The abstract is a short description of the contents of your published or non-published research paper. It’s typically around one paragraph (6 to 7 sentences – between 150 and 250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:
- Abstracts let readers understand the essence or gist of your work or article quickly, allowing them to decide whether or not to go through the entire piece;
- Abstracts help readers observe details, analyses, and arguments contained in your whole paper.
- And in the future, an abstract will help readers recall crucial elements in your article.
It’s essential to remember that both bibliographic and search engine databases employ abstracts and titles to determine keywords to index your article. What you put in your abstract and your title is crucial to helping other researchers locate your essay or paper.
If you’re creating an abstract for the course, your professor might provide specific guidelines on what you should include and how to structure your abstract.
In addition, academic journals have particular guidelines for abstracts. Apart from the instructions on the webpage, make sure you look for and adhere to the policies of the journal or course you’re writing your essay for.
Abstracts include the majority of information in a concise format. Your body essay will naturally elaborate and present these ideas in greater detail. The length of your abstract depends on the main body of the paper. You will dedicate a fragment to each type of information presented further in the essay.
There are instances where specific information must be implicit or not explicit. The publication manual from the American Psychological Association, which is extensively used in the field of social sciences, provides specific guidelines on what information to include in an abstract of different types of papers, such as empirical research, literature reviews, meta-analyses as well as theoretical articles, research papers that deal with methodological issues, and case studies.
Here are some of the common types of information that should be used in most abstracts:
- The background or context you need to conduct in your research, the general subject you are studying, specific area of your study.
- The most important question or the issue statement that the research addresses.
- What is available about this topic, and what research has been undertaken or revealed before your paper.
- The primary reason(s), the urgency or the motivation, and the research goals: Why is it crucial to consider these issues? Are you, for instance, investigating a new topic? Why is this topic worthy of study? Do you want to fill in a need in your previous research? Are you applying new techniques to look afresh at data or use concepts already known? How do you resolve a disagreement in the field of literature within your area?
- The methods you use for the research or analysis.
- Your main findings, conclusions, and arguments.
- The significance of your arguments.
The abstract should be clear, without readers needing to read the entire document. When you write abstracts, you generally do not mention references. Most of your abstract will describe what you’ve learned from your research, what you’ve found, and what you are arguing in your article. Within the text of your essay, you’ll reference the particular literature that influenced your research. Check https://studycrumb.com/ for further information.
When to write an abstract?
While you may start writing your abstract first since it will be the first section of your essay, it is better to postpone writing your abstract until you’ve completed the paper to ensure that you know what you’re writing about.
Many examples of abstracts from published papers or articles you can find on https://studybounty.com/. These samples have been presented to make the writing process easier for you.