Considering the fact that abstract is a short section of a research paper it can cause more troubles than you think. How simple is it to express your thoughts in a precise but informative manner? If you are writing an abstract to one of your research papers, you are about to discover all the pitfalls of academic writing.
From what the academic requirements say, your abstract should be about one-two hundred words, written in short sentences, full of meaning that represent the scope and methodology of your research. So, what other recommendations does a guide on how to write an abstract for a research paper contain?
Before You Start Writing - Types of Abstracts
Based on the type of research, or requirements given you need to select the type of abstract and follow certain formatting rules for each one. If your instruction says you need to write abstract without specifying the type, it is a good idea to clarify.
Although an abstract is concise in terms of wording, it still has a structure and specific content. The descriptive and informative abstracts are the most popular types that are required for most academic papers. There is also a critical abstract which is similar to review. It is not recognized as abstract by the whole scholarly community though.
A descriptive type of abstract does not presuppose a description of scope, conclusion, and methods. It is designed to present the aim of the study, and the type of information analyzed. So, make sure to summarize your work in the conclusion, not abstract. Since there is a limit to the type of information included in the descriptive abstract, its size reaches one hundred words and not more.
For your informative abstract write down the purpose, scope, method, and conclusions. In a nutshell, the abstract gives an exhaustive insight. It is often used when people are looking for resources for the research. When you have a pile of books to go through, you read the abstract to know the gist and understand whether you can use this book/article. This piece contains about three hundred words or less.
Writing Your Abstract
Stick to the classic structure of academic papers when you write your abstract. It will have an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Start with the things you should avoid in this piece.
- Rewriting the title of the research;
- Inserting the references;
- Introducing the research-specific abbreviations;
- Providing background on the topic.
The title is usually wordy and writing it in the abstract makes no sense. It is a mistake and will lower your grade significantly.
Structure of the Abstract
Note that your abstract writing should be done in the last stage of writing the research. Since this piece summarizes all the content, thesis statement, objectives, it should not contradict your paper content.
Purpose and motivation statement
Include the reason why you decided to work on this topic and what pressing urge its solutions have for the society or your field of study. It happens that the topic you work with is not particularly interesting but it is a part of the larger puzzle. Present it in a way that makes the audience understand the relevance and novelty of your study.
Explain the problem
Get ready to know all the darkest corners of your research, especially when it comes to the topic and scope you are working on. You need to read a lot of literature, even if it is not used in your paper, the opinions voiced about the problem you deal with the matter. Your interpretation of the issue is equally important.
Discuss your approach
Your topic has most probably been researched by several scholars before. Every study uses a certain approach. The type of approach used depends on the results you aim at. So, explain why you opted for a certain method.
Summarize your results
Interpretations you provide in the research play a vital role in the committee assessing you. The audience expects you to not only summarize the literature you read but present your results and deductions. They show your analytical skills and academic capabilities.
The culmination of your research is writing your final statement. It is a part where you write the final verdict on whether your work will change the world or at least become a push for change.
A set of rules you need to follow to create a short piece of text called abstract is overwhelming. Stick to the word count, including the right content, format it properly, and other small details make it hard work. It seems like an abstract becomes more challenging than the paper itself. Get professional writer consultation and have your abstract done in a blink of an eye.