Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Definition and Purpose of Abstracts

An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:

  • an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
  • an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
  • and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.

It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.

If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.

The Contents of an Abstract

Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.

Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:

  • the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
  • the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
  • what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
  • the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
  • your research and/or analytical methods
  • your main findings , results , or arguments
  • the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.

Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.

When to Write Your Abstract

Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.

Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract

The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.

The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.

The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).

Sample Abstract 1

From the social sciences.

Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses

Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.

“The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the topic under study (the “economic resemblance of spouses”). This sentence also implies the question underlying this research study: what are the various causes—and the interrelationships among them—for this trend?] The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor—a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. [Annotation for the previous two sentences: These next two sentences explain what previous research has demonstrated. By pointing out the limitations in the methods that were used in previous studies, they also provide a rationale for new research.] We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The data, research and analytical methods used in this new study.] Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.” (p. 985) [Annotation for the previous two sentences: The major findings from and implications and significance of this study.]

Sample Abstract 2

From the humanities.

Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications

Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.

“From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a network of young urban migrant men created an underground pulp fiction publishing industry in the city of Dar es Salaam. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence introduces the context for this research and announces the topic under study.] As texts that were produced in the underground economy of a city whose trajectory was increasingly charted outside of formalized planning and investment, these novellas reveal more than their narrative content alone. These texts were active components in the urban social worlds of the young men who produced them. They reveal a mode of urbanism otherwise obscured by narratives of decolonization, in which urban belonging was constituted less by national citizenship than by the construction of social networks, economic connections, and the crafting of reputations. This article argues that pulp fiction novellas of socialist era Dar es Salaam are artifacts of emergent forms of male sociability and mobility. In printing fictional stories about urban life on pilfered paper and ink, and distributing their texts through informal channels, these writers not only described urban communities, reputations, and networks, but also actually created them.” (p. 210) [Annotation for the previous sentences: The remaining sentences in this abstract interweave other essential information for an abstract for this article. The implied research questions: What do these texts mean? What is their historical and cultural significance, produced at this time, in this location, by these authors? The argument and the significance of this analysis in microcosm: these texts “reveal a mode or urbanism otherwise obscured . . .”; and “This article argues that pulp fiction novellas. . . .” This section also implies what previous historical research has obscured. And through the details in its argumentative claims, this section of the abstract implies the kinds of methods the author has used to interpret the novellas and the concepts under study (e.g., male sociability and mobility, urban communities, reputations, network. . . ).]

Sample Abstract/Summary 3

From the sciences.

Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells

Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.

“Several studies have reported reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced cardiomyocytes; however, reprogramming into proliferative induced cardiac progenitor cells (iCPCs) remains to be accomplished. [Annotation for the previous sentence: The first sentence announces the topic under study, summarizes what’s already known or been accomplished in previous research, and signals the rationale and goals are for the new research and the problem that the new research solves: How can researchers reprogram fibroblasts into iCPCs?] Here we report that a combination of 11 or 5 cardiac factors along with canonical Wnt and JAK/STAT signaling reprogrammed adult mouse cardiac, lung, and tail tip fibroblasts into iCPCs. The iCPCs were cardiac mesoderm-restricted progenitors that could be expanded extensively while maintaining multipo-tency to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells in vitro. Moreover, iCPCs injected into the cardiac crescent of mouse embryos differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iCPCs transplanted into the post-myocardial infarction mouse heart improved survival and differentiated into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. [Annotation for the previous four sentences: The methods the researchers developed to achieve their goal and a description of the results.] Lineage reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs provides a scalable cell source for drug discovery, disease modeling, and cardiac regenerative therapy.” (p. 354) [Annotation for the previous sentence: The significance or implications—for drug discovery, disease modeling, and therapy—of this reprogramming of adult somatic cells into iCPCs.]

Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract

Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study

Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.

Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.

“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.

METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.

RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.

CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)

Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:

what is abstract in a research paper

Academic and Professional Writing

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Analysis Papers

Reading Poetry

A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis

Using Literary Quotations

Play Reviews

Writing a Rhetorical Précis to Analyze Nonfiction Texts

Incorporating Interview Data

Grant Proposals

Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics

Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing

Job Materials and Application Essays

Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs

  • Before you begin: useful tips for writing your essay
  • Guided brainstorming exercises
  • Get more help with your essay
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Resume Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips

Cover Letters

Business Letters

Proposals and Dissertations

Resources for Proposal Writers

Resources for Dissertators

Research Papers

Planning and Writing Research Papers

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Creating Poster Presentations

Thank-You Notes

Advice for Students Writing Thank-You Notes to Donors

Reading for a Review

Critical Reviews

Writing a Review of Literature

Scientific Reports

Scientific Report Format

Sample Lab Assignment

Writing for the Web

Writing an Effective Blog Post

Writing for Social Media: A Guide for Academics

  • Features for Creative Writers
  • Features for Work
  • Features for Higher Education
  • Features for Teachers
  • Features for Non-Native Speakers
  • Learn Blog Grammar Guide Community Events FAQ
  • Grammar Guide

How to Write an Abstract (With Examples)

Sarah Oakley headshot

Sarah Oakley

how to write an abstract

Table of Contents

What is an abstract in a paper, how long should an abstract be, 5 steps for writing an abstract, examples of an abstract, how prowritingaid can help you write an abstract.

If you are writing a scientific research paper or a book proposal, you need to know how to write an abstract, which summarizes the contents of the paper or book.

When researchers are looking for peer-reviewed papers to use in their studies, the first place they will check is the abstract to see if it applies to their work. Therefore, your abstract is one of the most important parts of your entire paper.

In this article, we’ll explain what an abstract is, what it should include, and how to write one.

An abstract is a concise summary of the details within a report. Some abstracts give more details than others, but the main things you’ll be talking about are why you conducted the research, what you did, and what the results show.

When a reader is deciding whether to read your paper completely, they will first look at the abstract. You need to be concise in your abstract and give the reader the most important information so they can determine if they want to read the whole paper.

Remember that an abstract is the last thing you’ll want to write for the research paper because it directly references parts of the report. If you haven’t written the report, you won’t know what to include in your abstract.

If you are writing a paper for a journal or an assignment, the publication or academic institution might have specific formatting rules for how long your abstract should be. However, if they don’t, most abstracts are between 150 and 300 words long.

A short word count means your writing has to be precise and without filler words or phrases. Once you’ve written a first draft, you can always use an editing tool, such as ProWritingAid, to identify areas where you can reduce words and increase readability.

If your abstract is over the word limit, and you’ve edited it but still can’t figure out how to reduce it further, your abstract might include some things that aren’t needed. Here’s a list of three elements you can remove from your abstract:

Discussion : You don’t need to go into detail about the findings of your research because your reader will find your discussion within the paper.

Definition of terms : Your readers are interested the field you are writing about, so they are likely to understand the terms you are using. If not, they can always look them up. Your readers do not expect you to give a definition of terms in your abstract.

References and citations : You can mention there have been studies that support or have inspired your research, but you do not need to give details as the reader will find them in your bibliography.

what is abstract in a research paper

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

If you’ve never written an abstract before, and you’re wondering how to write an abstract, we’ve got some steps for you to follow. It’s best to start with planning your abstract, so we’ve outlined the details you need to include in your plan before you write.

Remember to consider your audience when you’re planning and writing your abstract. They are likely to skim read your abstract, so you want to be sure your abstract delivers all the information they’re expecting to see at key points.

1. What Should an Abstract Include?

Abstracts have a lot of information to cover in a short number of words, so it’s important to know what to include. There are three elements that need to be present in your abstract:

Your context is the background for where your research sits within your field of study. You should briefly mention any previous scientific papers or experiments that have led to your hypothesis and how research develops in those studies.

Your hypothesis is your prediction of what your study will show. As you are writing your abstract after you have conducted your research, you should still include your hypothesis in your abstract because it shows the motivation for your paper.

Throughout your abstract, you also need to include keywords and phrases that will help researchers to find your article in the databases they’re searching. Make sure the keywords are specific to your field of study and the subject you’re reporting on, otherwise your article might not reach the relevant audience.

2. Can You Use First Person in an Abstract?

You might think that first person is too informal for a research paper, but it’s not. Historically, writers of academic reports avoided writing in first person to uphold the formality standards of the time. However, first person is more accepted in research papers in modern times.

If you’re still unsure whether to write in first person for your abstract, refer to any style guide rules imposed by the journal you’re writing for or your teachers if you are writing an assignment.

3. Abstract Structure

Some scientific journals have strict rules on how to structure an abstract, so it’s best to check those first. If you don’t have any style rules to follow, try using the IMRaD structure, which stands for Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion.

how to structure an abstract

Following the IMRaD structure, start with an introduction. The amount of background information you should include depends on your specific research area. Adding a broad overview gives you less room to include other details. Remember to include your hypothesis in this section.

The next part of your abstract should cover your methodology. Try to include the following details if they apply to your study:

What type of research was conducted?

How were the test subjects sampled?

What were the sample sizes?

What was done to each group?

How long was the experiment?

How was data recorded and interpreted?

Following the methodology, include a sentence or two about the results, which is where your reader will determine if your research supports or contradicts their own investigations.

The results are also where most people will want to find out what your outcomes were, even if they are just mildly interested in your research area. You should be specific about all the details but as concise as possible.

The last few sentences are your conclusion. It needs to explain how your findings affect the context and whether your hypothesis was correct. Include the primary take-home message, additional findings of importance, and perspective. Also explain whether there is scope for further research into the subject of your report.

Your conclusion should be honest and give the reader the ultimate message that your research shows. Readers trust the conclusion, so make sure you’re not fabricating the results of your research. Some readers won’t read your entire paper, but this section will tell them if it’s worth them referencing it in their own study.

4. How to Start an Abstract

The first line of your abstract should give your reader the context of your report by providing background information. You can use this sentence to imply the motivation for your research.

You don’t need to use a hook phrase or device in your first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Your reader will look to establish relevance quickly, so readability and clarity are more important than trying to persuade the reader to read on.

5. How to Format an Abstract

Most abstracts use the same formatting rules, which help the reader identify the abstract so they know where to look for it.

Here’s a list of formatting guidelines for writing an abstract:

Stick to one paragraph

Use block formatting with no indentation at the beginning

Put your abstract straight after the title and acknowledgements pages

Use present or past tense, not future tense

There are two primary types of abstract you could write for your paper—descriptive and informative.

An informative abstract is the most common, and they follow the structure mentioned previously. They are longer than descriptive abstracts because they cover more details.

Descriptive abstracts differ from informative abstracts, as they don’t include as much discussion or detail. The word count for a descriptive abstract is between 50 and 150 words.

Here is an example of an informative abstract:

A growing trend exists for authors to employ a more informal writing style that uses “we” in academic writing to acknowledge one’s stance and engagement. However, few studies have compared the ways in which the first-person pronoun “we” is used in the abstracts and conclusions of empirical papers. To address this lacuna in the literature, this study conducted a systematic corpus analysis of the use of “we” in the abstracts and conclusions of 400 articles collected from eight leading electrical and electronic (EE) engineering journals. The abstracts and conclusions were extracted to form two subcorpora, and an integrated framework was applied to analyze and seek to explain how we-clusters and we-collocations were employed. Results revealed whether authors’ use of first-person pronouns partially depends on a journal policy. The trend of using “we” showed that a yearly increase occurred in the frequency of “we” in EE journal papers, as well as the existence of three “we-use” types in the article conclusions and abstracts: exclusive, inclusive, and ambiguous. Other possible “we-use” alternatives such as “I” and other personal pronouns were used very rarely—if at all—in either section. These findings also suggest that the present tense was used more in article abstracts, but the present perfect tense was the most preferred tense in article conclusions. Both research and pedagogical implications are proffered and critically discussed.

Wang, S., Tseng, W.-T., & Johanson, R. (2021). To We or Not to We: Corpus-Based Research on First-Person Pronoun Use in Abstracts and Conclusions. SAGE Open, 11(2).

Here is an example of a descriptive abstract:

From the 1850s to the present, considerable criminological attention has focused on the development of theoretically-significant systems for classifying crime. This article reviews and attempts to evaluate a number of these efforts, and we conclude that further work on this basic task is needed. The latter part of the article explicates a conceptual foundation for a crime pattern classification system, and offers a preliminary taxonomy of crime.

Farr, K. A., & Gibbons, D. C. (1990). Observations on the Development of Crime Categories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 34(3), 223–237.

If you want to ensure your abstract is grammatically correct and easy to read, you can use ProWritingAid to edit it. The software integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and most web browsers, so you can make the most of it wherever you’re writing your paper.

academic document type

Before you edit with ProWritingAid, make sure the suggestions you are seeing are relevant for your document by changing the document type to “Abstract” within the Academic writing style section.

You can use the Readability report to check your abstract for places to improve the clarity of your writing. Some suggestions might show you where to remove words, which is great if you’re over your word count.

We hope the five steps and examples we’ve provided help you write a great abstract for your research paper.

Get started with ProWritingAid

Drop us a line or let's stay in touch via :

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a self-contained, short, and powerful statement that describes a larger work. Components vary according to discipline. An abstract of a social science or scientific work may contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. An abstract of a humanities work may contain the thesis, background, and conclusion of the larger work. An abstract is not a review, nor does it evaluate the work being abstracted. While it contains key words found in the larger work, the abstract is an original document rather than an excerpted passage.

Why write an abstract?

You may write an abstract for various reasons. The two most important are selection and indexing. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in a longer work to quickly decide whether it is worth their time to read it. Also, many online databases use abstracts to index larger works. Therefore, abstracts should contain keywords and phrases that allow for easy searching.

Say you are beginning a research project on how Brazilian newspapers helped Brazil’s ultra-liberal president Luiz Ignácio da Silva wrest power from the traditional, conservative power base. A good first place to start your research is to search Dissertation Abstracts International for all dissertations that deal with the interaction between newspapers and politics. “Newspapers and politics” returned 569 hits. A more selective search of “newspapers and Brazil” returned 22 hits. That is still a fair number of dissertations. Titles can sometimes help winnow the field, but many titles are not very descriptive. For example, one dissertation is titled “Rhetoric and Riot in Rio de Janeiro.” It is unclear from the title what this dissertation has to do with newspapers in Brazil. One option would be to download or order the entire dissertation on the chance that it might speak specifically to the topic. A better option is to read the abstract. In this case, the abstract reveals the main focus of the dissertation:

This dissertation examines the role of newspaper editors in the political turmoil and strife that characterized late First Empire Rio de Janeiro (1827-1831). Newspaper editors and their journals helped change the political culture of late First Empire Rio de Janeiro by involving the people in the discussion of state. This change in political culture is apparent in Emperor Pedro I’s gradual loss of control over the mechanisms of power. As the newspapers became more numerous and powerful, the Emperor lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. To explore the role of the newspapers in the political events of the late First Empire, this dissertation analyzes all available newspapers published in Rio de Janeiro from 1827 to 1831. Newspapers and their editors were leading forces in the effort to remove power from the hands of the ruling elite and place it under the control of the people. In the process, newspapers helped change how politics operated in the constitutional monarchy of Brazil.

