An abstract is a summary of long pieces of work, like a research paper or a dissertation. It aims to focus on your research’s objectives and results to let the readers know what the article entails.
It would be best if you wrote the abstract after you have finished writing the whole text and be sure to include the following:
- Research objectives and problems
- The methodologies
- Arguments and results
The average abstract spans about 150-300 words in length but there exists some word limit. Be sure to check with your university’s requirements before writing it. When writing a thesis or a dissertation, have the abstract written on a separate page that follows the title and the acknowledgments. It also comes before the table of contents.
When you should write an abstract
You will have to include an abstract when writing a research paper, dissertation, or thesis. It gets also required in some academic journals. The abstract is always the last thing you write after finishing your piece. It should stand on its own and should not bear any excerpt copied from the paper you are submitting. Someone should easily understand your abstract before reading the rest of your article.
The best approach and probably the easiest method is imitating the work structure and making it a smaller reflection of the main piece. It should have four key elements.
Get feedback on layout, structure, and language.
When you give your papers to professional editors, they will focus on these elements:
- Consistency in style
- Academic style
- Sentences that get vague
Begin by defining the aim of your research. What problems does it respond to, or what query is it aiming to answer?
You are free to include some quick context on the relevance of the topic on the breadth of its social and academic value, but avoid detailing the information too much.
After you pinpoint the problem, get to the aim of the research. Utilize words like evaluate, investigate, analyze, or test when describing what you are about to do.
You can write this part of the abstract in the past simple or present tense.
On the next point, indicate the methods you applied to answer the research questions. It should be a description that is on point and straightforward, detailing what you did in either one or two sentences. It refers to completed actions; therefore, it should get written in the simple past tense.
In the next point, give a summary of the research results. You can write it in the either present or simple past tense. You may not be able to have all the products in this part, depending on your paper’s length and complexity. In that case, try and write only the most critical findings and outcomes to make the reader understand your work’s conclusion.
In the final stage, write the main conclusions of the research. State the answer to your research question. When the reader gets to this point, they should finish with a crisp understanding of the argument’s effectiveness in your research. You will write this part in the present simple tense.
In case you have some limitations, briefly mention them in the abstract as it will allow the reader to assess the research’s generalizability and credibility.
If your paper should get published by chance, you will have to include a list of keywords you have infused at the very end of the abstract. They should refer to the research’s vital elements to assist readers in locating your paper when they do their literature searches.
Tips for Jotting an Abstract
- Outline reverse
Not all abstracts have the same elements. For each section, have a list of keywords that summarize the main arguments and points.
- Go through other abstracts.
That is the best way to know where to start. They will be the background for your structure and also the style of the overall outlook.
- Be crisp in your writing.
Make your abstract short but with impact. Make sure every word in there counts. Every sentence should house one central point and avoid irrelevant filler words.
- Put your focus on your research.
Do not discuss other people’s work in your abstract. You are allowed to include maybe a sentence that summarizes the background to strategically place your paper in its context and illuminate its relevance, but avoid mentioning typical publications.