A Guide to Writing an Abstract

A research paper abstract is a summary; usually in one paragraph, of the crucial aspects of your research work that includes the overall purpose of your study, the basic design and significant findings from your research work. It plays a vital role in clearly explaining your research work and must be captivating enough to make the reader keep going. You can call it the selling point of your work. Hence, it is essential to write your abstract carefully. Before you start, conclude on the type you want to write to avoid contrasting methods. An abstract is a quick overview of your research work. We have two major methods for writing an abstract; these are: descriptive and informative. An informative abstract is popular because it is used for technical and lengthy research, while a descriptive abstract is applied in writing short and less technical papers. 

First, it is necessary to research the specific rules guiding the abstract you’re writing. The reason is that each field has particular guidelines and requirements regarding the structure of your research report; going against this may affect the validity of your research project. This can include a minimum or maximum word length, formatting styles, specific rules, etc. 

Also, understand your target audience or readers. An abstract helps readers to know if the research work is related to their study and allows readers to understand your argument speedily. When writing your abstract, answer the following questions: 

  • Will your research work apply to the public?
  • Are your research results applicable on the scale presented in your abstract?
  • Why did you choose the research topic?
  • Why should someone read your research work?
  • What do you intend to achieve with the research?
  • Who are the main target of your study?

Answering these questions will give you clear speculation and direct your abstract writing.

Furthermore, ensure you include only relevant information in your abstract. Although, you should touch every aspect of your research, do not make you're abstract wordy and full of unnecessary information. Avoid the Use of complex and ambiguous statements to prevent getting your readers confused and your research work unnecessarily questionable.  

Also, avoid using abbreviations and acronyms that will demand a further explanation; it can distract and turn off your reader. Only reference sources that are present in your research work and do not reference quotes or people that are not popular or would be difficult for your reader to find. Tables, charts, graphs, and other graphical images should not appear in your abstract; this should be in the methodology and results in sections of the research paper. You can also add a ‘keywords’ section to attract your readers. Potential readers may encounter your research paper searching with keywords. 

Finally, get feedback from a colleague or hire a professional academic writer to proofread your research work, who will check for spelling and grammatical errors before submitting. Mistakes can be a turn off for your readers, and they may even think your work is substandard.