From this abstract you now know that although the dissertation has nothing to do with modern Brazilian politics, it does cover the role of newspapers in changing traditional mechanisms of power. After reading the abstract, you can make an informed judgment about whether the dissertation would be worthwhile to read.

Besides selection, the other main purpose of the abstract is for indexing. Most article databases in the online catalog of the library enable you to search abstracts. This allows for quick retrieval by users and limits the extraneous items recalled by a “full-text” search. However, for an abstract to be useful in an online retrieval system, it must incorporate the key terms that a potential researcher would use to search. For example, if you search Dissertation Abstracts International using the keywords “France” “revolution” and “politics,” the search engine would search through all the abstracts in the database that included those three words. Without an abstract, the search engine would be forced to search titles, which, as we have seen, may not be fruitful, or else search the full text. It’s likely that a lot more than 60 dissertations have been written with those three words somewhere in the body of the entire work. By incorporating keywords into the abstract, the author emphasizes the central topics of the work and gives prospective readers enough information to make an informed judgment about the applicability of the work.

When do people write abstracts?

  • when submitting articles to journals, especially online journals
  • when applying for research grants
  • when writing a book proposal
  • when completing the Ph.D. dissertation or M.A. thesis
  • when writing a proposal for a conference paper
  • when writing a proposal for a book chapter

Most often, the author of the entire work (or prospective work) writes the abstract. However, there are professional abstracting services that hire writers to draft abstracts of other people’s work. In a work with multiple authors, the first author usually writes the abstract. Undergraduates are sometimes asked to draft abstracts of books/articles for classmates who have not read the larger work.

Types of abstracts

There are two types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. They have different aims, so as a consequence they have different components and styles. There is also a third type called critical, but it is rarely used. If you want to find out more about writing a critique or a review of a work, see the UNC Writing Center handout on writing a literature review . If you are unsure which type of abstract you should write, ask your instructor (if the abstract is for a class) or read other abstracts in your field or in the journal where you are submitting your article.

Descriptive abstracts

A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract describes the work being abstracted. Some people consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short—100 words or less.

Informative abstracts

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the writer presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the complete article/paper/book. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract (purpose, methods, scope) but also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is rarely more than 10% of the length of the entire work. In the case of a longer work, it may be much less.

Here are examples of a descriptive and an informative abstract of this handout on abstracts . Descriptive abstract:

The two most common abstract types—descriptive and informative—are described and examples of each are provided.

Informative abstract:

Abstracts present the essential elements of a longer work in a short and powerful statement. The purpose of an abstract is to provide prospective readers the opportunity to judge the relevance of the longer work to their projects. Abstracts also include the key terms found in the longer work and the purpose and methods of the research. Authors abstract various longer works, including book proposals, dissertations, and online journal articles. There are two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. A descriptive abstract briefly describes the longer work, while an informative abstract presents all the main arguments and important results. This handout provides examples of various types of abstracts and instructions on how to construct one.

Which type should I use?

Your best bet in this case is to ask your instructor or refer to the instructions provided by the publisher. You can also make a guess based on the length allowed; i.e., 100-120 words = descriptive; 250+ words = informative.

How do I write an abstract?

The format of your abstract will depend on the work being abstracted. An abstract of a scientific research paper will contain elements not found in an abstract of a literature article, and vice versa. However, all abstracts share several mandatory components, and there are also some optional parts that you can decide to include or not. When preparing to draft your abstract, keep the following key process elements in mind:

  • Reason for writing: What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • Problem: What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
  • Methodology: An abstract of a scientific work may include specific models or approaches used in the larger study. Other abstracts may describe the types of evidence used in the research.
  • Results: Again, an abstract of a scientific work may include specific data that indicates the results of the project. Other abstracts may discuss the findings in a more general way.
  • Implications: What changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work? How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

(This list of elements is adapted with permission from Philip Koopman, “How to Write an Abstract.” )

All abstracts include:

  • A full citation of the source, preceding the abstract.
  • The most important information first.
  • The same type and style of language found in the original, including technical language.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content and focus of the work.
  • Clear, concise, and powerful language.

Abstracts may include:

  • The thesis of the work, usually in the first sentence.
  • Background information that places the work in the larger body of literature.
  • The same chronological structure as the original work.

How not to write an abstract:

  • Do not refer extensively to other works.
  • Do not add information not contained in the original work.
  • Do not define terms.

If you are abstracting your own writing

When abstracting your own work, it may be difficult to condense a piece of writing that you have agonized over for weeks (or months, or even years) into a 250-word statement. There are some tricks that you could use to make it easier, however.

Reverse outlining:

This technique is commonly used when you are having trouble organizing your own writing. The process involves writing down the main idea of each paragraph on a separate piece of paper– see our short video . For the purposes of writing an abstract, try grouping the main ideas of each section of the paper into a single sentence. Practice grouping ideas using webbing or color coding .

For a scientific paper, you may have sections titled Purpose, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each one of these sections will be longer than one paragraph, but each is grouped around a central idea. Use reverse outlining to discover the central idea in each section and then distill these ideas into one statement.

Cut and paste:

To create a first draft of an abstract of your own work, you can read through the entire paper and cut and paste sentences that capture key passages. This technique is useful for social science research with findings that cannot be encapsulated by neat numbers or concrete results. A well-written humanities draft will have a clear and direct thesis statement and informative topic sentences for paragraphs or sections. Isolate these sentences in a separate document and work on revising them into a unified paragraph.

If you are abstracting someone else’s writing

When abstracting something you have not written, you cannot summarize key ideas just by cutting and pasting. Instead, you must determine what a prospective reader would want to know about the work. There are a few techniques that will help you in this process:

Identify key terms:

Search through the entire document for key terms that identify the purpose, scope, and methods of the work. Pay close attention to the Introduction (or Purpose) and the Conclusion (or Discussion). These sections should contain all the main ideas and key terms in the paper. When writing the abstract, be sure to incorporate the key terms.

Highlight key phrases and sentences:

Instead of cutting and pasting the actual words, try highlighting sentences or phrases that appear to be central to the work. Then, in a separate document, rewrite the sentences and phrases in your own words.

Don’t look back:

After reading the entire work, put it aside and write a paragraph about the work without referring to it. In the first draft, you may not remember all the key terms or the results, but you will remember what the main point of the work was. Remember not to include any information you did not get from the work being abstracted.

Revise, revise, revise

No matter what type of abstract you are writing, or whether you are abstracting your own work or someone else’s, the most important step in writing an abstract is to revise early and often. When revising, delete all extraneous words and incorporate meaningful and powerful words. The idea is to be as clear and complete as possible in the shortest possible amount of space. The Word Count feature of Microsoft Word can help you keep track of how long your abstract is and help you hit your target length.

Example 1: Humanities abstract

Kenneth Tait Andrews, “‘Freedom is a constant struggle’: The dynamics and consequences of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1984” Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997 DAI-A 59/02, p. 620, Aug 1998

This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so. The time period studied includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies. Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports. This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Now let’s break down this abstract into its component parts to see how the author has distilled his entire dissertation into a ~200 word abstract.

What the dissertation does This dissertation examines the impacts of social movements through a multi-layered study of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement from its peak in the early 1960s through the early 1980s. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by which movements transform social structures and the constraints movements face when they try to do so.

How the dissertation does it The time period studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of voting rights and gains in black political power, the desegregation of public schools and the emergence of white-flight academies, and the rise and fall of federal anti-poverty programs. I use two major research strategies: (1) a quantitative analysis of county-level data and (2) three case studies.

What materials are used Data have been collected from archives, interviews, newspapers, and published reports.

Conclusion This dissertation challenges the argument that movements are inconsequential. Some view federal agencies, courts, political parties, or economic elites as the agents driving institutional change, but typically these groups acted in response to movement demands and the leverage brought to bear by the civil rights movement. The Mississippi movement attempted to forge independent structures for sustaining challenges to local inequities and injustices. By propelling change in an array of local institutions, movement infrastructures had an enduring legacy in Mississippi.

Keywords social movements Civil Rights Movement Mississippi voting rights desegregation

Example 2: Science Abstract

Luis Lehner, “Gravitational radiation from black hole spacetimes” Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 1998 DAI-B 59/06, p. 2797, Dec 1998

The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search for and analysis of detected signals. The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm. This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

This science abstract covers much of the same ground as the humanities one, but it asks slightly different questions.

Why do this study The problem of detecting gravitational radiation is receiving considerable attention with the construction of new detectors in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The theoretical modeling of the wave forms that would be produced in particular systems will expedite the search and analysis of the detected signals.

What the study does The characteristic formulation of GR is implemented to obtain an algorithm capable of evolving black holes in 3D asymptotically flat spacetimes. Using compactification techniques, future null infinity is included in the evolved region, which enables the unambiguous calculation of the radiation produced by some compact source. A module to calculate the waveforms is constructed and included in the evolution algorithm.

Results This code is shown to be second-order convergent and to handle highly non-linear spacetimes. In particular, we have shown that the code can handle spacetimes whose radiation is equivalent to a galaxy converting its whole mass into gravitational radiation in one second. We further use the characteristic formulation to treat the region close to the singularity in black hole spacetimes. The code carefully excises a region surrounding the singularity and accurately evolves generic black hole spacetimes with apparently unlimited stability.

Keywords gravitational radiation (GR) spacetimes black holes

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

Koopman, Philip. 1997. “How to Write an Abstract.” Carnegie Mellon University. October 1997. http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/essays/abstract.html .

Lancaster, F.W. 2003. Indexing And Abstracting in Theory and Practice , 3rd ed. London: Facet Publishing.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 3. The Abstract
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

Writing an Abstract. The Writing Center. Clarion University, 2009; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century . Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010;

Importance of a Good Abstract

Sometimes your professor will ask you to include an abstract, or general summary of your work, with your research paper. The abstract allows you to elaborate upon each major aspect of the paper and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Therefore, enough key information [e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.] must be included to make the abstract useful to someone who may want to examine your work.

How do you know when you have enough information in your abstract? A simple rule-of-thumb is to imagine that you are another researcher doing a similar study. Then ask yourself: if your abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the amount of information presented there? Does it tell the whole story about your study? If the answer is "no" then the abstract likely needs to be revised.

Farkas, David K. “A Scheme for Understanding and Writing Summaries.” Technical Communication 67 (August 2020): 45-60;  How to Write a Research Abstract. Office of Undergraduate Research. University of Kentucky; Staiger, David L. “What Today’s Students Need to Know about Writing Abstracts.” International Journal of Business Communication January 3 (1966): 29-33; Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Abstracts and the Writing of Abstracts . Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2009.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Types of Abstracts

To begin, you need to determine which type of abstract you should include with your paper. There are four general types.

Critical Abstract A critical abstract provides, in addition to describing main findings and information, a judgment or comment about the study’s validity, reliability, or completeness. The researcher evaluates the paper and often compares it with other works on the same subject. Critical abstracts are generally 400-500 words in length due to the additional interpretive commentary. These types of abstracts are used infrequently.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgments about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarized. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less. Informative Abstract The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Highlight Abstract A highlight abstract is specifically written to attract the reader’s attention to the study. No pretense is made of there being either a balanced or complete picture of the paper and, in fact, incomplete and leading remarks may be used to spark the reader’s interest. In that a highlight abstract cannot stand independent of its associated article, it is not a true abstract and, therefore, rarely used in academic writing.

II.  Writing Style

Use the active voice when possible , but note that much of your abstract may require passive sentence constructions. Regardless, write your abstract using concise, but complete, sentences. Get to the point quickly and always use the past tense because you are reporting on a study that has been completed.

Abstracts should be formatted as a single paragraph in a block format and with no paragraph indentations. In most cases, the abstract page immediately follows the title page. Do not number the page. Rules set forth in writing manual vary but, in general, you should center the word "Abstract" at the top of the page with double spacing between the heading and the abstract. The final sentences of an abstract concisely summarize your study’s conclusions, implications, or applications to practice and, if appropriate, can be followed by a statement about the need for additional research revealed from the findings.

Composing Your Abstract

Although it is the first section of your paper, the abstract should be written last since it will summarize the contents of your entire paper. A good strategy to begin composing your abstract is to take whole sentences or key phrases from each section of the paper and put them in a sequence that summarizes the contents. Then revise or add connecting phrases or words to make the narrative flow clearly and smoothly. Note that statistical findings should be reported parenthetically [i.e., written in parentheses].

Before handing in your final paper, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what you have written in the paper. Think of the abstract as a sequential set of complete sentences describing the most crucial information using the fewest necessary words. The abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

  • A catchy introductory phrase, provocative quote, or other device to grab the reader's attention,
  • Lengthy background or contextual information,
  • Redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and repetitive information;
  • Acronyms or abbreviations,
  • References to other literature [say something like, "current research shows that..." or "studies have indicated..."],
  • Using ellipticals [i.e., ending with "..."] or incomplete sentences,
  • Jargon or terms that may be confusing to the reader,
  • Citations to other works, and
  • Any sort of image, illustration, figure, or table, or references to them.

Abstract. Writing Center. University of Kansas; Abstract. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Abstracts. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Borko, Harold and Seymour Chatman. "Criteria for Acceptable Abstracts: A Survey of Abstracters' Instructions." American Documentation 14 (April 1963): 149-160; Abstracts. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Hartley, James and Lucy Betts. "Common Weaknesses in Traditional Abstracts in the Social Sciences." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (October 2009): 2010-2018; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-first Century. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, 2010; Procter, Margaret. The Abstract. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Riordan, Laura. “Mastering the Art of Abstracts.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 115 (January 2015 ): 41-47; Writing Report Abstracts. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Abstracts. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting: A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century . Oxford, UK: 2010; Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper. The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Writing Tip

Never Cite Just the Abstract!

Citing to just a journal article's abstract does not confirm for the reader that you have conducted a thorough or reliable review of the literature. If the full-text is not available, go to the USC Libraries main page and enter the title of the article [NOT the title of the journal]. If the Libraries have a subscription to the journal, the article should appear with a link to the full-text or to the journal publisher page where you can get the article. If the article does not appear, try searching Google Scholar using the link on the USC Libraries main page. If you still can't find the article after doing this, contact a librarian or you can request it from our free i nterlibrary loan and document delivery service .

  • << Previous: Research Process Video Series
  • Next: Executive Summary >>
  • Last Updated: May 15, 2024 9:53 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide
  • Privacy Policy

Research Method

Home » Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples

Research Paper Abstract – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract

Research Paper Abstract is a brief summary of a research pape r that describes the study’s purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions . It is often the first section of the paper that readers encounter, and its purpose is to provide a concise and accurate overview of the paper’s content. The typical length of an abstract is usually around 150-250 words, and it should be written in a concise and clear manner.

Research Paper Abstract Structure

The structure of a research paper abstract usually includes the following elements:

  • Background or Introduction: Briefly describe the problem or research question that the study addresses.
  • Methods : Explain the methodology used to conduct the study, including the participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Results : Summarize the main findings of the study, including statistical analyses and key outcomes.
  • Conclusions : Discuss the implications of the study’s findings and their significance for the field, as well as any limitations or future directions for research.
  • Keywords : List a few keywords that describe the main topics or themes of the research.

