How to Write a Great Abstract: 4 Essential Elements

how to write a great abstract 4 essential elements

How to Write a Great Abstract

This post will show you how to create an effective abstract. It outlines the four key components of an effective abstract, including the ideal word count and tense.

You must compose the abstract after finishing your research paper, thesis, or literature review. What format does the abstract use? What components make up a strong abstract?

These suggestions are helpful if this is your first time or if you are unsure about writing your first abstract. An illustration is provided to show how it functions.

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how to write a great abstract

DEFINITION OF AN ABSTRACT

Your research paper, thesis, or scientific publication will be summarized in an abstract. An unpublished or published research work is briefly described in the abstract. It is a concise summary of the investigation so that readers can readily understand its findings. A strong abstract serves as a condensed version of the entire research work.

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PURPOSE OF AN ABSTRACT

For researchers or students writing research proposals, abstracts are essential resources, especially when writing the literature review.

The abstract’s material must be complete enough to enable the researcher to determine whether or not the work is pertinent to their area of interest. It should be succinct while also including all necessary details to help readers understand the study that was done. Additionally, the abstract will assist the researcher in determining whether or not to read the entire research article.

4 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF A GOOD ABSTRACT

So how should a research paper’s abstract be written to ensure that readers get the most out of it?

The essential components of a research article should be included in a strong abstract. In general, a research paper’s essential sections—the introduction, the materials and methods utilized, the findings, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations—should be summarized in an informational abstract. Consequently, it must include the following crucial components:

1. THE RESEARCH PAPER’S OBJECTIVE, PURPOSE, OR PURPOSE

The study’s justification is discussed in this section of the abstract. It makes obvious the study’s objective, aim, or purpose. It provides a response to the query, “Why do we care about the issue?”

It states the fundamental argument, the problem statement, or the thesis statement. It emphasizes the study’s importance to society. Why did the researchers decide to conduct the study? What’s at risk?

2. A METHODOLOGY OR PROCEDURE THAT STATES THE PROCEDURE USED IN THE CONDUCT OF THE STUDY

The method or methodology section clearly explains the approach taken in collecting, handling, and analyzing the data. It provides a brief explanation of the investigation’s methodology used by the researcher or team of researchers. It comprises the quantity of samples, tools, and statistical analyses applied to the data in quantitative studies. The scope of the inquiry is also hinted at in this section.

The perspective that the researcher or researchers chose is described in this section of the abstract. The types of evidence are described.

The approach or methodology section also includes significant ideas and pertinent keywords that help it stand out and be searchable. Additionally, it describes the subject of the inquiry, which could be an individual, a group of individuals, a specific gender, ethnicity, community, environment, etc.

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3. OUTCOMES OR KEY FINDINGS

The results or main conclusions of the study are summarized in this section of the abstract. It only summarizes the key findings, most crucial findings, or highlights of the study in one or a few phrases.

To demonstrate the importance of computed correlations or discrepancies, you might reference the probability values here. It focuses on the results’ practical significance and how they will advance our understanding of the problem.

4. CONCLUSION

The main finding of the study is stated in this section of the research abstract. What did the researchers conclude after receiving the results?

When composing the abstract, great care should be taken with the conclusion. The investigation’s results should provide strong support for the conclusion; it shouldn’t just be a blanket assertion with no solid justification or supporting data.

how to write a great abstract

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS IN THE RESEARCH ABSTRACT WRITING

Should the research abstract provide recommendations?

In reality, several scientific journals or academic organizations do not provide suggestions in the abstract.

Withholding information for commercial advantage appears unethical or violates the goal of research for publicly-funded studies, where the majority of studies nearly always belong. Taxpayers in the US shell up $140 billion year to support research that they cannot access for free. The popularity of open-access publishing has grown as a result in recent years. However, the high costs of publishing in open-access journals continue to be a problem for authors.

Since it takes time, money, and effort to publish a credible and rigorous scientific publication, we can’t really afford to be freeloaders. To be accepted for publishing in renowned journals, a candidate manuscript must undergo thorough peer review, editing, and formatting. However, considering how many reviewers offer their skills for free, perhaps publishing businesses also need to be fair in their pricing.

Finally, unless the research study incorporates an upgrade or modification of a previously published method utilized by a researcher, references (such as the name of the author and the date) should not be given in the abstract.

AMOUNT OF WORDS

It is advised by several sources on how to create an effective abstract that it be brief. But how condensed ought to be the research abstract?

The typical word restriction for papers submitted for participation in conference presentations is between 250 and 300 words. However, it is possible to sum up the paper in a few concise phrases.

