By: Donna C.
13 min read
Reviewed By: Caleb S.
Published on: Jan 3, 2024
Ever had trouble making a short and interesting summary of your important research? You're not the only one!
Making a good summary, called an abstract, is tricky for many researchers.
Think of your abstract as the spotlight on your research paper—it's super important. It helps grab the interest of people reading your work and other researchers.
If your abstract isn't engaging, your hard work might get lost in the sea of academic papers.
But don’t worry!
In this guide, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of creating an outstanding abstract. We will show you some examples of engaging abstracts and give you helpful tips.
Let’s start writing!
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An abstract is like a sneak peek at your research paper. It's a short summary that gives people a quick idea about what your research is all about.
Common guidelines often suggest a range of 150 to 250 words (6-7 sentences) for shorter papers and up to 300 words (14-15 sentences) for longer, more comprehensive papers.
Instead of reading the whole paper, someone can check out the abstract to see if your work is what they're looking for.
An abstract should be written with the intent of helping others decide if they want to study your research.
Abstract in research plays a crucial role for several reasons:
Writing a good abstract includes combining all essential elements of research to present a comprehensive overview of the study, including:
This study investigates the relationship between regular exercise and cognitive function in older adults. A sample of 200 participants aged 65 and above engaged in a 12-week exercise program, while another 200 formed a control group. Results indicated a significant improvement in cognitive performance among the exercise group, suggesting that regular physical activity positively influences cognitive function in the elderly. This finding has important implications for promoting healthy aging and designing effective interventions to support cognitive well-being.
|This research looks at exercise and how it affects the brains of older people. We had two groups, one that exercised and one that didn't. Some stuff happened, and the group that exercised did better on something related to thinking. This is important for old people's brains.
It is best practice to write your abstract after writing your research paper.
Normally, the abstract is the first thing in your paper. It's not just about introducing your topic (that's what the title does), but it summarizes your whole paper in a short way.
If you write the abstract last, it makes sure it completely matches what you researched and wrote in your paper. This approach allows for a more accurate reflection of the research's core elements.
A good abstract doesn't just quickly summarize your research; it also entices readers to explore your work further.
Now, let's go through the steps of writing a simple and clear abstract for a research paper.
Before you start writing your abstract, take some time to really understand what your research is all about.
1. Identify Your Goal
2. Know Your Scope
3. Define Key Components
Now that you know what your research is about, it's time to see how other researchers have written about similar topics.
Look for research papers similar to yours. Read their abstracts carefully. This will give you an idea of how others structure their summaries and the language they use.
Pay attention to how these abstracts are organized. Notice if they start with the research question, describe methods, or jump straight to findings. Understanding this structure will help you plan your own abstract.
The next step in abstract writing is to break down your own research paper into key sections.
First of all, divide your paper. Common sections include Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Identify what each section talks about.
Then, pick out the most crucial information from each section. What details are essential for someone to understand your research?
These will be the key components of your abstract.
The last step is to focus on the main points in each section:
This step helps you know what to include in your abstract.
In writing a concise and engaging introduction for your abstract, start by providing a brief background or context about your research. Imagine explaining your study to someone unfamiliar with the topic, offering a quick summary of what it's all about.
Following this, clearly state the main question or research problem, maintaining clarity.
Finally, highlight the importance of your research by emphasizing its significance. Explain why your research question is important and show how it matters.
This introduction paragraph of your abstract sets the tone, giving a snapshot of what your research is about and making people want to learn more.
Now, dive into explaining the methods you used in your research - how you did it.
Offer a short explanation of how you conducted your study. What methods did you use to gather information? Keep it simple but informative.
Mention the design of your study. Was it an experiment, survey, or observation? This helps readers understand the structure of your research.
Identify the essential components of your methods. Mention details like participant demographics, materials used, or any unique approaches you took.
In this step, Provide a brief summary of the key outcomes of your study. Focus on the most critical results that directly relate to your research question.
In this last step of writing an abstract, summarize the broader implications of your findings. Discuss why your findings matter and explore any practical applications of your research.
Make sure to address the following questions:
By following these steps, you can effectively create a detailed and well-structured abstract for your research paper.
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Ensure your research paper abstract is comprehensive and impactful with this checklist:
Clarity of Purpose
Is the main objective or purpose clear?
Can a reader easily understand the study's aim?
Context and Background
Have you provided a brief background or context?
Is there enough information for the unfamiliar reader?
Is the main research question clearly stated?
Is the research question presented straightforwardly?
Does the abstract include a concise method overview?
Have key components (design, participants, materials) been mentioned?
Key Findings Summary
Have you provided a clear summary of key findings?
Are key outcomes highlighted to capture their significance?
Implications or Conclusions
Have broader implications or conclusions been summarized?
Is the significance of the findings clearly discussed?
Language and Clarity
Is the language clear and easily understandable?
Have unnecessary jargon or technical terms been avoided?
Have you adhered to the specified word limit?
Are sentences crafted for maximum meaning with minimal words?
Crafting an effective abstract is an art that requires a balance of clarity and conciseness.
In this section, we'll walk through examples to illustrate how to write an abstract for a research paper successfully.
Social Sciences Abstract:
Support Of Workplace Diversity Policies: The Role Of Race, Gender, And Beliefs About Inequality
William J. Scarborough, Danny Lambouths, Allyson L. Holbrook, Support of workplace diversity policies: The role of race, gender, and beliefs about inequality, Social Science Research, Volume 79, 2019, Pages 194-210, ISSN 0049-089X.
The Effects Of War On Ukrainian Research
de Rassenfosse, G., Murovana, T. & Uhlbach, WH. The effects of war on Ukrainian research. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10, 856 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-02346-x
Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) As An Anti-Aging Health Product – Promises And Safety Concerns
Harshani Nadeeshani, Jinyao Li, Tianlei Ying, Baohong Zhang, Jun Lu, Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) as an anti-aging health product – Promises and safety concerns, Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 37, 2022, Pages 267-278, ISSN 2090-1232.
Here are some more abstract writing examples for your better understanding:
In addition to the writing process, here are some tips you can follow to make your abstract shine and capture the reader’s attention:
Wrapping up, this blog helps researchers learn how to write great research paper abstracts. With step-by-step process and useful tips, you have the guidance to create captivating abstracts that grab attention.
But if somehow things still don’t go your way, don’t worry!
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Specific formatting requirements may vary by academic or publication guidelines, but common elements include concise language, clear organization, and adherence to word limits.
There are two main types of abstracts:
Donna writes on a broad range of topics, but she is mostly passionate about social issues, current events, and human-interest stories. She has received high praise for her writing from both colleagues and readers alike. Donna is known in her field for creating content that is not only professional but also captivating.
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