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Helpful Tips for Writing an Abstract

INTRODUCTION

❶However, in the humanities active voice is usually preferred.

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What Is an Abstract?
Introduction

You can sometimes combine the problem with your motivation, but it is best to be clear and separate the two. What is the scope of your study - a general problem, or something specific?

What is your main claim or argument? Now is the part where you give an overview of how you accomplished your study. If you did your own work, include a description of it here. If you reviewed the work of others, it can be briefly explained. Describe the evidence you have to support your claim Give an overview of your most important sources.

Describe your results informative abstract only. This is where you begin to differentiate your abstract between a descriptive and an informative abstract. In an informative abstract, you will be asked to provide the results of your study. What is it that you found? Was your hypothesis or argument supported? What are the general findings? This should finish up your summary and give closure to your abstract. In it, address the meaning of your findings as well as the importance of your overall paper.

This format of having a conclusion can be used in both descriptive and informative abstracts, but you will only address the following questions in an informative abstract. Are your results general or very specific? Keep it in order.

There are specific questions your abstract must provide answers for, but the answers must be kept in order as well. Unlike a topic paragraph, which may be intentionally vague, an abstract should provide a helpful explanation of your paper and your research. Avoid using direct acronyms or abbreviations in the abstract, as these will need to be explained in order to make sense to the reader. That uses up precious writing room, and should generally be avoided. If your topic is about something well-known enough, you can reference the names of people or places that your paper focuses on.

Write it from scratch. Your abstract is a summary, yes, but it should be written completely separate from your paper. Don't copy and paste direct quotes from yourself, and avoid simply paraphrasing your own sentences from elsewhere in your writing.

Write your abstract using completely new vocabulary and phrases to keep it interesting and redundancy-free. Use key phrases and words. If your abstract is to be published in a journal, you want people to be able to find it easily. In order to do so, readers will search for certain queries on online databases in hopes that papers, like yours, will show up.

Try to use important words or phrases key to your research in your abstract. You want to draw people in with your abstract; it is the hook that will encourage them to continue reading your paper. Avoid being too specific. An abstract is a summary, and as such should not refer to specific points of your research other than possibly names or locations.

You should not need to explain or define any terms in your abstract, a reference is all that is needed. Avoid being too explicit in your summary and stick to a very broad overview of your work.

This specialized vocabulary may not be understood by general readers in your area and can cause confusion. Be sure to do basic revisions. The abstract is a piece of writing that, like any other, should be revised before being completed. Check it over for grammatical and spelling errors and make sure it is formatted properly.

Get feedback from someone. If you have these resources available to you, use them! Asking for assistance can also let you know about any conventions in your field. However, in the humanities active voice is usually preferred. In all the description of what you did, a simple past tense is best; since you're describing what you did, neither present nor future would be appropriate. Not Helpful 1 Helpful Not Helpful 0 Helpful 8. An abstract explains the aim of the paper in very brief, the methods, results, etc.

In the introduction, you write the background of your topic, explain the purpose of the paper more broadly, and explain the hypothesis, and the research question s. Not Helpful 19 Helpful An abstract can either be written, soft copy or any other form with words, it's the content that matters. Not Helpful 20 Helpful Usually, abstracts are provided at the beginning of the thesis or article. This will help readers to understand the work, and will attract interested readers.

Not Helpful 8 Helpful No, but everything in your abstract should be covered later in the paper. Cite the sources then. Not Helpful 17 Helpful Your word processing software probably includes a word count feature, consult the documentation.

If you're doing it by hand, approximate the number of words per line very roughly. Then count the number of lines, and multiply it by the number of words per line. It gives a fairly accurate estimate. Not Helpful 26 Helpful An abstract is one of the best tools to help researchers determine if a paper would be useful for them to read or not. Not Helpful 3 Helpful 6.

If I'm writing an abstract for a science fair project, how long should it be? To be honest there aren't really rules on how long an abstract should be. Normally abstracts can be a paragraph around 5 or 6 sentences or longer. Your abstract shouldn't be too long, try to make it a page long at most.

Not Helpful 1 Helpful 2. Answer this question Flag as What could be the abstract for the students inflow in the school? How do I write an abstract on a mental disorder? How to write an abstract for woman empowerment era globalization?

How to write abstracts for working age of child? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.

Quick Summary To write an abstract, start with a short paragraph that explains the purpose of your paper and what it's about. Did this summary help you? Look at other abstracts in similar publications for an idea of how yours should go. It is often reasonable to assume that your readers have some understanding of your field and the specific language it entails, but anything you can do to make the abstract more easily readable is a good thing.

Article Info Featured Article Categories: Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 3,, times. Did this article help you? Cookies make wikiHow better. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. RP Rohit Payal Aug 5. This article surely identified all the problems mainly faced by people like me, and has given relevant answers. IO Ivan Omondi Jul 6. Really helped me in my assignment.

