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- How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
Published on February 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 11, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.
An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis , dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.
Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.
One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:
Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.
In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
Table of contents
Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.
Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.
This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the US during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).
Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.
Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.
You will almost always have to include an abstract when:
- Completing a thesis or dissertation
- Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
- Writing a book or research proposal
- Applying for research grants
It’s easiest to write your abstract last, right before the proofreading stage, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:
- Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
- Be fully understandable on its own
- Reflect the structure of your larger work
What can proofreading do for your paper?
Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.
See editing example
Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?
You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your dissertation topic , but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialized terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.
After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyze,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.
This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.
- This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
- This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.
- Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
- Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.
Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.
Next, summarize the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.
- Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.
Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.
- We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
- We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.
If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalizability of your research.
If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.
If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.
Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.
It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.
Read other abstracts
The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.
You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .
Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.
For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarize the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.
Write clearly and concisely
A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.
To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:
- Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
- Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
- Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
- Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
- Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.
If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .
Check your formatting
If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .
The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.
The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .
I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.
I have briefly described my methodology .
I have summarized the most important results .
I have stated my main conclusions .
I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.
The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.
You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.
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 abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.
The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .
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.
The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
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Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper
Definition and Purpose of Abstracts
An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:
- an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
- an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
- and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.
It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.
If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.
The Contents of an Abstract
Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.
Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:
- the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
- the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
- what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
- the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
- your research and/or analytical methods
- your main findings , results , or arguments
- the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.
Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.
When to Write Your Abstract
Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.
What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.
Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract
The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.
The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.
The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).
Sample Abstract 1
From the social sciences.
Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses
Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.
Sample Abstract 2
From the humanities.
Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications
Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.
Sample Abstract/Summary 3
From the sciences.
Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells
Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.
Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract
Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study
Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.
Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.
“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.
METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.
RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.
CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)
Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:
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15 Amazing Abstract Examples
What is an Abstract / Definition
An abstract is a carefully worded synopsis of an academic article or research. However, there is a lot more to a successful abstract than just writing a summary.
This article will provide you with abstract examples. These abstract examples will help you understand what an abstract is and what it is not. After reading this article, you will also be able to understand the appropriate tone, style, and length of an abstract.
These abstract examples will also show you how varied abstracts can be, depending on the subject area. An abstract for original empirical research in the sciences or social sciences will be much different than the abstract for an article in the humanities.
What is the Purpose of an Abstract?
All the abstract examples you will receive share in common several features. All abstracts are designed to encapsulate the main points of the research article.
Think of an abstract as the back cover of a book. You often judge the contents of the book by what you read on the back jacket, which then helps you to determine whether or not you want to purchase the book.
Many research articles are published in academic databases, but the reader may need to pay for the final copy. The abstract helps the reader determine whether or not to purchase the article.
In cases where you are a student or a researcher, the abstract lets you know if it is worth your time reading the entire article.
Another purpose of an abstract is to help you promote future research in your field. An abstract contains keywords , which helps you and other researchers will use to locate your article.
Writing a good abstract makes you a more professional writer, and is essential for graduate level studies.
You may use your abstract to submit your research to peer-reviewed journals or to solicit funding for a grant.
What Does an Abstract Contain?
What the abstract contains depends largely on the type of study, the research design, and the subject area. Some of the elements that an abstract might contain include a brief background statement introducing the importance of the research, a problem statement, methodologies used in the research, a synopsis of the results, and the conclusions or implications.
Although the most important thing to keep in mind when writing an abstract is brevity , you also need to fit a lot of pertinent information in a relatively small space.
When you read the following abstract examples, you will have a better understanding of how to achieve the right balance between too much information and too little.
Also, you will see how to format abstracts in different ways, depending on the requirements of your degree program, or the editorial guidelines for a publication you are submitting to.
Types of Abstract
According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab resource, there are two different types of abstract : informational and descriptive.
Although informative and descriptive abstracts seem similar, they are different in a few key ways.
An informative abstract contains all the information related to the research, including the results and the conclusion.
A descriptive abstract is typically much shorter, and does not provide as much information. Rather, the descriptive abstract just tells the reader what the research or the article is about and not much more.
The descriptive abstract is more of a tagline or a teaser, whereas the informative abstract is more like a summary.
You will find both types of abstracts in the examples below.
Informative abstract example 1.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been correlated with leadership effectiveness in organizations. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study assesses the importance of emotional intelligence on academic performance at the high school level. The Emotional Intelligence rating scale was used, as well as semi-structured interviews with teachers. Participant grades were collected. Emotional intelligence was found to correlate positively with academic success. Implications for pedagogical practice are discussed.
