in an easy-to-understand format so that you can catch your reader’s attention and get them hooked right away.

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How to Write an Abstract?

The abstract is a key piece of your work and describes the significance of your research project. It is a summary of your paper that provides an overview for readers. When writing a thesis, dissertations, research papers, and academic journals, you will probably have to include one.

The key to writing a compelling abstract is following these steps:

  1. 1. Understand the Requirements
  2. To write a successful research paper, you must read the specific guidelines and requirements. These will help in your entire writing phase, so if at any point they're not clear or don’t make sense ask for clarification from an instructor.

  3. 2. Know your Audience
  4. When writing an abstract for your research paper, you need to keep the reader in mind. Keep them interested and motivate them, so they read on.

  5. 3. Determine the Type of Abstract
  6. You have to choose the right type of abstract for your work. The purpose, methods, and discussion will change depending on which you decide, so it’s important to make this decision wisely.

  7. 4. Determine the Purpose
  8. It is important to identify your purpose to help the reader understand what you are trying to discuss in the paper. Instead of providing unnecessary background information, make your topic more interesting and relevant by including some context on the social or academic relevance.

    The abstract should be written in the present or simple past tense but never refer to future events as this research has already been completed.

  9. 5. Explain the Problem
  10. The main function of a problem statement is to address any existing gaps in the field. Therefore, it should be one or two sentences and not include possible causes or solutions.

  11. 6. Mention the Research Methods
  12. Your research should have a clear, concise presentation of what motivated you to conduct it and how. You do not need to repeat every detail about the methodology here; only summarize it.

    The methods section is designed to give you a chance to summarize your basic design and provide an overview of important sources.

  13. 7. Discuss the Results
  14. The results section of an abstract is very important. Summarize your findings and provide a brief overview to allow readers unfamiliar with what you did or why it's significant enough that they need more information.

    You can make your abstract more compelling by using strong words and highlighting the most important findings.

  15. 8. State the Conclusion
  16. The conclusion section summarizes your findings and gives context to the overall importance of your paper. Keep it brief, but make sure that everything important is not mentioned in this section. You only include:

    • Research limitations
    • Recommendations of future research
    • Findings

    Moreover, it’s good to avoid including any unnecessary details in this section. Also, remember the word count in your mind.

  17. 9. Proofreading and Editing
  18. Proofreading is essential to every writing process. Before submitting your abstract, make sure it's free from spelling mistakes and grammar errors by carefully proofreading it.

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Abstract Examples

Here are some examples that help you write a perfect abstract for your next assignment.

How to Write an Abstract for Thesis

How to Write an Abstract for Thesis

How to Write an Abstract for a Project

How to Write an Abstract for a Project

How to Write an Abstract for a Conference

How to Write an Abstract for a Conference

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Tips for Writing the Abstract

The following expert tips will always help write the perfect abstract.

  • Know the word limit of the abstract.
  • Never add unnecessary details about the literature review, methods, results, and discussion.
  • Give a concise summary of the research paper.
  • Read the full paper again and again to avoid mistakes.
  • Pay attention to key points.
  • Determine the structured abstract structure in mind.
  • Avoid giving full background information about the topic. It should be mentioned in the body of the paper.
  • It is important to read work by writers in different fields like social sciences, arts, etc.
  • Read the rest of the text carefully and remove mistakes.
  • Follow the correct format like APA (American Psychological Association) etc.
  • Decide whether to read the journal editors and researcher work for your paper.
  • Avoid using strict words and incomplete sentences, making your abstract confusing.

Writing an abstract is always hard. But with the right amount of practice and hard work, anyone can write it.

Sometimes, students don’t have enough time to write an abstract and consult a professional ‘write my paper’ service EssayHours.com. We have the best writers that meet all your requirements.

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Frequently Asked Question

What are the 5 parts of an abstract?

The first parts of an abstract are:

  • Introduction
  • Research significance
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Conclusion

What should a good abstract contain?

A good abstract should contain:

  • The overall purpose of the study
  • Research problems
  • Major findings
  • Conclusion

What are the qualities of a good abstract?

The following are the qualities of a good abstract:

  • Concise
  • Brief
  • Balanced
  • Objective

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