Writing a compelling abstract is crucial in helping readers determine whether your study is what they’re looking for and if they want to continue reading. It’s also used for indexing online databases. This article will help you understand the meaning of an abstract, the different types, and how to write one. We will also provide tips on what to include and not include in your piece.
What is an abstract?
Writing an abstract involves providing a short but powerful summary that describes the focus of a research paper. An effective abstract should contain the purpose, results, scope and contents of the work. It should also provide background information and a conclusion. It should contain original content (not an extract from the original content) but should contain keywords that are found throughout the paper, itself.
Many writers fail to understand the importance of an abstract while others don’t know how to write one. It allows you to expound on the significant aspects or ideas of your paper. It also helps the reader determine whether to continue reading the rest of the content or not. A clear, concise, and focused piece draws the reader’s attention and makes them eager to read the rest of the material. To write an eye-catching abstract, you need to understand how to write the different types.
Bear in mind that when writing an abstract, you usually do not cite references. The content in your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research, your findings, and the arguments in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.
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How to write an abstract
- Write your paper.
- Review the requirements.
- Consider your target audience and publication.
- Determine the type of abstract.
- Explain the problem.
- Explain your methods.
- Describe your results.
- Give a conclusion.
1. Write your paper
Since the abstract involves providing a summation (a short statement of the main points) of a research paper, the first step is to write your paper. Even if you have an idea of what is included in your paper, the best way to write an effective abstract is to write it after finishing your paper. this will help you to accurately summarize the findings you describe in the paper.
2. Review the requirements
Before writing your abstract, it’s crucial to ensure you read and correctly follow the requirements. If you’re writing for publication in a journal or as part of a work project, there may be specific requirements regarding length or style.
3. Consider your audience and publication
It’s crucial to understand your target audience before writing anything. By understanding your target audience, you will be able to use the appropriate language. For example, is your content intended for someone in academics or can the language be understood by a lay reader?
4. Determine the type of abstract
Before writing your abstract it’s important to determine the type you intend to use unless you have been assigned a specific one. Normally, the informative type is more appropriate for longer, technical research while general ones are ideal for shorter papers.
5. Explain the problem
This involves introducing and explaining the specific problem that your research addresses or tries to solve. Ensure to identify your main claim or argument and the scope of your study, whether it’s something specific or a general problem.
6. Explain your methods
This section involves explaining the methods you used to accomplish your study. This includes the research you conducted, variables you included and the approach you took. Include supporting evidence you had to support your assertion.
7. Describe your results
The results section is where you describe the findings of your study based upon the method you used to conduct your. You should state the findings of the research arranged in a logical sequence without bias or interpretation.
8. Give a conclusion
Your conclusion should include a summary of the meaning of your findings and the significance of the paper. Even though both types of abstracts require a conclusion, only the informative abstract requires a discussion of the implications of your study.
Types of abstracts in writing
The following are generally the four types of abstracts in writing:
This type indicates the type of information found in the article or essay. The primary purpose of this type is to provide results or conclusions of research without passing judgments or being critical. It highlights keywords found in the research essay, purpose of the research, methods used, and research scope. An excellent descriptive abstract should provide an outline of the work, be clear, and relevant to the study.
The informative type is widely used in writing. It does not criticize or evaluate the work but provides well-detailed information. The primary purpose of informative types is to present and elaborate on the main arguments, conclusions, and the facts in the article. It is usually short and may contain the recommendations of the writer.
The descriptive type describes the research and does not include the judgment or critique of the research outcome. The primary purpose of a descriptive type is to provide the general outline of the topic or title of the paper and how it was researched. However, it’s important to note that the descriptive type does not include the research conclusions.
The highlight type is the least accepted in academic writing. It is mainly written to draw the attention of the reader. This type usually uses captivating language that makes the readers want to read more. The writer uses incomplete phrases to attract the attention of the reader.
Five elements to include in your abstract
Your abstract should contain the following elements:
Since it is the first part of an abstract, it should begin with a brief but precise statement of the problem or issue. It should then be followed by a description of the research method and design, the major findings, and the conclusions reached. It should be brief, clear, and interesting to hook the reader and keep them eager to read more.
In this section, you should include the reason and importance of your research.
This section explains the method you used in your research and how you did it.
This should include the findings in your research as well as the advantages of your method based on the results.
Your conclusion should include a summary of your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice. You can also include the need for additional research revealed from the findings.
Guidelines for writing the perfect abstract
The following guidelines will help you to know what to include and not include in your abstract. An effective piece should include the following:
- the purpose of the study and the research problem
- the design of the study
- an analysis of the research
- the outcome of the research
- a summary of your and conclusions
It’s crucial to understand what not to include in your content to avoid making little mistakes that may reduce its quality. It should NOT include:
- excessive background information
- redundant words and phrases
- acronyms and abbreviations
- sophisticated terms
- citations to other works