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How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

Are you having trouble giving your research paper that kick starts it needs? Here at EssayPro, we have put together a handy little guide to help write an excellent abstract for a research paper.

Read on to find out more or get professional help with your paper.


Table Of Contents

What is an Abstract for a Research Paper?

an abstract for a research paper

So while at University or college, one assignment that can be undertaken is a research paper. All research papers need an abstract to accompany and summarize the work. It should consist of around a third of a page depending on what type of abstract. It is a summary of all the vital parts of the research paper and gives the reader or your professor a chance to oversee the work and whether or not to read on. It is essential to make the abstract useful for someone to review the paper.

Types of Abstract

So let's look at the four main types of abstracts to make a decision on which to use:

Critical - Must include the vital details like main findings and information, but also a commentary on the study with regards to how valid and reliable the research is. It’s also possible to compare the paper to other research in the same field.

  • critical abstracts are typically 400 to 500 words in length to accommodate the extra comments;
  • this format is used rarely in research paper writing.

Descriptive - As the name suggests it only describes the paper and does not include any commentary or results from the research. It can outline the intentions of the work and methods used.

  • just summarizes the job, but some researchers consider it to be more of an outline;
  • typically around 100 words, they are very short in comparison.

Informative - The vast majority of abstracts come under this category, and even though they are not critiqued or evaluated they are more than just described. A well presented informative abstract could almost substitute the rest of the paper by itself. This is due to the researcher presenting all the key points of the paper along with any results and conclusions.

  • the length can vary depending on topic but will not be longer than 300 words;
  • it has all the information like methods and intentions but with evidence and also possible recommendations.

Highlight - The whole purpose of a highlight abstract is to attract the reader's attention by any means possible. It doesn't have to be a fair or complete picture of the paper. Using intriguing remarks to gain the audience's interest is the primary goal, and as such with an unbalanced abstract this could not be used independently to its associated article.

  • seldom used in academic writing.

Now you know the different types and what it is, let's move on to how to write an abstract:

How to Write a Good Abstract for a Research Paper

Anyone can write an average abstract but to impress the reader you need to include specific points but not too much as unnecessary information will quickly lose the attention that is so dramatically needed. To find out how to write a useful abstract for a research paper keep it concise and include these parts.

The Main Components and Structure

Here is the most common abstract, an informative with all the required sections:

common abstract for a research paper

Let's go into more detail and see what each section needs to include.

Step-by-step instructions

Purpose and reasons why?

It doesn't matter whether your study is looking at the eating habits of llamas in the Peruvian mountains or rainfall in Chicago it is essential to say what are your motivations for this paper and why should the rest of the world care too. You also have to include what you hope to find out through the research. Check out these questions to help you out:

  • Why did you decide to study or research this topic?
  • What makes this topic relevant to your field or the audience?
  • Why should anybody read your paper?

The problem

So now it's time to get specific with the actual issue as the audience should not be left guessing why this paper is the magic missing piece to the puzzle that solves the problem. This can be included in the previous section but to add clarity here are some specific questions for extra help:

  • What will the research help to find out or what is the issue that needs a solution?
  • What is the extent of the paper and is the issue something specific or general?
  • What is the main idea or claim being disputed?

Methods and materials

Now the issue has been addressed you need to tell the reader how you have tackled the problem and how the actual research was conducted. If you worked as part of a team, then mention this here. This is the methodology being explained for the research and what resources helped you get there.

For example, was it a simulation study or did you use the work of others? If you are still wondering how to write an abstract here are some more questions:

  • Provide the details of the study, describe your methods and variables used along with the scope of the paper?
  • Summarize the evidence that is to be found out.
  • Include the most important sources of information

Facts and figures

Here you will present a summary of the results from the study, but try not to be vague with your terminology and use actual percentages or numbers. Remember to use quantitative terms rather than qualitative ones, save the latter for the conclusion. Try to include these questions:

  • What were solid results achieved, for example, trends, comparisons, and correlations?
  • Can you compare the results to the thesis? Can the study be considered a success?
  • Was there any unforeseeable outcomes or was the majority of results predicted?

Concluding statement

The last part of the abstract will be your evaluation of the study and conclusions. Directly relate this to the results and not the general topic. Make a statement about why this paper will shake the scientific community and make a difference to any professional reading it.

Keep in mind scientific journals are very skeptical of bold claims so try not to boast or make extraordinary revolutionary claims. Here are some questions to chose from to help conclude a research paper abstract:

  • What implications do these results have on my field? And the wider world?
  • Would another type of study gain more or better results?
  • What could extra information help improve the knowledge on this topic?

So now you know all the types we have some top tips from the experts to craft the best abstract possible.

Final Tips and Recommendations

tips for abstract

Research first then Abstract - It might seem strange to write the abstract after you have completed the research paper, but there is a method in the madness. There are many advantages to doing this.

  • The first point, you can read through the entire article and have all the information fresh in your mind. Then you will be able to condense it well into the abstract without forgetting something.
  • The second point, you can design the abstract to fit around your results to demonstrate that you achieved what you hoped to.

Write in the past tense - As you conducted the research already you should refer to it in the past tense. Make sure you use clear and concise sentences.

Don’t use jargon - Do not use any jargon or confusing terms, if there is anything the reader might not understand then explain it.

  • For example, any abbreviations need defining at least once.

Leave out lengthy background information - You need to find the right balance of explaining enough without going into too much detail.

  • Make sure you get straight to the point.

Let someone else have a look - Do not be scared of critique, your paper could get a lot of attention, so be ready!

  • Let a fellow professional in a similar field that is not related to your study, have a read.
  • Let them summarize the research back to you to see if you have communicated it well through the paper.

If you still need help to know how to write a useful abstract for a research paper then we have included some examples to give you more ideas for your article:

Research Paper Abstract Examples

An analysis of salmon management in the Yukon Delta. The amount of salmon farmed across the US and Canada has led to many different involved companies and strategies either governmental or commercially owned. In the Yukon River, there are both forms of harvesting the fish. The local residence or the Yukip have been traditionally catching the fish for centuries. Declining populations have instigated scientific research into the causes and possible preventions for future conservation (purpose and reasons).

Insect Repellant Potential of Juniper Berry (high school). In the Southwest shrub variety of Juniperus communis (Juniper Berry) has an essential medicinal origin in the Native American culture that has not been found scientifically. One of the favorite uses of Juniper berries aside from its detoxifying effect is its potential to repel insects (purpose and reasons).


Verdict

Now you know how to write an abstract for a research paper, you can finish that scientific article and amaze your peers. If you are still stuck, do not worry we got you covered. Come check out our professional writers from various academic backgrounds that can be your writer or tutor. There is also a free blog section to help with many other academic subject areas.

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