How to Write Research Paper Abstract

Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper abstract:

  • Start by reading your paper: Before you write an abstract, you should have a complete understanding of your paper. Read through the paper carefully, making sure you understand the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Identify the key components : Identify the key components of your paper, such as the research question, methods used, results obtained, and conclusion reached.
  • Write a draft: Write a draft of your abstract, using concise and clear language. Make sure to include all the important information, but keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is to keep your abstract between 150-250 words.
  • Use clear and concise language : Use clear and concise language to explain the purpose of your study, the methods used, the results obtained, and the conclusions drawn.
  • Emphasize your findings: Emphasize your findings in the abstract, highlighting the key results and the significance of your study.
  • Revise and edit: Once you have a draft, revise and edit it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free from errors.
  • Check the formatting: Finally, check the formatting of your abstract to make sure it meets the requirements of the journal or conference where you plan to submit it.

Research Paper Abstract Examples

Research Paper Abstract Examples could be following:

Title : “The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety disorders. Through the analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials, we found that CBT is a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders, with large effect sizes across a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Our findings support the use of CBT as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and highlight the importance of further research to identify the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.

Title : “Exploring the Role of Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: A Qualitative Study”

Abstract : This qualitative study explores the role of parental involvement in children’s education. Through in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children in elementary school, we found that parental involvement takes many forms, including volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, and communicating with teachers. We also found that parental involvement is influenced by a range of factors, including parent and child characteristics, school culture, and socio-economic status. Our findings suggest that schools and educators should prioritize building strong partnerships with parents to support children’s academic success.

Title : “The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”

Abstract : This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on the impact of exercise on cognitive function in older adults. Through the analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise is associated with significant improvements in cognitive function, particularly in the domains of executive function and attention. Our findings highlight the potential of exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to support cognitive health in older adults.

When to Write Research Paper Abstract

The abstract of a research paper should typically be written after you have completed the main body of the paper. This is because the abstract is intended to provide a brief summary of the key points and findings of the research, and you can’t do that until you have completed the research and written about it in detail.

Once you have completed your research paper, you can begin writing your abstract. It is important to remember that the abstract should be a concise summary of your research paper, and should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have expertise in your specific area of research.

Purpose of Research Paper Abstract

The purpose of a research paper abstract is to provide a concise summary of the key points and findings of a research paper. It is typically a brief paragraph or two that appears at the beginning of the paper, before the introduction, and is intended to give readers a quick overview of the paper’s content.

The abstract should include a brief statement of the research problem, the methods used to investigate the problem, the key results and findings, and the main conclusions and implications of the research. It should be written in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and technical language, and should be understandable to a broad audience.

The abstract serves as a way to quickly and easily communicate the main points of a research paper to potential readers, such as academics, researchers, and students, who may be looking for information on a particular topic. It can also help researchers determine whether a paper is relevant to their own research interests and whether they should read the full paper.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Research Paper Citation

How to Cite Research Paper – All Formats and...

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Research Paper Formats

Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and...

Research Design

Research Design – Types, Methods and Examples

Research Paper Title

Research Paper Title – Writing Guide and Example

Research Paper Introduction

Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and...

When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

  • PLOS Biology
  • PLOS Climate
  • PLOS Complex Systems
  • PLOS Computational Biology
  • PLOS Digital Health
  • PLOS Genetics
  • PLOS Global Public Health
  • PLOS Medicine
  • PLOS Mental Health
  • PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • PLOS Pathogens
  • PLOS Sustainability and Transformation
  • PLOS Collections
  • How to Write an Abstract

Abstract

Expedite peer review, increase search-ability, and set the tone for your study

The abstract is your chance to let your readers know what they can expect from your article. Learn how to write a clear, and concise abstract that will keep your audience reading.

How your abstract impacts editorial evaluation and future readership

After the title , the abstract is the second-most-read part of your article. A good abstract can help to expedite peer review and, if your article is accepted for publication, it’s an important tool for readers to find and evaluate your work. Editors use your abstract when they first assess your article. Prospective reviewers see it when they decide whether to accept an invitation to review. Once published, the abstract gets indexed in PubMed and Google Scholar , as well as library systems and other popular databases. Like the title, your abstract influences keyword search results. Readers will use it to decide whether to read the rest of your article. Other researchers will use it to evaluate your work for inclusion in systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It should be a concise standalone piece that accurately represents your research. 

what is abstract in a research paper

What to include in an abstract

The main challenge you’ll face when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND fitting in all the information you need. Depending on your subject area the journal may require a structured abstract following specific headings. A structured abstract helps your readers understand your study more easily. If your journal doesn’t require a structured abstract it’s still a good idea to follow a similar format, just present the abstract as one paragraph without headings. 

Background or Introduction – What is currently known? Start with a brief, 2 or 3 sentence, introduction to the research area. 

Objectives or Aims – What is the study and why did you do it? Clearly state the research question you’re trying to answer.

Methods – What did you do? Explain what you did and how you did it. Include important information about your methods, but avoid the low-level specifics. Some disciplines have specific requirements for abstract methods. 

  • CONSORT for randomized trials.
  • STROBE for observational studies
  • PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Results – What did you find? Briefly give the key findings of your study. Include key numeric data (including confidence intervals or p values), where possible.

Conclusions – What did you conclude? Tell the reader why your findings matter, and what this could mean for the ‘bigger picture’ of this area of research. 

Writing tips

The main challenge you may find when writing your abstract is keeping it concise AND convering all the information you need to.

what is abstract in a research paper

  • Keep it concise and to the point. Most journals have a maximum word count, so check guidelines before you write the abstract to save time editing it later.
  • Write for your audience. Are they specialists in your specific field? Are they cross-disciplinary? Are they non-specialists? If you’re writing for a general audience, or your research could be of interest to the public keep your language as straightforward as possible. If you’re writing in English, do remember that not all of your readers will necessarily be native English speakers.
  • Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages.
  • Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary.
  • Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings.
  • Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.
  • Double and triple check your abstract for spelling and grammar errors. These kind of errors can give potential reviewers the impression that your research isn’t sound, and can make it easier to find reviewers who accept the invitation to review your manuscript. Your abstract should be a taste of what is to come in the rest of your article.

what is abstract in a research paper

Don’t

  • Sensationalize your research.
  • Speculate about where this research might lead in the future.
  • Use abbreviations or acronyms (unless absolutely necessary or unless they’re widely known, eg. DNA).
  • Repeat yourself unnecessarily, eg. “Methods: We used X technique. Results: Using X technique, we found…”
  • Contradict anything in the rest of your manuscript.
  • Include content that isn’t also covered in the main manuscript.
  • Include citations or references.

Tip: How to edit your work

Editing is challenging, especially if you are acting as both a writer and an editor. Read our guidelines for advice on how to refine your work, including useful tips for setting your intentions, re-review, and consultation with colleagues.

  • How to Write a Great Title
  • How to Write Your Methods
  • How to Report Statistics
  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
  • How to Edit Your Work

The contents of the Peer Review Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

  • Introduction

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.

Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.

This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the UK during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).

Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.

Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

You will almost always have to include an abstract when:

  • Completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
  • Writing a book proposal
  • Applying for research grants

It’s easiest to write your abstract last, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:

  • Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
  • Be fully understandable on its own
  • Reflect the structure of your larger work

Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?

You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.

After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyse,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.

This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense  but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.

  • This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.

Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.

  • Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
  • Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.

Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.

Next, summarise the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.

  • Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
  • Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.

Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.

Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.

  • We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
  • We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.

If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalisability of your research.

If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.

If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.

Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.

It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.

Read other abstracts

The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.

You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .

Reverse outline

Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.

For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarise the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.

Write clearly and concisely

A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.

To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:

  • Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
  • Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
  • Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
  • Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.

If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .

Check your formatting

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .

Checklist: Abstract

The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.

The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .

I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.

I have briefly described my methodology .

I have summarized the most important results .

I have stated my main conclusions .

I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.

The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.

You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 14 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/abstract/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis or dissertation introduction, thesis & dissertation acknowledgements | tips & examples, dissertation title page.

  • Departments and Units
  • Majors and Minors
  • LSA Course Guide
  • LSA Gateway

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$root.page}}

  • Accessibility
  • Undergraduates
  • Instructors
  • Alums & Friends

Sweetland Center for Writing

  • ★ Writing Support
  • Minor in Writing
  • First-Year Writing Requirement
  • Transfer Students
  • Writing Guides
  • Peer Writing Consultant Program
  • Upper-Level Writing Requirement
  • Writing Prizes
  • International Students
  • ★ The Writing Workshop
  • Dissertation ECoach
  • Fellows Seminar
  • Dissertation Writing Groups
  • Rackham / Sweetland Workshops
  • Dissertation Writing Institute
  • Guides to Teaching Writing
  • Teaching Support and Services
  • Support for FYWR Courses
  • Support for ULWR Courses
  • Writing Prize Nominating
  • Alums Gallery
  • Commencement
  • Giving Opportunities
  • What Exactly is an Abstract?
  • How Do I Make Sure I Understand an Assignment?
  • How Do I Decide What I Should Argue?
  • How Can I Create Stronger Analysis?
  • How Do I Effectively Integrate Textual Evidence?
  • How Do I Write a Great Title?
  • How Do I Present Findings From My Experiment in a Report?
  • What is a Run-on Sentence & How Do I Fix It?
  • How Do I Check the Structure of My Argument?
  • How Do I Write an Intro, Conclusion, & Body Paragraph?
  • How Do I Incorporate Quotes?
  • How Can I Create a More Successful Powerpoint?
  • How Can I Create a Strong Thesis?
  • How Can I Write More Descriptively?
  • How Do I Incorporate a Counterargument?
  • How Do I Check My Citations?

See the bottom of the main Writing Guides page for licensing information.

What Exactly is an Abstract, and How Do I Write One?

An abstract is a short summary of your completed research. It is intended to describe your work without going into great detail. Abstracts should be self-contained and concise, explaining your work as briefly and clearly as possible. Different disciplines call for slightly different approaches to abstracts, as will be illustrated by the examples below, so it would be wise to study some abstracts from your own field before you begin to write one.

General Considerations

Probably the most important function of an abstract is to help a reader decide if he or she is interested in reading your entire publication. For instance, imagine that you’re an undergraduate student sitting in the library late on a Friday night. You’re tired, bored, and sick of looking up articles about the history of celery. The last thing you want to do is reading an entire article only to discover it contributes nothing to your argument. A good abstract can solve this problem by indicating to the reader if the work is likely to be meaningful to his or her particular research project. Additionally, abstracts are used to help libraries catalogue publications based on the keywords that appear in them.

An effective abstract will contain several key features:

  • Motivation/problem statement: Why is your research/argument important? What practical, scientific, theoretical or artistic gap is your project filling?
  • Methods/procedure/approach: What did you actually do to get your results? (e.g. analyzed 3 novels, completed a series of 5 oil paintings, interviewed 17 students)
  • Results/findings/product: As a result of completing the above procedure, what did you learn/invent/create?
  • Conclusion/implications: What are the larger implications of your findings, especially for the problem/gap identified previously? Why is this research valuable?

In Practice

Let’s take a look at some sample abstracts, and see where these components show up. To give you an idea of how the author meets these “requirements” of abstract writing, the various features have been color-coded to correspond with the numbers listed above. The general format of an abstract is largely predictable, with some discipline-based differences. One type of abstract not discussed here is the “Descriptive Abstract,” which only summarizes and explains existing research, rather than informing the reader of a new perspective. As you can imagine, such an abstract would omit certain components of our four-colored model.

SAMPLE ABSTRACTS

ABSTRACT #1: History / Social Science

"Their War": The Perspective of the South Vietnamese Military in Their Own Words Author: Julie Pham

Despite the vast research by Americans on the Vietnam War, little is known about the perspective of South Vietnamese military, officially called the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF). The overall image that emerges from the literature is negative: lazy, corrupt, unpatriotic, apathetic soldiers with poor fighting spirits. This study recovers some of the South Vietnamese military perspective for an American audience through qualititative interviews with 40 RVNAF veterans now living in San José, Sacramento, and Seattle, home to three of the top five largest Vietnamese American communities in the nation. An analysis of these interviews yields the veterans' own explanations that complicate and sometimes even challenge three widely held assumptions about the South Vietnamese military: 1) the RVNAF was rife with corruption at the top ranks, hurting the morale of the lower ranks; 2) racial relations between the South Vietnamese military and the Americans were tense and hostile; and 3) the RVNAF was apathetic in defending South Vietnam from communism. The stories add nuance to our understanding of who the South Vietnamese were in the Vietnam War. This study is part of a growing body of research on non-American perspectives of the war. In using a largely untapped source of Vietnamese history—oral histories with Vietnamese immigrants—this project will contribute to future research on similar topics.

That was a fairly basic abstract that allows us to examine its individual parts more thoroughly.

Motivation/problem statement: The author identifies that previous research has been done about the Vietnam War, but that it has failed to address the specific topic of South Vietnam’s military. This is good because it shows how the author’s research fits into the bigger picture. It isn’t a bad thing to be critical of other research, but be respectful from an academic standpoint (i.e. “Previous researchers are stupid and don’t know what they’re talking about” sounds kind of unprofessional).

Methods/procedure/approach: The author does a good job of explaining how she performed her research, without giving unnecessary detail. Noting that she conducted qualitative interviews with 40 subjects is significant, but she wisely does not explicitly state the kinds of questions asked during the interview, which would be excessive.

Results/findings/product: The results make good use of numbering to clearly indicate what was ascertained from the research—particularly useful, as people often just scan abstracts for the results of an experiment.

Conclusion/implications: Since this paper is historical in nature, its findings may be hard to extrapolate to modern-day phenomena, but the author identifies the importance of her work as part of a growing body of research, which merits further investigation. This strategy functions to encourage future research on the topic.

ABSTRACT #2: Natural Science “A Lysimeter Study of Grass Cover and Water Table Depth Effects on Pesticide Residues in Drainage Water” Authors: A. Liaghat, S.O. Prasher

A study was undertaken to investigate the effect of soil and grass cover, when integrated with water table management (subsurface drainage and controlled drainage), in reducing herbicide residues in agricultural drainage water. Twelve PVC lysimeters, 1 m long and 450 mm diameter, were packed with a sandy soil and used to study the following four treatments: subsurface drainage, controlled drainage, grass (sod) cover, and bare soil. Contaminated water containing atrazine, metolachlor, and metribuzin residues was applied to the lysimeters and samples of drain effluent were collected. Significant reductions in pesticide concentrations were found in all treatments. In the first year, herbicide levels were reduced significantly (1% level), from an average of 250 mg/L to less than 10 mg/L . In the second year, polluted water of 50 mg/L, which is considered more realistic and reasonable in natural drainage waters, was applied to the lysimeters and herbicide residues in the drainage waters were reduced to less than 1 mg/L. The subsurface drainage lysimeters covered with grass proved to be the most effective treatment system.