This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social sciences research. Most informative abstracts proceed in a logical fashion to reflect the organization of the main paper: with sections on the background, methods, results, and conclusions.
Informative Abstract Example 2
Social learning takes place through observations of others within a community. In diverse urban landscapes and through digital media, social learning may be qualitatively different from the social learning that takes place within families and tightly knit social circles. This study examines the differences between social learning that takes place in the home versus social learning that takes place from watching celebrities and other role models online. Results show that social learning takes place with equal efficacy. These results show that social learning does not just take place within known social circles, and that observations of others can lead to multiple types of learning.
This is a typical informative abstract for empirical social science research. After the background statement, the author discusses the problem statement or research question, followed by the results and the conclusions.
Informative Abstract Example 3
Few studies have examined the connection between visual imagery and emotional reactions to news media consumption. This study addresses the gap in the literature via the use of content analysis. Content analysis methods were used to analyze five news media television sites over the course of six months. Using the Yolanda Metrics method, the researchers ascertained ten main words that were used throughout each of the news media sites. Implications and suggestions for future research are included.
This abstract provides an informative synopsis of a quantitative study on content analysis. The author provides the background information, addresses the methods, and also outlines the conclusions of the research.
Informative Abstract Example 4
This study explores the relationship between nurse educator theoretical viewpoints and nursing outcomes. Using a qualitative descriptive study, the researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with nursing students and nurse educators. The results show that nurse educator theoretical viewpoints had a direct bearing on nurse self-concept. Nurse educators should be cognizant of their biases and theoretical viewpoints when instructing students.
This example showcases how to write an abstract for a qualitative study. Qualitative studies also have clearly defined research methods. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind the general principles of informative abstract writing. Always begin with the research question or problem statement, and proceed to offer a one-sentence description of study methods and results.
Informative Abstract Example 5
Aboriginal people have poorer health outcomes versus their counterparts from other ethnic groups. In this study, public health researchers conducted an epidemiological data analysis using results from the Transcultural Health Report. Using a chi-square test, the researchers found that there is a direct correlation between ethnicity and health status, Policymakers should consider introducing methods for reducing health disparities among minority groups.
This informative abstract details the methods used in the report. As with other informative abstracts, it is written in the past tense. The abstract provides the reader with a summary of the research that has already been conducted.
Informative Abstract Example 6
We examine the contradictions of decolonization as official state policy. Using themes related to decolonization from the literature, we discuss how oppressed people develop cogent policies that create new systems of power. Intersectionality is also discussed. Through a historical analysis, it was found that decolonization and political identity construction take place not as reactionary pathways but as deliberate means of regaining access to power and privilege. The cultivation of new political and social identities promotes social cohesion in formerly colonized nation-states, paving the way for future means of identity construction.
This abstract is informative but because it does not involve a unique empirical research design, it is written in a different manner from other informative abstracts. The researchers use tone, style, and diction that parallels that which takes place within the body of the text. The main themes are elucidated.
Informative Abstract Example 7
The implementation of a nationwide mandatory vaccination program against influenza in the country of Maconda was designed to lower rates of preventable illnesses. This study was designed to measure the cost-effectiveness of the mandatory vaccination program.
This is a cohort study designed to assess the rates of new influenza cases among both children (age > 8 years) and adults (age > 18 years). Using the National Reference Data Report of Maconda, the researchers compiled new case data (n = 2034) from 2014 to 2018.
A total of 45 new cases were reported during the years of 2014 and 2015, and after that, the number of new cases dropped by 74%.
The significant decrease in new influenza cases can be attributed to the introduction of the mandatory vaccination.
The mandatory vaccination program proves cost-effective given its efficacy in controlling the disease.
This method of writing an informative abstract divides the content into respective subject headers. This style makes the abstract easier for some readers to scan quickly.
Informative Abstract Example 8
Mindfulness-based meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have been shown to reduce burnout and improve employee engagement. Using a pre-test/post-test design, the researchers randomly assigned nurses (n = 136) to the control and experimental groups. The Kabat-Zinn mindfulness-based stress reduction technique was used as the primary intervention for the experimental group. Quantitative findings revealed significant improvements on self-report scales for depression and anxiety. Nurse leaders and administrators should consider implementing a mindfulness-based stress reduction program to reduce burnout and improve overall nurse performance.
This abstract contains all the necessary information you would need to make an assessment of whether the research was pertinent to your study. When you are writing an informative abstract, consider taking one sentence from each of the sections in your research (introduction/background, methods, results, and conclusion).
