How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

Students encounter challenges when selecting materials they can use in their research. One way to find the most appropriate materials as per the research question or topic, quickly and succinctly, is to read the Abstract that comes with materials. An abstract is a short summary of a research paper and has three major purposes,

  1. To let leaders scan through the paper to decide if research is related to the topic under investigation;
  2. Prepare readers of the paper on what the purpose of the paper, the methodology, and findings.’
  3. To remind readers about the key points and argument.
  4. Finally, to facilitate the search engine and bibliographic databases to index the published papers.

A well-developed abstract is a requirement for journal articles, both published and unpublished. Peer groups, among other members of the discourse community, require an abstract that summarizes the aspects of the paper in a way a reader can understand what in the paper in a glimpse.

  1. A perfect abstract has the following properties;
  2. It is short, at least 150 words but not longer than 250 words
  3. It covers it its own page, right before the introduction of the paper
  4. It is only one paragraph without indentation
  5. The paragraph for the keywords is indented
  6. It must be in a third-person perspective

Having covered the uses of an abstract and the key properties, let us now dive into the process of writing a strong abstract paper. First, it is important to prepare a draft before typing the content on a word processor. The draft, as well as the final abstract, should demonstrate these steps below.

Steps in Writing an Abstract

Step 1. Select the type of abstract you want to write. There are several types, including descriptive, informative, and critical. Each of these types has its appropriate use depending on their respective features.

  1. Critical abstract. This provides a description of findings and information, with a comment about the study’s validity or completeness. To do so, a student should try to compare other previous works.
  2. Descriptive abstract. This reveals the kind of information covered in the research without providing results or conclusions. In that case, this kind does not evaluate completeness, accuracy, or reliability of findings. Students mostly use this as it included methods, scope, and purpose.
  3. Informative abstract. This type is highly informative, with the researcher explaining all key arguments. In addition, important findings are well explained. Also, it has sections of methods, findings, and conclusions

A student can choose any of the three among many that have been developed over time.

Step 2 – The purpose. If you are the writer of the research paper, then you already have the purpose, objective, or goal. Here, state the reason for conducting the study, why it was important, and why the academic and research fraternity need to focus on the subject. For example, are you finding a solution to an existing problem, are you reviewing the past findings, or are you filling an identified gap in current studies?

Step 3 – Problem. State the problem that the study is seeking to solve, and in the briefest of writing. The best way to state the problem is by stating the hypothesis as well as the assumptions. In addition, it is fine to state the problem form of a question, but it must be well explained. In such cases, the entire question that can help explain the problem clearly must be stated.

Step 4 – Relevant background information. In this section, you are required to bring the readers into the light regarding what is known about the problem, and the milestones covered in the previous research. Here, be open to reveal your curiosity that is the foundation of your research. However, be careful to state only the key arguments without lengthy background and contextual information

Step 5 – Identify the methodology. The section should have two to three sentences explaining how the hypothesis was tested, of the researchers, arrived at the findings. Be careful to mention the research design, data collection, and analysis methods, and possible limitations encountered

Step 6 – Results. State the outcomes of the study, specifically those that answered the research question and hypothesis. Use specific details and facts, such as average mean scores, distributions, and other statistical outcomes.

Step 7 – Conclusion. Mention the significance of the findings, most on how they increase knowledge on the subject. Also, mentioned if new findings were achieved, or those that greatly differ the past findings.

Step 8 – Keywords. Finally, select a few of the keywords from the study. In most cases, keywords are those that can help find the research from the database. For this reason, a student should utilize those in key headings, topics, types of research, and the problem.

After preparing the above items to form the paper, you can go ahead to type the work. Be sure to be brief in every section to avoid bulkiness and going the above-specified word count for this section. After you have typed everything, be sure to check that,

  1. You have used active voice when possible
  2. The entire abstract is in a single paragraph, in a block, and without indentations.
  3. There are no redundant phrases, adjectives, repetition, and adverbs.
  4. All grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation rules are followed.

Also, make sure that you have avoided

  1. abbreviations or acronyms used
  2. jargon or confusing terms used
  3. Citations of other works in this section.
  4. Illustrations, figures, or tables in the abstract, or references to those used in the paper.

In conclusion, an abstract summarizes the key aspects of a research paper to fulfill various purposes. For this reason, it should bride, and all arguments clear. In addition, students should include keywords to help in the searching process. Finally, it is important to start on a draft and type when everything is set.


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