Motivation/problem statement: Once again, we see that the problem—more like subject of study —is stated first in the abstract. This is normal for abstracts, in that you want to include the most important information first. The results may seem like the most important part of the abstract, but without mentioning the subject, the results won’t make much sense to readers. Notice that the abstract makes no references to other research, which is fine. It is not obligatory to cite other publications in an abstract, and in fact, doing so might distract your reader from YOUR experiment. Either way, it is likely that other sources will surface in your paper’s discussion/conclusion.

Methods/procedure/approach: Notice that the authors include pertinent numbers and figures in describing their methods. An extended description of the methods would probably include a long list of numerical values and conditions for each experimental trial, so it is important to include only the most important values in your abstract—ones that might make your study unique. Additionally, we see that a methodological description appears in two different parts of the abstract. This is fine. It may work better to explain your experiment by more closely connecting each method to its result. One last point: the author doesn’t take time to define—or give any background information about—“atrazine,” “metalachlor,” “lysimeter,” or “metribuzin.” This may be because other ecologists know what these are, but even if that’s not the case, you shouldn’t take time to define terms in your abstract.

Results/findings/product: Similar to the methods component of the abstract, you want to condense your findings to include only the major result of the experiment. Again, this study focused on two major trials, so both trials and both major results are listed. A particularly important word to consider when sharing results in an abstract is “significant.” In statistics, “significant” means roughly that your results were not due to chance. In your paper, your results may be hundreds of words long, and involve dozens of tables and graphs, but ultimately, your reader only wants to know: “What was the main result, and was that result significant?” So, try to answer both these questions in the abstract.

Conclusion/implications: This abstract’s conclusion sounds more like a result: “…lysimeters covered with grass were found to be the most effective treatment system.” This may seem incomplete, since it does not explain how this system could/should/would be applied to other situations, but that’s okay. There is plenty of space for addressing those issues in the body of the paper.

ABSTRACT #3: Philosophy / Literature [Note: Many papers don’t precisely follow the previous format, since they do not involve an experiment and its methods. Nonetheless, they typically rely on a similar structure.]

“Participatory Legitimation: A Reply to Arash Abizadeh” Author: Eric Schmidt, Louisiana State University, 2011

Arash Abizadeh’s argument against unilateral border control relies on his unbounded demos thesis, which is supported negatively by arguing that the ‘bounded demos thesis’ is incoherent. The incoherency arises for two reasons: (1) Democratic principles cannot be brought to bear on matters (border control) logically prior to the constitution of a group, and (2), the civic definition of citizens and non-citizens creates an ‘externality problem’ because the act of definition is an exercise of coercive power over all persons. The bounded demos thesis is rejected because the “will of the people” fails to legitimate democratic political order because there can be no pre-political political will of the people. However, I argue that “the will of the people” can be made manifest under a robust understanding of participatory legitimation, which exists concurrently with the political state, and thus defines both its borders and citizens as bounded , rescuing the bounded demos thesis and compromising the rest of Abizadeh’s article.

This paper may not make any sense to someone not studying philosophy, or not having read the text being critiqued. However, we can still see where the author separates the different components of the abstract, even if we don’t understand the terminology used.

Motivation/problem statement: The problem is not really a problem, but rather another person’s belief on a subject matter. For that reason, the author takes time to carefully explain the exact theory that he will be arguing against.

Methods/procedure/approach: [Note that there is no traditional “Methods” component of this abstract.] Reviews like this are purely critical and don’t necessarily involve performing experiments as in the other abstracts we have seen. Still, a paper like this may incorporate ideas from other sources, much like our traditional definition of experimental research.

Results/findings/product: In a paper like this, the “findings” tend to resemble what you have concluded about something, which will largely be based on your own opinion, supported by various examples. For that reason, the finding of this paper is: “The ‘will of the people,’ actually corresponds to a ‘bounded demos thesis.’” Even though we aren’t sure what the terms mean, we can plainly see that the finding (argument) is in support of “bounded,” rather than “unbounded.”

Conclusion/implications: If our finding is that “bounded” is correct, then what should we conclude? [In this case, the conclusion is simply that the initial author, A.A., is wrong.] Some critical papers attempt to broaden the conclusion to show something outside the scope of the paper. For example, if A.A. believes his “unbounded demos thesis” to be correct (when he is actually mistaken), what does this say about him? About his philosophy? About society as a whole? Maybe people who agree with him are more likely to vote Democrat, more likely to approve of certain immigration policies, more likely to own Labrador retrievers as pets, etc.

Applying These Skills

Now that you know the general layout of an abstract, here are some tips to keep in mind as you write your own:

1. The abstract stands alone

  • An abstract shouldn’t be considered “part” of a paper—it should be able to stand independently and still tell the reader something significant.

2. Keep it short

  • A general rule of abstract length is 200-300 words, or about 1/10th of the entire paper.

3. Don’t add new information

  • If something doesn’t appear in your actual paper, then don’t put it in the abstract.

4. Be consistent with voice, tone, and style

  • Try to write the abstract in the same style as your paper (i.e. If you’re not using contractions in your paper, the do not use them in your abstract).

5. Be concise

  • Try to shorten your sentences as often as possible. If you can say something clearly in five words rather than ten, then do it.

6. Break up its components

  • If allowed, subdivide the components of your abstract with bolded headings for “Background,” “Methods,” etc.

7. The abstract should be part of your writing process

  • Consider writing your abstract after you finish your entire paper.
  • There’s nothing wrong with copying and pasting important sentences and phrases from your paper … provided that they’re your own words.
  • Write multiple drafts, and keep revising. An abstract is very important to your publication (or assignment) and should be treated as such.

"Abstracts." The Writing Center. The University of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 1 Jun 2011. http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/abstracts.html "Abstracts." The Writing Center. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, n.d. Web. 1 Jun 2011. http://www.rpi.edu/web/writingcenter/abstracts.html

Last updated August 2013

LSA - College of Literature, Science, and The Arts - University of Michigan

  • Information For
  • Prospective Students
  • Current Students
  • Faculty and Staff
  • Alumni and Friends
  • More about LSA
  • How Do I Apply?
  • LSA Magazine
  • Student Resources
  • Academic Advising
  • Global Studies
  • LSA Opportunity Hub
  • Social Media
  • Update Contact Info
  • Privacy Statement
  • Report Feedback

what is abstract in a research paper

  • Walden University
  • Faculty Portal

Writing for Publication: Abstracts

An abstract is "a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 38). This summary is intended to share the topic, argument, and conclusions of a research study or course paper, similar to the text on the back cover of a book. When submitting your work for publication, an abstract is often the first piece of your writing a reviewer will encounter. An abstract may not be required for course papers.

Read on for more tips on making a good first impression with a successful abstract.

An abstract is a single paragraph preceded by the heading " Abstract ," centered and in bold font. The abstract does not begin with an indented line. APA (2020) recommends that abstracts should generally be less than 250 words, though many journals have their own word limits; it is always a good idea to check journal-specific requirements before submitting. The Writing Center's APA templates are great resources for visual examples of abstracts.

Abstracts use the present tense to describe currently applicable results (e.g., "Results indicate...") and the past tense to describe research steps (e.g., "The survey measured..."), and they do not typically include citations.

Key terms are sometimes included at the end of the abstract and should be chosen by considering the words or phrases that a reader might use to search for your article.

An abstract should include information such as

  • The problem or central argument of your article
  • A brief exposition of research design, methods, and procedures.
  • A brief summary of your findings
  • A brief summary of the implications of the research on practice and theory

It is also appropriate, depending on the type of article you are writing, to include information such as:

  • Participant number and type
  • Study eligibility criteria
  • Limitations of your study
  • Implications of your study's conclusions or areas for additional research

Your abstract should avoid unnecessary wordiness and focus on quickly and concisely summarizing the major points of your work. An abstract is not an introduction; you are not trying to capture the reader's attention with timeliness or to orient the reader to the entire background of your study. When readers finish reading your abstract, they should have a strong sense of your article's purpose, approach, and conclusions. The Walden Office of Research and Doctoral Services has additional  tutorial material on abstracts .

Clinical or Empirical Study Abstract Exemplar

In the following abstract, the article's problem is stated in red , the approach and design are in blue , and the results are in green .

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have a high cardiovascular mortality rate. Precise estimates of the prevalence, risk factors and prognosis of different manifestations of cardiac disease are unavailable. In this study a prospective cohort of 433 ESRD patients was followed from the start of ESRD therapy for a mean of 41 months. Baseline clinical assessment and echocardiography were performed on all patients.  The major outcome measure was death while on dialysis therapy. Clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease were highly prevalent at the start of ESRD therapy: 14% had coronary artery disease, 19% angina pectoris, 31% cardiac failure, 7% dysrhythmia and 8% peripheral vascular disease. On echocardiography 15% had systolic dysfunction, 32% left ventricular dilatation and 74% left ventricular hypertrophy. The overall median survival time was 50 months. Age, diabetes mellitus, cardiac failure, peripheral vascular disease and systolic dysfunction independently predicted death in all time frames. Coronary artery disease was associated with a worse prognosis in patients with cardiac failure at baseline. High left ventricular cavity volume and mass index were independently associated with death after two years. The independent associations of the different echocardiographic abnormalities were: systolic dysfunction--older age and coronary artery disease; left ventricular dilatation--male gender, anemia, hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia; left ventricular hypertrophy--older age, female gender, wide arterial pulse pressure, low blood urea and hypoalbuminemia. We conclude that clinical and echocardiographic cardiovascular disease are already present in a very high proportion of patients starting ESRD therapy and are independent mortality factors.

Foley, R. N., Parfrey, P. S., Harnett, J. D., Kent, G. M., Martin, C. J., Murray, D. C., & Barre, P. E. (1995). Clinical and echocardiographic disease in patients starting end-stage renal disease therapy. Kidney International , 47 , 186–192. https://doi.org/10.1038/ki.1995.22

Literature Review Abstract Exemplar

In the following abstract, the purpose and scope of the literature review are in red , the specific span of topics is in blue , and the implications for further research are in green .

This paper provides a review of research into the relationships between psychological types, as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and managerial attributes, behaviors and effectiveness. The literature review includes an examination of the psychometric properties of the MBTI and the contributions and limitations of research on psychological types. Next, key findings are discussed and used to advance propositions that relate psychological type to diverse topics such as risk tolerance, problem solving, information systems design, conflict management and leadership. We conclude with a research agenda that advocates: (a) the exploration of potential psychometric refinements of the MBTI, (b) more rigorous research designs, and (c) a broadening of the scope of managerial research into type.

Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J. (1996). Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to study managers: A literature review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 22 (1), 45–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920639602200103

Didn't find what you need? Email us at [email protected] .

  • Previous Page: Cover Letters
  • Next Page: Formatting and Editing
  • Office of Student Disability Services

Walden Resources

Departments.

  • Academic Residencies
  • Academic Skills
  • Career Planning and Development
  • Customer Care Team
  • Field Experience
  • Military Services
  • Student Success Advising
  • Writing Skills

Centers and Offices

  • Center for Social Change
  • Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services
  • Office of Degree Acceleration
  • Office of Research and Doctoral Services
  • Office of Student Affairs

Student Resources

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Form & Style Review
  • Quick Answers
  • ScholarWorks
  • SKIL Courses and Workshops
  • Walden Bookstore
  • Walden Catalog & Student Handbook
  • Student Safety/Title IX
  • Legal & Consumer Information
  • Website Terms and Conditions
  • Cookie Policy
  • Accessibility
  • Accreditation
  • State Authorization
  • Net Price Calculator
  • Contact Walden

Walden University is a member of Adtalem Global Education, Inc. www.adtalem.com Walden University is certified to operate by SCHEV © 2024 Walden University LLC. All rights reserved.

How to Write an Abstract APA Format

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

An APA abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of an article, research paper, dissertation, or report.

It is written in accordance with the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is a widely used format in social and behavioral sciences. 

An APA abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of between 150–250 words, the major aspects of a research paper or dissertation in a prescribed sequence that includes:
  • The rationale: the overall purpose of the study, providing a clear context for the research undertaken.
  • Information regarding the method and participants: including materials/instruments, design, procedure, and data analysis.
  • Main findings or trends: effectively highlighting the key outcomes of the hypotheses.
  • Interpretations and conclusion(s): solidify the implications of the research.
  • Keywords related to the study: assist the paper’s discoverability in academic databases.

The abstract should stand alone, be “self-contained,” and make sense to the reader in isolation from the main article.

The purpose of the abstract is to give the reader a quick overview of the essential information before reading the entire article. The abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper.

Although the abstract will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s good practice to write your abstract after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.

Note : This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), released in October 2019.

Structure of the Abstract

[NOTE: DO NOT separate the components of the abstract – it should be written as a single paragraph. This section is separated to illustrate the abstract’s structure.]

1) The Rationale

One or two sentences describing the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated. You are basically justifying why this study was conducted.

  • What is the importance of the research?
  • Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
  • For example, are you filling a gap in previous research or applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data?
  • Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer can experience an array of psychosocial difficulties; however, social support, particularly from a spouse, has been shown to have a protective function during this time. This study examined the ways in which a woman’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue, and her spouse’s marital satisfaction predict the woman’s report of partner support in the context of breast cancer.
  • The current nursing shortage, high hospital nurse job dissatisfaction, and reports of uneven quality of hospital care are not uniquely American phenomena.
  • Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are more likely to exhibit behavioral difficulties than their typically developing peers. The aim of this study was to identify specific risk factors that influence variability in behavior difficulties among individuals with SEND.

2) The Method

Information regarding the participants (number, and population). One or two sentences outlining the method, explaining what was done and how. The method is described in the present tense.

  • Pretest data from a larger intervention study and multilevel modeling were used to examine the effects of women’s daily mood, pain, and fatigue and average levels of mood, pain, and fatigue on women’s report of social support received from her partner, as well as how the effects of mood interacted with partners’ marital satisfaction.
  • This paper presents reports from 43,000 nurses from more than 700 hospitals in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Germany in 1998–1999.
  • The study sample comprised 4,228 students with SEND, aged 5–15, drawn from 305 primary and secondary schools across England. Explanatory variables were measured at the individual and school levels at baseline, along with a teacher-reported measure of behavior difficulties (assessed at baseline and the 18-month follow-up).

3) The Results

One or two sentences indicating the main findings or trends found as a result of your analysis. The results are described in the present or past tense.

  • Results show that on days in which women reported higher levels of negative or positive mood, as well as on days they reported more pain and fatigue, they reported receiving more support. Women who, on average, reported higher levels of positive mood tended to report receiving more support than those who, on average, reported lower positive mood. However, average levels of negative mood were not associated with support. Higher average levels of fatigue but not pain were associated with higher support. Finally, women whose husbands reported higher levels of marital satisfaction reported receiving more partner support, but husbands’ marital satisfaction did not moderate the effect of women’s mood on support.
  • Nurses in countries with distinctly different healthcare systems report similar shortcomings in their work environments and the quality of hospital care. While the competence of and relation between nurses and physicians appear satisfactory, core problems in work design and workforce management threaten the provision of care.
  • Hierarchical linear modeling of data revealed that differences between schools accounted for between 13% (secondary) and 15.4% (primary) of the total variance in the development of students’ behavior difficulties, with the remainder attributable to individual differences. Statistically significant risk markers for these problems across both phases of education were being male, eligibility for free school meals, being identified as a bully, and lower academic achievement. Additional risk markers specific to each phase of education at the individual and school levels are also acknowledged.