Descriptive Abstract Example 1
What inspires individuals to become members of a new religious movement, or a “cult”? This review of literature offers some suggestions as to the psychological and sociological motivations for joining a new religious movement, offering suggestions for future research.
Unlike informative abstracts, descriptive abstracts simply alert the reader of the main gist of the article. Reading this abstract does not tell you exactly what the researchers found out about their subject, but it does let the reader know what the overall subject matter was and the methods used to conduct the research.
Descriptive Abstract Example 2
With few remaining survivors of the Holocaust, it becomes critical for historians to gather as much data that can contribute to an overall understanding of the ways trauma has been incorporated into identity. Interviews with five Holocaust survivors reveal new information about the role that art and music played in self-healing and community healing.
This descriptive abstract does not give too much information away, simply telling the reader that the researcher used interviews and a case study research design. Although it is a brief description of the study, the researchers succinctly summarize the contents and results.
Descriptive Abstract Example 3
Absurdist theater and literature have had a strong influence on playwrights in France and England. This analysis of absurdist theater addresses the primary symbols being used in absurdist literature and traces the evolution of those symbols as they parallel historical events.
As with most descriptive abstracts, this example is short. You can use descriptive abstracts to provide the reader with a summary of non-empirical research such as literary criticism.
Descriptive Abstract Example 4
The architecture of Oscar Niemeyer reflects socialist sensibilities in the urban planning of Brasilia. This research explores the philosophical underpinnings of Niemeyer’s design through an analysis of several of the main elements of the National Congress of Brazil. Implications and influences of Niemeyer’s work are also discussed.
Note how with the descriptive abstract, you are writing about the research in a more abstract and detached way than when you write an informative abstract.
Descriptive Abstract Example 5
Jacques Derrida has written extensively on the symbolism and the metonymy of September 11. In this research, we critique Derrida’s position, on the grounds that terrorism is better understood from within a neo-realist framework. Derrida’s analysis lacks coherence, is pompous and verbose, and is unnecessarily abstract when considering the need for a cogent counterterrorist strategy.
Like most descriptive abstracts, this encapsulates the main idea of the research but does not necessarily follow the same format as you might use in an informative abstract. Whereas an informative abstract follows the chronological format used in the paper you present, with introduction, methods, findings, and conclusion, a descriptive abstract only focuses on the main idea.
Descriptive Abstract Example 6
The Five Factor model of personality has been well established in the literature and is one of the most reliable and valid methods of assessing success. In this study, we use the Five Factor model to show when the qualities of neuroticism and introversion, which have been typically linked with low rates of success, are actually correlated with achievement in certain job sectors. Implications and suggestions for clinicians are discussed.
This descriptive abstract does not discuss the methodology used in the research, which is what differentiates it from an informative abstract. However, the description does include the basic elements contained in the report.
Descriptive Abstract Example 7
This is a case study of a medium-sized company, analyzing the competencies required for entering into the Indian retail market. Focusing on Mumbai and Bangalore, the expansion into these markets reveals potential challenges for European firms. A comparison case with a failed expansion into Wuhan, China is given, offering an explanation for how there are no global cross-cultural competencies that can be applied in all cases.
While this descriptive abstract shows the reader what the paper addresses, the methods and results are omitted. A descriptive abstract is shorter than an informative abstract.
Which Type of Abstract Should I Use?
Check with your professors or academic advisors, or with the editor of the peer-reviewed journal before determining which type of abstract is right for you.
If you have conducted original empirical research in the social sciences, you will most likely want to use an informative abstract.
However, when you are writing about the arts or humanities, a descriptive abstract might work best.
What Information Should I Include in An Abstract?
The information you include in the abstract will depend on the substantive content of your report.
Consider breaking down your abstract into five separate components, corresponding roughly with the structure of your original research.
You can write one or two sentences on each of these sections:
For Original Empirical Research
I. Background/Introductory Sentence
If you have conducted, or are going to conduct, an original research, then consider the following elements for your abstract:
What was your hypothesis?
What has the previous literature said about your subject?
What was the gap in the literature you are filling with your research?
What are the research questions?
What problem are you trying to solve?
What theoretical viewpoint or approach did you take?
What was your research design (qualitative, quantitative, multi-factorial, mixed-methods)?
What was the setting? Did you conduct a clinical analysis? Or did you conduct a systematic review of literature or a meta-analysis of data?
How many subjects were there?
How did you collect data?