Therefore, the problem is to condense the research abstract while still including all of the crucial information that will encourage readers to read the entire paper. The abstract acts as a teaser, giving readers a sample of what is to come so they may decide whether to continue reading or not.

Although abstracts shouldn’t be more than 250 words, this limit may change depending on the journal’s requirements, for example if you want to submit your research paper to a well-known scientific journal. A excellent abstract maintains its succinctness.

The research abstract can only be a certain number of words long, therefore each word must be important and coherent. One paragraph should contain all the important information. For a novice researcher, this approach necessitates some planning and experience.

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THE ABSTRACT’S TENSE

What form of the present tense should the abstract take?

Because the study has already taken place, the abstract is typically written in the past tense. The results, discussion, and conclusion, for example, must all describe the facts in the present tense.

However, a lot of authors these days use the active voice. The paper is written from a first-person perspective. The sentences below are visible in the abstract:

  1. “We examine sample visitor data from five years.”
  2. “I adopted a widely accepted methodology to differentiate the concepts.”
  3. “I refute these interpretations in this work.”

The style of abstract writing is ultimately determined by the journal of publishing. But putting all the pieces together will be more helpful to the reader if you want them to understand what you’re trying to say.

how to write a great abstract

How to Write a Great Abstract

The abstract will often be the first (and only) part of your work that readers will read, so it’s crucial to get it right. However, doing so can be extremely difficult. You can get going with the aid of these tactics.

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See Other Abstracts:

Reading others’ is the greatest method to become familiar with the standards for writing an abstract in your field. Try utilizing them as a model for structure and style as you likely read a number of journal article abstracts when completing your literature study.

Reverse Outline:

Not all abstracts will have the exact same components. You can write your abstract for longer works using a procedure known as reverse outlining.

Make a keyword list and write one to two phrases that succinctly state the main idea or argument for each chapter or part. You’ll get a general idea of the structure of your abstract from this. The sentences should then be revised to establish connections and demonstrate how the argument grows.

Write concisely and Clearly:

A good abstract should be concise but effective, so make each word count. One key idea should be communicated in each sentence.

To make your abstract or summary succinct and understandable:

  1. Passive sentences should be avoided since they frequently need unnecessary length. By using the active voice, you can quickly and easily make them shorter and clearer.
  2. Shorten your sentences: Replace shorter statements or single words with longer ones (for example, “In order to” instead of “To”).
  3. Avoid using technical language; the abstract should be clear to people unfamiliar with the subject.
  4. Avoid using filler words and repetition: When possible, substitute pronouns for nouns, and cut out superfluous words.
  5. Avoid giving detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to give specific definitions, historical context, or analyses of the work of other experts. Instead, provide this information in the paper’s or thesis’s main body.

Look over your Formatting:

There are frequently specific formatting requirements for the abstract if you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal. Be sure to check the instructions and format your work properly. You can use the APA abstract format for APA research papers.

Example of an Abstract

The Abstract of a Thesis titled “Humanities”:

This essay explores the function of silent films as a kind of social interaction in the US in the early 20th century. A sizable portion of the population was non-English speaking at this period due to high immigration rates. These immigrants encountered many economic and social challenges, such as being shut out of public dialogue and entertainment (newspapers, theater, radio).

This study shows that silent movies were an accessible and inexpensive form of amusement by including information from reviews, correspondence, and diaries. It makes a case for early cinema’s comprehensible economic and representational qualities. The low cost of entry and the democratic quality of the players’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily understood by a varied audience despite language limitations, make these issues particularly clear.

Keywords: language obstacles, early cinema, public discourse, entertainment, and silent films.

Frequently Asked Questions

What section of a thesis or dissertation does the Abstract belong in?

The abstract can be found in the thesis or dissertation on a separate page, following the acknowledgements and title page but before the table of contents.

When should I Start Writing the Abstract?

The final thing you write is the abstract. To accurately summarize the contents of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, you should only write it when your research is finished.

How long is an Abstract for a Dissertation?

Typically, a thesis or dissertation abstract is 200–300 words long. Always examine the standards set forth by your university as there is frequently a hard word limit.

What three types of Abstracts exist?

Informational, descriptive, critical, and highlight abstracts are the four different categories of abstracts.

Conclusion

Have your own unique style by veering somewhat from the norm. The abstract should be intriguing enough for readers to want to study your research, gain knowledge from it, or skip it if it doesn’t directly relate to their area of interest.

Choose words or phrases that accurately express the substance of your research since you want others to find your work. These keywords are necessary for popular search engines like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari to properly assist users who are looking for information on the subject matter on which you cared to invest your time, money, and effort.

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