4) The Conclusion / Implications

A brief summary of your conclusions and implications of the results, described in the present tense. Explain the results and why the study is important to the reader.

  • For example, what changes should be implemented as a result of the findings of the work?
  • How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

Implications of these findings are discussed relative to assisting couples during this difficult time in their lives.

  • Resolving these issues, which are amenable to managerial intervention, is essential to preserving patient safety and care of consistently high quality.
  • Behavior difficulties are affected by risks across multiple ecological levels. Addressing any one of these potential influences is therefore likely to contribute to the reduction in the problems displayed.

The above examples of abstracts are from the following papers:

Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Sloane, D. M., Sochalski, J. A., Busse, R., Clarke, H., … & Shamian, J. (2001). Nurses’ reports on hospital care in five countries . Health affairs, 20(3) , 43-53.

Boeding, S. E., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Baucom, D. H., Porter, L. S., Kirby, J. S., Gremore, T. M., & Keefe, F. J. (2014). Couples and breast cancer: Women’s mood and partners’ marital satisfaction predicting support perception . Journal of Family Psychology, 28(5) , 675.

Oldfield, J., Humphrey, N., & Hebron, J. (2017). Risk factors in the development of behavior difficulties among students with special educational needs and disabilities: A multilevel analysis . British journal of educational psychology, 87(2) , 146-169.

5) Keywords

APA style suggests including a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. This is particularly common in academic articles and helps other researchers find your work in databases.

Keywords in an abstract should be selected to help other researchers find your work when searching an online database. These keywords should effectively represent the main topics of your study. Here are some tips for choosing keywords:

Core Concepts: Identify the most important ideas or concepts in your paper. These often include your main research topic, the methods you’ve used, or the theories you’re discussing.

Specificity: Your keywords should be specific to your research. For example, suppose your paper is about the effects of climate change on bird migration patterns in a specific region. In that case, your keywords might include “climate change,” “bird migration,” and the region’s name.

Consistency with Paper: Make sure your keywords are consistent with the terms you’ve used in your paper. For example, if you use the term “adolescent” rather than “teen” in your paper, choose “adolescent” as your keyword, not “teen.”

Jargon and Acronyms: Avoid using too much-specialized jargon or acronyms in your keywords, as these might not be understood or used by all researchers in your field.

Synonyms: Consider including synonyms of your keywords to capture as many relevant searches as possible. For example, if your paper discusses “post-traumatic stress disorder,” you might include “PTSD” as a keyword.

Remember, keywords are a tool for others to find your work, so think about what terms other researchers might use when searching for papers on your topic.

The Abstract SHOULD NOT contain:

Lengthy background or contextual information: The abstract should focus on your research and findings, not general topic background.

Undefined jargon, abbreviations,  or acronyms: The abstract should be accessible to a wide audience, so avoid highly specialized terms without defining them.

Citations: Abstracts typically do not include citations, as they summarize original research.

Incomplete sentences or bulleted lists: The abstract should be a single, coherent paragraph written in complete sentences.

New information not covered in the paper: The abstract should only summarize the paper’s content.

Subjective comments or value judgments: Stick to objective descriptions of your research.

Excessive details on methods or procedures: Keep descriptions of methods brief and focused on main steps.

Speculative or inconclusive statements: The abstract should state the research’s clear findings, not hypotheses or possible interpretations.

  • Any illustration, figure, table, or references to them . All visual aids, data, or extensive details should be included in the main body of your paper, not in the abstract. 
  • Elliptical or incomplete sentences should be avoided in an abstract . The use of ellipses (…), which could indicate incomplete thoughts or omitted text, is not appropriate in an abstract.

APA Style for Abstracts

An APA abstract must be formatted as follows:

Include the running head aligned to the left at the top of the page (professional papers only) and page number. Note, student papers do not require a running head. On the first line, center the heading “Abstract” and bold (do not underlined or italicize). Do not indent the single abstract paragraph (which begins one line below the section title). Double-space the text. Use Times New Roman font in 12 pt. Set one-inch (or 2.54 cm) margins. If you include a “keywords” section at the end of the abstract, indent the first line and italicize the word “Keywords” while leaving the keywords themselves without any formatting.

Example APA Abstract Page

Download this example as a PDF

APA Style Abstract Example

Further Information

  • APA 7th Edition Abstract and Keywords Guide
  • Example APA Abstract
  • How to Write a Good Abstract for a Scientific Paper or Conference Presentation
  • How to Write a Lab Report
  • Writing an APA paper

How long should an APA abstract be?

An APA abstract should typically be between 150 to 250 words long. However, the exact length may vary depending on specific publication or assignment guidelines. It is crucial that it succinctly summarizes the essential elements of the work, including purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions.

Where does the abstract go in an APA paper?

In an APA formatted paper, the abstract is placed on its own page, directly after the title page and before the main body of the paper. It’s typically the second page of the document. It starts with the word “Abstract” (centered and not in bold) at the top of the page, followed by the text of the abstract itself.

What are the 4 C’s of abstract writing?

The 4 C’s of abstract writing are an approach to help you create a well-structured and informative abstract. They are:

Conciseness: An abstract should briefly summarize the key points of your study. Stick to the word limit (typically between 150-250 words for an APA abstract) and avoid unnecessary details.

Clarity: Your abstract should be easy to understand. Avoid jargon and complex sentences. Clearly explain the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of your study.

Completeness: Even though it’s brief, the abstract should provide a complete overview of your study, including the purpose, methods, key findings, and your interpretation of the results.

Cohesion: The abstract should flow logically from one point to the next, maintaining a coherent narrative about your study. It’s not just a list of disjointed elements; it’s a brief story of your research from start to finish.

What is the abstract of a psychology paper?

An abstract in a psychology paper serves as a snapshot of the paper, allowing readers to quickly understand the purpose, methodology, results, and implications of the research without reading the entire paper. It is generally between 150-250 words long.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles

How To Cite A YouTube Video In APA Style – With Examples

Student Resources

How To Cite A YouTube Video In APA Style – With Examples

APA References Page Formatting and Example

APA References Page Formatting and Example

APA Title Page (Cover Page) Format, Example, & Templates

APA Title Page (Cover Page) Format, Example, & Templates

How do I Cite a Source with Multiple Authors in APA Style?

How do I Cite a Source with Multiple Authors in APA Style?

How to Write a Psychology Essay

How to Write a Psychology Essay

Lab Report Format: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Lab Report Format: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

UCI Libraries Mobile Site

  • Langson Library
  • Science Library
  • Grunigen Medical Library
  • Law Library
  • Connect From Off-Campus
  • Accessibility
  • Gateway Study Center

Libaries home page

Email this link

Writing a scientific paper.

  • Writing a lab report

What is an abstract?

What is a "good" abstract, techniques to write an abstract, "abstract checklist" from: how to write a good scientific paper. chris a. mack. spie. 2018..

  • INTRODUCTION
  • LITERATURE CITED
  • Bibliography of guides to scientific writing and presenting
  • Peer Review
  • Presentations
  • Lab Report Writing Guides on the Web

There are as many kinds as abstracts as there are types of research papers.  The classic abstract is usually a "Informative" abstract. This kind of abstract communicates compressed information and include the purpose, methods, and scope of the article. They are usually short (250 words or less) and allow the reader to decide whether they want to read the article.

The goal is to communicate:

  • What was done?
  • Why was it done?
  • How was it done?
  • What was found?
  • What is the significance of the findings?
  • Self contained. Uses 1 or more well developed paragraphs
  • Uses introduction/body/conclusion structure
  • Presents purpose, results, conclusions and recommendations in that order
  • Adds no new information
  • Is understandable to a wide audience
  • Write the abstract last
  • Reread the article looking specifically for the main parts: Purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Write a first rough draft without looking at the original article
  • Edit your draft by correcting organization, improving transitions, dropping unnecessary information and words, and adding important information you left out

The abstract should be a concise (200 words or less), standalone summary of the paper, with 1–2 sentences on each of these topics:

  • Background: What issues led to this work? What is the environment that makes this work interesting or important?
  • Aim: What were the goals of this work? What gap is being filled?
  • Approach: What went into trying to achieve the aims (e.g., experimental method, simulation approach, theoretical approach, combinations of these, etc.)? What was actually done?
  • Results: What were the main results of the study (including numbers, if appropriate)?
  • Conclusions: What were the main conclusions? Why are the results important? Where will they lead?

The abstract should be written for the audience of this journal: do not assume too much or too little background with the topic.

Ensure that all of the information found in the abstract also can be found in the body of the paper.

Ensure that the important information of the paper is found in the abstract.

Avoid: using the first paragraph of the introduction as an abstract; citations in the abstract; acronyms (but if used, spell them out); referring to figures or tables from the body of the paper; use of the first person; use of words like “new” or “novel,” or phrases like “in this paper,” “we report,” or “will be discussed.” 

  • << Previous: TITLE
  • Next: INTRODUCTION >>
  • Last Updated: Aug 4, 2023 9:33 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/scientificwriting

Off-campus? Please use the Software VPN and choose the group UCIFull to access licensed content. For more information, please Click here

Software VPN is not available for guests, so they may not have access to some content when connecting from off-campus.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to write an APA abstract

How to write an APA abstract

An APA abstract is a short summary designed to help a reader decide if they are going to read the entire paper. An effective abstract will communicate your hypothesis, method, and results while also creating credibility for yourself as the author. An abstract will also make it easier for new readers to find your work.

In this guide, you will learn how to format an APA abstract. It begins with an overview of the key aspects included with an abstract and ends with a set of real APA abstract examples that you can look at.

The information in this guide comes straight from the source: The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7 th edition. Most of the relevant information comes from Section 2.9.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

What is an APA abstract page?

How to format an apa abstract, paragraph format vs. structured format, adding a keywords section after your apa abstract, about apa formatting and the apa style guide.

While the abstract page plays an important role in getting the reader interested, it is not a sales pitch. It’s about reporting, not commenting. That means that it should accurately reflect each key aspect of your paper.  In other words, it is a concise, comprehensive summary of your paper.

This is where you describe the problem you were exploring, the methods you used to explore it, and the results or conclusions of your exploration. In some cases, you might also be required to state the significance of your conclusions.

Here are some of the key aspects of an APA abstract that might be requested by the publication:

  • Basic problem : Why did this work need to be done?
  • Clearly-stated hypotheses: What was your hypothesis?
  • Methods of investigation: How did you do your research? How did you design your experiment or argument? For scientific papers, include basic sample information.
  • Results: What was the result of your study?
  • Implications: What is the significance of your findings?

Remember, the specific sections or labels in your abstract might vary based on who you are submitting to.

Qualities of a good abstract

In addition to the formatting requirements, the Publication Manual also provides some guidance on what other qualities make for a good abstract.

Here are the qualities of a good abstract as defined by APA. You can find more information on how to formulate a great abstract in chapter 3.

  • Accurate: The most important thing is that your abstract accurately reflects the contents and purpose of your paper. The general rule of thumb for accuracy is, if it doesn’t appear in your paper, it should not appear in the abstract.
  • Non-evaluative: The APA instructs us to “Report rather than evaluate” (p.73). It is inappropriate to add any opinions or comments to the abstract.
  • Coherent and readable: Your abstract needs to be as clear as possible. Use concise, deliberate language. It helps to use verbs instead of nouns when possible (e.g., “investigated” rather than “an investigation of”).
  • Concise: Make sure every sentence is as informative as possible. There should be no “extra” words in an abstract; it’s all about getting the point across as efficiently as possible. Because abstracts are often used for academic search engines, it is good practice to use specific terms that you think people would use to find your paper.

In large part, the abstract page is formatted just like any APA paper. That means that it should be 12pt font and double-spaced the whole way through.

A properly formatted abstract will also be:

  • No more than 250 words in length.
  • Placed on its own page, immediately following the APA title page .
  • Labeled with a bold, center-justified “Abstract” at the top

It is important to note that some publications will have their own instructions on how to format the abstract. In addition, some publications require a statement of significance in addition to the abstract.

If you are submitting your paper to a journal, be sure to check the publication’s author instructions.

The abstract page of an APA paper can be presented in two ways. As the author, you have the option of presenting your abstract in either paragraph format or structured format .

Paragraph format is more common with student papers. This is a single paragraph with no indentation on the first line. The objective, method, results, and conclusions are presented one after another in a simple, narrative manner.

Structured format is similar in formatting with one key difference. This format calls for the insertion of specific labels to identify the different parts of the abstract. In other words, “Objective,” “Method,” “Results,” and “Conclusions” are presented as labels before their corresponding sentences in the abstract.

It’s important to remember that some publications have different labeling requirements. If you’re submitting your paper to a journal, be sure to check the formatting standards.

APA abstract example: Paragraph format

Let’s move on to a specific example of a properly formatted APA abstract written in paragraph format.

The following abstract is from the paper “Movement, wildness, and animal aesthetics” by Tom Greaves. Note how the first line is not indented like a normal paragraph.

The key role that animals play in our aesthetic appreciation of the natural world has only gradually been highlighted in discussions in environmental aesthetics. In this article I make use of the phenomenological notion of ‘perceptual sense’ as developed by Merleau-Ponty to argue that open-ended expressive-responsive movement is the primary aesthetic ground for our appreciation of animals. It is through their movement that the array of qualities we admire in animals are manifest qua animal qualities. Against functionalist and formalist accounts, I defend and develop an account of expressive-responsive movement as the primary perceptual sense of animals. I go on to suggest that the primacy of movement in the aesthetic appreciation of animals is also the primary sense of animal ‘wildness’, and that a key part of the rewilding paradigm should be the development of such appreciation.

In the paragraph above, Greaves uses his first sentence to explain the basic problem, and the next two sentences to describe the method. The fourth sentence presents the results, and the fifth sentence wraps things up with a conclusion.

It’s only five sentences, and it tells the reader everything they need to know about the contents of the paper.

APA abstract example: Structured format

Next up is an example of a properly formatted APA abstract written in structured format. This example uses the same abstract as above, with the addition of identifying labels.

Structured abstracts are only necessary when specifically requested by the class, institution, or journal you are submitting to. For all APA journals, these labels are bold, italicized, and capitalized.

Objective. The key role that animals play in our aesthetic appreciation of the natural world has only gradually been highlighted in discussions in environmental aesthetics. Method. In this article I make use of the phenomenological notion of ‘perceptual sense’ as developed by Merleau-Ponty to argue that open-ended expressive-responsive movement is the primary aesthetic ground for our appreciation of animals. It is through their movement that the array of qualities we admire in animals are manifest qua animal qualities. Results. Against functionalist and formalist accounts, I defend and develop an account of expressive-responsive movement as the primary perceptual sense of animals. Conclusions. I go on to suggest that the primacy of movement in the aesthetic appreciation of animals is also the primary sense of animal ‘wildness’, and that a key part of the rewilding paradigm should be the development of such appreciation.