How did you analyze the data?
What methodological weaknesses need to be mentioned?
If this was a qualitative study, what were the major findings?
If this was a quantitative study, what were the major findings? Was there an alpha coefficient? What was the standard deviation?
Were the results statistically significant?
Did the results prove or disprove the hypothesis ?
Were the results significant enough to inform future research?
How do your results link up with previous research? Does your research confirm or go beyond prior literature?
What do your results say about the research question or problem statement?
If you had to make a policy recommendation or offer suggestions to other scholars, what would you say?
Are there any concluding thoughts or overarching impressions?
Writing Abstracts for Literary Criticism and Humanities Research
Writing abstracts for research that is not empirical in nature does not involve the same steps as you might use when composing an abstract for the sciences or social sciences.
When writing an abstract for the arts and humanities, consider the following outline, writing one or two sentences for each section:
What other scholars have said before.
Why you agree or disagree.
Why this is important to study.
II. Your methods or approach
How did you conduct your research?
Did you analyze a specific text, case study, or work of art?
Are you comparing and contrasting?
What philosophical or theoretical model did you use?
What did you discover in the course of your research?
How are your findings meaningful?
What new discoveries have you made?
How does your work contribute to the discourse?
General Tips for Writing Abstracts
The best way to improve your abstract writing skills is to read more abstracts. When you read other abstracts, you will understand more about what is expected, and what you should include or leave out from the abstract.
Reading abstracts helps you become more familiar with the tone and style, as well as the structure of abstracts.
Write your abstract after you have completed your research.
Many successful abstracts actually take the first sentence from each section of your research, such as the introduction/background, review of literature, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.
Although it is a good idea to write the results of your original research, avoid giving too much detail. Instead, focus on what really matters.
A good abstract is like an elevator pitch.
While there is no absolute rule for how long an abstract should be, a general rule of thumb is around 100-150 words. However, some descriptive abstracts may be shorter than that, and some informative abstracts could be longer.
Abstracts are even shorter versions of executive summaries. Although abstracts are brief and seem relatively easy, they can be challenging to write. If you are struggling to write your abstract, just consider the main ideas of your original research paper and pretend that you are summarizing that research for a friend.
If you would like more examples of strong abstracts in your field of research, or need help composing your abstract or conducting research, call a writing tutor.
“Abstracts,” (n.d.). The Writing Center. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/abstracts/
Koopman, P. (1997). How to write an abstract. https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (n.d.). Writing an abstract.
“Writing Report Abstracts,” (n.d.). Purdue Online Writing Lab. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/
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How Long Should an Abstract be?
By Laura Brown on 14th February 2019
To be aware of the required abstract length, it is mandatory to understand the word “abstract” .
What is an Abstract?
The brief summary of any paper is termed as an abstract. It can contain all the main points of the paper. That’s the reason, authors of essay writing service consider it as the most vital part of any composition. In some publications, it is also termed as synopsis or a précis . A good abstract is that which gives all the information of paper. It gives the idea to the reader whether he should read the complete paper or not.
To write a good abstract, few things must be kept in mind. An important point to consider is the word count of an abstract. It should not exceed more than the required limit. The length of an abstract varies with the discipline, the word count and requirement of the publisher.
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The length of an abstract fluctuates with the requirement. However, the typical length of an abstract is from 100 to 500 words but it is suggested that abstract should not be more than one page. Rarely, it can go more than one page but just fewer words.
According to APA style manual, the suggested word count an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words . However, some professors may have definite word requirement so it is better to ask. Also, the abstract should be written in paragraph format.
Most of the MLA abstracts ranges between 150 – 250 words . It is also said that too long abstracts are useless because they do not give specific information of the complete written paper.
In Harvard styles, abstracts mostly ranges from 100 to 300 words in length. But it is better to ask from professor because some universities have their own requirement for the abstract.
As per AMA style guidelines, the abstract length is restricted to 175 words . The abstract in AMA style should give key components of the complete research.
How Long an Abstract in Chicago Style?
In Chicago style, the synopsis or abstracts word count must remain below 300 . But it is compulsory to put all the essential points in the synopsis.
In a Scientific Paper
Every paper has its own requirements, where the scientific paper is concern; the abstract length of scientific papers is limited to 250 words maximum. So, it is better to write fewer words than the given limit.
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10,000 Word Dissertations
As mentioned above that the word count of an abstract also varies with the size of a dissertation. If your dissertation is around 10,000 words then the abstract should be 300 – 350 words long . It is because, such dissertations contain much information and making the summary of all the information requires some more words.