Thus, for the vast majority of readers, the paper does not exist beyond its abstract. For the referees, and the few readers who wish to read beyond the abstract, the abstract sets the tone for the rest of the paper.

It is therefore the duty of the author to ensure that the abstract is properly representative of the entire paper. For this, the abstract must have some general qualities. These are listed in Table 1. Although some journals still publish abstracts that are written as free-flowing paragraphs, most journals require abstracts to conform to a formal structure within a word count of, usually, — words.

The usual sections defined in a structured abstract are the Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions; other headings with similar meanings may be used eg, Introduction in place of Background or Findings in place of Results.

Some journals include additional sections, such as Objectives between Background and Methods and Limitations at the end of the abstract. In the rest of this paper, issues related to the contents of each section will be examined in turn. This section should be the shortest part of the abstract and should very briefly outline the following information:.

In most cases, the background can be framed in just 2—3 sentences, with each sentence describing a different aspect of the information referred to above; sometimes, even a single sentence may suffice. The purpose of the background, as the word itself indicates, is to provide the reader with a background to the study, and hence to smoothly lead into a description of the methods employed in the investigation.

Some authors publish papers the abstracts of which contain a lengthy background section. There are some situations, perhaps, where this may be justified. In most cases, however, a longer background section means that less space remains for the presentation of the results. This is unfortunate because the reader is interested in the paper because of its findings, and not because of its background.

A wide variety of acceptably composed backgrounds is provided in Table 2 ; most of these have been adapted from actual papers. Note that, in the interest of brevity, unnecessary content is avoided.

The methods section is usually the second-longest section in the abstract. It should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. Table 3 lists important questions to which the methods section should provide brief answers. Questions regarding which information should ideally be available in the methods section of an abstract. Carelessly written methods sections lack information about important issues such as sample size, numbers of patients in different groups, doses of medications, and duration of the study.

Readers have only to flip through the pages of a randomly selected journal to realize how common such carelessness is. Table 4 presents examples of the contents of accept-ably written methods sections, modified from actual publications. The results section is the most important part of the abstract and nothing should compromise its range and quality.

This is because readers who peruse an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore be the longest part of the abstract and should contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits. Important information that the results should present is indicated in Table 5. Examples of acceptably written abstracts are presented in Table 6 ; one of these has been modified from an actual publication.

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 outcome measure; however, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, for the authors 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:. Despite its necessary brevity, this section has the most impact on the average reader because readers generally trust authors and take their assertions at face value. For this reason, the conclusions should also be scrupulously honest; and authors should not claim more than their data demonstrate. Hypothetical examples of the conclusions section of an abstract are presented in Table 7. Citation of references anywhere within an abstract is almost invariably inappropriate.

Other examples of unnecessary content in an abstract are listed in Table 8. It goes without saying that whatever is present in the abstract must also be present in the text.

Likewise, whatever errors should not be made in the text should not appear in the abstract eg, mistaking association for causality.

As already mentioned, the abstract is the only part of the paper that the vast majority of readers see. Therefore, it is critically important for authors to ensure that their enthusiasm or bias does not deceive the reader; unjustified speculations could be even more harmful. Misleading readers could harm the cause of science and have an adverse impact on patient care.

However, nowhere in the abstract did the authors mention that these conclusions were based on just 5 cases and 12 controls out of the total sample of cases and controls.

As a parting note: Most journals provide clear instructions to authors on the formatting and contents of different parts of the manuscript. These instructions often include details on what the sections of an abstract should contain. Authors should tailor their abstracts to the specific requirements of the journal to which they plan to submit their manuscript.

It could also be an excellent idea to model the abstract of the paper, sentence for sentence, on the abstract of an important paper on a similar subject and with similar methodology, published in the same journal for which the manuscript is slated. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Journal List Indian J Psychiatry v. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Abstracts of scientific papers are sometimes poorly written, often lack important information, and occasionally convey a biased picture.

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HOW TO WRITE AN ABSTRACT: Tips and Samples Leah Carroll, Ph.D., Director, Office of Undergraduate Research An abstract is a short summary of your completed research.

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Helpful Tips for Writing an Abstract To present the information from your research or thesis in a manner that will others to be interested in your academic writing, you should: Identify the Problem and Research Solution -The abstract should have an opening that identifies that particular subject matter and how the research that you have done.

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For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding. For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Aug 23,  · To write an abstract, finish your paper first, then type a summary that identifies the purpose, problem, methods, results, and conclusion of your work. After you get the details down, all that's left is to format it correctly%(92).

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How to Write an Abstract. Philip Koopman, Carnegie Mellon University October, Abstract. Because on-line search databases typically contain only abstracts, it is vital to write a complete but concise description of your work to entice potential readers into obtaining a copy of the full paper. In scientific writing, an abstract is a concise summary of a paper. This quick guide will teach you how to write an abstract section in APA format. How to Write an APA Abstract Tips for Creating an Abstract In APA Style. By Kendra Cherry. Updated June 12, Share Flip Email Print.