A paper’s keywords section is intended to help people find your work. These are the acronyms, phrases, or words that describe the most important elements of your paper. Any papers submitted to an APA journal should include three to five keywords.

The keywords section is generally only required for professional papers. However, some professors and universities specifically request that it be included in student papers.

Formatting the keywords section

The keywords are presented on the same page as the abstract, one line below the end of the abstract paragraph. It begins with the label “Keywords:”, and it is italicized and indented 0.5in from the margin.

Next comes a list of the keywords separated by commas. The keywords should be lowercase, unless the keyword is a proper noun. There is no punctuation at the end of a keyword list.

APA abstract with keywords example

Take another look at the abstract example that was provided above. Here is what a set of keywords might look like for that paper, pulling between 3-5 specific terms from the abstract itself.

The keywords are placed one line below the abstract without any additional spaces.

Keywords: animals, animal aesthetics, wildness, rewilding

The information in this guide came from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7 th ed.). Chapter 2 of this book lays out the basic formatting elements for APA 7, including how to write an APA abstract.

You can also consult chapter 3.3 for more in-depth recommendations on how to formulate your abstract based on what type of paper you are writing.

Published October 27, 2020.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Reference Page
  • Sample Paper
  • APA 7 Updates
  • View APA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all APA Examples

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

APA Citation Examples

Writing Tools

Citation Generators

Other Citation Styles

Plagiarism Checker

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

 alt=

Academic & Employability Skills

Subscribe to academic & employability skills.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 412 other subscribers.

Email Address

' src=

Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)

Posted in: abstract , dissertations

what is abstract in a research paper

The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. It should provide a clear and succinct summary of your study, and encourage your readers to read more. An effective abstract, therefore should answer the following questions:

  • Why did you do this study or project?
  • What did you do and how?
  • What did you find?
  • What do your findings mean?

So here's our run down of the key elements of a well-written abstract.

  • Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words.
  • Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).
  • Purpose  - The abstract should also set out the purpose of your research, in other words, what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine (or what the paper seeks to present).
  • Methods - The methods section should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. It should include brief details of the research design, sample size, duration of study, and so on.
  • Results - The results section is the most important part of the abstract. This is because readers who skim an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.
  • Conclusion - This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcomes of the study. However, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:
  • The primary take-home message.
  • Any additional findings of importance.
  • Implications for future studies.

abstract 1

Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone.

bone

Abstract from: Dalstra, M., Huiskes, R. and Van Erning, L., 1995. Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 117(3), pp.272-278.

And finally...  A word on abstract types and styles

Abstract types can differ according to subject discipline. You need to determine therefore which type of abstract you should include with your paper. Here are two of the most common types with examples.

Informative Abstract

The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.

Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgements about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarised. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.

Adapted from Andrade C. How to write a good abstract for a scientific paper or conference presentation. Indian J Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;53(2):172-5. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.82558. PMID: 21772657; PMCID: PMC3136027 .

Share this:

  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

Click here to cancel reply.

  • Email * (we won't publish this)

Write a response

' src=

Navigating the dissertation process: my tips for final years

Imagine for a moment... After months of hard work and research on a topic you're passionate about, the time has finally come to click the 'Submit' button on your dissertation. You've just completed your longest project to date as part...

Vanda Sigel and another HSS student working on laptops.

8 ways to beat procrastination

Whether you’re writing an assignment or revising for exams, getting started can be hard. Fortunately, there’s lots you can do to turn procrastination into action.

A post-it note reading 'Procrastination' surrounded by balls of screwed-up paper

My takeaways on how to write a scientific report

If you’re in your dissertation writing stage or your course includes writing a lot of scientific reports, but you don’t quite know where and how to start, the Skills Centre can help you get started. I recently attended their ‘How...

Person in a lab coat looking into a microscope doing an experiment in a laboratory. There's a row of test tubes on the bench. The person is writing on a clipboard.

Enago Academy

Role of an Abstract in Research Paper With Examples

' src=

Why does one write an abstract? What is so intriguing about writing an abstract in research paper after writing a full length research paper? How do research paper abstracts or summaries help a researcher during research publishing? These are the most common and frequently pondered upon questions that early career researchers search answers for over the internet!

Table of Contents

What does Abstract mean in Research?

In Research, abstract is “a well-developed single paragraph which is approximately 250 words in length”. Furthermore, it is single-spaced single spaced. Abstract outlines all the parts of the paper briefly. Although the abstract is placed in the beginning of the research paper immediately after research title , the abstract is the last thing a researcher writes.

Why Is an Abstract Necessary in Research Paper?

Abstract is a concise academic text that –

  • Helps the potential reader get the relevance of your research study for their own research
  • Communicates your key findings for those who have time constraints in reading your paper
  • And helps rank the article on search engines based on the keywords on academic databases.

Purpose of Writing an Abstract in Research

Abstracts are required for –

  • Submission of articles to journals
  • Application for research grants
  • Completion and submission of thesis
  • Submission of proposals for conference papers.

Aspects Included in an Abstract

The format of your abstract depends on the field of research, in which you are working. However, all abstracts broadly cover the following sections:

Reason for Writing

One can start with the importance of conducting their research study. Furthermore, you could start with a broader research question and address why would the reader be interested in that particular research question.

Research Problem

You could mention what problem the research study chooses to address. Moreover, you could elaborate about the scope of the project, the main argument, brief about thesis objective or what the study claims.

  • Methodology

Furthermore, you could mention a line or two about what approach and specific models the research study uses in the scientific work. Some research studies may discuss the evidences in throughout the paper, so instead of writing about methodologies you could mention the types of evidence used in the research.

The scientific research aims to get the specific data that indicates the results of the project. Therefore, you could mention the results and discuss the findings in a broader and general way.

Finally, you could discuss how the research work contributes to the scientific society and adds knowledge on the topic. Also, you could specify if your findings or inferences could help future research and researchers.

Types of Abstracts

Based on the abstract content —, 1. descriptive.

This abstract in research paper is usually short (50-100 words). These abstracts have common sections, such as –

  • Focus of research
  • Overview of the study.

This type of research does not include detailed presentation of results and only mention results through a phrase without contributing numerical or statistical data . Descriptive abstracts guide readers on the nature of contents of the article.

2. Informative

This abstract gives the essence of what the report is about and it is usually about 200 words. These abstracts have common sections, such as –

  • Aim or purpose

This abstract provides an accurate data on the contents of the work, especially on the results section.

Based on the writing format —

1. structured.

This type of abstract has a paragraph for each section: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Also, structured abstracts are often required for informative abstracts.

2. Semi-structured

A semi-structured abstract is written in only one paragraph, wherein each sentence corresponds to a section. Furthermore, all the sections mentioned in the structured abstract are present in the semi-structured abstract.

3. Non-structured

In a non-structured abstract there are no divisions between each section. The sentences are included in a single paragraph. This type of presentation is ideal for descriptive abstracts.

Examples of Abstracts

Abstract example 1: clinical research.

Neutralization of Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 SARS-CoV-2 by 3 doses of BNT162b2 vaccine

Abstract: The newly emerged Omicron SARS-CoV-2 has several distinct sublineages including BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. BA.1 accounts for the initial surge and is being replaced by BA.2, whereas BA.3 is at a low prevalence at this time. Here we report the neutralization of BNT162b2-vaccinated sera (collected 1 month after dose 3) against the three Omicron sublineages. To facilitate the neutralization testing, we have engineered the complete BA.1, BA.2, or BA.3 spike into an mNeonGreen USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2. All BNT162b2-vaccinated sera neutralize USA-WA1/2020, BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s with titers of >20; the neutralization geometric mean titers (GMTs) against the four viruses are 1211, 336, 300, and 190, respectively. Thus, the BA.1-, BA.2-, and BA.3-spike SARS-CoV-2s are 3.6-, 4.0-, and 6.4-fold less efficiently neutralized than the USA-WA1/2020, respectively. Our data have implications in vaccine strategy and understanding the biology of Omicron sublineages.

Type of Abstract: Informative and non-structured

Abstract Example 2: Material Science and Chemistry

Breaking the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via rotatable surface ligands

Abstract: Achieving versatile dispersion of nanoparticles in a broad range of solvents (e.g., water, oil, and biofluids) without repeatedly recourse to chemical modifications are desirable in optoelectronic devices, self-assembly, sensing, and biomedical fields. However, such a target is limited by the strategies used to decorate nanoparticle’s surface properties, leading to a narrow range of solvents for existing nanoparticles. Here we report a concept to break the nanoparticle’s dispersible limit via electrochemically anchoring surface ligands capable of sensing the surrounding liquid medium and rotating to adapt to it, immediately forming stable dispersions in a wide range of solvents (polar and nonpolar, biofluids, etc.). Moreover, the smart nanoparticles can be continuously electrodeposited in the electrolyte, overcoming the electrode surface-confined low throughput limitation of conventional electrodeposition methods. The anomalous dispersive property of the smart Ag nanoparticles enables them to resist bacteria secreted species-induced aggregation and the structural similarity of the surface ligands to that of the bacterial membrane assists them to enter the bacteria, leading to high antibacterial activity. The simple but massive fabrication process and the enhanced dispersion properties offer great application opportunities to the smart nanoparticles in diverse fields.

Type of Abstract: Descriptive and non-structured

Abstract Example 3: Clinical Toxicology

Evaluation of dexmedetomidine therapy for sedation in patients with toxicological events at an academic medical center

Introduction: Although clinical use of dexmedetomidine (DEX), an alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist, has increased, its role in patients admitted to intensive care units secondary to toxicological sequelae has not been well established.

Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to describe clinical and adverse effects observed in poisoned patients receiving DEX for sedation.

Methods: This was an observational case series with retrospective chart review of poisoned patients who received DEX for sedation at an academic medical center. The primary endpoint was incidence of adverse effects of DEX therapy including bradycardia, hypotension, seizures, and arrhythmias. For comparison, vital signs were collected hourly for the 5 h preceding the DEX therapy and every hour during DEX therapy until the therapy ended. Additional endpoints included therapy duration; time within target Richmond Agitation Sedation Score (RASS); and concomitant sedation, analgesia, and vasopressor requirements.

Results: Twenty-two patients were included. Median initial and median DEX infusion rates were similar to the commonly used rates for sedation. Median heart rate was lower during the therapy (82 vs. 93 beats/minute, p < 0.05). Median systolic blood pressure before and during therapy was similar (111 vs. 109 mmHg, p = 0.745). Five patients experienced an adverse effect per study definitions during therapy. No additional adverse effects were noted. Median time within target RASS and duration of therapy was 6.5 and 44.5 h, respectively. Seventeen patients (77%) had concomitant use of other sedation and/or analgesia with four (23%) of these patients requiring additional agents after DEX initiation. Seven patients (32%) had concomitant vasopressor support with four (57%) of these patients requiring vasopressor support after DEX initiation.

Conclusion: Common adverse effects of DEX were noted in this study. The requirement for vasopressor support during therapy warrants further investigation into the safety of DEX in poisoned patients. Larger, comparative studies need to be performed before the use of DEX can be routinely recommended in poisoned patients.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist; Overdose; Safety.

Type of Abstract: Informative and structured .

How was your experience  writing an abstract? What type of abstracts have you written? Do write to us or leave a comment below.

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

what is abstract in a research paper

Enago Academy's Most Popular Articles

AI Summarization Tools

  • AI in Academia
  • Trending Now

Simplifying the Literature Review Journey — A comparative analysis of 6 AI summarization tools

Imagine having to skim through and read mountains of research papers and books, only to…

Content Analysis vs Thematic Analysis: What's the difference?

  • Reporting Research

Choosing the Right Analytical Approach: Thematic analysis vs. content analysis for data interpretation

In research, choosing the right approach to understand data is crucial for deriving meaningful insights.…

Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Study Design

Comparing Cross Sectional and Longitudinal Studies: 5 steps for choosing the right approach

The process of choosing the right research design can put ourselves at the crossroads of…

Networking in Academic Conferences

  • Career Corner

Unlocking the Power of Networking in Academic Conferences

Embarking on your first academic conference experience? Fear not, we got you covered! Academic conferences…

Research recommendation

Research Recommendations – Guiding policy-makers for evidence-based decision making

Research recommendations play a crucial role in guiding scholars and researchers toward fruitful avenues of…

Choosing the Right Analytical Approach: Thematic analysis vs. content analysis for…

Comparing Cross Sectional and Longitudinal Studies: 5 steps for choosing the right…

8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays

what is abstract in a research paper

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

what is abstract in a research paper

As a researcher, what do you consider most when choosing an image manipulation detector?

medRxiv

Exploring the Relationship Between Early Life Exposures and the Comorbidity of Obesity and Hypertension: Findings from the 1970 The British Cohort Study (BCS70)

  • Find this author on Google Scholar
  • Find this author on PubMed
  • Search for this author on this site
  • ORCID record for S Stannard
  • For correspondence: [email protected]
  • ORCID record for R Owen
  • ORCID record for A Berrington
  • ORCID record for N Ziauddeen
  • ORCID record for SDS Fraser
  • ORCID record for S Paranjothy
  • ORCID record for RB Hoyle
  • ORCID record for N A Alwan
  • Info/History
  • Supplementary material
  • Preview PDF

Background Epidemiological research commonly investigates single exposure-outcome relationships, while children’s experiences across a variety of early lifecourse domains are intersecting. To design realistic interventions, epidemiological research should incorporate information from multiple risk exposure domains to assess effect on health outcomes. In this paper we identify exposures across five pre-hypothesised childhood domains and explored their association to the odds of combined obesity and hypertension in adulthood.

Methods We used data from 17,196 participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study. The outcome was obesity (BMI of ≥30) and hypertension (blood pressure>140/90mm Hg or self-reported doctor’s diagnosis) comorbidity at age 46. Early life domains included: ‘prenatal, antenatal, neonatal and birth’, ‘developmental attributes and behaviour’, ‘child education and academic ability’, ‘socioeconomic factors’ and ‘parental and family environment’. Stepwise backward elimination selected variables for inclusion for each domain. Predicted risk scores of combined obesity and hypertension for each cohort member within each domain were calculated. Logistic regression investigated the association between domain-specific risk scores and odds of obesity-hypertension, controlling for demographic factors and other domains.

Results Adjusting for demographic confounders, all domains were associated with odds of obesity-hypertension. Including all domains in the same model, higher predicted risk values across the five domains remained associated with increased odds of obesity-hypertension comorbidity, with the strongest associations to the parental and family environment domain (OR1.11 95%CI 1.05-1.18) and the socioeconomic factors domain (OR1.11 95%CI 1.05-1.17).

Conclusions Targeted prevention interventions aimed at population groups with shared early-life characteristics could have an impact on obesity-hypertension prevalence which are known risk factors for further morbidity including cardiovascular disease.

