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How to Write an Abstract?

Writing an abstract is important because it helps the readers determine whether your research paper is what they are searching for.It should be written precisely covering major elements of your entire work. By looking at your abstract,the readers should be able to decide whether or not they can continue reading.As it is a part of professional scholarly work, thesis and dissertation projects, having knowledge about abstract is mandatory for college and graduate students. In order to help you in writing an abstract, here in this post we have discussed what an abstract is, its types and the steps for writing an abstract.

What is an Abstract?

What Is An Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a thesis, dissertation or research paper.It concisely explains the aims and outcomes of your research to inform the readers what the entire paper is all about.A powerful abstract should contain the contents of your research and its purpose, scope and results.

The abstract is the first section of the research paper, and it should be placed after the title page. As the abstract is a crispy summary of the lengthy work, you can write it at last after you get to know about the complete scope of the research.

In general, the abstract should be written between 150 and 300 words. If you are asked to write an abstract, check your university or journal’s requirements because sometimes the word limit varies. You can include the abstract section whenever you write a dissertation, thesis, article and research paper.

Types of Abstract

The abstract is of two types – Descriptive and Informative

Descriptive Abstract

This type of abstract shares the information with a research paper as a short summary of about 100 words or less. It should contain keywords within a paper but should not have the research conclusions and results.

Informative Abstract

This type of abstract shares the information included in the descriptive abstract along with research results and conclusions. Here, you should explain the main arguments with supporting evidence. The length of the informative abstract should not be more than 10% of the entire paper.

Steps to follow before writing an Abstract

Till now we have learned about the basics of abstract and their types. Next, let us move forward and get to know about abstract writing steps.

Generally, the abstract should be independent and should not contain copied text from the paper. When you write an abstract, remember, it should be concise and the readers should be able to understandwhat is there inside the paper without reading it completely. So, keep that in mind and follow the below-mentioned steps before you start writing an abstract.

  1. Write the entire research paper. If you write the whole paper first, then you will get a clear idea of what to summarize in your abstract.
  2. Understand the abstract writing requirements. The University or Journal publications usually follow certain abstract writing guidelines. So, go through that and learn about the length and format of the abstract.
  3. Know about your audience. You are writing the abstract only for your readers to understandthe context of your paper quickly. So, identify your readers and use the language appropriately.
  4. Determine the abstract type.If you are asked to write an abstract in a specified type, then no issues, you can follow that style. If not, you can prefer either an informative or descriptive type depending upon your topic. Generally, informative abstracts are used predominantly for longer research papers and technical research works while the descriptive type is used for shorter research papers.
  5. Sketch an Outline. After that,you determine the abstract type, read your entire research paper completely and make a note of the important keywords, key terms, and argument or research topic. With the outline, you can develop a well-structured abstract.

Abstract Format and Structure

Now, you would have gained an idea about the steps you need to follow before you start writing an abstract. After completing all the steps, you can go ahead and start writing an abstract by including the following sections.

Introduction

Begin your abstract by defining the research purpose. In this introductory section, you need to explainthe research question you aim to answer in your paper. Here, it is not necessary to give detailed background information. But, if needed, you can include a brief context relevant to your topic.

When you write an aim of the paper, always use present or past tense but not future tense. To describe your research purpose, it is advisable to use verbs like evaluate, analyze, test or investigate.

Methods

After defining the objective of your paper, mention the list of research methods you have used to answer your research question. In this section, be straightforward and explain the overall procedures and the approach you have used in one or two sentences. Explain the methodology in the past simple tense.

Results

Next to methods, mention the research results. If your research is long and complex, you might be having a lot of results. In that case, you need not include the entire results, just highlight only the important findings that will be helpful for the readers to understand the conclusion of your research question.

Conclusion

Finally, after discussing all the research methods and results, next jump to the conclusion. In this section, you need to mention the answer to your research topic. By reading your conclusion, the readers should be able to understand the central idea that your research has argued or proved. Here, you can also include recommendations or suggestions for future research. Always write your conclusion in the simple present tense.

Abstract Writing Tips

Whenever you write an abstract, always stick to the standard format or structure. Also, keep in mind to follow the below-mentioned abstract writing tips.

  1. Write the abstract in a clear and concise manner.
  2. Report only the original contributions of your research in the abstract.
  3. Do not discuss the work of others.
  4. It is not necessary to include citations in an abstract.
  5. Stick to the word limit.
  6. Add the keywords list at the end of the abstract.
  7. After writing the abstract, do a complete revision and edit the errors.

Final Thoughts- Writing an abstract

Writing an abstract is not so tough. You can create a well-structured and effective abstract by following the guidelines mentioned in this post. Whenever you write an abstract, remember to address your readers using a simple language suitable for them to understand what your research is all about. Your abstract must define the objectives, methods, results and conclusion of your research problem within a limited word count. Also, be sure to follow the abstract requirements of the University or the Publications, if there are any, and write a powerful abstract. If you find it difficult to write an abstract, then you can seek help from professional writing services for assignment help in Australia

Read More: Why Data Should Be Cited: Value of Referencing in Academic Writing