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How to write an abstract for a research paper?

An abstract is usually written as a part of a research paper, report or article. The purpose of it is to summarize the main spots of your work in a very concise way. The abstract is placed at the very beginning of the paper in order for the readers to have an opportunity to check it quickly and to learn whether they are interested in the presented work. In fact, it shapes the reader’s expectations and bases on your writing. Here we will provide you with the most important qualities of a good abstract and some steps to its successful completion.

  1. 1.       What is an abstract?

Abstract means a shortened form of a longer writing. There are two main types of abstracts: informative and descriptive – they depend on the subject usually.

The abstract is the last thing you write but the first thing, which readers will check. It provides a quick overview of the paper, which is why it is more comfortable to write it at the end of your writing process when you have a full picture of the work.

  1. 2.       Basic steps in writing the abstract.
  • Read the paper you have written and catch the general meaning of it. After that re-read every section and note information of each in one or two sentences.
  • Check all the sentences and make sure that you did not miss any essential point.
  • Ensure that you did not exceed the required word count and reduce words if it is necessary. You may cut off words and rewrite few sentences into one.
  • Revise the paper: make sure that it flows and draws up a coherent meaningful unit.
  1. 3.       Qualities of the good abstract.
  • It should consist of one paragraph written in a concise and coherent manner, which stands as a separate informative unit.
  • Touch upon all the key points of the full paper, including background, purpose, focus, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Do not include the information, which you did not mention in the research paper. The abstract should be precisely based on your work.
  • The well-written abstract is written in a simple language that can be understood by an unprepared reader and specialists.
  • An abstract is a kind a report about findings and results, thus, you can use passive structure. Focus your attention not on people but on the issues.
  • Do not include citations and referencing.
  • The abstract should take place at the beginning of the text. However, if it is an academic assignment it is written on the separate preliminary page.
  1. 4.       Two types of abstracts.
  • Descriptive abstracts:

-          Are used for social sciences and humanity subjects;

-          Typically do not exceed the count of 100 words;

-          Enlighten such points as background, purpose of the paper, its focus and sometimes contents overview.

  • Informative abstracts:

-          Used for psychology and science reports, engineering projects and research papers.

-          Should not exceed 200 words.

-          Explicate such spots as a background of the issue, aim of research, methodology, findings and conclusions.

-          Each of the points should be explained in one or two sentences.

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