Competing Interest Statement

R.O. is a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Technology Appraisal Committee, member of the NICE Decision Support Unit (DSU), and associate member of the NICE Technical Support Unit (TSU). She has served as a paid consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and international reimbursement agencies, providing unrelated methodological advice. She reports teaching fees from the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). R.H. is a member of the Scientific Board of the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and System Engineering.

Funding Statement

This work is part of the multidisciplinary ecosystem to study lifecourse determinants and prevention of early-onset burdensome multimorbidity (MELD-B) project which is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR203988). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

Ethics approval for this work has been obtained from the University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine Ethics committee (ERGO II Reference 66810).

I confirm that all necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived, and that any patient/participant/sample identifiers included were not known to anyone (e.g., hospital staff, patients or participants themselves) outside the research group so cannot be used to identify individuals.

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines, such as any relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material, if applicable.

Data Availability Statement

The BCS70 datasets generated and analysed in the current study are available from the UK Data Archive repository (available here: http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/page.aspx?&sitesectionid=795 ).

View the discussion thread.

Supplementary Material

Thank you for your interest in spreading the word about medRxiv.

NOTE: Your email address is requested solely to identify you as the sender of this article.

Reddit logo

Citation Manager Formats

  • EndNote (tagged)
  • EndNote 8 (xml)
  • RefWorks Tagged
  • Ref Manager
  • Tweet Widget
  • Facebook Like
  • Google Plus One

Subject Area

  • Epidemiology
  • Addiction Medicine (324)
  • Allergy and Immunology (627)
  • Anesthesia (163)
  • Cardiovascular Medicine (2371)
  • Dentistry and Oral Medicine (289)
  • Dermatology (206)
  • Emergency Medicine (379)
  • Endocrinology (including Diabetes Mellitus and Metabolic Disease) (836)
  • Epidemiology (11768)
  • Forensic Medicine (10)
  • Gastroenterology (702)
  • Genetic and Genomic Medicine (3736)
  • Geriatric Medicine (350)
  • Health Economics (633)
  • Health Informatics (2395)
  • Health Policy (932)
  • Health Systems and Quality Improvement (896)
  • Hematology (341)
  • HIV/AIDS (782)
  • Infectious Diseases (except HIV/AIDS) (13308)
  • Intensive Care and Critical Care Medicine (767)
  • Medical Education (365)
  • Medical Ethics (104)
  • Nephrology (398)
  • Neurology (3501)
  • Nursing (198)
  • Nutrition (524)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology (674)
  • Occupational and Environmental Health (663)
  • Oncology (1823)
  • Ophthalmology (537)
  • Orthopedics (218)
  • Otolaryngology (287)
  • Pain Medicine (232)
  • Palliative Medicine (66)
  • Pathology (446)
  • Pediatrics (1033)
  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics (426)
  • Primary Care Research (420)
  • Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology (3175)
  • Public and Global Health (6138)
  • Radiology and Imaging (1280)
  • Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Therapy (747)
  • Respiratory Medicine (826)
  • Rheumatology (379)
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health (372)
  • Sports Medicine (323)
  • Surgery (402)
  • Toxicology (50)
  • Transplantation (172)
  • Urology (145)

Welcome to the MIT CISR website!

This site uses cookies. Review our Privacy Statement.

Red briefing graphic

AI Is Everybody’s Business

This briefing presents three principles to guide business leaders when making AI investments: invest in practices that build capabilities required for AI, involve all your people in your AI journey, and focus on realizing value from your AI projects. The principles are supported by the MIT CISR data monetization research, and the briefing illustrates them using examples from the Australia Taxation Office and CarMax. The three principles apply to any kind of AI, defined as technology that performs human-like cognitive tasks; subsequent briefings will present management advice distinct to machine learning and generative tools, respectively.

Access More Research!

Any visitor to the website can read many MIT CISR Research Briefings in the webpage. But site users who have signed up on the site and are logged in can download all available briefings, plus get access to additional content. Even more content is available to members of MIT CISR member organizations .

Author Barb Wixom reads this research briefing as part of our audio edition of the series. Follow the series on SoundCloud.

DOWNLOAD THE TRANSCRIPT

Today, everybody across the organization is hungry to know more about AI. What is it good for? Should I trust it? Will it take my job? Business leaders are investing in massive training programs, partnering with promising vendors and consultants, and collaborating with peers to identify ways to benefit from AI and avoid the risk of AI missteps. They are trying to understand how to manage AI responsibly and at scale.

Our book Data Is Everybody’s Business: The Fundamentals of Data Monetization describes how organizations make money using their data.[foot]Barbara H. Wixom, Cynthia M. Beath, and Leslie Owens, Data Is Everybody's Business: The Fundamentals of Data Monetization , (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2023), https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262048217/data-is-everybodys-business/ .[/foot] We wrote the book to clarify what data monetization is (the conversion of data into financial returns) and how to do it (by using data to improve work, wrap products and experiences, and sell informational solutions). AI technology’s role in this is to help data monetization project teams use data in ways that humans cannot, usually because of big complexity or scope or required speed. In our data monetization research, we have regularly seen leaders use AI effectively to realize extraordinary business goals. In this briefing, we explain how such leaders achieve big AI wins and maximize financial returns.

Using AI in Data Monetization

AI refers to the ability of machines to perform human-like cognitive tasks.[foot]See Hind Benbya, Thomas H. Davenport, and Stella Pachidi, “Special Issue Editorial: Artificial Intelligence in Organizations: Current State and Future Opportunities , ” MIS Quarterly Executive 19, no. 4 (December 2020), https://aisel.aisnet.org/misqe/vol19/iss4/4 .[/foot] Since 2019, MIT CISR researchers have been studying deployed data monetization initiatives that rely on machine learning and predictive algorithms, commonly referred to as predictive AI.[foot]This research draws on a Q1 to Q2 2019 asynchronous discussion about AI-related challenges with fifty-three data executives from the MIT CISR Data Research Advisory Board; more than one hundred structured interviews with AI professionals regarding fifty-two AI projects from Q3 2019 to Q2 2020; and ten AI project narratives published by MIT CISR between 2020 and 2023.[/foot] Such initiatives use large data repositories to recognize patterns across time, draw inferences, and predict outcomes and future trends. For example, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) used machine learning, neural nets, and decision trees to understand citizen tax-filing behaviors and produce respectful nudges that helped citizens abide by Australia’s work-related expense policies. In 2018, the nudging resulted in AUD$113 million in changed claim amounts.[foot]I. A. Someh, B. H. Wixom, and R. W. Gregory, “The Australian Taxation Office: Creating Value with Advanced Analytics,” MIT CISR Working Paper No. 447, November 2020, https://cisr.mit.edu/publication/MIT_CISRwp447_ATOAdvancedAnalytics_SomehWixomGregory .[/foot]

In 2023, we began exploring data monetization initiatives that rely on generative AI.[foot]This research draws on two asynchronous generative AI discussions (Q3 2023, N=35; Q1 2024, N=34) regarding investments and capabilities and roles and skills, respectively, with data executives from the MIT CISR Data Research Advisory Board. It also draws on in-progress case studies with large organizations in the publishing, building materials, and equipment manufacturing industries.[/foot] This type of AI analyzes vast amounts of text or image data to discern patterns in them. Using these patterns, generative AI can create new text, software code, images, or videos, usually in response to user prompts. Organizations are now beginning to openly discuss data monetization initiative deployments that include generative AI technologies. For example, used vehicle retailer CarMax reported using OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot to help aggregate customer reviews and other car information from multiple data sets to create helpful, easy-to-read summaries about individual used cars for its online shoppers. At any point in time, CarMax has on average 50,000 cars on its website, so to produce such content without AI the company would require hundreds of content writers and years of time; using ChatGPT, the company’s content team can generate summaries in hours.[foot]Paula Rooney, “CarMax drives business value with GPT-3.5,” CIO , May 5, 2023, https://www.cio.com/article/475487/carmax-drives-business-value-with-gpt-3-5.html ; Hayete Gallot and Shamim Mohammad, “Taking the car-buying experience to the max with AI,” January 2, 2024, in Pivotal with Hayete Gallot, produced by Larj Media, podcast, MP3 audio, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/taking-the-car-buying-experience-to-the-max-with-ai/id1667013760?i=1000640365455 .[/foot]

Big advancements in machine learning, generative tools, and other AI technologies inspire big investments when leaders believe the technologies can help satisfy pent-up demand for solutions that previously seemed out of reach. However, there is a lot to learn about novel technologies before we can properly manage them. In this year’s MIT CISR research, we are studying predictive and generative AI from several angles. This briefing is the first in a series; in future briefings we will present management advice specific to machine learning and generative tools. For now, we present three principles supported by our data monetization research to guide business leaders when making AI investments of any kind: invest in practices that build capabilities required for AI, involve all your people in your AI journey, and focus on realizing value from your AI projects.

Principle 1: Invest in Practices That Build Capabilities Required for AI

Succeeding with AI depends on having deep data science skills that help teams successfully build and validate effective models. In fact, organizations need deep data science skills even when the models they are using are embedded in tools and partner solutions, including to evaluate their risks; only then can their teams make informed decisions about how to incorporate AI effectively into work practices. We worry that some leaders view buying AI products from providers as an opportunity to use AI without deep data science skills; we do not advise this.

But deep data science skills are not enough. Leaders often hire new talent and offer AI literacy training without making adequate investments in building complementary skills that are just as important. Our research shows that an organization’s progress in AI is dependent on having not only an advanced data science capability, but on having equally advanced capabilities in data management, data platform, acceptable data use, and customer understanding.[foot]In the June 2022 MIT CISR research briefing, we described why and how organizations build the five advanced data monetization capabilities for AI. See B. H. Wixom, I. A. Someh, and C. M. Beath, “Building Advanced Data Monetization Capabilities for the AI-Powered Organization,” MIT CISR Research Briefing, Vol. XXII, No. 6, June 2022, https://cisr.mit.edu/publication/2022_0601_AdvancedAICapabilities_WixomSomehBeath .[/foot] Think about it. Without the ability to curate data (an advanced data management capability), teams cannot effectively incorporate a diverse set of features into their models. Without the ability to oversee the legality and ethics of partners’ data use (an advanced acceptable data use capability), teams cannot responsibly deploy AI solutions into production.

It’s no surprise that ATO’s AI journey evolved in conjunction with the organization’s Smarter Data Program, which ATO established to build world-class data analytics capabilities, and that CarMax emphasizes that its governance, talent, and other data investments have been core to its generative AI progress.

Capabilities come mainly from learning by doing, so they are shaped by new practices in the form of training programs, policies, processes, or tools. As organizations undertake more and more sophisticated practices, their capabilities get more robust. Do invest in AI training—but also invest in practices that will boost the organization’s ability to manage data (such as adopting a data cataloging tool), make data accessible cost effectively (such as adopting cloud policies), improve data governance (such as establishing an ethical oversight committee), and solidify your customer understanding (such as mapping customer journeys). In particular, adopt policies and processes that will improve your data governance, so that data is only used in AI initiatives in ways that are consonant with your organization's values and its regulatory environment.

Principle 2: Involve All Your People in Your AI Journey

Data monetization initiatives require a variety of stakeholders—people doing the work, developing products, and offering solutions—to inform project requirements and to ensure the adoption and confident use of new data tools and behaviors.[foot]Ida Someh, Barbara Wixom, Michael Davern, and Graeme Shanks, “Configuring Relationships between Analytics and Business Domain Groups for Knowledge Integration, ” Journal of the Association for Information Systems 24, no. 2 (2023): 592-618, https://cisr.mit.edu/publication/configuring-relationships-between-analytics-and-business-domain-groups-knowledge .[/foot] With AI, involving a variety of stakeholders in initiatives helps non-data scientists become knowledgeable about what AI can and cannot do, how long it takes to deliver certain kinds of functionality, and what AI solutions cost. This, in turn, helps organizations in building trustworthy models, an important AI capability we call AI explanation (AIX).[foot]Ida Someh, Barbara H. Wixom, Cynthia M. Beath, and Angela Zutavern, “Building an Artificial Intelligence Explanation Capability,” MIS Quarterly Executive 21, no. 2 (2022), https://cisr.mit.edu/publication/building-artificial-intelligence-explanation-capability .[/foot]

For example, at ATO, data scientists educated business colleagues on the mechanics and results of models they created. Business colleagues provided feedback on the logic used in the models and helped to fine-tune them, and this interaction helped everyone understand how the AI made decisions. The data scientists provided their model results to ATO auditors, who also served as a feedback loop to the data scientists for improving the model. The data scientists regularly reported on initiative progress to senior management, regulators, and other stakeholders, which ensured that the AI team was proactively creating positive benefits without neglecting negative external factors that might surface.

Given the consumerization of generative AI tools, we believe that pervasive worker involvement in ideating, building, refining, using, and testing AI models and tools will become even more crucial to deploying fruitful AI projects—and building trust that AI will do the right thing in the right way at the right time.

Principle 3: Focus on Realizing Value From Your AI Projects

AI is costly—just add up your organization’s expenses in tools, talent, and training. AI needs to pay off, yet some organizations become distracted with endless experimentation. Others get caught up in finding the sweet spot of the technology, ignoring the sweet spot of their business model. For example, it is easy to become enamored of using generative AI to improve worker productivity, rolling out tools for employees to write better emails and capture what happened in meetings. But unless those activities materially impact how your organization makes money, there likely are better ways to spend your time and money.

Leaders with data monetization experience will make sure their AI projects realize value in the form of increased revenues or reduced expenses by backing initiatives that are clearly aligned with real challenges and opportunities. That is step one. In our research, the leaders that realize value from their data monetization initiatives measure and track their outcomes, especially their financial outcomes, and they hold someone accountable for achieving the desired financial returns. At CarMax, a cross-functional team owned the mission to provide better website information for used car shoppers, a mission important to the company’s sales goals. Starting with sales goals in mind, the team experimented with and then chose a generative AI solution that would enhance the shopper experience and increase sales.

Figure 1: Three Principles for Getting Value from AI Investments

what is abstract in a research paper

The three principles are based on the following concepts from MIT CISR data research: 1. Data liquidity: the ease of data asset recombination and reuse 2. Data democracy: an organization that empowers employees in the access and use of data 3. Data monetization: the generation of financial returns from data assets

Managing AI Using a Data Monetization Mindset

AI has and always will play a big role in data monetization. It’s not a matter of whether to incorporate AI, but a matter of how to best use it. To figure this out, quantify the outcomes of some of your organization’s recent AI projects. How much money has the organization realized from them? If the answer disappoints, then make sure the AI technology value proposition is a fit for your organization’s most important goals. Then assign accountability for ensuring that AI technology is applied in use cases that impact your income statements. If the AI technology is not a fit for your organization, then don’t be distracted by media reports of the AI du jour.

Understanding your AI technology investments can be hard if your organization is using AI tools that are bundled in software you purchase or are built for you by a consultant. To set yourself up for success, ask your partners to be transparent with you about the quality of data they used to train their AI models and the data practices they relied on. Do their answers persuade you that their tools are trustworthy? Is it obvious that your partner is using data compliantly and is safeguarding the model from producing bad or undesired outcomes? If so, make sure this good news is shared with the people in your organization and those your organization serves. If not, rethink whether to break with your partner and find another way to incorporate the AI technology into your organization, such as by hiring people to build it in-house.