For a Conference Paper
As abstract is a snapshot of complete paper, it should be concise and informative. The requirement of length of an abstract paper varies with the publisher requirement. However, the suggested range is maximum 250 words .
Thesis / Dissertation
After completing dissertation, the last part should be an abstract. It gives the brief idea and highlights the main points of the whole dissertation. It usually embraces reader to read the rest of the dissertation. So, not to take much time of reader; the abstract should be of 200 to 350 words in range . Also, it is suggested to not write the abstract in future tense.
The range of abstract of journal articles is between 75 to 150 words . It is good to present all the information in most concise way so it is suggested to not go beyond the limit.
The abstract of lab report should be of one paragraph like 100 – 200 words . The report abstract should contain important facets of the report. It can include, purpose, key findings, significance and conclusion.
For a Literature Review
The summary of literature review should be according to the length of the literature. Typically, literature review ranges from 3000 to 5000 words so the abstract should be between 100 – 150 words . The abstract must not evaluate the original work, it just summarises it.
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How Long Should an Abstract be in a Research Paper?
Abstract recaps the major and important aspects of whole research paper and it should not be more than 300 words . However, it is good that words should be less than 300 words.
For a Presentation
The length of the presentation abstract should be around 200 to 250 words . The abstract for presentation should contain concise and informative information.
Any Other Paper
The abstract of paper should be 100 – 500 words long. Just make sure that the all essential points should be covered in the same abstract.
How To Write An Abstract Under Limited Words
While writing an abstract, you will always need to keep an eye on the word limit. We have very often observed abstracts being returned to students for making them shorter. It is easy for the reviewers to ask you to be more concise, but when you have already summed up your hardships and workings of some months or years in a 200-300 word statement, it becomes arduous to reduce it more.
We have come up with some simple tips that will help you to write an abstract within a word limit.
Bonus Tip: Keep tracking your abstract word count by enabling the word count feature in MS Word or pressing ctrl+shft+c if you are working in Google docs.
An impressive way to start your abstract is by writing a draft. Keep in consideration your complete paper and the whole journey. There is no need to be concerned about the number of words at this stage. The first draft is more about understanding and papering down the essential aspects of your paper.
Creating First Draft
- Extract the objectives from the paper’s introduction and conclusion from the discussion.
- Highlight the information from the methodology section and make sure to be relevant.
- Bracket the findings from the result section.
- Combine the above-highlighted information into a single paragraph.
- Now, condense this information based on research keywords without explaining the methods used.
- Delete extra words or any irrelevant background information.
- Revise the paragraph for conveying only essential information.
Don’ts Of Writing An Abstract
- Avoid writing information that is not in the original paper.
- Do not add abbreviations until a term appears two or more times.
- Skip background information, detailed methodology and literature review.
- Omit bibliography, citation, references, graphs and tables.
Revision & Editing
- Finally, work on the conciseness of the abstract.
- Check for the flow of English and logical sentences.
- Look for grammatical errors and make suitable corrections.
With the help of these tips, and word guide provided in the article, you will be able to create an eye-catching abstract for your paper. Still, if you face any difficulty, don’t forget to concern our experts.
APA: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-write-an-abstract-2794845 MLA: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Abstract-in-MLA-Style Harvard: https://gsas.harvard.edu/degree-requirements/dissertations/formatting-your-dissertation AMA: https://www.ama.org/journal-of-international-marketing-submission-guidelines/ Chicago: https://www.ieee-pvsc.org/PVSC46/authors-abstracts.php Scientific Paper: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/how-to-write-a-science-fair-project-abstract 10,000 Words Dissertation: https://www.sfu.ca/~jcnesbit/HowToWriteAbstract.htm Conference Paper: https://www.ul.ie/ctl/sites/default/files/how_to_write_an_abstract_for_a_conference_paper.pdf Lab Report: https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/lab-report/ Research Paper: http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/abstract Presentation: https://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-write-an-abstract-for-a-presentation.html
Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.
Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements. In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes: an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
Abstracts are usually 100-250 words long. Follow the specific formatting requirements for your abstract. Provide a statement of what the paper found rather than what it will ask or explore. For each chapter or section, list keywords and write one to two setences that summarize each section. Use this as a framework to put your abstract together.
While there is no absolute rule for how long an abstract should be, a general rule of thumb is around 100-150 words. However, some descriptive abstracts may be shorter than that, and some informative abstracts could be longer. Conclusion. Abstracts are even shorter versions of executive summaries.