To paraphrase our book’s conclusion: When people actively engage in data monetization initiatives using AI , they learn, and they help their organization learn. Their engagement creates momentum that initiates a virtuous cycle in which people’s engagement leads to better data and more bottom-line value, which in turn leads to new ideas and more engagement, which further improves data and delivers more value, and so on. Imagine this happening across your organization as all people everywhere make it their business to find ways to use AI to monetize data.

This is why AI, like data, is everybody’s business.

© 2024 MIT Center for Information Systems Research, Wixom and Beath. MIT CISR Research Briefings are published monthly to update the center’s member organizations on current research projects.

Related Publications

what is abstract in a research paper

Talking Points

Ai, like data, is everybody's business.

what is abstract in a research paper

Working Paper: Vignette

The australian taxation office: creating value with advanced analytics.

what is abstract in a research paper

Research Briefing

Building advanced data monetization capabilities for the ai-powered organization.

what is abstract in a research paper

Building AI Explanation Capability for the AI-Powered Organization

what is abstract in a research paper

What is Data Monetization?

About the researchers.

Profile picture for user bwixom@mit.edu

Barbara H. Wixom, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR)

Profile picture for user cynthia.beath@mccombs.utexas.edu

Cynthia M. Beath, Professor Emerita, University of Texas and Academic Research Fellow, MIT CISR

Mit center for information systems research (cisr).

Founded in 1974 and grounded in MIT's tradition of combining academic knowledge and practical purpose, MIT CISR helps executives meet the challenge of leading increasingly digital and data-driven organizations. We work directly with digital leaders, executives, and boards to develop our insights. Our consortium forms a global community that comprises more than seventy-five organizations.

MIT CISR Associate Members

MIT CISR wishes to thank all of our associate members for their support and contributions.

MIT CISR's Mission Expand

MIT CISR helps executives meet the challenge of leading increasingly digital and data-driven organizations. We provide insights on how organizations effectively realize value from approaches such as digital business transformation, data monetization, business ecosystems, and the digital workplace. Founded in 1974 and grounded in MIT’s tradition of combining academic knowledge and practical purpose, we work directly with digital leaders, executives, and boards to develop our insights. Our consortium forms a global community that comprises more than seventy-five organizations.

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • View all journals
  • Explore content
  • About the journal
  • Publish with us
  • Sign up for alerts
  • Published: 14 May 2024

2023 summer warmth unparalleled over the past 2,000 years

  • Jan Esper   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3919-014X 1 , 2 ,
  • Max Torbenson   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2720-2238 1 &
  • Ulf Büntgen 2 , 3 , 4  

Nature ( 2024 ) Cite this article

912 Accesses

2038 Altmetric

Metrics details

We are providing an unedited version of this manuscript to give early access to its findings. Before final publication, the manuscript will undergo further editing. Please note there may be errors present which affect the content, and all legal disclaimers apply.

  • Climate change
  • Palaeoclimate

Including an exceptionally warm Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer 1 ,2 , 2023 has been reported as the hottest year on record 3-5 . Contextualizing recent anthropogenic warming against past natural variability is nontrivial, however, because the sparse 19 th century meteorological records tend to be too warm 6 . Here, we combine observed and reconstructed June-August (JJA) surface air temperatures to show that 2023 was the warmest NH extra-tropical summer over the past 2000 years exceeding the 95% confidence range of natural climate variability by more than half a degree Celsius. Comparison of the 2023 JJA warming against the coldest reconstructed summer in 536 CE reveals a maximum range of pre-Anthropocene-to-2023 temperatures of 3.93°C. Although 2023 is consistent with a greenhouse gases-induced warming trend 7 that is amplified by an unfolding El Niño event 8 , this extreme emphasizes the urgency to implement international agreements for carbon emission reduction.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Access Nature and 54 other Nature Portfolio journals

Get Nature+, our best-value online-access subscription

24,99 € / 30 days

cancel any time

Subscribe to this journal

Receive 51 print issues and online access

185,98 € per year

only 3,65 € per issue

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others

what is abstract in a research paper

Large-scale emergence of regional changes in year-to-year temperature variability by the end of the 21st century

what is abstract in a research paper

Cooler Arctic surface temperatures simulated by climate models are closer to satellite-based data than the ERA5 reanalysis

what is abstract in a research paper

Warming events projected to become more frequent and last longer across Antarctica

Author information, authors and affiliations.

Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Jan Esper & Max Torbenson

Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

Jan Esper & Ulf Büntgen

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Ulf Büntgen

Department of Geography, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jan Esper .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Esper, J., Torbenson, M. & Büntgen, U. 2023 summer warmth unparalleled over the past 2,000 years. Nature (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07512-y

Download citation

Received : 16 January 2024

Accepted : 02 May 2024

Published : 14 May 2024

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07512-y

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines . If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Quick links

  • Explore articles by subject
  • Guide to authors
  • Editorial policies

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

what is abstract in a research paper

what is abstract in a research paper

Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy, Research, Capacity and Influence

what is abstract in a research paper

Effect of Pesticide Use on Crop Production and Food Security in Uganda

May 14, 2024 - Linda Nakato, Umar Kabanda, Pauline Nakitende, Tess Lallemant & Milu Muyanga

share this on facebook

The increasing pest proliferation has continued to cause a serious threat to food security in Uganda. This study explores the impact of pesticide adoption on food security in Uganda. Specifically, it seeks to assess whether the use of pesticides ensures food security, with crop productivity serving as an intervening variable. Employing the control function approach with fixed effects estimation on a dataset comprising 1,656 households spanning the periods 2013/2014, 2016/2015, and 2018/19 to 2019/20 obtained from the Uganda National Panel Survey, the study reveals several determinants influencing pesticide use in Uganda. The findings also highlight that the adoption of pesticides demonstrates a positive influence on crop productivity. However, when assessed through indicators such as Food Consumption Score (FCS), Minimum Acceptable Household Food Consumption (MAHFP), and Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) at the pre-harvest stage, the results do not indicate a statistically significant correlation of pesticide use and food security outcomes. Consequently, beyond enhanced crop productivity and the pre-harvest activities focused on in the study, it is imperative to consider the post-harvest application of pesticides to comprehensively explain how pesticide use effects food security in Uganda. Based on the positive link between pesticides and crop productivity, its recommended that government should increase awareness on and access of insecticides among farmers. Given that insects are the main pests damaging crops in Uganda. It is also important for Uganda to reform and reactive a regulatory framework having a licensing system to regulate private local market dealers’ sale of pesticides. Given that the majority of the households purchase their pesticides from private traders in the local/village market. This approach might improve the quality of pesticide purchased by farmers and, increase pesticide use to diversify produce of more nutritious foods, to ultimately enhance access and nutrient intake per meal in Uganda.

 Pesticide use, crop productivity, food security.

DOWNLOAD FILE

Tags: prci research paper

new - method size: 1 - Random key: 0, method: personalized - key: 0

You Might Also Be Interested In

STAAARS+ RFP webinar Sept 14 2022

Published on September 15, 2022

PRCI STAAARS+ Teams Presentation Video 2022

Published on July 26, 2022

what is abstract in a research paper

Scoping Study of Agriculture Development Strategy of Nepal (ADS) (Five-year achievements)

Published on February 1, 2023

Sugarcane Production and Food Security in Uganda

Published on September 1, 2023

Institutional Arrangements Between Sugarcane Growers and Millers in Uganda and Implications for Grower Productivity and Profitability

what is abstract in a research paper

Rwanda Natural Forest Cover Dynamics between 2015 and 2020

Published on June 19, 2023

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at [email protected] .

  • prci research paper,
  • innovation lab for food security policy research capacity & influence

IMAGES

  1. How to Write a Research Paper Abstract: Guide & Examples

    what is abstract in a research paper

  2. What Is a Research Abstract? 3 Effective Examples

    what is abstract in a research paper

  3. How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

    what is abstract in a research paper

  4. 💣 How to write a good abstract for a research paper. Take a Look at 5

    what is abstract in a research paper

  5. Examples Of Science Paper Abstract : 007 Research Paper Abstract Of

    what is abstract in a research paper

  6. A Complete Guide on How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

    what is abstract in a research paper

VIDEO

  1. How to write the Abstract in your Research/ Seminar/ Conference paper

  2. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

  3. CRITIQUE OF RESEARCH ABSTRACT

  4. Ice Spice

  5. How to write an abstract

  6. abstract

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Abstract

    An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesis, dissertation or research paper) that reports the aims and outcomes of your research. Learn how to write an abstract using the IMRaD structure and see examples from different disciplines.

  2. Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

    An abstract is a short summary of your research paper that serves multiple purposes, such as letting readers get the gist of your paper and helping them find it in databases. Learn what to include and how to organize your abstract, and see examples from different disciplines.

  3. Abstract Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide With Tips & Examples

    Learn how to write an abstract for a research paper, including its definition, purpose, types, characteristics, and structure. An abstract is a concise and self-contained summary of the research problem, methods, results, and conclusions.

  4. How to Write an Abstract (With Examples)

    Learn what an abstract is, what it should include, and how to write one for a research paper or a book proposal. Follow the steps and structure to summarize your context, hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusion in a concise and clear way.

  5. Abstracts

    Learn the definitions, purposes, and types of abstracts for different kinds of works. Find out how to write an abstract that describes, summarizes, or evaluates a larger work.

  6. 3. The Abstract

    An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence that includes: 1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; 2) the basic design of the study; 3) major findings or trends found as a result of your analysis; and, 4) a brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions.

  7. Research Paper Abstract

    Learn how to write a research paper abstract that summarizes the study's purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. See examples of abstracts for different types of research papers and tips on how to format them.

  8. How to Write an Abstract

    Focus on key results, conclusions and take home messages. Write your paper first, then create the abstract as a summary. Check the journal requirements before you write your abstract, eg. required subheadings. Include keywords or phrases to help readers search for your work in indexing databases like PubMed or Google Scholar.

  9. How to Write an Abstract

    An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper) that reports the aims, methods, results and conclusions of your research. Learn how to write an abstract using the IMRaD structure and see examples from different disciplines.

  10. The Writing Center

    An abstract is a 150- to 250-word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your essay or report and its organization. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper. According to Carole Slade, an abstract is ...

  11. What Exactly is an Abstract?

    An abstract is a short summary of your completed research that describes your work without going into great detail. Learn the general considerations and key features of an abstract, and see sample abstracts from different disciplines.

  12. Academic Guides: Writing for Publication: Abstracts

    An abstract is "a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 38). This summary is intended to share the topic, argument, and conclusions of a research study or course paper, similar to the text on the back cover of a book. When submitting your work for publication, an abstract ...

  13. How to Write an Abstract in APA Format with Examples

    An abstract is a brief summary of a research paper or dissertation that follows the APA guidelines. It includes the rationale, method, results, conclusion, and keywords of the study.

  14. Research Guides: Writing a Scientific Paper: ABSTRACT

    The abstract should be written for the audience of this journal: do not assume too much or too little background with the topic. Ensure that all of the information found in the abstract also can be found in the body of the paper. Ensure that the important information of the paper is found in the abstract. Avoid: using the first paragraph of the ...

  15. A Guide on How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

    Use strong action verbs to describe the effect of your research, such as "transforms," "enables," "revolutionizes," or "underscores.". 5. Keep it concise. Focus on writing within the word limit and keeping the information that is required to be showcased or highlighted. After drafting your abstract, review it specifically for ...

  16. Abstract (summary)

    An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding, or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a manuscript or typescript, acting as the point-of-entry for any given academic paper or patent application.

  17. How to write an APA abstract

    Formatting the keywords section. The keywords are presented on the same page as the abstract, one line below the end of the abstract paragraph. It begins with the label "Keywords:", and it is italicized and indented 0.5in from the margin. Next comes a list of the keywords separated by commas.

  18. How To Write an Abstract in 7 Steps (With an Example)

    1. Write your paper. Since the abstract is a summary of a research paper, the first step is to write your paper. Even if you know what you will be including in your paper, it's always best to save your abstract for the end so you can accurately summarize the findings you describe in the paper. 2.

  19. Writing an abstract

    The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. ... That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract ...

  20. 15 Abstract Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

    An abstract may contain a succinct background statement highlighting the research's significance, a problem statement, the methodologies used, a synopsis of the results, and the conclusions drawn. When it comes to writing an abstract for a research paper, striking a balance between consciousness and informative detail is essential.

  21. Role of an Abstract in Research Paper With Examples

    1. Descriptive. This abstract in research paper is usually short (50-100 words). These abstracts have common sections, such as -. Background. Purpose. Focus of research. Overview of the study. This type of research does not include detailed presentation of results and only mention results through a phrase without contributing numerical or ...

  22. Exploring the Relationship Between Early Life Exposures and the

    Abstract Background: Epidemiological research commonly investigates single exposure-outcome relationships, while childrens experiences across a variety of early lifecourse domains are intersecting. To design realistic interventions, epidemiological research should incorporate information from multiple risk exposure domains to assess effect on health outcomes. In this paper we identify ...

  23. Strategic inattention of multi-product firms with free entry

    Abstract. This paper considers the strategic (in)attention of multi-product firms with endogenous product range choice and introduces free entry prior to firms' strategic choices on attention or inattention. We find that within-firm cannibalization of multi-product firms plays a key role in determining firms' strategic behavior.

  24. Concerns about data integrity across 263 papers by one author

    Differences between papers and conference abstracts. We identified 16 full texts that differed in some way from a conference abstract of the same study, and one full text (Nadim2019) that differed from a published protocol. ... Research misconduct: "fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or ...

  25. (PDF) Ransomware, Threat, and Detection Methods

    Consequently, this paper aims to offer a comprehensive insight into the threat posed by ransomware and discuss recent detection methodologies. A successful ransomware attack carries direct ...

  26. AI Is Everybody's Business

    The three principles are based on the following concepts from MIT CISR data research: 1. Data liquidity: the ease of data asset recombination and reuse. 2. Data democracy: an organization that empowers employees in the access and use of data. 3. Data monetization: the generation of financial returns from data assets.

  27. 2023 summer warmth unparalleled over the past 2,000 years

    Abstract. Including an exceptionally warm Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer 1,2, 2023 has been reported as the hottest year on record 3-5. Contextualizing recent anthropogenic warming against past ...

  28. Atomic Quantum Technologies for Quantum Matter and ...

    Abstract. Physics is living an era of unprecedented cross-fertilization among the different areas of science. In this perspective review, we discuss the manifold impact that ultracold-atom quantum technologies can have in fundamental and applied science through platforms for quantum simulation, computation, metrology and sensing.

  29. Effect of Pesticide Use on Crop Production and Food Security in Uganda

    ABSTRACT. The increasing pest proliferation has continued to cause a serious threat to food security in Uganda. This study explores the impact of pesticide adoption on food security in Uganda. Specifically, it seeks to assess whether the use of pesticides ensures food security, with crop productivity serving as an intervening variable.